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It Often Pays To Wait For Big Bite

Friday, December 02, 2011



Photo: BassFan
Boyd Duckett says that an angler's mindset often plays a bigger role than luck in catching larger-than-average bass.

Some anglers dream of catching big bass, and others live it. Most anglers believe big bass are like unicorns that only the pros catch, and when the average Joe catches one , it's sheer luck.

I'm here to set the record straight with a few insights into the world of big bass baits and big bass theories. It isn't luck that we catch these giants; it's the ability to change our mindset and to have the mental fortitude to fish for those couple of big bites no matter what the lake throws at us.

If you want to catch bigger bass, hang up the old theories and chase what matters – big bites.

There are some pros and weekend tournament anglers who rush out to bag a quick five-fish limit, then search for the bigger fish. I take a different stance on the subject. Now, it may seem slow, and it is, but I look for two really solid bites that can change the game. This strategy doesn’t work for everybody, but if you can hold out for the big bites, you will be the one bringing in the big bag of the tournament.

Changing this mentality has benefited me in four B.A.S.S. wins and nearly paid off in the most recent Bassmaster Classic. I moved to the Tank Pond, which is a pond located on the Louisiana Delta, on the second day looking for the big bite, but it didn’t show until late in the afternoon. The bass were moving in by the handful, but my area didn’t start filling up until it was just a bit too late. I caught a little over 10 pounds and vaulted my weight up to 28 pounds, 13 ounces on the final day.

Confidence baits are a necessity when searching for the big ones. Every angler has something in his arsenal he feels could catch a big fish on any given day. Baits can be regionalized also, but don’t let that stop you from throwing it all day.

The Tank Pond at the Classic was chock full of big bass, but they’d seen a spinnerbait and crankbait thrown at them time after time. I spent the entire second day looking for that big bite with no success. But I kept throwing a creature bait right behind a ChatterBait, and there’s a reason.

I focused attention on the area by running a ChatterBait through an area where I was sure the big ones lived. The only problem with the first bait was the big fish would only slap at it. My next move was to throw the new Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss in the same spot where I ran my ChatterBait. This wasn’t a magical formula for every big fish, but it got the ones that mattered. I weighed in the largest bag of the tournament, proving holding out can pay off in the long haul.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to know the lake you’re fishing, or at least have a general idea of what you're looking for. The more time we spend on a lake, the better we get at fishing it.

Each angler has a home lake, but the entire field is leveled by practice. Practice can be difficult when you don’t know what you're looking for, but take what you know about your home waters and apply that knowledge.Some anglers are nervous when setting out to new or unfamiliar waters – don’t be. The pros visit new lakes all the time, but it doesn’t matter. Big fish live everywhere. It's up to you as an angler to stick with your bait of choice and wait for the big bite instead of playing the numbers game.



Photo: Berkley
The Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss is Duckett's go-to bait for big bites.

I often choose to fish the HAVOC Pit Boss to better my chances at a big bite. The new HAVOC baits give anglers a distinct advantage on the lake. The Pit Boss gave me the confidence to set out in an area that had been hammered by great fishermen.

Creature baits can work in nearly every lake across the country. Anglers can never go wrong on cloudy waters by throwing a black-blue, and on those clear waters, I throw a green-pumpkin at them.

The Pit Boss is great for fishing any type of cover. These baits have more action that really gives this bait an edge. Plus, I can throw it around any type of cover or drag it down any point. I really like to use this bait around cover, but you can throw it just about anywhere.

I like to rig the Pit Boss Texas-style with a 6/0 wide-gap hook. I like a good heavy line like 65-pound Stren Sonic Braid, using a double Palomar knot to attach the hook. Using a lighter weight, like a 3/8-ounce sinker, allows you to keep the Pit Boss in the strike zone longer and be precise with your casts – accurate casts give anglers the best chance to catch big bass.

The rest of my setup is pretty straightforward. I use a 7 1/2-foot extra-heavy rod and a good reel. Once I pitch, if nothing gets it on the way down, I pick it up and shake it a little and let it freefall back to the bottom; pick it up and move it a little and repeat the process. I like to vary my retrieval pattern and make a mental note of the pattern I used when the big boys came out to play.

There are many things you want to be before focusing on the big fish, but being prepared is the best one I can think of at this point. If you are prepared going in, whether it's with tackle or knowledge of the lake, it'll be easier when honing your sights on the bigger fish.

The moral of the big bass story is to simply go out and focus your attention on the big bite. That's when the elite anglers have success. If anglers would fish for those big bites they would win more tournaments and have more rewarding times on the water.



   
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