THE GREATEST DAY OF FISHING I EVER HAD WITH GEORGE
How It Began
Note: Never before in the history of bass fishing does
George Cochran know of a tournament angler who threw back 5-pound-plus
largemouth because he had bass in the livewell that weighed more. In the
BASS tournament at Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama the last
weekend in February 2004, Cochran produced a four-day limit of five bass
per day that totaled 99 pounds, 10 ounces. On the final day he had his
greatest day ever of bass fishing. He won the tournament and the $103,000
prize. But more importantly for this two-time Bassmasters Classic champion,
he proved that old pros still have what it takes to be one of the hot
pros in today’s world of bass fishing. In this tournament, Cochran
also demonstrated that wisdom can overcome youthful enthusiasm, and that
patience and perseverance often are the keys to catching more bass. If
you’ll read each day of this week’s information, you’ll
learn some valuable secrets for catching more bass every time you fish.
George, how did you develop the pattern to get such a phenomenal catch
COCHRAN: I had learned in practice that a crawdad-colored
Series 3 Strike King crankbait would produce bass at Lake Guntersville.
I could crank that bait down, hit the top of submerged grass, stop the
bait and let it sit still in the water to catch a lot of small bass. Using
that lure, I could produce a 15-pound stringer of five bass almost every
day of practice. I spoke with Larry Nixon, who told me that, “If
your crankbait bite slows down, you may want to try a jerkbait.”
On the first day of the tournament, I caught 15 pounds of bass fairly
early, using a crawfish-colored Series 3 crankbait. Now 15 pounds of bass
is a respectable catch on most lakes in the nation—but not at Lake
Guntersville. At 1:00 p.m., I started fishing the Strike King Wild Shiner
above the submerged grass. When the jerkbait hit the water, I reeled it
down, jerked it about three times and let it sit still in the water. I
was just getting ready to move the bait after it had sat still for about
5 seconds, when a huge bass that weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces exploded
on the bait. After culling, I weighed in 21 pounds of bass that day.
the second day of the tournament, even though I caught huge bass on the
jerkbait, I still wanted to get my limit with the Series 3 crankbait.
So, I caught a limit of keeper fish on the Series 3 crankbait and then
picked up the Wild Shiner jerkbait. I didn’t start fishing the jerkbait
until 11:00 a.m., and all the bass I caught on it weighed more than all
the bass I caught on the Series 3 crankbait. On the second day, I weighed
in 25 pounds of bass. Now, I learn slow, but after seeing the kind of
bass the jerkbait could produce, I decided to put my crankbait in my tackle
box and fish with the jerkbait for the rest of the tournament.
Why do you think that the little bass took the Series 3 crankbait, and
the bigger bass were taking the jerkbait?
COCHRAN: The jerkbait is a larger lure and looked more
like the shad on which the bigger bass were feeding. Also, the big bass
were somewhat dormant. They weren’t as aggressive as the smaller
bass were. By fishing the suspending Wild Shiner, I could let it sit still
in the bass’ strike zone for a longer time than I could let the
Series 3 sit still because the Series 3 would float to the surface. The
first day of the tournament, my 8 pound, 13 ounce bass was the second-largest
bass weighed-in. On the second day, I also had the second-biggest bass.
I had the biggest bass on the third day, and I had the second-biggest
bass on the last day. Throughout the tournament, the Wild Shiner produced
my biggest bass. On the second day of the tournament, I realized I had
to slow my fishing down. Each cast I made with the Wild Shiner I would
fish the lure back to the boat slowly, as if I was fishing a plastic worm
on a rocky bottom. I could fish that slow because I was so confident in
the Wild Shiner’s ability to produce big bass and the soak-the-lure
technique’s ability to get the big bass to bite. So, on every cast,
I expected to catch an 8-pound bass. Almost every cast I made the last
day produced a 5- or 6-pound bass.
To learn more about Strike King’s quality fishing
lures and accessories, visit www.strikeking.com.
TOMORROW: WITH AGE COMES WISDOM