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Outdoor Life: Catch bass, cut costs

Outdoor Life: Catch bass, cut costs

Outdoor Life: Catch bass, cut costs

Alvin Richardson


When it comes to catching largemouth bass we are all guilty of looking for the latest, greatest thing to come along that will assure a daily limit. 
    Those companies who make fishing tackle know we are vulnerable and take full advantage with hundreds of new lures and products every year. Their marketing departments have a field day with guys like us who are easily convinced or at least willing to try new stuff to satisfy our lifelong search for the perfect bait.
    Truth is, there is no such thing and I’ve got a couple of tips today that I’ve learned through many years of trial and error and the reading of scientific studies.
    First let’s talk colors on plastic baits.  There are literally hundreds of colors and combinations of colors on the market.  Everybody’s got a proven favorite and I’m no exception, so we certainly want to keep a stock of those in our tackle boxes. We all know fishermen who routinely have every color of plastic worm known to man in their boat, but the truth is that more than a dozen or so is just overkill. Marketing professionals advertise and package with an eye toward catching fishermen rather than fish, and are pretty good at their jobs. 
    I’m not going to sit here and tell you that this color or that color is the best under any particular set of circumstances.  My advice is to have a moderate variety of dark and light colors that cover the basic spectrum and experiment with them as needed. Of course there’s nothing wrong with some combinations as well. You will catch just as many fish as the guys who spent a whole lot more money than you have. 
    To hear the product companies tell it, the only way to assure catching today’s bass is with the newest baits. That is simply not so. There is plenty of success to be had with lures, colors and styles that have been around for decades, and save a lot of money in the process. It’s more about finding where the fish are and presenting your lure in the proper way.
    One last thing on colors. If you are fishing in water that is 20 feet deep or more — like we routinely do this time of year — color matters hardly at all.  At those depths all colors will basically look the same.
    The second item I want to talk about today are fish attractants that may otherwise be known as formulas or scents.  Those expensive little bottles of juice are what we squirt on plastic baits to “get fish to bite.” 
    Fish attractant is a misnomer.  It does not “attract” fish.  What this product actually does is influence a bass to hold on to the bait longer, which allows us a better chance to feel it and set the hook.  In reality, bass will get rid of a bait within a couple of seconds if it doesn’t taste right. 
    Conversely, they will hold on much longer if they do accept the taste. From this perspective there are some fish formulas that may help us get more hookups. 
    What we should be aware of is that it takes very little of this scent to do the job.  Most of these products are marketed with the idea that we should thoroughly soak the plastic worm. Naturally by doing this we use much more of the product than is necessary and must buy more. This, of course, is the object of the exercise as far as bait companies are concerned. 
    According to scientific data, a bass can taste a tiny drop of most any foreign substance in 100 gallons of water. The moral of the story is that only a drop or two is required to accomplish what the product is supposed to do. You get the benefits and spend a lot less money in the process.
    I think what I’m trying to say today is that less equipment and expense can result in just as many fish being caught on a regular basis.
    More importantly than color or smell is finding fish and presenting a lure or bait to them in such a way as to get them to bite.
    There are only three things to remember here: 
    1) Find the bait  
    2) Locate places that have high oxygen content and
    3) Find the cover. 
    These things along with good presentations are the keys to consistently catching bass.
    It is a great advantage to know what the primary forage for bass in your favorite fishing holes are. Whether it is shad, crawfish, grubs or insects you always start off with a lure that imitates the shape and color of their favorite meal.
    As far as higher oxygen content is concerned there are several places in reservoirs, lakes and rivers where you should look. 
    1) River and creek mouths where there is a constant flow of water. 
    2) Deeper, cooler water areas because cooler water has more oxygen. 
    3) Areas of vegetation because the plants produce oxygen. 
    4) Water discharge areas around power plants. 
    5) Banks where the prevailing wind blows into the bank.
    Lastly, whether fishing in deep or shallow water, find the cover. Bass are just about always going to be holding close to some sort of areas where they can ambush their prey. It can be blow downs, stumps, rocks, or docks but they are going to be there just waiting for your bait to come by. 
    So spend less money and concentrate on finding the places bass are most likely to hang out and you will find success more often.

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at dar8589@bellsouth.net

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