Sports and Outdoors
Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet
above Mean Sea Level.
Establish a pattern early,
fishing pro says
Special to The Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–For Yamaha pro Bobby Lane, the definition of a fishing pattern boils down to whatever he has to do to catch bass. And in many instances, it only takes two bass to tell him he does have a pattern.
His Bassmaster® Elite tournament victory on Kentucky Lake provides a good example; normally a self-proclaimed shallow water angler, Lane moved to deeper ledges along the Tennessee River channel to look for more and larger fish.
At one mussel shell bed, he quickly caught two quality bass on a plastic worm and knew he’d found both his spot and his pattern; during the following four tournament days he caught more than 90 pounds of fish there.
”When you catch your first bass, particularly if it weighs between two and five pounds, you know that how you’re fishing and what you’re doing could possibly work,” Lane, the 2008 BASS® Rookie of the Year, explained. “If you catch a second bass of approximately the same size within the next 30 minutes, it lets you know definitely that what you’re doing works.
”Then, you simply explore the water around you and try to expand your area, and you use different lures to see if something works better,” Lane added.
Until his Kentucky Lake victory, the quickest Lane had established a pattern like this was just 30 minutes, during the 2008 Bassmaster Elite tournament on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida, where he finished third.
In that event, the Yamaha angler’s pattern was not so much his area, but rather, his lure. He spent the first day of competition flipping soft plastics in vegetation and held down 82nd place.
”The next day, I fished exactly the same water with a spinnerbait, caught two nice bass almost immediately and weighed in 26-9, my heaviest tournament stringer until Kentucky Lake, where I brought in 29-14 the first day,” Lane recalled.
That catch took barely 30 minutes. On the second day at Kentucky Lake, he brought in 24-9, which took just eight casts, less than 15 minutes.
The next day, he caught 26-3 in about 45 minutes. That’s more than 80 pounds of fish in just a couple of hours of actual fishing.
”Really and truly, when you’re first trying to put a pattern together, your first bass of the day can be the most important fish you catch,” Lane said. “It tells you you’re fishing where bass are, the depth of water you’ve chosen is correct, and that your lure and retrieve are the right ones.
”Make certain you remember how you were fishing your lure, just where the bass hit, and how hard it hit,” Lane added. “Getting a strong strike tells you the bass are aggressive, so cast right back and use the same retrieve.
”Then, if you can catch another similar-sized fish from the same area with the same lure, it’s a strong confirmation that what you’re doing is correct,” he said. “Bass are schooling fish, and where there’s one, there are often more.”
After catching his second bass, the Yamaha pro likes to change lures, not only to see if the fish really prefer something different but also to determine if there’s a more efficient way to cover the area.
At Kentucky Lake, for example, he started with a plastic worm, then added both swimbaits and crankbaits to his arsenal.
”After that,” he noted, “study your map and your electronics and see if you can find another spot with similar conditions. At Kentucky Lake, depth, water current, and actual location near the channel all played a major part in making that spot so productive.
”I honestly have no idea how many total bass may have been using that spot, but it only took the first two fish I caught there to tell me it was worth fishing,” Lane added.
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