As anglers, it is really easy to get caught up in the “I caught them here yesterday” philosophy rather than fishing in the moment. A skilled fisherman will recognize when something has changed and make an adjustment. Bass can be a frustrating species to catch. They are seemingly always doing something different than the previous day, even different from hour to hour. But, after all, that’s what makes it so much fun!
Adapting to Change
Weather. I don’t really need to say much more. It’s always changing and throwing curveballs to us fishermen. You might think you have them figured out, then BOOM, cold front. It seemingly never fails. When this happens, the fish aren’t going to be susceptible to catch them in the same manner.
Whether it’s the presentation or location, something is going to be different. This is where is takes time on the water to make the call on how to change. Post frontal conditions are likely to make the bass do one of two things: hold tight to cover or suspend.
Ideally, you hope they lock down onto some stumps or rock. When they do this, you can make repeated casts to a target and usually trigger a strike if you are patient. The kiss of death is when they decide to suspend. I cringe every time I think about trying to catch suspended fish.
I am a power fisherman and can’t stand the thought of fishing finesse fishing. With that said, sometimes you just have to pick up the spinning rod or the drop shot and slow way down. It will put fish in the boat when nothing else will get the job done.
Staying One Step Ahead
When I first started tournament fishing, I would almost always fish the same exact way in the tournament that I did in practice. Halfway through the day, I would finally realize “Hey stupid, something’s different”. If you wait that long, it is usually too late.
It is extremely hard to abandon what you know worked a few days before, but sometimes you just have to do it. Time on the water again dictates when to make this decision. If you observe the conditions and know a substantial change in weather or water quality has occurred, go ahead and make the change after just an hour or two. Far too often, we are stubborn when we should be open minded.