by Jay Kumar
The dropshot was all over the Elites this year, nowhere more so than the last tournament of the season: Mille Lacs. If you didn’t have a wimp-stick with a noodle rig on your deck, you weren’t fishing. So what happened to Aaron?
Why do I ask? Because no one — NO ONE — is better than he is with a dropshot. He’s been fishing it for about as long as Jordan Lee has been alive on this planet. And he’s fished it a lot: For a few years most people thought that’s all he did!
And there’s a lot that goes along with that, like being an electronics whiz. So: How did he finish 41st out of 50 guys in what basically was a dropshot derby? I had to know so I called him. Here’s what he said:
> “Everybody was on everything. I spent 3 days just graphing…looking, finding stuff. Even little stupid spots I found on bare flats, half a mile from the edge of the flat, every spot I found had boats on it in the tournament.
> “Me, Edwin, Mike — we didn’t do great. We were doing the same thing: Staying away from groups of boats and fishing anywhere but there. But there was nowhere in between. No fish, just 12-14 inchers.
> “I went to all my waypoints for the boulders. I found 8 or 10 of the best spots in the lake. But I couldn’t move in on Takahiro, Lefebre…Keith Combs was on one of my best spots, Brandon was on one of my best spots. I couldn’t get on anything.
> “That kind of happens all the time now, anywhere you go. All the good stuff gets found. I used to find secret stuff no one found, but that doesn’t happen anymore. Some years it seems like more of a pattern deal, but not this year.
> “I hope [the new schedule] goes back to the way it was last year. [In 2015] I caught a few in one area, but mostly patterned them.
> “I don’t like moving in on guys. I have a real hard time getting right get next to their boat. The first day I don’t have that problem as much, but second and third day….
> “Some guys, it’s like they know what will happen. They will let their face be seen on the major spots, then [later] squeeze right in. I’ve seen some guys even come to spots they didn’t know about and fish them.
> [When he approaches the spots, other anglers think] “…it’s just Aaron. He won’t come in here. I have to change that a little bit. I found all these waypoints [and can’t fish them]. I’m still mad about it I could’ve caught them as good as anyone, or better, but didn’t go in there and bump boats. That’s about as mad as I’ve ever been.
> “I wasn’t mad at the anglers — I was mad at myself. I found the spots the top 3 guys were on, but didn’t go in there. If I did, I probably could’ve gotten a top 5. And they probably still would have caught them, there were so many stupid fish there.
> “I found that waypoint with my own gas, money and time. I don’t think I’m going to do that anymore. I think I’ll have to get more pushy. It’s happened to me 100s of times, and cost me dearly.
> “With the technology these days, GPSs and mapping, if you find something, it’s amazing how many guys find it. Usually you’d have the upper hand if you spent 3 days graphing.
> “It’s like Florida-fishing: If you’re not in a crowd, you’re not going to catch them. Once I go in there, I catch them as good or better than other people. But I hate fishing around boats. I can do it, though. I have done it before.”