John's Journal...

Summertime Bass Fishing with George Cochran

How to Fish the Magic Hour

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Arkansas, won the FLW Championship in 2005. In August, 2006, the FLW Championship will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, on Logan Martin Lake. Cochran should feel like Brer Rabbit being thrown in the briar patch because if there’s ever been a tournament where Cochran’s the odds-on-favorite, it will be this year’s FLW Championship. When the Bassmasters Classic was held on the same lake, Cochran finished 9th, and he also won the Bassmasters Classic held on nearby Lay Lake in August, 1996, under extremely-hot weather conditions. The city of Birmingham has been good to Cochran’s reputation and his bank account just about every time he’s fished there. We asked Cochran how he plans to fish the Dog Days of August during the FLW Championship when the surface temperatures will reach over 100 degrees.

Question: What will you be doing that last hour before weigh-in, Click to enlargeGeorge?
Cochran: During that last hour, most of the fishermen will be near the check-in spot waiting to weigh-in. I’ll usually be within a mile or two away in that last hour. Then if I have any kind of mechanical problems, I’ll still be able to get to the weigh-in before the tournament ends. I’ll be looking for brush piles beside deep points. I want these brush piles to be where there’s plenty of boat traffic. When you find cover where you know bass have to live, and the cover has lots of boat traffic around it, most of the time, you can be fairly successful in catching a bass during that last hour. Boat traffic spooks bass and causes them to move in tight to the cover. That cover or brush pile is like the bass’s house. When they get spooked, they want to run into their house, lock the doors and stay there until the perceived danger is gone. Now, if that brush pile is in an area that Click to enlargedoesn’t have a lot of boat traffic, the bass will often suspend out away from the brush where they’re not as easy to catch. One of my favorite tricks to use in that last hour that I’ve learned from Mickey Bruce, another tournament angler, is to drive my boat with its big engine all the way around that brush pile to spook the bass on the outside of the brush into the brush. Next, I’ll stop the boat and wait about 5 minutes. Then I’ll flip a Strike King Finesse Worm and catch those scaredy-cat bass. That Strike King 5-inch 3X Finesse Worm is about the size of the bait the bass have to feed on at that time of the year. I’ve learned that the small 5-inch finesse worm is your best bet during those hot days of summer.

Question: Most people curse boat traffic, especially during that last hour of a tourClick to enlargenament that they really need to catch a bass. But you say it gives you an advantage, how?
Cochran: That’s absolutely right, especially if you’re fishing structure and/or brush piles. The reason people can’t catch the bass in the brush piles in the tournament is because the bass are usually suspended above, below or out in front of the brush. So fishermen aren’t putting their lures in the strike zone of the bass. But when you use boat traffic and boat noise to push the bass into the brush, they’re in a place where you can fish and catch them.

Question: What do you think your chances are of winning the 2006 FLW Championship in August in Birmingham?
Cochran: If I were a betting man, I’d bet on me. I won the championship in 2005, so I’ve got an awful lot of confidence. I haven’t threatened to win a tournament this year, but I’ve been fishing steady, I made it to the championship and I’m feeling good. I know my knowledge of bass fishing is at its peak right now after 25 years of fishing the tournament circuit. Usually, when I’m fishing a really big tournament like this one, I can bring my best game. That’s the reason that if I could bet on who’s going to win the tournament, I’d bet on George Cochran.



Check back each day this week for more about " Summertime Bass Fishing with George Cochran"

Day 1: Head for the Top
Day 2: Top-Water Bites Are Over, Now What?
Day 3: Phase Three – Deep Dock Tactics
Day 4: Slow It Down to Win
Day 5: How to Fish the Magic Hour


Entry 361, Day 5