BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 70

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SMOOTH MOVES

Introducing the New Rico Suave’

T he ultimate “Walking Bait”

Fish

Your Strengths

Photo courtesy of FLW Communications.

ZACK THOMPSON

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you think they should be, but rather what hear it all the time, how puts the consistent fish in the boat. This important it is to exploit can be trickier than it first appears to be for your strengths as a tour- a couple of reasons. Firstly there is a good nament angler. There is SV-562 nothing more true Blue Chartreuse chance that you have different strengths and I’ll tell you why. CONFIDENCE!!! We , 1/2 oz. 4 1/2” topwater, all know how important it #2 is front to have con- & #4 back hooks in different periods of the year and also de- pending on which types of water you will be fidence every day, every hour, every cast. fishing. Secondly be honest with yourself, When you feel like you’re doing the right you may not be a big bait guy or a flipper as thing and have the right bait, good things badly as you may want to be. Focus on what happen. You find yourself in the zone and really works best for you. Then refine those the day becomes a success. Success leads strengths to be the best they can be in all to increased confidence and confidence situations. A good example of this is topwa- leads to further success. If you’re inter- ter. Work on frogs, walking baits, poppers, ested in success read on and hopefully my buzzbaits, etc. Don’t limit yourself but stay insights will help you along. within your category as much as possible. First it is important to determine what You will feel more comfortable on the water your strengths truly are. These are not what and you will make better decisions more consistently. It has taken me a good portion of my ten plus year career as a tourna- ment angler to deter- mine my strengths and once I did it has been a great asset. In my career I have learned that flipping and cranking are strengths that have really allowed me the success I have had. I have also learned to apply these strengths almost everywhere and when I find a fishery that I can’t apply them I adapt but, I always try them first. Sometimes it’s flipping 1-ounce weights and others I’m flipping 1/8th oz weights but either way I’m still flip- ping. Same goes for cranks, sometimes deep, sometimes dirt

shallow. All I know is if I can find either a strong flip or crank pattern on any body of water I feel very confident I will be able to do well and catch fish each day. With strength comes confidence remember. Dur- ing a tournament day if things get tough my decisions will carry more confidence if I am following my strengths. Each day things change and a success- ful angler must, in suit, change as well. Con- sider this, would you rather adapt by learn- ing an entirely new technique or change within a technique you know well. Of course you would rather do what you know works. Now I’m not saying stick with one technique all the time if it’s obviously not working but never, ever, go to a new lake or visit a lake at a new time of year and not try what has worked in the past. Also make the distinc- tion that I’m not advocating fishing the same spots. I’m talking about the technique, your strength. If you flipped a lot of good fish in the past there chances are good you can find them again with enough hard work. A great example has been my last three years on the California Delta in FLW events. I have done almost the exact same things three years in a row to make 2 top tens in a row in Stren Events and just miss the third, finishing 14th. I did this by know- ing I could catch the right fish if I could find them flipping and cranking. But each year I had to find a new place to do it in order to catch the right quality. I knew I could find them if kept those baits in the water be- cause I have total confidence in what they can produce. It wasn’t easy but it worked. I had to resort to completely different areas each year and this year I fished water I had never tried before. The proper history to fol- low were the techniques not the spots. Now I know each of you reading this has different strengths, and all lakes are different but I also know a bass is a bass. Once you realize you can catch them you have solved one part of the equation, now to solve the rest all you have to do is con- vince yourself you’re doing the right thing. Don’t chase dock talk, be confident and fish your strengths. BW

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July/August 2009