Yesterday I went bass fishing at Saguaro Lake just a short drive from Phoenix. When I was leaving the dock, a couple of bass fishermen were coming into the dock to load their boat up because they were quitting. I asked them how they had done and why they were leaving so early in the morning. Their response to me was, "We hate this lake, we never even got a bite, let alone caught a fish. This lake has always been a tough lake to fish." I asked, "What were you using?" They said, "We drop shotted and were using Roboworms 'Morning Dawn'." I asked, "Did you change colors?" They answered, "No, this lake sucks." I said, "That's news to me, because I took a friend of mine from our Bass Pro Fishing department here two days ago and we caught (31) bass; I think the lakes on fire." They looked at me as if I were nuts and must have thought I was lying to them, as they turned their backs toward me and continued to tie onto the dock to get their truck.
As I headed out to start my day fishing, I had to shake my head at their unwillingness to search for a solution to their fishing delima and just give up. I thought back to a conversation I had with my friend, AZ Nitro Bass Pro, Gary Senft, who's been a top placing tournament pro for over 40 years. When he and I had gone out fishing together one time last year to Bartlett Lake outside Phoenix, we came across a similar scenario. Gary told me about the time he came back to the dock to load up his boat after a day fishing and some other boaters saw Gary and recognized him saying, the fishing sure was bad today, they had only caught 2 or 3 fish all day. They asked Gary how he had done, and Gary replied to them that he thought the fishing was great, he had caught 25 bass. They looked at him in total amazement. They must have been thinking to themselves, how is that possible that two of them had fished all day and only caught 2 or 3 fish and what the heck was Gary using to catch so many? Gary said to me, "Dave, that happens to me all the time where guys come back to the dock with nothing to show for a days fishing and I've had a great day on the lake. You have to remember something, somewhere on the lake someone is catching fish. Your job as a fisherman is to figure out what the bass want that day, what color bait are they hitting, and what presentation do they want. If you do this, you'll be able to catch fish when others can't." That story has always stuck with me because I've learned that what Gary said to me was absolutely true.
When Gary starts fishing, his go-to technique is usually a Texas Rigged Worm. He'll lay out 5-6 colors of worms and then a few creature baits in different colors usually a Green Pumpkin or something Watermelon with/black flake in it. The worm colors might be a red, green, blue, brown or a shad color. He'll start working a bank with one of the colors and start his Texas rig technique. If after a while he doesn't get a bite, he'll change colors and keep changing until he finds a color that's working. The next thing he'll do is adjust his technique. He's told me that you have to find out how the bass want it worked from day to day. Sometimes they want it jiggled a lot and some days they hardly want it moving at all. It changes from day to day, you just have to figure out the presentation they want that day.
As to Gary's presentation, I think he has a wonderful technique for working a Texas Rig and the numbers of fish he catches will make your jaw drop, he's so good at it. Gary rigs his Texas Rigs this way. First he puts on a bobber stopper and runs it up the line. Next, he puts on a 3/16th tungsten weight if it's not windy or he'll put on a 1/4 ounce if it's a little windy. He likes Tungsten because it's smaller, heavier and denser than lead and let's you feel the bottom and what your worm is doing better. Lastly, he ties on a 1/0 worm hook. He then rigs his worm on which is usually a Roboworm and then drops the weight down to the hook and then brings the bobber stopper back down the line to about an inch and a half from the nose of the weight. He does this so that when he throws the rig toward a target he intends to fish, the weight will fall nose first and stop at the bobber stopper. This allows that inch and a half of line to now be behind the weight when it goes to the bottom of the lake. Once that weight lands on the bottom, the line that is now behind the weight allows the Roboworm to float upwards in an upright position.
Here's how he works his Texas Rig: Once you cast your rig to your target, beside a rock on the shore line or a tree or limb. Once you worm has hit the bottom and you take up the slack, start with your rod tip in the 10 or 11 o'clock position and start jiggling your rod tip up and down at a moderate pace approximately 3 inches for 5 seconds or so and then stop. Wait for the "Tick" of a bite. If no bite, jiggle your rod tip again for a few seconds and stop and wait for the bite. If no bite then, jiggle your rod tip constantly as you start lifting your rod tip continuously from a 10 o'clock position to a 12 o'clock position and then stop and wait for the "Tick of a bite". If still no bite, jiggle your rod tip again and wait a few seconds. If no bite is detected do this; lift your rod tip in 3 quick short hops upward from 10 to 12 o'clock.....stop and jiggle your rod tip and then stop once more and wait for the "Tick" of a bite. Usually, if there is a bass in the area you've cast to, at some point in this description you will have felt the bite or if not the feel of a definite "Tick" a """"Pressure Bite"""" where you don't feel a definite "Tick, Tick" of a bite, but instead the feeling of pressure when you gently lift your rod tip to move the bait forward towards you. If you feel an unusual pressure that feels like a heaviness on your line, snap your rod tip up to set the hook, it's probably a bass with your lure in it's mouth who picked it up so gently you didn't feel a usual "Tick, Tick" feel of stronger bite. If not, continue the sequence again and again re-casting to other targets along the shore line. This technique also works if your casting from the shore line, if your at a lake and don't have a boat. Start fan casting from 9 o'clock along the shoreline to 10...ll...12.....1....2.....and 3 o'clock to your right. The same technique works for shore fishermen as well.
If you work approximately a city block of shoreline and your not getting bit, CHANGE WORM COLORS TO SOME OTHER COLOR, DON'T BE LIKE THOSE GUYS ABOVE AND SAY THE FISH JUST AREN'T BITING, THEY'RE NOT BITING THAT COLOR, THAT BAIT, OR THEY'RE PRESENTATION. You have to find the color they want today, not what they were hitting on yesterday or the last time you went fishing and you caught them. Keep trying colors until you start getting bit. If you've gone through your colors and they're still not biting, SWITCH BAITS!!! If you've tried doing that and you're still not getting bit, SWITCH TECHNIQUES, TRY DROP SHOTTING. Maybe the fish don't want to see the bait on the bottom, maybe they want to see it OFF THE BOTTOM, maybe a drop shot would change their behavior and you'll start catching fish. That's why you need to learn different techniques and try to learn to master or own these techniques. Build confidence in each technique, doing so will make you a better fisherman and turn a bad day on the lake into a good or great day.
I went out after leaving these guys and started fishing. I caught 12 nice bass in just over 4 hours until it got too windy and too many skiers on the lake for me to continue to fish. Isn't it interesting that I had a great morning on the lake and caught several fish while the guys I'd met at the dock hadn't had a bite all morning. Same lake....Same day.
Below is a video of my friend AZ Nitro Bass Pro, Gary Senft.
Watch this video of him fishing a Texas Rigged Worm, it'll make you a better fisherman.
The moral of the story is not to give up, remember.......somewhere on the lake........somebody is catching fish.......You just have to find out what they want that day and how they want to see it. Do that and you'll take a bad day fishing and turn it into a good day.