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Bass Battling

Posted: January 30th, 2013 by Bill Dance

One of the most common threads in the sport of fishing is the lament of the one that got away. Of course, I have mentioned before that this often happens for a variety of reasons. On the list are failure to tie strong knots, failure to re-tie and quite frankly so many other ways we can be un- or ill-prepared when “the moment” strikes.

This is common sense stuff, though. When it comes to landing the famed Big One, you have got to be like a Boy Scout…be prepared. After all, big-fish fortune doesn’t come along every trip by no stretch of the monofilament or imagination.

Hooking a big bass is certainly one of fishing’s most exciting moments. I’ve found the real key to getting the fish in the boat is to never “horse” the fish. Play it carefully keep the line tight.

It’s important to try to keep the bass a good distance from the boat during the initial stages of the fight. A “green” bass on a short length of line is an invitation to trouble. I realize the longer the fish is in the water, the greater the chance of losing it, but trying to “rush” the situation is a lot worse.

Actual fighting techniques vary. The common method is to “bow” or put the rod low and keep the fish from jumping. Some even put the rod tip in the water.

Personally, I keep it high because I feel like I can adjust to the fish’s surges better. But I’m a minority on that. I also do it simply because I enjoy the excitement of a battle with a big bass, and trust me; I’ve won some, but lost more.

Also, a landing net is a godsend, especially when dealing with that fish of a lifetime. But use it with care, releasing a trophy and having a replica made is common these days. Make sure when you release that fish that it’s in good shape to fight again.

A Lake’s Good Ol’ Days Are Always Numbered

Did you know, like most of us, lakes have a prime time. Granted, a lake can be maintained and very productive for many years, but that is with extensive management. And typically, most lakes, which are built, stocked and fished…their prime comes and goes.

Biologists often hear anglers complain about various small lakes: “I remember when you could catch a limit here every day. Why can’t I do that now?”

Again, the truth is that lakes have a prime. Their best fishing when they are between four and 10 years old (give or take a year). This is the time that the lake still has an abundance of submerged brushy and woody habitat. But as a lake ages, much of the flooded habitat disappears through decay, which lowers the carrying capacity and subsequently the fish population of the lake.

That’s why new lakes are usually the best fishing lakes. There are some things that can help revitalize an old lake, such as controlled draw downs, but it is usually impossible to bring back fishing on an old lake to the level it had when it was young.

As always, catch one for me!

Bill Dance


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