|Several men wet their lines in the Fox River near Slade Avenue Park in Elgin, Illinois, as the sun sets on July 9, 2014. | Credit: Ted Schnell|
Sometimes the things that matter require sacrifice.
- Trying to figure out the lay of the land, as it were, by peering into the depths through sunglasses with polarized lenses to see gaps in the weeds, drop-offs, sunken rocks or logs and other spots that bass might use as ambush points to prey on other fish, tadpoles, frogs, or even small snakes. In murky conditions, or when the water’s surface is too static to see through, you learn to use your lure to “feel” the layout of the areas you fish.
- Learning which lures to use and under which conditions to use them — top-water baits, minnow baits, spinnerbaits, rubber worms and other soft baits, jigs, crankbaits. Each serves a different purpose, and each can be fished in more than one way to trigger a strike.
- The strike: Demonstrates you have found that ambush point and that you are presenting the lure properly.
- Setting the hook: It’s no guarantee you actually will catch the fish, which still could break the line, for example. But, when you do it right, you are well on the road to the next step.
- Playing and landing the fish: This is the final stage of the “battle.” When I was young, I learned to play the fish slowly, to tire it out so it would not break the line. Today, the prevailing wisdom is to use extra-heavy line to reel in the fish much more quickly. Horsing the fish in rapidly helps ensure they do not become exhausted and assure their ability to recover when released.