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John's Journal... Entry 238, Day 5


Why I Believe

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: 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.

QUESTION: 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.

QUESTION: 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 bank?
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.

QUESTION: 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.



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