Every bite is its own clue on the water | News, Sports, Work


You know you’re doing something right on the water when the bass are actually competing with each other to attract your bait.

Each bite provides anglers with clues about the fish’s behavior. Savvy fishermen will adapt their game plan to each bite. They use cues and cues for selection and presentation, hoping to generate more bites over time.

When the bites come in pairs, you can rest assured that you are using the right bait and the right retrieval in the right water.

Lately, I’ve been hanging out around bass ponds in southwest Florida as I “practice” the day quickly pulling the Bass out of the garage and heading to Mosquito, West Branch, and Berlin. Florida bass are no easier to catch than their Ohio cousins, so I’ve found that I can adjust my technique with confidence and they’ll yield no matter which lake I choose to fish in.

Last week, I strolled along the water’s edge, gazing intently at the signs of cruising bigmouths in clear pools that pose a danger to golfers. Here and there, I spotted bass swimming and stopping to look for small fish, or even a buzzing dragonfly that flew too close to the surface.

I only brought one rod and one bait – a cast rod with a 14 lb test mono and an old Rebel Pop-R whose original paint job was taken long ago by about 100 bigmouths Rough lips scraped and scratched. I know that if the fish are in the mood on the water, they will definitely appreciate my ragged popper.

Fifteen minutes after the fishing trip started, I was connected. The decoy disappeared in a stunning splash attack. I jerked and the fish resisted to the point where I began to suspect that it was not of ordinary proportions.

I carefully pulled the fish towards the shore and finally understood why the fight was so tenacious. I hooked up two basses to the Pop-R, one for each of the two treble hooks.

Once again, this temptation is too tempting. Even better, it proved that bass was in the mood to attack surface bait, so when I decided to leave the house with just one rod and one bait, I made a good choice.

Even though I go fishing – I average two to three days a week from April to October – I’ve only fished twice.

The first was a pair of white bass I picked at a loot school near Craig Beach on Lake Milton.

Last week’s Florida bass was just my second double. Now I’m counting on the possibility that I’ll do it again, actually soon, because when they bite me like this, I know I don’t need to rummage around the boat for secret weapons.

It’s already at the end of my line.

Jack Wollitz’s book The Common Angler delves into the highs and lows that make fishing a passion for many. He likes emails from readers. Send a note to [email protected].

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