Sometimes You Have to Back Up and Punt

By Steve Graf/Gamakatsu Hooks/SPRO Pro Staff

In a football game, you have four downs to make a first down. If you fail at getting a first down after three attempts, you have three choices: go for it, kick a field goal if it’s within your kicker’s range, or punt. Now most coaches choose the latter, depending on their field position. Bass fishing is like football in that it’s all about the decisions you make and when. Today let’s look at why these two sports are so similar.

A couple of weeks ago I was fishing at Toledo Bend with little to no success. It was too early for fish to be on beds and spawning, but there were a few buck bass (males) roaming around the shallows looking for a place to start preparing a bed for their chosen female. I tried all the typical baits an angler should throw this time of year, but I had zero bass to show for my effort. I threw the standard rattle-in-style baits like the SPRO Aruku shad, I slowly rolled a spinnerbait, drug a Carolina-rig off the points, and threw a crankbait as well. Nothing, no bites whatsoever, so I sat down and decided it was time to back up and punt by taking a totally different approach from a bait and technique standpoint.

Turns out this was the U-Haul move of the day, as I tied on a Reaction Innovations bait known as the “Sweet Beaver.” This bait falls into the category of what anglers call a “creature bait.” Over the years, this bait has proven itself to be one of the best lures an angler can tie on, as it has won its fair share of tournaments. Again, I tried every type of moving bait known to man with no results. So, I decided to slow down and try pitching or flipping brush tops and laydowns (basically wood). The results were immediate as I boated several fish which were holding mostly on brush piles.

Now this is not unusual for bass, especially during cold snaps, but I did let the bass tell me what and how they wanted a bait. The bass told me in no uncertain way (no bites) that they were not in the mood to chase a lure. They wanted a bait that was slow and dropped on their nose. My best 5 bass that day would have pushed the scales to around 15 pounds. Point being, that due to my desire to back up and punt, it made me adjust my approach and do something that the bass really wanted. So, the next time you’re struggling to get a bite, back up and punt, and try a totally different approach and you just might find the magic to make a bass bite. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!


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