Phishy Philosophy

Me: “C’mon dude. Let’s go flip these reeds and see if we can get some big bites.”

Fishing buddy: “We’re catching one fish after another out here in this grass! I’ll play with these small aggressive suckers all day, but do whatever you want to do.”

He was right. We were bagging 2-pounders with ease on chatterbaits over submerged grass. If you went 10 casts without putting a fish in the boat that was a dry spell. We weren’t in a tournament, so I didn’t NEED a big bite, but I wanted one. I was perfectly happy to ditch the open-water swim jig fish in favor of a few short-string strikes in the hyacinths and cattails, but my companion on the back deck didn’t see it that way.

The action was undoubtedly slower on the bank, but every once in a while I’d punch my Rodent through just the right opening and THUMP—4-pounder, 5-pounder, 3-1/2—that’s the stuff dreams are made of! Or at least that’s what I thought. I was so engrossed in the placement of every pitch I didn’t notice my buddy had done an about-face and was blind-casting a Senko into unproductive water. He was bored. The thrill of muscling a big fish out of heavy cover, one of the things that defines bass fishing for me, hardly registered on his fun-o-meter.

That got me thinking: What exactly is it that I love so much about bass fishing? The answer is way more complex than just “catching fish”.

I love…

…the Pavlovian response that happens just before it’s time to cinch down a Palomar. Do you guys start drooling when you tie knots?
…the little clear path in a patch of slop that a Bronzeye frog leaves in its wake.
…flipping into a patch of reeds and watching a stem move just as you feel that tick on your line.
…that split second as you reel up your slack and the muscles in your back tense up just before you cross one’s eyes.
…how the amount of time a bass stays in the air on a jump always seems like an eternity.
…that feeling of anticipation you get when your square-bill deflects perfectly off a stump.
…when they get both trebles.
…that high-pitched whining sound fluorocarbon makes when you snap the rod back on a kicker fish.

I could do this all day, but I won’t. That’s where you come in. Keep it going in the comments.



  1. Dwain

    April 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    When you catch two fish at the same time on a crankbait!

  2. BryanT

    April 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    When that 6lb smallie is trailing your jekbait and you get the pointer to do a 180.

    Or when a fish noses down on your bait that is on a bed.

    That time at tourney take off where your heart jumps up a bunch of beats per minute

  3. Bass Pundit

    April 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    The short interval in time between a topwater strike and the hook set.

    When the bubblegum Zoom Super Fluke disappears.

    “Knockin Rocks” with a crankbait.

    Tap Tap Tap on a plastic worm

    Launching a really long cast

    when you get a perfect skip cast under a dock

    on a crankbait when a fish hits and misses and you immediately have another fish tag it.

    the call of male red wing blackbirds in the Spring

  4. Jesse Hall

    April 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Knowing the next tap on your jig could be your next PB.

  5. Big Brake Basser

    April 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    When a six pound largemouth wakes behind a topwater then jumps clear of the water and comes down on the bait with an aerial attack.

  6. Martin

    April 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    My favorite thing in fishing is that second right after the bite , when you set the hook and it is solid.

    I also like

    the first cast of the day
    the subtle on-the-water change that works and gives me more or bigger bites
    fishing a new lake
    finding a new spot on my home lake
    seeing something promising on my Humminbird
    a perfect set-up, rod, reel, line, lure that casts and fishes so well
    any day on the lake with a good partner

  7. Chad Keogh

    April 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    The mist swirling on the surface of the lake as I idle away from the launch just before sunrise.

    When you call your shot to your buddy, and then cast at a particularly “bassy” piece of cover or structure and it turns out that a 6 lb smallie thought it was a good place to hang out too.

    Not just winning a tournament, but crushing the field so badly that even without your biggest bass of the day… you’d have still won.

    Watching your son battle and land his first “big” smallie.

  8. Jeremy Adair

    April 2, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Throwing a wacky rig to a bridge piling and watching the line move to the side.

    The last twenty or thirty minutes before sunset when the bite is off the wall and everything is tinted a fiery red.

    The crisp morning that you need to get the ice scrapper out of the truck to clear off the windshield on the boat just to have it frost up again when you’re enroute then crossing eyes when you get to your spot.

    When a fish blows up on a worm or a spinnerbait no later than the instant it touches the water.

    Even the feeling of being defeated by a fish coming unglued boat-side and the determination to never let it happen again.

    I ask you this, what’s there not to love about this sport?

  9. Boar Hog

    April 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    …reeling my bait back from an errant pitch at a grass patch and watching a wake form as a big fish chases my bait out.
    …flipping into a patch of grass and watching the grass do a “toilet flush” where my bait entered the water.

  10. 5bites

    April 4, 2011 at 9:18 am

    You nailed the flourocarbon sound thing. It’s even better with recoil guides!

    Other than that I say the jig bite. I like to catch fish other ways but for me nothing compares to a pre-spawn/spawn angry fish jig bite by a willow tree.

  11. Slicks N Tricks

    April 5, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Flipping 20lb Flouro to shallow wood.

    Flipping 65lb braid in grass(Reeds, Mats, Shallow grass)

    Fishing Off Shore structure on Falcon with a C-Rig and all of a sudden it feels like a truck hit your 6/0 hook with the biggest worm in your boat on it.

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