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!

Preparation Lands a Trophy Spot

There are many variables in the bass fishing game that are beyond our control. What are you to do when a front blows through a day early, a big fish wraps you around a log, or a local angler sits on your primary spot all day? In most cases, your hands are tied and you’re at the mercy of the fish.
With that in mind, why not control every possible variable that is within your control? I’m shocked every time I watch an angler lose a big fish because they bend hooks, break line, or give the fish slack. Its not that I don’t make mistakes, I do, and they’ve cost me dearly over the years. The point is that if you leave these variables unchecked you are choosing to be at a disadvantage. I firmly believe that what sets a truly great angler apart from everyone else is a keen attention to detail.
Spend the time to loosen your drags, replace bad line, and tie fresh knots as soon as you need them. If you catch yourself saying things like, “Eh, what are the odds” these words will be haunting when a big bass humbles you.

I hope you enjoy this video because its drives the point home so clearly. I was blessed to land this bass on a recent trip. When I got her into the boat I was shocked to see a full dropshot rig still stuck in her mouth. Someone had the good fortune of hooking this bass but due to lack of preparation, broke her off. How do I know it was lack of preparation? Whoever it was had a major nick in their line just above the hook. I can almost hear whoever it was looking at his partner and saying, “What are the odds” as he cast the damaged rig back toward a likely spot. The rest is history.
Remember to keep your hooks sharp, your line fresh, and treat the bass with respect.

Take a kid fishing

I spent the last week scoping out water, talking to friends, watching the weather, and anything else I could think of so that my nephew would have a great time when we went fishing. Game day came and the weather was perfect, we practically had the lake to ourselves and there were fish all over the graph. As luck would have it, the bite had shut down. One nice smallmouth to the side of the boat was all we had to show for a full day on the water.

As you can imagine I was a little bummed out. That is, until I started listening to what he was saying. He didn’t care that we didn’t catch fish. He got to see an eagle, run around on shore (track mud all over the boat), and throw his brand new crankbait. Sure, catching fish would have been nice but it wasn’t what made or broke his day.
The point of this story is that you need to take a kid fishing. Don’t have kids? Me either! Ask a family member or friend if their kids would like to spend a day on the water. They don’t care if you’re on fish or not and a day away from the tv, computer, and classroom will do them some good!
There will always be good reasons not to go but before you know it those kids will be grown up and won’t share our love for the outdoors. Stop your busy schedule for a day and head to a lake, stream, or river near you so that the little ones can fall in love with this sport we all love so much.

River Fishing for Smallmouth

If all you care about is winning tournaments or catching giant bass it may be time to look at your priorities. Monster bass are a blast to catch but sometimes you need to take a break and remember what made fishing so fun in the first place. Fishing is about getting out on th water, relaxing, enjoying nature, and then catching fish.
Added to the list of fun ways to catch fish when you want to mix it up a bit: River fishing for smallmouth. Northern California (and most other places in the country) have an abundance of rivers that are completely full of undersized bass. These fisheries are rarely, if ever overfished and can provide a great fishing experience for children or a relaxing day on the water. The other perk to river fishing is you never know what you’re going to catch. On this outing we caught smallmouth, largemouth and sacramento pike. Its hard to beat that! (except maybe if you’re looking for a keeper-size fish, let alone a trophy.) While there are trophy class fish in rivers around the country most simply have healthy populations of modest-size fish.

Give it a try in a stream or river near you!