John's Journal...

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

I’m Not Going to Fish Deep

Click to enlargeEditor’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 just finished a tournament and placed 31st out of 200 contestants, winning $10,500. How many types of bait did you use?
Cochran: I only used one type of bait – the Strike King Series 1 crankbait, which is about 2- or 3-inches long with a square bill – during that entire tournament. I fished shallow-water cover, and I was the only angler in the top 50 to catch bass in shaClick to enlargellow water. The other anglers fished very deep, but I decided to fish how I liked to fish – in shallow water. Everyone said bass weren’t in the shallow water, but I caught a good string of keepers each day.

Question: What color did you fish, George?
Cochran: I fished the white spinner bait with the black back that’s shad colored.

Question: Why did you choose this color?
Cochran: The water was dirty and shallow, and this color seemed to be the one the bass liked the most. I wanted bait that looked exactly like shad. I fished shallow-water cover, likewood, rocks and docks and caught limits of bass each day.

Question: George, you have the reputation for beating all the water off a spot. Why do you do this?
Cochran: If I reach a location where I know there’s a lot of bass, I may throw 12 times at one stump. Most fishermen will make two or three casts at a piece ofClick to enlarge cover and then look for another target. I throw to the same stump because sometimes bass are very aggressive, and at other times, they’re not. Sometimes I can aggravate bass with the bait, making the bass attack it. That bass looks at the crankbait or the spinner bait, and says, “I’m just going to eat that old shad because I’m tired of looking at it.”

Question: You’re known as a shallow-water fisherman, and you fish shallow water at any time of year under any weather and water conditions. Why do you stay in shallow water, while others move into deep water?
Cochran: I rarely fish in water over 5-feet deep. I’ve been bass fishing for 40 years and tournament bass fishing for 27 years. I’ve earned a good living each yeaClick to enlarger, fishing in shallow water. I’m not as versatile as Kevin VanDam, who can fish deep, shallow and anywhere in the lake and catch bass. Larry Nixon has this same ability. I’m old and hard-headed, but I know I perform best fishing in shallow-water cover year-round. I’ve always done well at fishing shallow-water cover, and I don’t vary from it. I don’t try to compete with anglers who know how to fish in deep water. I specialize in shallow water and often can catch fish in shallow water when no one else can. That’s what I do best, and I’ve learned to stick with it.

In this tournament, when I finished 31st out of 200 contestants, winning $10,500, no one else caught bass in shallow water like I did. I’ve learned that when I can locate an area that’s holding fish in shallow water, I can make the shallow-water bass bite. There may not be as many bass holding in shallow water as there are in deep water, but I’ll be able to catch the ones in shallow water. I’ve made a living by being able to look at an area and deciding how to catch all the fish I can from that spot.

Tomorrow: Catching Bass When Bass Aren’t Biting

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 3