If you want to get better at bass fishing and have some fun at the same time, fish the shallow slop. I do it, and it’s made a big difference in my career.
What I’m talking about is getting way back into places where most of the other anglers can’t or won’t. You’ll find bass populations that live their whole lives without seeing a lure or an angler, and you’ll have a lot more fun than you thought was possible.
Imagine a place where you can mess around with a frog where the bass have only seen the real thing. They have no experience with a fake. You can practice with different presentations, different sizes and different colors and, maybe more importantly, with different designs. It’s an experience that’ll help you find out what works best for you and for your style of fishing.
The same thing can happen with a spinnerbait, a jig, a walking stick, a shallow crankbait or almost any other lure that you carry. And, if you go into those places with the right watercraft — one that’s stable and that you can stand up in — you can even practice flipping and pitching under real world conditions.
Here’s the thing: It’s fine to practice in your backyard. Targeting plastic cups and plates sitting out in the open on top of grass will help you get better, but it’s not like the real thing. There’s no way you can duplicate what you might, and will, find on the water when you go fishing. Every flip and every pitch is unique out there.
There will be times when you will need to slide a lure over a small limb or twig and then drop it straight down into a tiny hole in the grass. And, you’ll have to do that from a specific angle and sometimes from a moving boat. Those situations are one of a kind. They only present themselves when you’re out fishing for real. The more you do it the better you’ll get at it.
The learning experience is enhanced by the fact that you’ll be catching fish. You get immediate feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
The best way I know of to get back into the kind of places I’m talking about is with a kayak. Modern full-size bass boats are something unreal. The engineering behind them is phenomenal. There’s no doubt that they help us catch more bass, but they aren’t made for narrow places and really shallow water. They’re just too big and heavy. A kayak isn’t.
I consider my Native Watercraft Titan Propel 10.5 and my Slayer Propel 10.0 to be essential pieces of my fishing equipment. They definitely help me stay on top of my competitive game. They’re stable and solid, but they’re also small and light. They let me get into places where I can relax, practice, learn and have a good time. My kayaks don’t replace my full-size boat and motor. They complement it.