By Steve Graf
Bass fishing is a funny sport that can and will test a person’s mental stability. It’s comparable to golf in that there’s no one else to blame for your failure or success more than yourself. YOU determine your own fate with skill, determination, and effort, with effort being in the form of spending hours on the water. There’s no substitute for time on the water and the anglers who fish daylight till dark will be the guys who are hard to beat on tournament day. Today, we’ll look at what really makes an angler great and why.
Bass fishing is just like any other sport; it requires great skills. Needed are skills like casting and being able to put a bait in places the average angler would not even attempt. You also need to understand how certain baits should be worked in order to the get the most action out of that particular bait. You need an understanding of fish behavior during the different seasons of the year. One more skill, that not all anglers have, is the ability to read water. Knowing how to read the water and what baits will work best under certain water conditions is essential to an angler’s success.
Most anglers fall into two categories…guys who like to fish deep or shallow. If you’re a deep-water angler, you’ll need to have the ability to read your electronics, interpret topo maps and know what you’re looking at. Deep water anglers need to learn how to find brush tops and look for good structure. Structure is not the same thing as a brush pile; it’s about the contours, humps, and undulations of the bottom.
There’s one tool that has really leveled the playing field and helped an average angler to become a great angler. It’s forward-facing sonar, that both Hummingbird and Lowrance offer. Today’s forward-facing sonars come in handy when fishing in water eight feet or more by giving you the ability to target bass in schools or suspended over a brush top. Ok, yes…it’s like playing a video game, and the anglers that can do this well have a distinct advantage over those that can’t.
But the one thing that separates the great anglers from the average ones is decision making. THIS is the key ingredient that not all anglers possess. Knowing when to stay in an area and knowing when to leave can be the difference between making a top 10 or finishing out of the money. Knowing what time of day fish will bite in certain areas is huge. There’s a saying among anglers, “Somewhere on any given body of water, fish are biting.” That’s why scouting is so important! If you caught fish in a specific area at 10:00 AM the day before, you need to be back in that same area the next day around that same time or a little after.
As you can see, bass fishing is like any other sport. It requires skill, determination, effort, and the ability to make good decisions. But the advancements in electronics have also helped speed up the learning curve for today’s young anglers.