The SCALE PATTERN BLOG
Angler A.D.D.by SPF Prostaff
Do you know this feeling? Glow of a new day is just visible on the water, light breeze, partly cloudy with sun emerging later, the smell of outboard exhaust, rods all rigged on the deck, and a very strategic and nearly infallible plan for the day. You get to the spot and simply float to the front deck and ease the trolling motor in the water while grabbing your rod all in one motion. Position the boat just perfectly, load up the cast, and.........
Stop and think about your mindset at that very moment. Complete focus and anticipation fill your thoughts. You have nothing to work with but history, knowledge, some tip from a buddy, or the local fishing report that said this was what they are on. In this age of instant information, you have a ton of data to fuel your confidence. Now that we've got your mind in that happy place, one question; Do you feel that way with every single cast?
I have had opportunity to fish with or watch several types of anglers. I'm a people watcher in general, but love to watch people at the top of their game when things aren't working quite so well. We hear the cliché statements like “stay focused”, “ keep my head down”, or “keep grinding”. What does that mean? Cast faster and more often? Reel harder with more vigor? Here's my Holiday Inn Express psychological analysis:
If you've never been a Marshall or fished as an amateur with high level anglers, you need to do it. I did it once a few years ago for a BASS Elite event and was rather unimpressed at first. These guys used essentially the same things I would, flipped with the same accuracy I did, and hit the same types of spots I would. It took two full days with them to get a real grasp on why they stand apart as the best in the world. Unwavering focus. Eight full hours with 3 small bites and keep the same level of concentration as the first cast in the best spot they have? Like literal robots, cast after cast.
Why is this so important to know? Fish don't bite all the time and don't always just slam the bait. When your mind is in that place, your senses are enhanced. You see the slightest anomaly on the water, hear the single minnow flip, and feel the slightest touch on your line. When this is only going to happen 5 times in an entire day, you can't stand to miss one
Absolutely learn everything you can, spend as much time on the water as you can, practice casting and flipping, learn everything about your depth finder and what you're looking at and you'll fish like a pro, but if you want to compete with them, you have to get a grip on your Angler A.D.D.
Latent Fishtration SPF Pro Staffer Jay Norsworthy
We all experience it and deal with it in our own little way. So let's break it down:
la·tent (adj)-(of a quality or state) existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed.
Synonyms-dormant, untapped, unused, undiscovered, hidden, concealed, underlying
fishtration (adj)-emotional feeling or desire, but inability, to express through experience, all of the various techniques and locations that surely will produce the largest fish or stringer.
As of late, working on the business, or yard, or weather, or something has kept me off the water as much as I would like. All our gear was ready Saturday and I was convinced I had worked a game plan that would yield another double digit and likely four more between eight and nine. That was until an ugly illness in my home woke me around 4:30am and set in motion the next 48 hours. She's loved me for 25 years and deserves my care when she is sick and gets priority over everything else.
How to deal with LF? I'm going to attempt writing down all of the ideas and tactics I had in my head and see if that works. I had been working my network around here for TBend and pretty well knew, based on that info, and what I had seen when I was there a week ago that the last of the numbers of “Bettys” would be on and off the bed with this weekends full moon. I have a little time around the bend ;)) and know what they do next. The post spawn used to be tough,for me, but it was because I stayed in generally one area and had the thought that all the fish were generally in the same mode. Spawn, Post Spawn, or lock jaw. This is a big lake. Some fish somewhere are fully recovered and feeding. They are also stacked up.
With all that knowledge and the fact that the lake is high and flowing like a river, this was gonna be easy. All the lake traffic would be on the bank. It's fun to fish the cover. Anticipation of a bite stays all day when the cover looks that sweet but....
Here was my plan. I was going to spend an hour or so on the bank down south (Clear Creek and Ice box coves) just because it would be awesome to put my wife on a really big bed of fish. Then it was off to the races. There are a lot of little creek arms with this very specific feature. I was going to fish all of them. Somewhere along the area where a creek or drain gets closest to the bank in the lake side one third of the pocket or creek, is a little flat spot. The smaller the better. T Bend bass summer in deep grass and on deep ledges. That grass isn't growing yet, not much anyway. Particularly with the generally high water level this spring. I was going to hit every one I knew of and look for more on the way working my way north. The north Bettys have been out of love for a while now. Baits? A Variety. Yes I would have the three musts for the bend; Pink trap, Stanley Golden Bream Sp Bait, and SK KVD 300 jerkbait, but fifteen more rods rigged for 5-9 ft of water. Brighter colors than usual, a little more bulky swimbait on my vibrating jig, and a commitment to move fast fish slow. Someone go try this for me. I'll be there Friday, after taking everybody's money in the Tuesday night Sabine river derby by Simon Outfitters, but I need to know it worked or the LF will only get worse. Send your feedback on the feedback button. Good luck with your LF.
Secrets? I Highly Doubt itby SPF Pro Staff
I was browsing Youtube last night and ran across a short bit by Zebco Brands where KVD was asked if there were any little tricks or secrets that he employed, and “are there any you would be willing to share”. I had to smile in admiration as he is as quick on his feet with his words as he is with his crankin rod. He put together a very detailed explanation of his secrets that basically kept me on the edge of my seat with my note pad in hand. When the video was over, my notes were golden. 1.) change all my hooks to the high quality, perfectly matched, hook for the style of bait because missing one fish on the Sabine will cost me the AOY, 2.) convince SK or someone to send me a hand full of prototype colors or styles of SK KVD 1.5s. That was it? 4 minutes of notes and that'sall I got? I need to watch it again. I know he said something about the recipe for a secret bass cocaine, or rigging a Caffeine Shad backward. I know he said the name of the guy hand carving ancient logs into a single lure?
Here's the reality of it. KVD is like every other guy out there. Name a body of water and a time of year and there is always a secret. The funny thing is, we really think they are secrets.
I mentioned a few Toledo Bend “Musts” in my last article. Let me tell you about how secret one of them actually turned out to be. The Stanley Vibrashaft Double willow in Golden Bream. I happened on to this bait two or three years ago trying to match the tons of small crappie that occupy the same grass that the post spawn bass did. I truly wrecked them on this thing. Shallow pulled off the Hay, counting it down and rolling it ultra slow over deeper grass, or throwing it in breaking waves on windy banks. I had the Secret. That was until I ran into a long time six mile resident. This guy is a silent legend. “Taking ten or so years off of work” to fish, hunt, and trap every day. I don't believe he's ever held a fish in front of the Fin and Feather sign, but I know he had seven between 10 and 12lbs before February last year. He's the guy who's brain everyone would like to pick. He and I would share info, although it was obvious we had an I show first relationship. If he found my data to be valid, he would share a little. I passed him one day in our cove and decided to go show him the goods. “Killing them dude”, “Yea?, I'm doing alright too, been whacking about 25lbs a day”. Trying to keep the whole, “me too coolness on my face”, I flipped the sworn secret over into his boat. With a little grin, he returned the favor and flipped his into mine. His 3/8 oz and mine 1/2oz. We traded a few locations of schools of hammers, some fresh and some old I'm sure, then idled away to discover a new true secret. I'll admit that I probably left with a little more pride than he. To me, that was the moment where I may have actually gained his respect.
I'm sure there are a million “secrets” out there. Some will stay secrets and end up in someone's will, but I want everyone to have a shot at the fun these things give me and my family.
One more quick one (besides the Hurt Pinky Trap seen by 10K people in the Louisiana Sportsman). Everyone is now on to the secret that was the bladed jig with a swim bait trailer. When the fish slow on your crank bait, throw the blade jig without the skirt and only the soft jointed swim bait. Count it to the top of the grass you were cranking, and reel it as slow as you can keep it wiggling. Good luck and have fun.
“The Magic of the Wand”by SPF Prostaff
I had never given any thought to the use of a spinning rod for bass as some measure of my masculinity until the last few years. I grew up with a Mitchell spinning rod in my hand for most of my hours on the water with my dad. It wasn't until a few years ago that I was talking fishing with a friend and mentioned a tactic that was better served by a spinning rod and my, apparently insecure, friend referred to it as a “Fairy Wand”. He went on to rant about how he will never use a wand for bass, “I can do anything you can do with that sissy pole with my baitcaster”. After a little smack talk about how we could take it to the water, we agreed to disagree. Fast forward a few years and I was spending some time fishing or talking fishing with an un-named Elite Redfish Series Pro, and heard the same line of insecurity about using the “girl” rod. What is going on here?
Spinning history. The Spinning Reel (fixed spool reel) was used as early as the 1870s in North America. What spawned it? The ability to throw light lures (aka catch more fish). Now it wasn't until I was doing the research that I learned that the reels I used as a kid were nearly 30 years old at the time. Mitchell was the first company to perfect the reel and widely market it in various sizes in the 1940s. I still have those reels by the way, and could still use them today.
Baitcast (Open Face) history. The baitcaster showed up around the same time but it was much later when they were improved enough to be “useful” to bass fisherman and allow the lure market to evolve. Ironically the original baitcast reels were cast out and then....wait for it....turned upside down to fight the fish. This was to limit torque during the fight. A la the Fairy Wand. Shout out to Duce Rods in using the spiral wound guides to achieve the best of both.
While developing the SPF Overgrip, I did quite a bit of market research on rod types and usage regionally. What I learned is that the Spinning Rod is much more widely used across all water and all species. The reality is that bass fishing is actually the specialty that drives the strong baitcast reel market today.
Due credit, the largest portion of the most effective tactics for bass, particularly largemouth, are more suited for baitcast equipment, but the fact is, fishermen are limiting themselves if they don't “man up” and wield the “Fairy Wand”.
Quick fun fact: Fairies were born of English folklore and are actually known as very devious tacticians and strategist in effort to wreak havoc on their target. That describes me very well in my pursuit of fins of all natures.
Stoned!!by SPF Prostaff
The reality is this, fishing is fishing. If it has fins, the terms used to describe the pursuit and eventual success or failure are riddled with similarities, no matter what “Finned Freak” (Dave Mercer Facts of Fishing and B.A.S.S.) you're chasing.
I “mashed em” (Jay Norsworthy, SPF President). “Tore em up” (Daddy). “Slayed” (Younger Gen Angler). Pick an Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter post and you will find any number of efforts to uniquely describe the event of catching fish like no one else. The intent of this is always the same and always respectable. We love to make our buddy, who was ticking off to-do lists, jealous. We want to drive home the image of every cast “blow ups” on our top water. “You should have been there”.
While we're talking “blow ups” (nearly every angler on the planet who's fished a topwater), How many ways can you think of that you or someone has used to describe the strike. Same intent here; using words to describe that feeling or vision of the encounter with the fish you're seeking. Some of the best at this always include acting out the event and following up the chosen words with sound effects and facial expressions.
Ultimately, most anglers out there only get to fish a 10-30 days a year and, the reality is 85-90% of this time is spent waiting anxiously for the 10% of pure adrenaline. That being said, we have to up our game in the descriptions of those fateful moments. This comes naturally to most, hence the “fish story”, but not to all.
So, here's a couple of “fish stories”. I hope you learn a few things.
I casted my selected lure into the water. I turned the reel handle retrieving the lure at near 36” per turn. A fish fed on the lure hooking itself on the multiple treble hooks. I held some tension on the line and reduced the speed of the retrieve until the fish was in the net. I removed the lure and took a few photographs before releasing the large female back into the water.
Dude, the clouds were spitting and threatening. I had my toenails dug into the deck of the boat just to stay in it. It was legit 6' breakers on my spot and all my trolling motor could do (when it was in the water) to hold on my GPS mark. We were taking one over the bow regular and the bilge pumps were constant. I knew there was a wod of em down there and most were beasts. I got all lined up and chunked my customized spinner 50 yards into the wind. “You know they feed up wind and current” with a little nudge of knowledge. It barely reached the top of the structure. I got the slack out and felt her, “She Stoned it” (@freddy_redfish). Nothing but mahem for the next ten minutes. I couldn't turn her at first. My partner fired the motor to chase her. “Cuz, when she finally showed there were six others with her”. “Two even bigger”. I'm like, “SON, did you see that?”. She rolled up next to the boat for what we thought was the last time.....she made one more run....and pulled off. “SHE PULLED OFF”. “That was the lake record” (forgetting that two bigger ones were with her). “I just laid on the deck of the boat.” (forgetting the peril the out of control boat would be in).
So there you go. Tell your “She Stoned it” stories like you mean it. Make us feel like we were there and we all get to experience more days on the water.