"In Pursuit of Giant Bass"

OREGON FISHING FORUM

cdat

Member
So, been planning on concentrating on bass fishing this year, never really done much for various reasons. I just finished reading Bill Murphy's book, "In pursuit of Giant Bass", written in 1992. Reading water, leaning what types of cover hold certain types of fish is pretty much the same from species to species when it comes to learning where they hang out.
My question concerns more the techniques he talks about, his the discussion on "stiching" still valid, or his discussions about trolling crankbaits? Any thoughts on his book in general, or what might be some good books to help me learn bass fishing techniques.

Thanks
John
 
Well, I have two copies. I had one in my car and one on my bedside table for a while. That man was as close to the perfect big bass angler as anyone. Remember, he did not bed fish. If you take away bed fish, suddenly a lot of the folks out west don't have nearly the resume they once had.

There is no such thing as a bad technique. I spent a long time looking down my nose at live bait, but after a while I got over myself. I still don't use it much, I'll go years between using it, but I don't dismiss it out of hand.

As far as stitching goes, I will say this. Bill developed that technique in SoCal, to deal with a very specific set of circumstances. If you encounter the degree of pressure that he was forced to contend with on your local bass population, or if the fish are in a V-E-R-Y negative mood for whatever reason, by all means, stitch. But most of the time I think there are going to be better ways to catch them in more "normal" circumstances.

I don't agree with everything the man said, especially about gear. I am NEVER going to use an Eagle Claw #181 baitholder, for example. But in the rare situation where I don't agree, I am secretly afraid I might be wrong.

SS
 

cdat

Member
If you don't mind me asking, any books or specific articles you might recommend to a new bass fisherman? Is there a specific technique that people might recommend to start with, most articles I read state to concentrate on one specific technique at the beginning.
Thanks
John
 
I don't mind a bit, but you might not like my answer.

Honestly, a lot of what you are going to read will be somewhere between a slight distortion of otherwise sound information, an infomercial, and total unmitigated bull****. I can say there are a few people I would look up.

You already have the best book that can be had, IMO. Read it again ten times. Steve Quinn of In-Fisherman fame is a fisheries biologist. He is a pretty straight shooter, despite being associated with In-Fisherman. In-Fisherman is a place to get good information, but you have to have your mental add blocker software engaged. They are basically funded by Normark and Pure Fishing, two of the biggest names in fishing tackle. Still, they are one of the only sources for (often) factually accurate information on biology. I am in the "know your opponent" camp, and consider biological information to be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Lures and techniques may come and go, but a bass will always be a bass.

Larry Larsen is a good source. Good sound information, never trying to sell you anything. Mostly magazine articles, but wrote some books too. He is still alive, and is very focused on peacock bass these days.

Rich Zaleski is a source I would credit as being practical and informative.

Doug Hannon made some good observations, but I would caution you that like Bill Murphy, he operated in a microcosm of his unique geographical circumstances. He was a Florida expert, both the fish (Florida strain largemouth) and the state. I'm not trying to take anything away from Doug Hannon, he was remarkably good at what he did, but what he did was very specific. He was fishing for Florida strain bass in their native range, in mostly natural river systems, and as far from people as he could get. He was fishing for "primordial bass" if you want to look at it that way. Very different than the conditions faced by most anglers. Still, read his book "Big Bass Magic"

If you can somehow stand the waves of self-congratulatory stench wafting off of it, "Big Bass Zone" by Bill Siemantel (although mostly written by Michael Jones) does manage to shed light onto effective big bait presentations, something Murphy's book largely failed to do owing to its date of publication. I know Bill was fishing swimbaits towards the end of his life, but he was still in the process of exploring their potential when The Scourge took him.

Other than that... read scientific literature. Find papers published by universities. Read all you can about the things bass eat. Learn a lot about bluegill, and you will know a lot about bass. They evolved together, and are what they are today because of the existence of the other. Learn about crawfish. Get an aquarium, catch the smallest bass you can, bass fry, and raise them. That may or may not be legal, strictly speaking, but do it, hypothetically, of course. I have (hypothetically) raised many young bass, and learned a lot from observing them in different developmental stages. Plus, if they are chilling out, then suddenly become agitated and active for no discernible reason, stop whatever you are doing and GO FISH. Trust me here.

Lastly, some practical advise on the nuts and bolts of this stuff. Practice your casting. I know, I know... you are already pretty good. Get stupid good, Terminator level, robotic death machine from the future level good at it. That mechanical ability with a rod and reel is one of the biggest things that separates good weekend anglers and touring professionals. Watch some BASS tournaments with the sound muted. You don't need to hear anything those guys are saying, trust me. You need to watch their movements and learn. That is the edge they possess, not whatever gear they are selling.

SS
 

cdat

Member
Will definitely work on my casting as I consider myself merely adequate at best, might be time to get out the old toss rings to use as targets. Will read some of the individuals you mentioned, really appreciate you taking the time to get in-depth. Rather have your honest opinion than have someone blow smoke up my A$$.

Thanks
John
 

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