Knocking the rust off

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Shane Durrance

Anglers may not hear or read much about casting accuracy these days in bass fishing, but Mark Menendez can attest that it’s critical.

I’m calling this year the "Knocking the Rust Off World Tour." I didn’t realize until it happened how much I would miss fishing the full schedule. At first it didn’t bother me not to go anywhere or do anything. After a while, though, it got old. The COVID thing had some to do with that, but it was not fishing that was a part of it too.  

So the first stop of the year was especially sweet, and it was made even sweeter by my having a good tournament. I finished fifth at the 2021 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River. Let’s be honest: I always want to win, but fifth place isn’t bad considering this was my first event after my back problems of last year. Honestly, it increased my positive mental attitude. 

On that same subject, I have to say that my back’s in good shape. I babied it a little when I ran my boat. Timid might be a better way to describe how I was doing things. In fact one of the reasons I fished where I did was because it was close and didn’t have any really rough water to cover to get there and back. And, I was able to stand for seven straight days without pain. That was no small thing in my mind. 

So that part of things went really well. What didn’t go so well was my casting accuracy. I was reminded in a hurry how important accuracy is and how much of it I’d lost. 

Back when I was getting ready for this year I fished mostly with a crankbait and with a drop shot. That gave me the casting exercise I needed, but it didn’t help me with accuracy. When I started fishing the St. Johns River I was into heavy cover. I needed to flip, pitch and make really short casts to precise spots that weren’t very big. I learned in a hurry that 2 feet off the mark doesn’t get it.

It was crazy. When I got a bite I knew exactly what I needed to do to get another one. But when I tried to do that it didn’t always happen. If I was to be blunt about it, I’d tell you it was somewhere between sloppy and embarrassing. My accuracy skills were awful.  

That’s a good reminder for every angler who’s reading this column. You don’t hear or read much about accuracy these days in bass fishing, but I’m here to tell you that it’s critical. If you don’t get your bait where the fish are holding, you won’t catch them. It’s that simple.

Take it from me. Spend some time working on your accuracy. It’ll make a big difference in your catch. 

That’s about all I have to say. I’m driving home trying to beat the snow that’s on it’s way to Kentucky. And, I want to see Melissa and the kids as soon as possible. I’ve been away from them long enough. 

Next time we’ll catch some fish, I promise.