John's Journal... Entry 253, Day 2
BEST NEW TACTICS OF THE PROS
Three More Best Ways To Take Bass
Editor's Note: Have you wondered what's hot and what's not in the world of bass fishing? Has a new tactic caught on fire, promising to change the way we all fish for bass like dropshotting and flipping have in years past? Or, have anglers re-explored and dusted-off old techniques that once again have proved their value as significant bass-catching strategies? What's the inside scoop on the way professional bass anglers fish to produce the most and the biggest bass? Here's the answers to these questions as we all look forward to the 2004 Bassmaster Classic to be held at Lake Wylie in July, 2004.
Kevin VanDam: Be More Open-Minded - Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has earned over $1 million as a professional angler, won the 2001 Bassmaster Classic in Louisiana and ranks as the No. 2 angler in the world on bassfan.com. "One of the challenges of the 2003 season was the extreme weather," VanDam comments. "I probably used more different fishing tactics than I have in a long time. I fished a lot with lipless crankbaits like the Strike King Diamond Shad, jerkbaits and spinner baits and flipped tubes and jigs and also deep-cranked. I caught bass in a huge variety of ways. I didn't really use any dramatic new techniques, but I had to be open-minded and willing to fish with every tactic I could think of and change techniques. You have to let the weather and the water dictate what you do and where you find fish. You can't fish for bass the way you want but instead must fish with what the fish want. The most-productive new tactic I've learned is to be open-minded and not so rigid in my fishing. I've also discovered this past year to change tactics more often than I generally do when the fish aren't biting, particularly if I'm fishing in bad weather."
Shaw Grigsby: Relearn the Value of the Jig - Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Florida, has earned over $1 million during his professional bass-fishing career. A 21-year veteran of the tournament trails, Grigsby has proved with his eight wins, 43 top-10 finishes and participation in 10 Bassmaster Classics that he can produce bass year after year. "I began this past season by fishing Strike King's Wild Thang, Jr., but later as we moved into the winter months, I switched to the jig," Grigsby explains. "This past year, we had to fish in so much cold, windy weather and off-colored water that I had to spend more time fishing a jig than I normally would during the year. Using the jig, I caught lots of bass at the tournament on Toledo Bend. One of the big advantages of fishing a jig is that in windy weather, I can fish a 1/2- or a 3/8-ounce jig and still cast accurately. I can swim that jig on top for surface-feeding bass, in the middle story of water for suspended bass and/or drag it on the bottom for bottom-feeding bass. Although I view my strength as a bass fisherman as my ability to fish soft-plastic lures, this past year I've relearned the many ways a jig can help me overcome bad weather and bad water conditions."
Tim Horton: Slow Down - Tim Horton hails from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and has only competed in professional bass-fishing tournaments for five years. But, in that short time, he's won the BASS Angler-of-the-Year title during his rookie season on the Bassmaster Tour and has had two BASS tournament wins. "This past year was a spinner bait, pitching and flipping year for me," Horton says. "We fished a lot of high, dirty water from rain runoff. The bass wanted a precise presentation. By flipping and pitching, I gave the bass what they wanted and stayed in the hunt for the Classic title. Often during the spring when you're fishing an area with dirty water, to catch bass, you have to fish much slower than you usually do. Too, you must fish each piece of cover with more casts than you do in clearer water. One of the problems many tournament fisherman and really-intense weekend fishermen have is that we often fish too fast to match the water and weather conditions. So, remember, under high, muddy-water conditions, fish more slowly, and pick apart each piece of the cover with several different lures to get the bass to bite."
To learn more about Strike King's lures, go to www.strikeking.com.
TOMORROW: THREE MORE PRO BASS-CATCHING METHODS