One of the biggest lures of bass fishing is the competitive nature of the sport. At any level, it’s competing against the fish on an afternoon out, your buddy on a Saturday morning or in the structured setting of a professional tournament, it is competition in a pure form. This fact causes us to occasionally encounter the malady that every competitor, in every sport has to face “The Slump.” Like the slumping baseball player who is a half a blink slow on a fastball, guessing wrong on the curve and when he does make solid contact hits it directly at the waiting fielder, we can fall into the same rut.
We fish shallow when the fish are deep, fish docks when they want weed, and when we do hook up the line pops or the fish wraps up in the weeds, Our confidence is shot, our feel is gone and casting accuracy is non existent. Pal, you’re in a full blown slump!
How can we cure this? How can I get my groove back? Just like the hitter in baseball that needs a hit in the worst way and tries a bunt when he’s a power hitter, we can do the same thing. It’s all about confidence and sometimes it only takes one fish to get it back. My secret is to act quickly when I realize I’m in trouble and don’t wallow in self pity. I go back to basics and keep things as simple as possible. I put on four very simple lures and head for the nearest visible weed bed that has some deep water nearby. When I get there I turn off my electronics, because when I’m not thinking right they can be one of the most distracting contraptions in the world.
My lure choices are simple, a Mepps spinner #2 or #3, a 1/16 oz. Jig with a 1 ½ or 2″ grub, A small floating Rapala, and a wacky worm rig. I start around the weed bed and fish as I did in 60’s when I was a kid. On the shallow side I twitch and swim the rapala near the edge of the weeds and then follow it up with the wacky worm, letting it fall to the bottom, rest and then twitch it a few times. I fish the water between the weed bed and the shore this way until I start to come around to the side of the bed. I’ll follow the edge into deeper water changing my tactics by casting the little grub into the weed edge and swimming it out, and then following that up with the mepps spinner, running it over the weeds and retrieving it slowly around the deep edge. You might think to yourself that I won’t catch big fish that way. I’m not looking for big fish now, I’m looking for bites, any kind of bite, perch, crappie, bluegill, and of course bass. All I want to do is get my concentration and confidence back. I’ll remember what a hit feels like and my focus will return. The next thing I know I’ve turned my depth finder back on and I’m looking for a drop or cut leading to the weed bed from deep water and my brain is back processing information like a computer, smooth and fast.
Try this the next time the gremlins move into your mind and you’ll see the difference, its fun to see a bad day come around to be one that you may remember.