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Back up and punt...

When we started 2020 I spoke of trying new things to accomplish our goals and shared that inspiration with you. Admittedly, I was ill prepared for what life was sending down the pipe and while the world began twisting the Rubrics cube on how to continue on with life, I continued to keep my eye on becoming a more educated angler and experiment with different types of bites.

We made some monumental observations this year that will change how I fish forever. During the pre-spawn I watched the spinner bait and square bill bite rise and fall in a manor that left me lost and confused.

We never put the pattern together! All the books I've read and video's I watched and somehow I never put the pieces together. It's so interesting to me on how short sighted I can become when I'm on the water, too funny. Surely our place's that produced so well for two weeks couldn't have just dried up. "It's time to back up and punt", is a line I have used more than a few times when all the best laid plans have gone by the way side. What I get from the quip is to take a pause, consider available information, re-adjust priorities, build your plan and put some hustle behind the muscle. I never make it look that elegant though; big facial shifts, hand gestures equal to God taking lightning bolts from Zeus and hands wringing my head to ensure no hair is left to grow, all before coming to a new plan that is totally opposite the original (one I'm not equipped for). On a serious note coming to a new plan is never easy but is a trip best made with a positive attitude. Instead of taking a pause and asking ourselves some questions to get us back on track we continued to fish the same waters and scratch our head. Finally, frustrated and clueless, we abandoned that end of the lake and found active fish farther south about 1/8th of a mile and constant enough to get the light bulb fired up. When we noticed the new fish had the same tail damage the old fish had, we felt shameful (Oh, look at, us we Bass fish so much and have books and video's and are complete IDIOTS). Fish were in different stages of the spawn from north to south and we didn't follow the bite down the lake, something I have read on more than once. Two weeks had been spent trying to find a new bite when we could've just continued to move south on the same bite. Additionally, when you find big fish in the pre-spawn/ spawn they usually don't go very far or at a minimum relate to some structure near by. Which could be a myriad of things such as a significant depth change, secondary structure, front or back side of a current break, an old creek channel or grass line.

On the subject of square bills I floated the idea of a Purple ghost color scheme on a 1.5 square bill in hopes that its' subtle colors would be attractive and noticeable in a wider range of water clarity. It got absolutely crushed! Majority of the time it was completely engulfed and sometimes half way through the digestive process! Before the great lock down took place I had the opportunity to throw it in a tournament with a modicum of success in water that was crystal clear, you could see structure and bottom make up in 10' of water. So it has earned a spot on the varsity line up.

A new technique that will remain tied up at all times developed after the Bass spawn had settled and a new bite needed to be found. While out on the lake one morning another local was out throwing a buzz bait when I yelled over to him that you can't catch anything on this lake with a buzz bait. He informed me that chucking the buzz bait was the only bite he could wrangle. Predictably, like any angler, I let my lake neighbor troll away down the bank and around the point when I pulled my trolling motor and raced back to the house to retrieve my neglected tote full of buzz baits. I ripped the skirt off, threw on a toad shape and raced out to some of my favorite lay downs to try my hand at skipping a buzzer over some tangled mess just below the waters surface.

The next two weeks revealed a technique that fell some where between sliding jigs and wacky rigs under overhanging limbs and square bills that can thoroughly agitate Ole' Billy Bass out of a cluttered lay-down quite well. Where has this technique been all my life! Finally working those pesky cluttered lay downs comprised of dark mysteries can be exploited with out the elder Bass standing at the gate waving a magic staff and shouting "thou shall not pass!"

Looking at the length of this article I can surely say the number of casts required to learn these couple of lessons just doesn't translate they way I thought they would. Like a picture of a majestic landscape, the picture just can't capture the full experience. I implore you to get out there and take your own pictures, you won't regret it. Godspeed friends!

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