THE GREATEST DAY OF FISHING I EVER HAD WITH GEORGE
Why I Believe
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: OWhy do you think the Wild
Shiner really paid off for you in this tournament?
COCHRAN: Of course the Wild Shiner is a big-bass bait
as I said earlier. Jerkbait fishing is highly productive in cold-water
situations. But I fine-tuned the Wild Shiner until I had the right color
that the big bass really wanted on that lake on that day, which was bone-colored,
with a green back.
How did you determine the color you should use?
COCHRAN: I tried the silver with a black back and a silver
with a blue back, but the bass didn’t seem to notice those two colors
as well as they could the bone-color with a green back. I did try a bone
color with a black back and an orange belly and the bass were biting it
fairly well. However, when I fished with the bone color with the green
back, I could tell the bass liked it better than the other colors I used.
So on the last day, I only fished with the bone-colored with a green back
Wild Shiner. I believe one of the secrets of bass fishing is to not only
learn what lure and what color the bass want, but the very best combination
of colors that make big bass bite.
QUESTION: George, what were you emotionally
like on that last day?
COCHRAN: I was nervous, confident, excited and eager
to fish. Once I began to cull 5-pound largemouth in the last few hours
of the tournament, I knew I had it won. I knew that I had 30 pounds of
bass, and I really didn’t believe that anyone else could catch me.
I mean, think about it. When have you ever fished in a tournament and
thrown back not one, but 6 or 8 bass that weighed 5 pounds or more? That
kind of fishing rarely happens. There’s no way to describe the feeling
you get when you’ve caught the biggest stringer of bass you’ve
ever caught in a tournament when you’re in the lead on the last
day of the tournament.
What was the hardest part of the last day?
COCHRAN: When I reached the bank I planned to fish, I
immediately caught a 4-1/2-pound bass. Then I caught and released a bass
that only weighed 2-1/2 pounds. Then I fished that same 440 yards for
two hours without getting a bite. I was still confident, because I believed
that the bass still were holding in this location, but there wasn’t
a wind on the lake that morning. I like to have a little wind to keep
the bass from seeing the hooks on the lures.
QUESTION: Most fishermen in the lead
who went for two hours without catching a bass on the last day of the
tournament would hunt new water. Why did you continue to fish that same
COCHRAN: Experience had taught me I was in the right
place with the best lure to catch the winning stringer. I knew that if
the wind would start blowing like it was supposed to, the bass would turn
on and start to bite. At about 11:00 a.m., the wind began to blow, and
I started catching 3- and 4-pound bass. By 11:30 a.m., I had a limit of
bass and had begun to cull. I had about 18 pounds of bass at that point.
I knew that wasn’t enough to win, but I believed if I stayed on
this bank with the technique I’d been using, at some point before
quitting time, the big bass would start to bite. Sure enough, at 1:00
p.m., the really big bass began to bite.
What did the spectators say when they saw you culling 5-pound largemouth?
COCHRAN: They said, “This is incredible. I’ve
never seen anything like it.” When I weighed in at the end of the
tournament, I knew I had a 30-pound limit of 5, so I got three bags and
put them inside of each other just to make sure the bags didn’t
burst on the way to the fish. My last day’s catch was 29 pounds,
15 ounces—one ounce short of a 30-pound bag.
QUESTION: What has life been like since
you won the tournament?
COCHRAN: I’ve probably received 150 phone calls
from friends, well-wishers, the press and my sponsors. Everyone knows
how much that win meant to me, and I was so excited for my sponsors to
see that I could still win one for them and to thank them for all the
faith and support they have shown in me. Thank you, Strike King, and all
my other sponsors for continuing to believe in me and my abilities.
To learn more about Strike King’s quality fishing
lures and accessories, visit www.strikeking.com.