Efficiency and confidence equals success

When your time on the water is limited – during a tournament or recreational fishing – you’ve got to be efficient to capitalize on what time you have.

That’s what I faced earlier this week when a film crew met me in northern Michigan to tape some segments for Strike King’s Pro Team Journal. It will air next spring.

The key to getting a good show is locating and catching bass in a short period of time and making it a teaching moment.

We were on a natural lake that has a lot of steep breaks and deep flats. We had lots of sunshine and light winds which made for a pleasant day on the water.

It’s the early fall season here in Michigan, a time when the bass shift away from crawfish and key on baitfish. On this lake, it was emerald shiners, smelt and alewives, all open-water baitfish.

As I idled off the edges of the flats, I saw big clouds of bait suspended off the drop-off. They were in the 7- to 15-foot depth zones.

The problem is this lake has miles of expansive flats and numerous breaks. I had to cover a lot of water quickly to put together the puzzle and find concentrations of bass.

That’s why I picked up the new Strike King KVD 1.5 that has a lot of erratic action and runs about 10 feet.

I’d fish a quarter of mile before I’d get a bite, but if I got multiples, I’d mark a waypoint on my Humminbird.

After I had caught a dozen or so nice bass I was able to narrow down a pattern. I looked at the waypoints I had marked and saw that the best action didn’t come on points of the flats but were on tapering breaks that had an inside turn cutting into the breakline.

Although the crankbait was catching quite a few fish, I knew I had to change to something that I could fish more efficiently, stay in the strike zone longer and was more suitable for those conditions.

I switched to the KVD Deep Jerkbait and began hitting only those inside turns and my catch rates tripled.

Now, I know I could have thrown a swimbait, grub or other baits to catch those fish, but I had confidence in the jerkbait and it matched the conditions. Having confidence in a technique and lure trumps a lot of things.

That’s something that I’ve learned in watching Bassmaster LIVE. Oftentimes guys fishing the same area of a lake are having a lot of success even though each one is fishing an entirely different lure or pattern. They are factoring in the conditions yet still utilizing their confidence.

So, it’s important to be efficient and critical to take into account the conditions, but in the end you have to have confidence in the technique and bait you are using. Otherwise, your head will be full of doubts.

My decisions this week paid off handsomely, as you will see when you watch the show next spring. In short order, I caught 20 nice smallmouth and quite a few walleyes as well.

It happened because I was able to utilize the information I gathered that day and sprinkled in confidence in a lure and pattern to have a pretty good day on the water.

That’s the key to a successful day on the water.

And, of course, keeping the right attitude!

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.