Putting the odds in your favor

Putting the odds in your favor

There’s no question that lure choice can make a difference in whether you catch fish or how many you catch.

No one can argue that.

But there are some intangibles that some anglers may pooh-pooh, such as lure colors, fish scents and natural sound imitators like the HydroWave that can get you a few more bites.

There are days when the bass are in a suicidal mood and will hit anything you throw at them. You can pick the gaudiest color in your box, douse it with gasoline and drag a tackle box across the bottom of an aluminum boat and still get bass to bite.

But those are rare.

We’re approaching that time of year when the fish are starting to respond negatively to fishing pressure, and you have to dive deep into your bassin’ bag of tricks.

That’s where the intangibles can come into play and get you a few more bites. Here are my thoughts on each one:

Color: We all have our favorites that breed confidence, and the more confidence you have the more focused you will be fishing that lure.

In clear water you want more natural colors, and in very clear water, a little translucency can even make a difference. In dirty water, a little more color or even darker baits come into play.

And then there are those universal colors – green pumpkin or black/blue in plastics and shad and bluegill colors in hard baits – that are hard to beat.

It doesn’t hurt to experiment with colors, but when the bite is tough, lean toward the ones that typically work on that body of water. Stick to the basics but don’t be afraid to experiment with variations that might add a little different look on heavily pressure waters. Showing fish something slightly different than what your buddies are using can turn the odds in your favor.

Scents: Count me among believers that fish attractants can make a difference in getting a few more aggressive bites, and more importantly, cause fish to hang onto the lure better.

I use FishSticks that come in a lip balm-style applicator that I coat on my soft baits and hard baits. It is made of concentrated natural forage oils, and I’ve seen it time and again when the fish hang onto a bait longer. In fact, when I’m practicing tournaments and trying to “shake off” bites, I’ve found it’s harder to do with “scented” baits than it is with unscented baits.

HydroWave: Yes, I’ve been involved with HydroWave since the early years of the invention, and I remain a strong believer today.

But let’s be clear – it’s not a fish caller that drives bass wild, nor will it call every fish to your lure.

However, personal experience has proven to me that it can manipulate the mood and activity of the baitfish and bass when used in the appropriate situation. When you fire up the baitfish, it can fire up the bass and trigger activity you hadn’t seen before the unit was employed.

The HydroWave uses actual sound patterns of baitfish or bass feeding on bait and sends those sounds through a small speaker strapped to your electric motor. It allows anglers to select one of several sound patterns to include everything from fishing lily pads to crawfish on gravel or deep vegetation.

I choose a sound pattern to match the area I’m fishing and the conditions. If it’s windy or abundant cloud cover and I think bass should be active, I will run a more aggressive sound. If it’s slick, calm or sunny, a more subtle pattern set on low volume might be appropriate.

I’ve had too many instances where I flipped on the HydroWave to the appropriate pattern and saw the fish in my area get more active.

There is no magic way to catch bass everywhere all the time, but when you put into play the intangibles mentioned here, your odds are going to improve.

It’s all about the attitude!