Luck Favors the Prepared

As a serious angler one of my pet peeves is hearing someone say that fishing is "nothing but luck." Anyone who has put time on the water knows this simply isn't the case. We spend countless hours fine-tuning our equipment, studying weather, following fish movements, pouring over maps, and occasionally even fishing in order to keep an advantage on the water and eliminate as much of the "luck factor" as we can.  However, as this week's video will show you, sometimes it just pays to have a little luck!

I guess there will always be a very small part of bass fishing that involves luck. The vast majority of it is skill but you still need the fish to do what they're supposed to do, when they're supposed to do it. On this particular day, the fish did everything right, even when things went completely wrong.

Its been quite a while since we just put up a fun video so this week we thought we'd do something different.

In case you don't understand what you're seeing, I'll give you some background. Tim is on Clearlake in Northern California. He's fishing a bait that we throw often, an S-Waver 200 in Light Trout. He's using a Dobyns 806H spooled with 65 lb braid and a 30 lb leader, afterall this is big fish country. Unbeknownst to him, he's nicked his leader and its no longer 30 lb.

As you can see he gets bit several times but doesn't connect on the hookset. Now here is where the luck factor starts kicking in. In the moment, Tim just thinks he missed a bite, he has no idea (yet) he's enticed a wolf pack of big largemouth into attacking his bait. He immediately gets bit again, set's the hook, and breaks his weakened leader. On any other day it would be time to hang your head, shed a tear, and wave goodbye to your $35 lure and a BIG bass. But today, luck is on Tim's side. As a prepared angler he continues scanning the water instead of throwing a fit like most anglers would.

What he sees is a 2nd bass from the wolf pack try to steal the bait from the bass that broke him off. Now there are two bass (one on the front hook, another on the rear hook) fighting each other over the bait they're both hooked to. The fighting is so vicious they're actually doing cartwheels through the water. Tim springs into action with his net, scooping up not only his expensive swimbait but two big Clearlake bass!

There is no arguing that at this time, on this day, luck was on Tim's side. Too often things go terribly wrong. Gear fails, boats break down, bass don't bite, weather doesn't cooperate, but if you stay prepared the day will come when luck favors you and perhaps you too will have a day go from bad, to worse, to EPIC!

Congrats Tim and thanks for rolling the cameras so we could all see this crazy story play out. From cast to catch, one of the most amazing catches I've ever seen!

Matt Allen Ranked 5th for California's Top 40 Bass Anglers

With the temperatures dropping and bass in the fall transition, there are a couple things I look forward to this time of year. Great bass fishing, and “The List.” For those of you that don’t know what “List” I’m talking about, annually, outdoor writer George Kramer’s publishes his list of California’s Top 40 Bass Anglers. This year is extra exciting. It is the 20th anniversary of the list, and it’s the last. Tacticalbassin’s own Matt Allen not only made the list for the 6th consecutive time, but he is in the TOP 5! Matt landed in 5th place this year and is the highest ranked non-touring pro. Now that Matt is guiding ( I don’t get to fish with him as much, but I’ll be the first to say he truly deserves it. Every time we fish together, or film our next video for, I learn something. The great thing that sets Matt apart from the other “Pros” is his desire to teach. Putting many clients on their personal best bass and straight up crushing giants himself, 2014 has been an unforgettable year. With 72 Largemouth over 7lbs, and 26 Spotted bass over 7lbs to date (11/13/2014), THIS YEAR, nobody can argue his rank! Congratulations to all the anglers that made “The List.” You can see the entire list on Kramer's Blog.

Matt with a GIANT Spotted Bass

Ledge Fishing: Tricks to Catch More Fish

No matter where you are in the country, when the baitfish start moving to the rocks the bass fishermen will be close behind. Whether you target summer ledge fish in the Southeast, fall ledge fish in the West, or Winter bluff fish everywhere in between, a time of year will come when dialing in your approach to fishing vertical cover will come in handy.

I have the unique opportunity of fishing with anglers from around the globe and in doing so, I've noticed a pattern. The vast majority of anglers struggle to effectively target bass when they move from their shallow haunts in favor of more vertical cover.

Fishing vertical cover presents some unique challenges that are not often encountered with other styles of fishing. In no particular order those challenges include staying in the strike zone long enough to get bit, knowing if you're on bottom, feeling the bite, and missing the bite because you're out of position. These problems are even more severe if compounded with fishing at night.

Almost all of these problems are caused by adjusting your baitcasting reel correctly. Yes, I said correctly. For every other application your adjustments are perfect but if you want to fish vertical cover, its time to make some incorrect adjustments that will make all the difference!

Through trial and error I've found a very simple way to eliminate all of the above mentioned problems at once. By backing off the spool tension knob (found next to the star drag) you can eliminate the resistance the reel has on the line. This allows the bait to fall vertically instead of drifting away from the cover like a pendulum. Additionally, the free-floating spool will spin freely enough that you can feel the line falling, stopping, or even getting bit, without having to look down.

I've found this technique to be most effective when fishing jigs, worms, and swimbaits. If using a smaller reel like a Core 50MG you can get away with weights as light as 3/8 oz without experiencing the pendulum effect. If you're going to use standard tackle (I prefer a Curado 200) its important that you step up to a 3/4 oz jig (this works great with swim jigs as well) or heavier in order to keep the presentation as vertical as possible.

Using these quick tips will make you a more effective ledge fishermen overnight. I've seen clients go from getting no bites at all, to catching fish after fish by just backing off the tension. Its a simple solution to a very complicated series of problems that plagues us all at one time or another.