Bass Fishing: Finding the Pattern

I recently saw an article talking about “Junk Fishing”.

The author went on to explain that junk fishing was not what he had originally imagined; junk fishing is an odds game and not fishing in the strange places other anglers fear to fish. The author linked to a video with Boyd Duckett explaining the method behind the madness.

This made me think about the fishing tournament I competed in over the weekend.

My co-angler and I were fortunate enough to have two days during the week to pre-fish leading up to the weekend event. On Wednesday, we were both left scratching our heads; the fish just didn’t seem to want to show up for anything we tried. Thursday however, we put together a very modest five fish on various jig-based tactics.

We carried this knowledge and pattern, including areas we wanted to hit into the tournament on Saturday morning. The trouble is, the pattern can change from one day to the next. Friday presented us with a day of rain and thunderstorms, turning our game plan for Saturday upside down.

After a torturous Saturday weighing in just two small bass, we decided that we would just enjoy Sunday casually fishing for a limit. A very strange thing happened; while other boats struggled, we filled a box and culled up to  a modest 11 pound limit. For a quiet day where others couldn’t put a fish in the box, we coasted to one of the top four limits of the day.

The point?

Had we not tried all of our options believing what we found true on Thursday to be the “pattern” we would have never stumbled on a successful recipe for Sunday. I am personally a big fan of “junk fishing”. I don’t like getting locked into a single technique, and believe as many professional anglers do, that adaptation is the greatest skill an angler can possess.

Guys out on tour get pigeon-holed into shallow and deep water guys; my experience says you can’t be a one trick pony and win. You have to figure out where the fish are, what they want, and fish accordingly. I don’t consider myself a crankbait guy, however, I know to throw one and stick with it when its hot.

The advantage of having 6+ rods strung up and ready to go is that you can quickly and easily switch techniques. When you find a pattern that works you can pound it for a limit and then go back to testing the waters. We were very fortunate on Sunday that the crankbait bite was good all day, and there was really no need to switch up.

On a final note about patterning and junk fishing: experiment with size.

Although many presentation factors may apply, we performed a little test on Sunday. My co-angler and I threw the exact same crankbait in two different sizes once we realized the crankbait bite was on. The interesting thing was, more than pattern, the size was the difference in the bite. We upsized the smaller crankbait to a similar pattern on the same size I was throwing, and in four casts my co-angler was pulling in his first good bass of the day.

The key here is keep your options open, and don’t get stuck in the “this is what I am good at” rut. Always be experimenting with new techniques and prepared to adapt on tough fishing days. The fish are there, they will bite, you just have to coax them into it.

Watch the video from SmallWatersFishing on YouTube:

 

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