John's Journal... Entry 253, Day 4
BEST NEW TACTICS OF THE PROS
Three Pros Teach You
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.
Gerald Swindle: Return to the Basics - Gerald Swindle, of Warrior, Alabama, has had 10 top-10 finishes on the BASS tournament circuit, is ranked as No. 6 on bassfan.com and has qualified for his fourth Classic in 2003. "When I first started fishing, the only lure I used was a plastic worm, either rigged Texas or Carolina style," Swindle explains. "Because these two techniques were so basic, as I progressed as a tournament fisherman, I discarded these two methods. I felt as a pro I should be using more-sophisticated tactics. But then in 2003, I decided to return to the basics and relearn how to rig and fish plastic worms Texas and Carolina style. I soon realized that when fishing worms I had to fish slower and more deliberately and cast more accurately than I did with most other lures. I caught more bass this year and made it to the Bassmasters Classic because I returned to the basics and started fishing a plastic worm again. Often the greatest new techniques you can learn is when you remember and begin to practice again some of the best tactics you've used in the past."
Harold Allen: Don't Be Swayed by Conventional Wisdom - Harold Allen of Shelbyville, Texas, has fished on the BASS tour for 27 years. Year after year Allen has proven he can compete with the best bass fishermen anywhere at any time. Allen has had 23 top-10 finishes and has fished in 14 Classics. "To win tournaments, you have to catch bass," Allen emphasizes. "Often to catch bass, you may have to go against conventional wisdom. For instance, the Harris chain of lakes in Florida is known for producing some really big bass. Generally fishing spinner baits, flipping a pig-and-jig or fishing with creature baits will win a tournament there. But the last time I fished there, I couldn't get any bites on big baits. So I scaled-down and started fishing a 4-inch plastic worm with a 1/8-ounce weight to try and catch a 12-inch-long bass. I learned that regardless of how many big bass any lake should have, the number-one strategy to win a bass-fishing tournament was to catch the most bass - any size of bass. Then after you have a limit of keeper bass, try and fish for the big fish. Nine times out of 10, when bass won't bite a big bait, they will bite little baits. No matter what the size of bass that aren't biting in a lake, if I'll fish little baits, I can catch bass. If I catch bass often enough, then I'll do well in a tournament."
Peter Thliveros: Don't Discard Old Bass-Fishing Tactics - Peter Thliveros, of Jacksonville, Florida, has finished in the top-10 30 times in BASS tournaments and has won three BASS tournaments. "The newest technique I learned this year was that I could depend on the old methods when new ways of fishing didn't work," Thliveros advises. "Several years ago, I relied heavily on flipping to catch bass and to make money in tournaments. But as new fishing tactics were developed, and I began to catch bass on them, I didn't depend as heavily on my flipping stick. However, when we arrived at Lake Eufaula in Alabama this past year, the weather was cold, the water was up, and I couldn't get bass to bite on any of the newer tactics that I usually fished. But, when I started fishing a Zoom Super Chunk trailer on the back of a 1/2-ounce Team Supreme Rattling Jig, this old tactic enabled me to finish the tournament in sixth place. Then the BASS tour went to the Alabama River in Montgomery, Alabama. I had so much confidence in the flipping tactic that I used the same lure and tactic and finished seventh fishing shoreline cover. Don't get me wrong. I'll try all the new bass-fishing strategies that come out every year. But I've learned this past year not to discard the old methods of bass fishing that still will work."
TOMORROW: THREE BASS TACTICS THAT WORK