Tools Do Not Define Techniques

Tools Do Not Define Techniques

The following thoughts address anglers new to swimbaits. A swimbait is just a lure, another tool within your tackle that can be applied to many techniques. If your goal as a fisherman is to solely use swimbaits and achieve only swimbait catches, it is your freedom of choice. However, the "swimbait or nothing" approach is not what most of us are pursuing. Swimbaits are not 'magic bullets', nor are they the only lure that will catch larger and more bass. As good as swimbaits can be, like all lures, they are purely another tool.

The following thoughts address anglers new to swimbaits.  

A swimbait is just a lure, another tool within your tackle that can be applied to many techniques. If your goal as a fisherman is to solely use swimbaits and achieve only swimbait catches, it is your freedom of choice. However, the "swimbait or nothing" approach is not what most of us are pursuing. Swimbaits are not 'magic bullets', nor are they the only lure that will catch larger and more bass. As good as swimbaits can be, like all lures, they are purely another tool.

It has been said many times at the BBZ that tools do not define techniques. Lures are tools that are  applied to fish catching techniques. These techniques are what deceive fish into reacting as they would ordinarily in any natural environment. To illustrate the fact that a lure does not define a technique let's look at a scenario.

You suspect bass have positioned themselves in relation to a submerged bush and a rock pile in 7' of water. The bush sits next to a boulder out-cropping on a ledge located on the bluff wall. The boulders and the bush are at one end of the shelf where the shelf turns back into the bluff wall, the bush is on the inside of the boulders against the wall and slightly away from the drop off edge of the shelf. Water clarity allows us to see to depths of 10'. You see the bush and its relation to the boulders as well as the topography and you identify it as a 'funnel', a likely ambush spot. You have also considered where you suspect the bass is expecting it's next meal to come from as it enters the funnel.

Weighing this circumstance I'll illustrate a technique.  Position yourself tight to the bluff wall a good distance away from the boulder end of the shelf.  Knowing that the bass are keyed in on baitfish you then present a baitfish imitation and make a cast to the other end of the shelf opposite of the boulders. You next move is to retrieve the lure on top of the shelf close to the bluff wall. As you retrieve you anticipate two deflections, one at the bush and the second at the boulders. As you reach the bush first your lure deflects and then heads for the boulders, and just before you reach the boulders the bass strikes. After a solid hook-set you move her off the shelf and she is out in deep water in front of the bluff wall. It's a big bass but you play her well and you have a nice catch.

 

Diagram of technique

Diagram of technique

Referring to the technique, notice that I did not identify a lure. The lure is a component of the fish catching  technique. So what tools could you apply to this scenario?  A short list could be, a spinner bait, a chatter bait, a crank bait, and yes you guessed it, a swimbait. In other words you can use different lures for the same technique. So if you understand two important concepts:  1) swimbaits are a tool, not a technique  2) tools do not define techniques. You will be well on your way to understanding when and how to use swimbaits.

Different tools for different tasks

Different tools for different tasks

Does every tool apply to every technique? No of course not. You must identify specific situations that calls for specific tasks and tools. The question should always be - what tool(s) are best suited to support the technique I'm using? 

Look at it this way, prior to using jigs as an angler you are proficient in using many tools including catching bass with crank baits and plastic worms. Then you heard and read about the possibilities and the big bass catching power of jigs. This sparked your interests and changed your beliefs leaving you with one obstacle, " wavering confidence".  One day, you crossed this obstacle rigged with a jig that you gathered extensive information on. To make a long story short; time passed, you practiced well and gained the experience needed to become an excellent jig fisherman.

You are back on the water and rigged with your tools, the crank bait, the plastic worm and this time also a jig. As your day progresses you are able to indentify different situations and make choices to use multiple techniques. In doing so you employ the different lures at various times. This is not a case where you abandon your plastics and cranks and now exclusively throw jigs.  What you have done is expanded your skills by increasing the number of tools and options you can apply to fish catching techniques. 

Multiple tools for varied techniques

Multiple tools for varied techniques

Now go back to the previous two paragraphs and substitute the term jig with swimbait. Swimbaits especially the big bait can be intimidating. They are unfamiliar to many and surrounded by myth and misconceptions. When learning how to use them it is really no different than any other lure you were once unfamiliar with.

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How do these bass positions change your presentation both vertically and horizontally? A B or C during post frontal conditions 10 degree water temperature drop with bluebird sky's where will the bass most likely be?  Does wind direction 1 and 2 effect your boat position? Give me some answers. 

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