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John's Journal... Entry 238, Day 2


How It Began

Editor’s 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.

QUESTION: George, how did you develop the pattern to get such a phenomenal catch of bass?
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.

On 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.

QUESTION: 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.




Check back each day this week for more about THE GREATEST DAY OF FISHING I EVER HAD WITH GEORGE COCHRAN ...

Day 1 - The Greatest Day Of Bass Fishing Ever
Day 2 - How It Began
Day 3 - With Age Comes Wisdom
Day 4 - Age And Experience Make The Difference
Day 5 - Why I Believe

John's Journal