Brandon Cobb | Mossy Oak Fishing Team
“I have to find a dock in 6.7 feet of water with round poles, exactly two docks from the back of a pocket.”
That may be a little exaggerated example, but over-patterning is one thing that is easy to do. I have done it, and I’m sure you have too.
Bass fishing is the most frustrating yet most exhilarating sport in the world. There is nothing like stumbling on to a pattern where you can run around the lake and catch a fish on command. But, it’s really easy to over-complicate a pattern and spin yourself out.
Trying to run an intricate pattern can eat up your whole day and 50 gallons of gas, with little to nothing to show for it. If you have to run 20 minutes just to find a place that looks like that fool-proof pattern you stumbled upon earlier that morning, you are probably overthinking it. I promise a few fish lived somewhere along that 15 miles of lake your Mercury just burnt up to find that laydown with 6 limbs on it.
Bass may seem like the most intelligent creatures on the planet when you have idled what seems like the Dead Sea for 12 hours, beating your head against that big HDS 12. But, I promise you are smarter than them. They are creatures of instinct and opportunity. There is no such thing as an exact pattern. The fish change hourly and a pattern that worked at takeoff may not work at lunch. As conditions change throughout the day, so do the fish. It’s important to know when to scrap the pattern you were running and keep grinding until you find another one.
I just caught three fish off of a rocky channel swing bank with lay downs towards the back of a pocket. I’m definitely going to keep that in mind and try to find another place similar. But if there are no other banks identical to that one in my immediate area, I’m definitely not going to run around half the lake just to find one more place exactly like that one. More than likely the channel swing, rocks or laydowns were important, but probably not all three. If there are other spots in that particular area of the lake with one or two of those characteristics, that’s my next stop.
I try to use a pattern to give me purpose to my choice of spots when fishing, but not as an exact template. Keep an open mind.