How to Be a Better Bass Angler

9 Ways to Become a Better Angler by NOT Fishing for Bass by Pete Robbins

Winter 2020

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angle, you might as well have been fishing in barren waters. They were voracious, but not careless. Bass can be the same way.


Combs excels at offshore fishing, but he’d never caught a fish as deep as some of our halibut, most of which came from the 150 foot depth range. That’s when the sensitivity of your rod and line really come into play, as does paying attention to what’s going on. It affects the battle, too – you might think you’ve winched up a lot of line, only to realize that the barn door is 75 feet down. Learn to take your time.


I’ve fished for a wide variety of species and they all have certain biological imperatives – they need to eat, they need to reproduce, and they’re wary of predators. Current also often plays a role in their lives. By considering those needs you’re halfway to figuring out where they live and how to catch them. The halibut came on “main lake points” off an island, but out in 150-feet of water. The trout used current breaks to feed without expending much energy. Those are bass-like characteristics and made sense when we saw them in action.


While the similarities are numerous, there are enough differences in the way various species act, and the gear that you need to pursue them, that closing your mind to the possibilities is a futile mistake. If you expect them to zig, and you hardwire your brain to that action, you’re going to miss fish and lose fish when they zag instead. Also, they’re built differently. Remember, you can’t lip a lingcod!


On one of our flyouts to Katmai National Park, Keith and I were guided by two ladies who were young enough to be our daughters. We’d both fished tournaments before they were born. Despite the fact that we substantially outweighed them, they carried the packs all day, and the few times we asked them to demonstrate a particular cast or technique, they made the difficult look easy. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. •

If you want to check out two Alaska experiences that both Combs and I can vouch for without reservations, check out:

Captain Chris Hanna, Outer Coast (Seward, AK)

Bear Trail Lodge (King Salmon, AK)

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