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Trying to put a pattern together for last year's BASS Elite Series event on Lake Oneida, I was lucky enough to spot birds that were actively feeding on baitfish. I got close enough but not too close to see that they were stuffing themselves on juvenile yellow perch that were being pushed to the top of the water column through an opening in some aquatic grasses.
Being a Southern guy and seeing as how I won the Classic Flippin' a Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw, most people probably don't associate me with shaky head jigs. For a lot of people, fishing with a shaky head means cooler water, smallmouth fishing, things like that. Sometimes, misconceptions abound.
If you are a tournament angler who gets really stressed out during competition, then you and the bass have something in common.
During a recent test my partner and I had done just ok on our first day of fishing. We decided to give what looked to be a promising point one last try. Unbeknownst to us (and unreported by the weatherman), an intense storm system was heading our way. We had fished the point once again unsuccessfully for about 10 minutes when the storm hit.
Oh, I know it might be cold in the mornings and I know that little cold fronts will turn off those Florida strain largemouth but Pre Spawn is still my favorite time of year to bass fish. The fish are bigger now than at any time of the year, they are bunched up and easy to catch. What more can we ask for?
Wherever you fish, the stories are almost the same. Bass fishing is a warm-weather activity. Fall makes its way into winter and the boats get winterized and packed away with the rods and reels until spring. Fish are cold-blooded creatures so there's no way they have any interest in feeding on anything an angler has to offer while the mercury is dipping.
It is always about the presentation. Successfully Skippin' a bait across the surface of the water to a cruising bass takes a certain amount of practice. Oh, but it's worth it.
I look at pitching a bait to shallow cover as an art form. It's not only placing a lure where you want, it is much, much more. And when anglers understand the need to get beyond the technical aspects they will be, by far, better fishermen. On a competitive level, pitching is critical.
Berkley's Dr. Keith Jones is one of the foremost authorities. He knows the answers to questions most anglers can only offer a guess.
Most fishermen have it in their heads that it's some kind of hoodoo, voodoo way to catch a fish. They think it is hard to learn, hard to do and only works in those clear lakes out West. But they are wrong and, most of the time, they won't have any fish in their livewells because they are too stubborn to learn.