John's Journal...

Looking Back Over My Tournament Bass-Fishing Career with George Cochran

Click to enlargeEight Days and One Rod and One Strike King Spinner Bait Equals $50,000

Editor’s Note: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Arkansas, has passed a milestone in his fishing career, earning over $2 million in tournament winnings. This week, Cochran will discuss highlights from his career.

Question: George, you made $90,000 this year and $65,000 in just two tournaments. What lures did you use?
Cochran: At the FLW tournament on Beaver Lake, the lake was high and mean. I finished second, winning $50,000 with the 3/8-ounce Strike King Premier spinner bait. The new Perfect Skirt on the spinner bait has helped me catch a number of bass. That skirt makes the body of the spinner bait look just like a minnow, and the extended strands on the end, makes the bait tail resemble the tClick to enlargeail of a shad. Bass can’t resist this spinner bait. They have to eat it.

Question: What color bait did you use in that tournament?
Cochran: Emerald shad.

Question: What pound-test line?
Cochran: I used 15-pound-test P-Line.

Question: Did you modify the bait in this tournament?
Cochran: Yes, I did. I changed the back blade from a No. 4 to a No. 3-1/2 willow leaf blade to make the profile a little smaller. The Perfect Skirt is the main reason I caught more bass than other competitors. I even fished down a bank behind other competitors and caught bass where they didn’t.

Question: How did you work the spinner bait?Click to enlarge
Cochran: I crashed the spinner bait into cover. I’d throw past a log or down the side of a boat dock and bump the wood every place I could. When you bump the spinner bait into wood cover, the spinner bait resembles a shad feeding on algae, presenting an easy target for the bass. Bump the spinner bait, or give it erratic action to get the bass’ attention and cause them to attack the lure. If you cast it out and reel it in, you won’t get nearly as many strikes as you will by bumping it into cover and stopping and starting it. The erratic action makes the bait look injured or crippled, so it’s an easy prey for the bass.

In 30 years of fishing, I’ve learned that when you cause a bait to look injured or crippled, the bass’s natural instinct is to kill it and/or eat it. When a wolf is hungry and sees a herd of deer, he’ll track and focus all his attention on the crippled or the sick deer because they’re the easiest for him to catch and eat. Bass do the same thing when they see a school of baitfish. They pick out the sick, the crippled or the hurt. So, if you make the lure appear crippled or hurt, there’s a greater chance that the bass will eat it. Click to enlarge

Question: What was the biggest bass you caught in the FLW tournament?
Cochran: I caught an 8-pound, 4-ounce largemouth in practice, but in the tournament, most of my fish weighed an average of 2 to 2-1/2-pounds. I caught 43 pounds in 4 days out of Beaver Lake, which is deep and clear. On my worst day, I caught 12 keepers, and on my best day, I caught 27 keepers.

Question: Did you fish other lures beside the spinner bait?
Cochran: No, I didn’t. I had only one rod lying out on my deck, and the Strike King Spinner bait was the only lure tied onto that rod during the entire tournament. During 4 days of practice and 4 days of the tournament, I never fished anything else. Some of the young fishermen had 12 rods lying out on their deck to start the tournament days. They’d look over and see my boat with the one rod and spinner bait, and they’d say “Oh no, times are about to get rough.”

Tomorrow: I’m Not Going to Fish Deep

Check back each day this week for more about "Looking Back Over My Tournament Bass-Fishing Career with George Cochran"

Day 1: Over $2 Million and Still Fishing
Day 2: Eight Days and One Rod and One Strike King Spinner Bait Equals $50,000
Day 3: I’m Not Going to Fish Deep
Day 4: Catching Bass When Bass Aren’t Biting
Day 5: Four More Years


Entry 463, Day 2