n the Bassmaster Classic tournament, tension was high at the weigh-in… and not just because of the number of fish in each competitor’s bag. Rather, the tension was caused by the fear that the most valuable piece of information would be revealed: the tactic that works every time.
“We all try to keep our secrets as jealously as possible,” said competitor Dean Rojas. Sometimes it’s a colour that has worked in a particular situation, or a special way of casting the bait that gives you an advantage over other competitors. That’s why you’ll never see the older competitors talking to each other. »
Pat McIntire, President and CEO of bait manufacturer Pure Fishing, says, “We talk to fishermen so we can create new products, but with other fishermen, they don’t tell us everything. Alone, face to face, that’s where the good revelations come. »
So we asked these experts, individually, to give us their best advice. Try them on your next fishing trip. Once the fish start piling up in your boat, be kind: don’t betray the secret!
1. Glue the bait
When I fish in thick grass, I like to put a little drop of super glue on the hook and then put my worm on it. The glue holds the worm in place so you won’t lose it. Thanks to this technique, I’ve even won tournaments.
Steve Kennedy, winner of the 2005 Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Kentucky Lake
2. Slow down to catch bigger fish
If the fish suddenly stops biting, but you know it’s there, take a smaller bait and slow down your recovery. Switch from a seven-inch worm to a four-inch worm, and slow it down. Slowing down often allows you to catch bigger fish.
Eric Naig, fisherman with Crestliner Boats team
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3. Drag the line to the finish line
Unwind the fishing line from the reel and let it drag behind you for about 50 yards, behind the boat, en route to your destination. Then reel it in completely. For the rest of the day, the line will not get tangled or twisted.
Larry Nixon, twice named “BASS Angler of the Year.”
4. Don’t forget your Sharpie
I always carry 25 Sharpie markers in different colours to personalise my bait. Draw a small red line where the gills are and the bait looks like it is “bleeding”. To imitate a perch, I colour the fins orange. To imitate a shad, I add a black dot behind the eye, towards the tail.
Brent Ehrler, 2006 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship Winner
5. Tune your bait
Throw the bait and bring it back. Observe it until you get back to the boat. It should come straight back to you. If it turns to the right, turn the eyelet to the left with needle-nosed pliers or the other way around if it turns to the left. Poorly set bait does not look good and therefore does not attract fish.
Walt Ermanson, owner of Trophy Charters on Lake Erie
6. When nothing works, use a larva
I’ve used plastic larvae to catch just about everything from bass to perch to saltwater fish when nothing else worked. It’s subtle bait and the fish don’t have to swim as fast to catch it.
Jay Kumar, President and CEO of Bassfan.com
7. Handle the fish with care
I try not to handle the fish so abruptly. Hold it by its lower lip and do not remove its protective mucous layer. The fish can get sick without its protective mucous membranes.
Violet Sesco, BASS’s oldest fisherman (80 years old) and competitor on the Women’s Bassmaster Tour
8. Imitate animals
Different animals lay eggs in the lakes, depending on the time of the month. This is normally the focus of the fish. Try things like shad, frog or larvae bait, or something like that. One of these will probably guarantee you a catch.
Mark Sexton, Bait Analyst, Berkley Fishing
9. Let the bait hit the bottom
After you throw, watch the line relax before you bring it back. This means that the bait has hit bottom, which is in the perfect zone. Then, as you reel in the line, lightly wiggle the rod with your other hand. This motion mimics that of a live worm very well.
Gerald Swindel, Fisherman of the Year BASS 2004
10. Find the pantry, you’ll find the fish!
I’m always looking for great blue herons: they seek the same food as my fish. When I find the herons, I know the fish are not far away.
Ken Penrod, Fishing Guide Hall of Fame