The Right Stuff For Catching Bass
If you watch enough bass fishing shows on television, you get the idea that bass fishing is all about big burly guys jerking bass into the boat with one swing of the rod. Real bass fisherman use heavy tackle, or do they?
As a kid growing up in Florida, my first job was a paper route and my first purchase was to buy a new rod and reel. Up 'til then, I was limited to fishing for bream and catfish with a cane pole. What I really wanted was to catch bass. My friend’s father, who I idolized, fished with a Pflueger Supreme casting reel, black linen line and a solid steel rod. At that time the reel cost about $20 and as I was only making a couple of dollars a week, I didn’t see how I could ever afford a Supreme, so I settled on a much cheap casting reel and fiberglass rod.
I worked with that rod and reel for weeks before I ever took it fishing. In those days there was no such thing as a “free spool” so the handles spun like propellers on each cast. This made casting anything under an ounce a real challenge. I tried everything, including whirling the rod around in circles trying to build up enough speed to get distance with a lure. Then one day my best friend called me and said he had found a bass lure that worked like magic. “Cast it out, reel it up and bass would line up to kill themselves to get at that lure”. The magic lure turned out to be a plastic worm. Texas rig sinkers weren’t invent yet so somehow I had to figure out how I was going to cast that light worm with a rod and reel that had trouble casting anything lighter than a hubcap.
My fishing buddy came to the rescue with a beautifully engineered piece of machinery called a Mitchell 300 spinning reel. Loaded with 4 pound test, I could cast a weightless worm all the way to the other side of a canal bank. This was the beginning of a relationship that is still with me today….catching bass on light spinning tackle.
The truth is you don’t need a heavy macho casting rod and 20 pound test to catch bass. True, in tournament fishing you are not concerned with anything other than getting the fish to the boat, but for just plain action it’s hard to beat light tackle. In fact, I have won a serious number of tournaments fishing with light tackle. Light tackle is not only fun to use. Light line and small lures are especially appealing to pressured fish. So next time you see a fishing pro on TV using heavy tackle to horse in a fish, think about that light spinning rod that is hidden in his rod box. I guarantee it’s in there!