by Bob Jensen
If you want to catch more fish, whether it is spring, summer, fall or winter, you need to be versatile. Being versatile when you’re fishing means different things. Let’s look at some of those things.
Some anglers are one-dimensional. For instance, all they fish for are bass. Or, maybe all they fish for are walleyes: That’s fine, walleyes and bass are both fun to fish for, and if that’s what they enjoy, that’s what they should do.
And, some anglers get even more one-dimensional. Not only do they fish just for walleyes, they only use jigs for walleyes. Doesn’t matter what time of year it is, or where they’re fishing, or anything else. They only use jigs. Some bass anglers are the same way, they only use spinner baits and soft-bait. Or crankbaits. Whatever, you get the idea. And they catch fish. They probably do better during certain periods of the year, and they probably don’t do as well during other periods. But if they’re enjoying there fishing, that’s good. However, with a little versatility, they could probably enjoy their fishing a lot more.
Most anglers, when we go fishing, just want to catch something. We enjoy feeling something bend our rod and stretch our fishing line. If you’re one of those anglers, it will benefit you to learn to fish for a variety of fish and to learn a variety of fishing techniques.
In most areas, there are several species of fish in a body of water. Now, it’s important when you first hit the water to have a specie and technique in mind. Let’s say you’re after walleyes, and it’s mid-June. That’s a great time of year to chase walleyes, and jigs are a great way to catch them in mid-June. It’s hard to beat a Slurp! Jig tipped with a three inch Gulp! Alive Minnow on a weedline this time of year. But let’s say the walleyes aren’t eating that presentation. A versatile angler would go to a Fireball jig and a minnow, and if they don’t eat that, a slip-bobber rig and a leech, or a Roach Rig and a leech might be next. If none of those presentations work, the next piece of versatility comes into play.
If the walleyes just aren’t doing it on the lake you’re on, you can move to a different lake. For some of us that’s no big deal: Go to a different lake and put the above techniques into play. Maybe you’ll get bit.
The other option is to stay on this lake and switch species. In mid-June, in most lakes, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass will be on a tear. Go into the shallows and throw a spinnerbait around, or maybe a soft jerkbait. If you see panfish swimming around, get out a light action rod with four or six pound test line, tie on a Firefly jig, tip it with a Gulp! Maggot, and flip it out there. You will get bit.
Fishing is about fun, and for most of us, catching fish, any fish, is fun. With our open water fishing season winding down, we need to take advantage of any fishing we can. Be versatile this fall season: You’ll catch more fish and enjoy your fishing even more.