By Steve Chaconas
National bass fishing magazines used to be the end all source for fishing information. The best writers and photographers shared secrets of the pros, the top 10 ways to fish any technique, and strategies for every season. These collections provided resources to improve angling success. However, the top publication, Bassmasters Magazine, excluded some of the sport’s best due to their tour affiliation.
Before television cameras were mainstays in tournament contender boats, fans were misled by pros seeking acknowledgment for their sponsors. Pros often credited sponsor products rather than the bait that led to their success. Co-anglers and cameras captured the truth, but in many cases, the media turned a blind eye and printed the words coming from the angler’s mouth. This changed in the last decade with truth winning out. But still, the integrity of national fishing media was tarnished.
As these publications shrank not only in numbers but in pages, top writers took a financial hit and embarked on a medium speculation, settling on the internet. Onetime Bassmasters writer, Jay Kumar ventured out to create an alternative view of B.A.S.S. This all-inclusive platform was unencumbered by publishers and editors, creating fishing’s first straight talk, Bass Fan. This on-line newcomer found fans and a voice as the leader in all that was tournament bass fishing.
Wired2fish angled its way into laptops and phones of weekend anglers who wanted more than just tournament results. Videos with pro anglers and guides brought lures and techniques to life to shorten learning curves. Staying ahead of that curve, outdoor writing pro Terry Brown brings 40 years in the biz to the digital multi-media pages of their site. The latest fishing gear is detailed in print and video. Updated “how-to” reviews are catalogued and can be accessed 24/7. Brown is joined by another industry icon Jason Sealock, a great angler in his own right. Sealock has done it and can pick apart pro minds to break down nuances for angler consumption.
GoPro and YouTube have created fishing monsters. Anyone with a camera and a fishing pole can make a video and gain followers. But a select few have the ability to communicate valuable information in a concise consumable package. Tactical Bassin’ features two solid communicators who play well before the cameras. Behind their modest appearances are decades of time on the water, many as tournament partners. Matt Allen has fished across the country and now shares his knowledge with guide clients. Partner Tim Little is a Warden for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. Together they produce a video/print package to inform and educate. Products used are linked for purchase.
Pro anglers Michael Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek have taken an old concept and delivered a multi-level platform. In the Bassmaster heyday, when they were the only game in town, their pros traveled across the country for weekend seminars. Audience members got up close and personal to learn the “secrets” the pros had picked up on various tournament trails. Iaconelli and Gluszek improved upon the theme, creating Bass University. Not only do audience members attend real time Power Point classroom curriculum delivered by the hottest pros on all tours, but smartly packaged videos are available to a subscriber base for continuing education.
But wait, there’s more! You can take it with you. Dial up the BassForce app and enter conditions to a database of 9 pro anglers with nearly 200 years of tournament experience. The BassForce pros are just a click and swipe away to consider conditions and then offer specific fishing advice to quickly size-up waters to produce effective patterns for the conditions at hand. This on-the-water cheat sheet teaches as well. Rod, reel, lure and smartphone will be credited with fishing success.
Surviving the fallout of big glossy magazines, regional publications with local experts are still flying off the shelf at local tackle shops. Anglers can pick up one publication with local experts on regional waters detailing their monthly fishing reports. Regular features keep outdoors people updated on year round fishing techniques, local features and news. If you want to learn how to drop shot in California, go to the web. If you want to drop shot in Virginia and Maryland, pick up a copy of Woods & Waters Magazine. Local businesses support these regionals and it’s always a good idea to shop local.
Just as fish need to learn the difference between real and artificial, anglers need to take most web content with a grain of fish attractant. Remember the adage that fishing lures don’t catch fish. Fishermen catch fish. Fishing lures only catch fishermen. Local publications keep it real.
Potomac River Bassing in APRIL
Water is warming to 55 degrees. This has bass in the mood for love. They are moving shallow seeking out nesting areas.
Lots of techniques work well. Red lipless crankbaits are a great way to cover pre-spawn flats. They can be crawled along the bottom on 10 pound test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line.
Another technique is the Carolina rig. Use 30 pound test Gamma Torque braid with a 10 pound Edge leader. A 2/0 Mustad Mega Bite hook will hold most plastics. Try green pumpkin lizards and small creature baits. Drag slowly with frequent stops.
Look for grass and stay in those spots. If you can see clumps, pitch Texas rigged Mizmo tubes into the center of the clumps. Rig on 3/0 Mustad Ultra Point Tube hooks with a 3/16 ounce Water Gremlin bullet weight with 10 pound test Edge fluorocarbon line. Use green pumpkin patterns.
If the water is clear, try clown colored suspending jerkbaits. Twitch and pause on 10 pound test Edge. Red squarebill cranks also work when deflected off cover or snapped from grass.
For all treble hooked baits, consider upgrading to Mustad Ultra Point Short Shank Triple Grip trebles. Move up a size when replacing.
Author Capt. Steve Chaconas is Potomac River bass fishing guide. Potomac fishing reports: nationalbass.com. Book trips/purchase gift certificates: info@NationalBass.com.