John's Journal...

Rule-Breaking Ways to Catch Bass

Day 2: Learn some of Mark Rose’s Tactics for Catching Bass

Editor’s Note: If bass always did what we expected them to do, we'd catch them every time we went bass fishing. Some of nation's best bass-fishing pros break the rules of bass fishing regularly to catch more bass. Let's look at some rule-breaking techniques that will bring more bass to your boat this year. Mark Rose of Marion, Arkansas, is a more-than-$1-million winner on the FLW circuit. He takes chances and does whatever’s required to win bass tournaments.

Fish from a Johnboat:

Click for Larger View"Sometimes I like to use a johnboat when I compete in a tournament," Rose explains. "My ability to get into backwater situations with all my lures plays a major role in my success. I like to fish lures that work best in backwater areas. In my very-first Bassmaster tournament, I competed in a field of 150 anglers, where I used a little johnboat, and everyone else had nice, glass, $30,000 boats. Because the water fluctuated on the river, I could use my johnboat to get in these hard-to-reach regions. On the Red and the Mississippi rivers, johnboats have played an instrumental role in the winning of major tournaments before. If you get into a situation where the river level drops, and a big bass boat can't get back in those sloughs, a johnboat works great. They’re light and sturdy and can jump logs and beaver dams." Rose always looks for those situations in a tournament to use his johnboat to get away from the crowd. Once away from the crowd, Rose catches bass that haven't felt the high pressure from all the bass boats and other anglers.

Try Beat-Up Baits:

Click for Larger View"Some years ago, I caught about 30 to 40 bass on a chrome blue-back lure, but it got marred and discolored," Mark Rose recalls. "Before I took it off my rod, I realized that the more marred the lure got, the more fish I caught. To test my hypothesis, the next day of the tournament, I put on a brand-new lure. But, I didn't get near as many bites. I tied my old lure back on and soon realized I had a gold mine in it." In a spring FLW tournament at Lake Wheeler, Rose finished sixth in that tournament by catching each of his bass on a chrome blue-back Diamond Shad that had the paint scraped-off it. Rose says, "I don't know if other anglers will willingly put a knife to a brand-new lure or use an old, beat-up-looking lure to save the day of bass fishing. I just do what's worked for me in the past."

Play Hide and Seek:

"I actually had to hide a bass from other anglers that I found in a tournament one year," Mark Rose mentions. Rose had located a bed in the back of a pocket with a large bass on it and a sailboat anchored close to the bed. "When I reached the bed, I thought, 'How on earth can I hide this fish?'" Rose says. "I looked around and didn't see anyone. I anchored the sailboat on top of the bed. Since I'd found the bass, I knew I could return there, throw underneath the boat and catch the fish. I wouldn't usually recommend moving sailboats over beds, but that tactic certainly helped me in this tournament situation. If you locate a bed, hide it. Place something over the bed that doesn't affect the bass and its spawning. This tactic will help you set yourself apart from the others."

Use Short Rods to Fish Docks:

Click for Larger View"I also like to fish boat docks," Rose emphasizes. "I prefer to use a 4-1/2-foot or a 5-foot rod, which breaks the rules of bass fishing. Most people use at least a 6-foot rod when fishing boat docks. Many anglers won't use small rods, because they believe that bigger rods provide leverage in those situations. Too, you always want something you can flip back. However, you can't cast very accurately with a crankbait or a top-water bait on a long rod. But if you use a 4-1/2-foot rod, you can get close and make precise casts. In many tournaments, fishing with smaller rods has paid-off for me."

Fish Water No One Wants:

Click for Larger View"Other anglers don't understand why I try to find backwater," Rose comments. "I'll even fish in 6 inches of water. Most people won't attempt to do that. I like to locate places on maps of a river system where a boat never has travelled before to fish for bass and then key-in on those places."

How to Bass Fish Like a ProTo learn even-more bass-catching strategies, order John E. Phillips’ new eBook, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” click here. Or, you can go to and type-in the name of the book to find it. You also can download a Kindle app for free to allow you to read the book on your iPad, SmartPhone and computer.

Tomorrow: The Brauer Family – Denny and Chad – Sometimes Fish Kids’ Baits for Bass


Check back each day this week for more about "Rule-Breaking Ways to Catch Bass "

Day 1: “Kevin VanDam Tells 5 Unique Ways to Catch Bass”
Day 2: Learn some of Mark Rose’s Tactics for Catching Bass
Day 3: The Brauer Family – Denny and Chad – Sometimes Fish Kids’ Baits for Bass
Day 4: George Cochran and Randy Dearman Catch Bass
Day 5: Top Fishermen Shaw Grigsby, Larry Nixon, Mike Wurm and Rick Clunn on Unusual Bass Tactics

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Entry 664, Day 2