I can always come up with lots of excuses when I don’t catch bass. But fishing tournaments and looking at results from other tournaments on the same lake the same day tell me they are just excuses.
The fish just didn’t bite, it was a bad day. The water was too muddy, or it was too clear. The weather was too sunny, or it was too cloudy. I fished the wrong depth, lure, place or speed. There was no current or there was too much current.
The water level was too low, or it was too high. The water was rising, or it was dropping. I didn’t spend enough time on the lake. I just don’t fish this lake enough. I’m getting old and can’t fish hard like I used to.
All are good excuses, but they don’t seem to apply to everybody else that fished the same day, for some reason. When I do everything I can think of for eight hours and catch only two bass in eight hours, like I did last Sunday, its hard to admit I am just not that good a fisherman.
Good fishermen don’t make excuses, they just figure out how to catch bass. Even though everyone, even the top pros, have bad days and don’t do well, they are much more consistent than I am, and that is true of most club fishermen. There are different levels of expertise.
I get to fish with some of the top pros in the US doing “research” for magazine articles. The BASS Elite Series and FLW Tour have some of the best bass fishermen in the world on them. Of those pros, I have spent the day in the boat with 11 guys on the Elite Series and seven of the Tour guys.
I have written about 275 Map of the Month articles in Georgia Outdoor News magazine in the past 23 years and about 100 in Alabama Outdoor News over the past eight years since it started. Not only do I go out with the top pros, I do those articles with other good fishermen, including local tournament fishermen, college and high school fishermen and men and women that guide on the lake.
Looks like I would learn how to catch fish. And I do learn and pick up tips and skills from them. But all of them have one thing in common, they go out and figure out what the fish are doing that day and are adaptable. They do not keep doing the same thing and getting the same bad results as I tend to do.
I think the really good fishermen have some “sixth sense“ for finding and catching bass. I get little glimmers of it some days, just knowing if I do certain things they will work even before I go fishing. But it is not consistent.
Some say that sixth sense comes from time on the water and experience. Maybe for some, but it has not worked that way for me.
Way back in 1983 I almost qualified for the BASS Classic through the federation route, missing going by one two-pound bass in a three day Regional tournament. I thought I was pretty good, so I signed up for the Redman Trail, the BFL now, the next year. After fishing all six in 1984 without getting a check I thought it was first year jitters.
I fished all six the next year and again did not get a check. That made me decide I am a pretty good club fisherman but not above that level. Some trips make me wonder about being good even at that level, as the results below show.