John's Journal...

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

Catching Bass When Bass Aren’t Biting

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 discClick to enlargeuss highlights from his career.

Question: George, you have a reputation of doing your best in the tournaments where fish are really hard to catch. At the Bassmaster Classic you won in 1996 at Lay Lake in Alabama, the temperature was 110 degrees, and everyone was fishing deep ledges. You won that tournament fishing in ankle- to knee-deep water. Why?
Cochran: One of my best attributes is knowing how to readwater. When I can find shallow water where bass are holding, I only have to determine how to make them bite. My strong suit is that I’m a very-accurate caster, and I know how to work a crankbait or a spinner bait through heavy cover. These things are what I do best, and why I can succeed in shallow water where others fail. I’ve learned that throughout most of the year, some bass will be living in shallow water, and if you can locate these fish, you can make them bite, even if they don’t want to bite.

Question: George, you won that FLW Championship fishing a Strike King Spit-N-Kingin shallow water, yet you didn’t mention the Spit-N-King as one of your favorite lures. Why?Click to enlarge
Cochran: I love to fish top-water baits. I grew up fishing top-water baits, and nothing excites me more than seeing a bass blow up on a Spit-N-King. I’ve never been in a tournament that I knew I could win fishing a top-water bait. I won $1/2-million dollars at the 2005 FLW Championship fishing top-water baits. The money was great, but winning in front of my hometown crowd where my family and friends could enjoy the victory with me waClick to enlarges an extra incentive. I won that tournament ona Spit-N-King, another little top-water bait and a buzzbait. I fished only top-water baits that entire week, proving to me and everyone that you can win a major tournament on top-water lures.

Question: On the Ohio River out of Louisville, you won your first Bassmaster Classic in 1987, catching more bass than anyone else but still one of the lowest Classic tournament weights in Classic history. How did you fish differently than everyone else?
Cochran: I fished shallow water and stayed with the shallow water when everyone else fished deep. In that tournament, I caught 15 keepers, and the second-place winner had 12 keepers. So, I learned that when times are tough, I can bet on shallow water with a Strike King spinner bait, a Spit-N-King, and Series 1 and Series 3 crankbaits to catch bass, and so can you.

Tomorrow: Four More Years

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