When the bite gets tough, anglers are often their own worst enemy. We all have methods to catch big bass that we prefer over others, but there are times when stepping out of our comfort zone will pay big dividends.
I’ll be the first to admit, I love to catch fish on round- and square-bill crankbaits—you can always find at least one tied on and easily accessible on the deck of my boat. If the fish are not actively chasing their food, a slower vertical approach is my next option. But I find it can be a complicated, emotional decision to leave my favorites behind and switch to something I have less confidence in—even though it may be more productive.
Every year, I strive to learn and effectively execute at least one new tactic. Not only does it deepen my arsenal, but it also builds my confidence under difficult conditions. As we all know, confidence is essential in catching fish consistently.
I have been a dedicated jig fisherman for years, but I have yet to get on the punch-bait train. This year I am committing to learning this salad-penetrating tactic, as it has proven to be a dynamite approach for tough-to-access summer bass. All aspects will be considered: Where it works, what specific conditions are ideal, what time of year, what type of vegetation is ideal, how to rig the punch-bait and so on.
How To Learn
There are a lot of methods to obtain this kind of information before you actually take the new presentation to the water. Attend a few seminars put on by pros who are known experts, peruse the pages of previous issues of North American Fisherman as we have prided ourselves on bringing you the most cutting-edge tactics—to refresh myself on the info I’ll need to successfully fish punch baits, I’ll be referring to “Pack A Punch” on page 45 of the April 2013 NAF.
The best education you can get, however, is time on the water. Write a list of new tactics to take on, and plan to dedicate some of your spring and summer fishing hours to learning how it works. You’ll be a better angler because of it.