One of my favorite things about bass fishing is that it’s continually evolving. Whether it’s technologies in electronics, the rods and reels we use, or lures, the game is always changing.
New trends come along each year, and I spend each offseason trying to experiment with new lures and techniques. I’m always trying to incorporate new things into my arsenal because I feel like each thing I can learn may give me an edge on the competition (plus it’s just fun to try new baits).
One of the best ways to experiment with new baits is when the bite is on. It can be hard to put down something that’s already working, but I think that’s the only way to get a real test of a bait. You may find that it’s better than what you’re using – or you might find the opposite and learn that it’s just not as good. Either way, you’ll know.
I had a trip this fall that was a perfect example of that. We were catching fish on blade baits and drop-shot rigs and I pulled out a tail spinner. I probably hadn’t fished one of those since I was a kid, but one of my sponsors, Jackall, makes a great one called the Deracoup. I never knew where I’d use it, so a fun day of fishing in the late fall was a perfect opportunity.
It was the perfect time to test it and it worked great. It became one of the best-producing baits over the next few trips and I’ve gained confidence in something new and may be able to use that one day in a tournament situation.
As my sponsors come out with new baits, I always mix them in to get confidence in them. This year was a good example: I’ve been playing with the new Z-Man Long ShotZ to see how it compares to the 6-inch straight tail worms we’ve all used for years. It’s passed my test and will be a big part of my arsenal next season.
Each time I go out on the lake, I’ll be tying on new baits all day and the bottom of my boat is a graveyard of baits at the end of the day. Some of it will be prototypes of new sponsor baits, or it may be baits that get my interest on Tackle Warehouse.
Besides experimenting with brand new lures, I also incorporate some of my favorites from years past. The flipside of all of the fishing industry’s innovation and trends is that some baits get forgotten.
If you think about it, baits that were popular 10 years ago may have never been seen by most of the bass in your favorite lake. Each fall, I bring back some of the old-school baits to see if they work, and will definitely catch fish on those stand-bys.
I’m a tackle junkie just like all of you, and am always buying new things and using my time, money, and energy to see if they’re any better than what else I’ve been using. It’s part of the fun of fishing, but I think it’s a great way to develop confidence in something new, which can only help make you a better angler.