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I have been thinking lately (I know a dangerous proposition all by itself :tongue2:) and am wondering if all of the knowledge that we learn about fishing or bass in general is really helping us or hurting us as fishermen?

For instance, when I got serious into bass fishing was when I bought my first bass boat in 1996. I had owned a beater boat before that and I went here and there but not every weekend. I have also fished all my life basically but from the bank at ponds etc. Anyway, in January 1996 I bought a new rig. I was pumped. I had the best year I have had in bass fishing still to this day. First day out in my new boat I caught a 8.5lb bass. Now that is how you break in a new boat right there. Later that year I caught my still PB of 9.5lbs. I also caught several 7lbers that year and lots of regular 5lbers etc that I catch every year.

I knew less about bass fishing back then then I know now. In fact, I think I have forgotten more about bass fishing now then I knew back then haha.

Does too much knowledge cloud our minds and make us second guess everything? Do we over analyze things with too much knowledge and basically out smart ourselves?

These are questions offered up as food for thought. What do you all think?
 

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I know life was simpler and less expensive with an old black or grape worm Texas rigged lol
 

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This is an interesting and intriguing question. Things were MUCH simpler years and years ago but with computers, the internet, GPS and lure technology exponentially developing we are now bombarded with way too much information. Most of us forget the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and over think what we are planning to do or doing on the lake. All of us could use a does of simple mindedness. This sport is easy to do and fun but most of us, myself included, tend to add too many factors into it.

cbs
 

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I have wondered about the answer to your question many times over the years. The answer I have come up with is 2 part and it goes both ways.

I think that when we knew less and carried less gear, our life of bass fishing was simpler and because of it we focused more and did really well. However, now that we have learned so much and have gained so much tackle and come so far, I feel we truly are in a better position to make our bass fishing life the best it could be, however, I think where we have trouble and where we need to learn to change ourselves is in our focus. With all those rods and baits and tactics, its so easy to lose focus on what is correct and will work.
If we could somehow blend both times, then and now, the focus of then and the arsenal and knowledge of now, I truly believe we would be where people like KVD are now. I think the major thing that seperates us from them is their degree of focus and confidence (which I believe go hand in hand)
 

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In the 60's there was only one option that came to our minds, tossing either a Zara Spook morning or evening, or a purple Creme worm with 3 hooks embedded to any vegetation we were lucky enough to find. More hours went by with no bites than biting hours. We just covered the same miles of shoreline and no thought was given to why bass bit here or there. If we found bass, we caught a lot. We didn't have sonar, but eventually had a flasher with no training or information except the little pamphlet that came with it. We fished by the seat of our pants and were mostly very lucky at a time when the lakes were full of fish and in there prime.

Today my efficiency is far better, fewer fishing hours per pound of fish. With whatever knowledge I have I am able to imagine what bass should be doing this season, this day, under these conditions. At last, when someone calls me to say they did well on deep points, I can figure out why before getting to those points. In my opinion I can't possibly get along without a continual stream of knowledge, both in general and real time on the water.

Tom has been preaching a way to predict where bass will be when. If you can learn that system you should be able to locate bass and select potential lures to reach bass at whatever depth, if you are organized and know your lures. That crankbait in that slot...what depth does it reach? If you don't know you need to learn or leave it home. You need to be able to look at it and guess within 3-5 feet how deep it will swim. I have a habit of tying on lures before leaving the house to test knowledge of what ought to be out there. I visualize the places I intend to find active bass. If those places defeat me I figure out why. It takes knowledge to figure out why. "If I were a bass, where would I go and why?".

Jim
 

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Man, this is a good subject.
Last year I went from using my Zebco and Rhino reels to baitcaters. I was so comfortable with my old standbys... But everybody said I had to learn.
Also, I started trying new technigues and lures at the same time. It was overwhelming in a since because I wasn't catching as many fish.
I'm comfortable with baitcasters now and can't imagine using anything else but there for awhile I was out of the zone.
This past tourney I chose to fish mostly what I'm pretty good at and not practice a new lure on tournament day. It paid off. There was talk about the lures they were using but it was something that I haven't fished a lot so I left those in my bag and fished what I knew. Who knows...
 

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No way can you have too much knowledge about the species you are fishing for but you can let your knowledge of the waters you fish often by not having an open mind and "fishing memories" as they say on this board. Often a fisherman with little or no knowledge of a lake will out fish you on your home waters by just fishing the patterns that prevail and not what has worked on this lake in the past. Having too many lures and color choices to choose from is not really knowledge but can hinder your success if you don't keep it basic.Too often we let what we think is valuable knowledge guide us in the wrong direction when in reality the knowledge is just a bunch of preconceived notions from past fishing trips.
 

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If I may use a football analogy, I draw your attention to the playbook. It is huge and contains multiple variations for the same play to allow for different yardages and defensive setups. We can define the playbook as knowledge. Without practical application of this knowledge (practice - running the plays over and over with all the variations) the player and coaches could not function at peak performance at game time –fishing.

However you will note at game time that huge playbook is pared down to a small wristband or an 8.5”x14” laminated coaches reference card. There is no way you can play a game using every variation in the playbook and perform with any consistency.

Prior to the game (fishing) a plan is prepare through the use of scouting reports, and films to understand their opponents (local knowledge of the lake, great forums like Bassholes, & multiple media articles both written and electronic.) and what plays will work best against their defense (weather, temp, structure, depth, & etc.).

I guess my point is that I agree with all the post before this and I believe it is important to develop a game plan before you go fishing so you want be trying to use every play in the book. - I suspect the fish will win if you do.

The most important part of my post is the playbook. Each time you go fishing keep log of all the variables and baits used. Keep importand TIP you read or are told by other anglers. Overtime you will develop a playbook that will help you gain that competitive advantage over your opponent (the lake and the fish you seek). “Plan a Plan and Plan to execute that Plan”.

If all else fails do what my wife does and drag a worm behind the boat while reading a book and set the hook when the bass interrupts her reading. But she has a plan (it has to be a zoom lizard in June bug or bluegill and I can't fish heavy grass where it interrupts her reading by hanging up)

Don't second guess your plan with over analyzing leave that for the drive home
 

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I started out the same way Keith, like hot cakes and then as I expanded I got worse until I quit for a few years to crappie fish. When I picked it back up I was born again and realized how much I didn't know that I thought I did know. I think as you master more techniques or just pick the ones you really love you'll get back on top.
 
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Thanks for the replies. This was more of an exercise to help us all not over analyze every little detail.

In no way am I saying to not have knowledge, that is foolish. However, I do think that great fishing success is instinctive and too much "book learning" can and will ruin things. Learning what everyone else does by reading the latest bassmasters mag or watching the newest TV show or reading posts here and there about what everyone else does to win might and I stress the word might hinder you.

To me it is taking the knowledge that you already possess and squeezing it to milk every last thing from it and then trusting in YOUR instincts to know what to do and when. This is what I had in mind in starting this thread and based on the responses here was pretty successful ;)

To further illustrate my point, I will use the same analogy that TCB so eloquently used. In football the players and coaches all have knowledge that they utilize. My point is not tossing out the playbook or knowledge IE a game plan. But rather to not overdo that knowledge or playbook. You definitely need a good solid foundation. (This thread is intended for those who already have a foundation under them. If not, soak up as much as you can to learn some things. Then once you got a good foundation under you then come back to this thread.)You see if currently you have a sweep left running play and your team is really really good at it and executes it great allot, but the coaches want to keep pace with the hot west coast teams, so they add new wrinkles and add 4 more sweep left running plays into the mix each with a slightly different blocking scheme and snap count etc. That can confuse the players and make them not as effective since they might be unsure of which blocking scheme to use. In essence they over thought themselves into a shoddy performance rather then trusting their playersd abilities to make it happen with what they already had.

In the same manner when we are always adding new techniques and lures into the tacklebox we can literally dumb down our knowledge by spreading it out too thin. This is in essence what I was referring to. Sort of like jack of all trades (lures, presentations etc) yet master of none. Jay Yelas stated this same thing one time when interviewed right after he won the Classic. He said he has his strengths and what he does is fish to his strengths. He doesn't get caught up in what everyone else is doing or the latest crazes to hit the trail. He just looks for water that he can throw a spinnerbait in for instance.

This is going to be a year of simplicity for me and getting back to basics of what I do best. I don't care what the Joneses of the fishing world are doing that much. I am an excellent fisherman and will focus back in on the things that I excell at. How about you? Are you going to try to run with the pack at every whim or fad or narrow in on what you are good at and master that technique or two or three etc?

Thank you all for adding your thoughts.
 

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Fishing memories, not the moment, Jan '07, GD.
When traveling to fish a new lake or one we haven't fished for a long time we take the time to study the lake and prepare to fish. We are not encumbered with preconceive ideas, so we have a fresh outlook and only expectations of what may develop on the water.
The big mistake some fisherman make is to plan so far ahead that they force feed the bass what they believe should be working, without trying to learn what is working.
Knowledge is power as the old axiom states. Have you ever thought back to a time when catching bass was hard and If you only knew then what you know now, the tackle and lures you have, you would have slaughtered them?
The one thing about bass is they can be unpredictable on any given day, however their seasonal period behavior is generally routine and locations relatively predictable. If you ignore what you may have learned and just hope dumb luck will make you more successful, then knowledge will not help you. If you believe your old standby will always catch bass, you are in for a long dry spell. Confidence lures and presentations are wonderful to fall back on, however you may never develop a new confidence lure if you never explore new presentations and lures.
The key to all this sharing and learning is how you go about implementing what you have learned. Go out a practice one or two new things at a time and incorporate what works for you and discard what doesn't. Don't try to force feed the bass, try to find them and give them what they are looking for.
Tom
 

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On ocassion I find myself a bit overwhelmed by all of the tackle, rods, lures, soft baits, swimbaits, maps, etc..

In one aspect, all of the information has helped me when it comes to finding bigger fish, but on the other hand I can name tournaments where I didn't do well because I over analyzed a situation and before I realized it, it was too late to change strategies.

One of the biggest things I've had to do is stop trying to use tactics I read about in the mags because they are based on lakes/impoundments outside of Florida and for the most part, won't work here. A perfect example of this is yesterday, I spent the day on the lake practicing for last nights tournament and didn't catch a single fish, not one! I tried doing what the "mags" say to do. I found windswept points with cover that were adjacent to spawning flats with access to deeper water..... a big fat zero. I used every spinnerbait underer the sun, worms, senkos, drop shot, slash baits, crankbaits, you name it and not one single fish.

What did I do? I went and did what works for me. A pro would have asked me what the heck did I think I was doing? You can't catch fish that way! Well, it worked for me when I was a kid, and it works for me now.

My overall opinion is this, wherever there is water there are fish, maybe not the numbers of fish but there are fish in "that" water. As far as I know fish don't read the mags, they just swim, eat, and make more fish. We're the one's making a mountain out of a simple mole hill.
 

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When in Rome, do what the Romans do, sound familiar? Well, what do the Romans do? Without knowledge you will never have any idea what to do where.
In Florida you should be using presentations that target FLMB, not NLMB, Spotted bass or Smallmouth bass. Why waste your time trying presentations that doesn't target the FLMB. Knowing there is a difference is good information. Knowing when, where and how to present lures that FLMB prefer will improve your ability to catch big FLMB. You may strike out trying those same presentations on NLMB, Smallmouth and Spots.
At night bass are free to roam and they do. Big bass don't go crazy because it's dark and change their habits or prey preference, they just change locations if the prey they seek isn't located close to where they already are. If the prey is close by, then they don't move, they just become active in the same area. FLMB will eat soft plastics at night, large crank baits and swim baits at night, sometimes buzzers. I rarely use spinner baits at night for FLMB because I just don't do well with them after dark. 7 to 10" plastic worms, jigs and crank baits are what Ive found work for me at night for FLMB.
On the other hand Surface lures and single spin spinner baits work good on NLMB and Smallmouth at night, along with worms and jigs. You just need to fish the secondary breaks for smallies and the bank for NLMB at night. Bass are Bass.
Tom
 

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I have begun to make my own reference guide from selected articles on Bassholes and from mags and such. As I organize the material, I highlight the information that tends to relate to the lakes I fish most often and use that as a resource. There is no way, with all the info shared on this board that I can absorbe it all but if I see something that turns the light bulb on for me :idea:, I make sure it is highlighted. I went fishing Sunday and Saturday I made some notes from my guide(just 4 or 5) of some things to try, places to look for and lures to possibly use. The notes were brief, and the list was short because I was going fishing, not reading! :rofl1: I wound up trying some new things(for me) and had a fun trip, caught 7 fish between 1 and 1/2 to 3 pounds with a big of 5.25 pounds. For my first trip this year I was pleased, but I didn't overload on the things I've been learning because I made a short list of things I knew I wanted to try. Next trip, I will look at what was effective and what new information I may want to try out. I hope that by doing this, I will improve my skills without causing a brain burn out!! :pop-r:
 
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This is a good thread as we have many members from different states and backgrounds chimming in. All of the techniques and opinions are valid ones as that member has seen it work for THEM.

I have been blessed enough to live in a variety of states and this has allowed me to fish for my favorite fish the bass in quite a bit of different water types. I have fished deep rocky bluff lakes with little to no timber, deep rocky bluff type lakes with lots of timber, shallow non weedy or 100% weedless lakes with tons of timber, shallow lakes that are chocked full of weeds, clear water, stained water, natural lakes, man made reservoirs, rivers both tidal and non tidal.

In each body of water It took me a little time to dial in on what works for that particular body of water. In some lakes a twin tail smoke colored grub fished on a light 1/8 ounce jig head was the ticket in 30' of water and in other lakes a red trap fished over shallow hydrilla was another or jigs out around creek channels or t-rigged worms or topwaters early etc. yada, yada yada.

I can tell you this much, lakes in different parts of the country do fish differently then lakes in other parts of the country to a point. On the other hand I have found some techniques such as using a red trap in pre spawn to be universal at every body of water in every state I have ever fished in.

I still stand by what I said as far as overloading ourselves with too much knowledge for our own good. Too much of anything can be bad. Fishing is turning into what the computer industry is now. Buy one hot computer and in a couple months it is nearly obsolete already. This is what I see to a smaller scale in fishing. Fads and trends sweep the nation thanks to boards like this and magazines and TV shows.

Getting back to the football analogy for a minute. Playbooks are quit thick and require a great deal of study. This is like our fishing knowledge about lures, presentations, bass basics such as where they feed, when they feed, how weather effects them, water clarity, temp, etc. This is our playbook and for most of us is quit thick already. Some have a NEW York sized telephone book while others might have a cell phone directory size :) Point is, if we do not revisit things we have already learned or used from our playbooks we will lose them. If we are always looking for the newest craze or fad and lure we might lose something else in the process. Why not just flip to page 67 in our playbook (so to speak) and get back to what we already know?

If we keep adding pages to our playbook then we run the risk of losing information we once knew. Unless of course we are Tom :neener: Just messing with you Tom. haha. One day the rest of us might hear someone say something about us like "this guy has forgot more knowledge about bass fishing then most of us know right now" While this might have been an attempt at a compliment it to me is a stinging reality of what happens to us as we age. We forget things we once learned because we kept adding so much new stuff in that old stuff slipped out the back door. Some of that old stuff was pretty good stuff. I already see that happening to me. We can only master so much or attempt to master so much.

Point to all this? Yep, trust your instincts, trust your knower in your gut and just fish! I am sure you have enough knowledge & experience tucked away in there to draw from to more then help you in every situation. Plus, have fun. That to me is the main thing about fishing. If it ain't fun anymore why bother?
 

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Knowing that natural lakes, rivers and reservoirs are classified by the type of terrain they occupy helps to determine what type of bass live there and where they prefer to locate at what time of year. This is bass behavior knowledge. If you just launched your boat and used your favorite lure along the shoreline, would you catch bass....maybe! This is exactly what the majority of fisherman do and is the reason that 10% of the fisherman will always catch 90% of the bass. The 10% are knowledgable bass fisherman that have taken the time to learn basic bass habits and seasonal locations. So I disagree with the notion that any one lure will catch bass anywhere any time on any water. I agree that any bass lure will catch bass at times. Does it really matter, not really if that satisfies your fishing day and you are enjoying your time on the water. If you are a competitive bass fisherman, then donating your money to those who always seem to catch bass, those 10% people, then it may matter. Some people are just lucky and other aren't. For me it was important to understand bass behavior and motivated me to write the Cosmic Clock and Bass Calender way back in the 1970's. I believe that knowledge helped me catch hundreds of big bass, when almost everyone else was happy catching small Bass. Different strokes for different folks and we are all bass fisherman at the end of the day. If you do not enjoy your time on the water, it's time to stay home.
Tom
 
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So I disagree with the notion that any one lure will catch bass anywhere any time on any water.
Where was this notion mentioned? If it was based on something I said then you misunderstood me. I will go out on a limb and assume that this is in reference to me saying that I have caught fish on a red trap in lots of lakes in several different states during the pre spawn. This is a true statement as I have. However, I would never say that using a red trap is the only lure to catch fish in every lake, in every situation or every season. In fact, I have said several times that the red trap bite is on the decline right now as we head into post spawn and summer patterns. But that is knowledge that I have learned over the years of fishing that helps me when I show up at a lake for the first time. In Fact, I prove this knowledge every year around this pre spawn period when I catch nice bass and lots of them and sometimes even take people's money when I enter tournaments using nothing but lipless crankbaits.

This is just something that I am so confident in that I truly believe that I can catch bass on red traps or traps in general during the pre spawn period on any lake anywhere. (As long as the lake is not frozen :) )I might get skunked here and there but I promise more often then not, I won't and I will have a really good day.

Besides, this thread is not advocating ignorance as bliss. It is making an assumption that the person reading this has a good bit of knowledge already about bass fishing. Not a newb who just started out who relies on dumb luck to catch a fish or two. The title is at what point does knowledge hinder us? Not, does knowledge hinder us?
 
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