A number of years ago, I stumbled onto an opportunity to learn some great fishing “secrets.”
As a fishing pro staffer for Cincinnati Outdoor World’s Bass Pro Shops, I have had the privilege of meeting a good number of the very best fishermen in the country. These guys are pros who have made successful careers of fishing for bass, crappie, muskie, walleye and catfish. In addition, we have local fisherman who have a world of great information that, if tapped, can revolutionize the way many people fish.
On one occasion, the store had a big-name pro coming in to do a seminar for one of our store’s special events. Because his travel connections did not work out as planned, I was asked if I could fill in and provide a seminar for the large crowd assembled .
What happened next forever has changed my approach to teaching fellow anglers how to be successful. Why, I don’t know, but I posed the following question to the assembled crowd: “Imagine that you can pursue bass the rest of your life, but you may forever use only one artificial bait. What will it be?”
The crowd responded with a number of great answers.
I followed up each response with another simple question: “Why”?
I then asked each responder, “How long he had been fishing for bass?”
At one seminar, I shared the stage with one of the most successful tournament pros in the country. He is well known as an expert, particularly with crank baits. I asked him “The Question,” fully expecting him to respond with one of the many crankbaits of his sponsors. I was surprised with his answer.
After studying the question, his first statement was, “That’s a hard decision.”
I pressed the issue, and he told us it would be a 7-inch, green finesse worm. Wow!
I then asked how long he had been fishing for bass and he told us for more than 50 years.
Can you believe it? A great crankbait fisherman with more than 50 years of experience, and he tells us a 7-inch worm!
I asked why, and he gave me two solid reasons. First, he said that the worm is a good bait to use on approaching fronts. Additionally, the bait has versatility. He can use the worm bare, on a jig, dropshotting, shallow, deep or in between.
I asked two other fishermen in the crowd that day, and they responded with their choices.
One chose a Kevin VanDam white or chartreuse 3/8- to 1/2-oz. double willow leaf spinner bait. The other chose a 3/8-oz. black and blue jig with a pork chunk trailer. Again, versatility was the main reason for their choices, and these two guys had more than 60 years experience between them.
Between those fishermen and the tournament pro, they had more than 110 years of experience.
If you or I can learn all we can about using those three baits, we will become successful fishermen. Every time you have the opportunity to ask that question of a successful fisherman, do it.
by Darryl Blair