A Second CastBy Roger Brown - June 1, 2002
In the early Spring of last year (2001) towards the end of the month of March, I received a phone call from a prospective student who was inquiring about my 3-Day “On-Water" Bass Fishing School. For now, we will just call him John Doe, anyway in our conversation while acquiring about my school he stated that he had been bass fishing for several years as well as belonging to a bass club. After listening to him for awhile, I drew the conclusion that the problem with John’s frustration was that for over the past four years with all of his tournament fishing he never as much as cashed in a check, even from all the smaller 10 to 15 boat tournaments that he had ever fished. Then, while John was talking about his past experiences, he said that he had caught a lot of bass over the years on many different baits but when it came to fishing bass tournaments he just couldn’t for the life of him make a check.
I asked John several different questions that I usually ask prospective students, to give me a better insight on him, and to allow me to put together a personalized criteria for him while attending my school. Some of the questions I asked him were:
- How long have you been bass fishing?
- What your favorite types of baits that you mostly use?
- What kind of equipment he used?
- What he expects to learn from my school?
- What his goals were concerning his future in bass fishing?
- How much understanding he had concerning bass habits, Etc.......
Now, when they arrived in my area the night before the start of their first day of “on-water" instruction, they called me at home to let me know where they were staying. They also wanted to know where they could get a New York State and a Vermont State fishing license as well as to where and what time to meet me in the morning.
The next morning while I was launching my boat I heard a vehicle drive up towards my van and stop. I looked over to the vehicle and there in this car was John and his wife both just-a waving their hands in an anxious manner. I walked over to their vehicle to introduce myself and to welcome them. When John got out of his car, the first thing I noticed was that he was wearing so many product patches on his clothing that he must have been covered just about from head to toe. Then when I glanced inside the car and especially when he popped the trunk open, I’d say that this fellow brought enough bass baits and lures to supply the whole town, I mean this guy had just about everything you can imagine! His wife being a very petite woman stepped out of the car and walked over to me and introduced herself as Nancy, shook my hand, and while looking back over towards John as he was piling all his stuff on the ground she was shaking her head in embarrassment and asked me; “does he really need all that stuff?" With a big smile I walked over to the rear of the car where John was unloading the car and looked at the enormous stack of equipment piled on the ground. I asked John if he minded if I might look over some of the stuff that he’d brought with him which he said “please do." After going through his things he brought with him, I picked out a couple of his boxes and said that we’ll start with these the first day and whatever else was needed for the day I would gladly supply. I then started looking through all the rods and reels he brought with him (about 20 in all.) I picked out about six rods of different assorted sizes and actions out of the bunch and said that these would be good for him and Nancy to start with. After selecting some of the necessary things we’d start with, I helped him load the car back up with all the other stuff he had piled on the ground and we were on our way....
One of the most important subjects that I teach my students while attending my school is “Smart Shopping" I try to help my students by showing them to just buy what is practical and really needed the most when it comes to bass fishing. There are multitudes of baits, rods, reels, lines, hooks, and so much different equipment on today’s market that the average angler thinks that he or she just has to have all these good looking baits to catch bass, this is all just great company marketing and packaging.
Well, here we go! finally in the boat and headed out to some areas of the lake that I like to teach at. The whole time while being enroute to the first spot, John couldn’t stop telling me about some of his great bass fishing stories that he experienced in his past, after hearing some of these stories I was wondering if I should have him teach me instead of me teaching him.
So as the day went on, we got on the subject of Spinnerbaits. John had said that this was one of his favorite baits and it would be hard to beat him using one because he has already mastered this bait! John’s wife, Nancy just sat there once again just shaking her head in embarrassment. I then showed Nancy that certain spinnerbaits right out of the package can be modified to sometimes perform a little better than just tying them on, and how to (tweak) or modify this certain spinnerbait she was about to learn with. As I was teaching this to her, John was casting his spinnerbait along a weed line just a few feet from where the boat was sitting, as I kept looking over at him I’d see him reel it in, cast it, reel it in, cast it, but with no success at all. I had explained to John that with colder water situations (which the water was about 52 degrees) the spinnerbait may be successful if he would slow down his presentation, to which he kinda chuckled and said, “Let the master show you how it’s done" and he kept on casting at a fast pace.
Now after a couple of minutes went by while I was instructing Nancy about working spinnerbaits, John didn’t seem to want to see or listen to what I was showing and telling her about a spinnerbait and he kept on casting. John must have made fifty or sixty casts while I was instructing Nancy on this bait and he said, “We need to move to a different location because if there was a bass in here, I’m sure that I would have caught it already!" Now, with a smile on my face I told Nancy to make a cast right along the same weed line that John had been working during this time, but to slow her spinnerbait down and to maintain a steady slow retrieve back to the boat. Her first cast wasn’t close to the weed line, so I told her to take her time and concentrate, aim to where she was going to cast and try again. Now, after her first cast (not being in the area I wanted her to be, John said; “see, there ain’t no bass in here so we need to move." I told John that I wanted Nancy to make a second cast along this weed line and then we’ll head for another location if he wished. So Nancy aimed, casted, and hit the area right where I had told her to start her retrieve from. She did exactly as I instructed her to do (as far as making a slow-roll retrieve), and then I heard her scream with excitement, “I got something!, I got something!" With her rod bending the way it was I then knew it had to be a fish with some quality to it. She kept on reeling and the line would peel off the reel so I reached over and tightened her drag a little bit. When she got the fish close to the boat we all got a glimpse of it, and it looked to be at least a five pounder (largemouth) just as it came close to the surface. I thought to myself that I’d better grab the net for this one, and as I was getting the net I told her to keep the slack out of her line and hold the bass as close to the side of the boat as possible. I then reached under the bass with the net and pulled it out of the water and got it into the boat. Both John and Nancy just starred in amazement at the size of the fish. I then got my scale out and weighed the bass to which my scale kept on going back and forth between 7.3oz and 7.5oz’s….. Nancy’s excitement was just like a kid going to Disney World for the first time, but John was very envious because he thought that he should have caught the bass instead of her.
About a hour or two went by since Nancy caught the bass, and since that time John started showing a very frustrated attitude towards Nancy because she just kept on bragging about how women were as just as good anglers as men. Keeping in mind that John needed a partner for this new tournament trail and talked Nancy into enrolling into my school with him was all John’s idea. So as the day went on, John started getting more jealous towards his wife after catching that trophy bass and started criticizing her in just about everything she did from that point on. Well, let me tell you guys a secret! “Never criticize a woman for catching bass" because a few moments later while I was looking in front of the boat while moving it up a bit with the trolling motor I heard John say something to Nancy in a sarcastic tone of voice and all of a sudden I heard a big splash in the water behind the boat. I looked back and noticed that Nancy had just about enough of Johns sarcasm and pushed him into the water. I couldn’t help but laugh (not that he didn’t deserve it) but I tried to keep the humor to myself and helped John out of the water. John, being all wet said that was it for the first day and for me to head back to the launch area, so I did.
For the next two days, especially after eating some humble pie, John had changed his attitude and was convinced that women are just as good anglers as the men are and he was proud to have his wife as his partner (sounds to me like they had a good discussion last night). Nancy was a amazing student and adapted quickly to the many different baits, patterns, and techniques she was taught during the 3-day school period. John was also a good student when he finally started listening to me while teaching many different baits, and after he started catching bass on these new techniques, he realized that he didn’t know as much as he thought.
All in all John and Nancy had a great time on the water learning many different baits, new techniques and patterns, but the greatest thing about the whole trip is that they both learned enough to take second place in their first tournament they had fished together. They had emailed me telling me this news, and to thank me again for all that I had taught them. They also mentioned that they wanted to enroll next season in the school again to learn even more!
To sum it up; even though you may fish an area with a certain bait and don’t get a strike on it, change the technique and make that second cast, or even try a different bait before you move on. Secondly, always remember that women anglers can be (and some are!) just as good, if not better than men. As much as the men love the sport of bass fishing, why not for women to enjoy it as well?
Until next time!.....Take Care & God Bless!.....