Monday, May 20, 2024

Winning or Stinking It Up:Tournament Fishing Failures by Bruce Callis Jr


Winning or Stinking It Up:
Tournament Fishing Failures
by Bruce Callis Jr

For 3 days we are out on the whacking those big bass, prefishing for an upcoming tournament. We have them dialed in and ready to win. We launch for the tournament and then stink up the place! What did we learn?

For some, nothing! But for those looking to get further and be the big stick in the tournament field, sometimes, it’s still nothing. Why is that? Sometimes its because we are determined it wasn’t us, it was the fish. We just weren’t in the right location. But let’s be real about the whole thing. It was us.
We killed them in practice and we are determined to make it happen, doing exactly what we were doing. We didn’t take into account the weather, that bass move to follow baitfish or that we caught them on the exact same bait for 3 days in a row. We fished from the memory of what happened in practice and not in the moment of the new day.

So many times it happens and by the time we figure out what has happened, the day is over and we come in with a small bag. I’ve been there and it stinks. I’ve fished the what did not the what does work because we as anglers can be so stubborn!

We become determined to catch them on a certain type of bait or a certain style of fishing. I love to fish certain ways, which isn’t bad. That is my comfort zone. I love to pitch a Missile Baits Chunky D, a D Bomb or even a Baby Destroyer around cover. I also have come to love fishing a Missile Baits Ike’s Mini Flip with a Baby D Bomb or Mini Chunk around everything. And when the bite is off, I look to them for help. But switching gears while on the water is a hard decision.

What makes the difference between those who live in the top 10 every tournament and those who are either winning or at the bottom of the leader board? It is the ability to make those changes on the water in a timely manner. Most of the time its switching up quicker, not being stubborn to do what we want, but change to find what the bass want. Sometimes it can be a simple color change that triggers the bass into biting or changing from a flipping jig to a swimbait jig. Other times, its changing our mental approach.

Our mental approach is the biggest change we can make. Stop thinking they always do this or that, but as Forward Facing Sonar has shown us, the bass may be there, but just don’t react to our lure as presented. We can be around 5 pound bass, but because they aren’t biting our bait, we think they may have moved. In reality, they just don’t want what we are offering.

They won’t hit a bladed jig, but they will smash a 3/8 ounce double willow blade spinnerbait with a blue head and a white skirt. They won’t hit a SPRO Little John, but they crush a Fat John 60. They won’t hit my SPRO McStick hard jerkbait, but they are killing the soft plastic jerkbait. Decisions that are difficult to make, when to switch what we may love to do so we can do what we must do!

But that is one of the things that keeps us from becoming the next KVD or Rick Clunn. Knowing when to follow that little bird that says change. Change the color, the action, the size, or to a totally different bait. Remember to fish in the moment, not in the past. Fish what the fish are telling you. Listen carefully. Remember to have fun out there, that is why we got into bass fishing in the first place!

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