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The Bass-Baseball Connection: Would You Be Scouted For The Majors?

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August 12, 2013

The Bass-Baseball Connection: Would You Be Scouted For The Majors?

By Dave Wolak

Baseball is often called America's favorite pastime, and being a big fan of pro and college ball, I don’t necessarily disagree. But I’m going to go ahead and say bass fishing may hold down a close second, and the two are kind of similar. Both baseball and bass fishing are long, drawn-out games that can seem boring to lay people. Maybe they'll watch the action-packed moments that make the highlight reels. If you're intimately involved in either sport, however, you may be more impressed with the skill or decision-making that lead to a quick snippet in a highlight reel. In baseball, a great overall player is measured by the 5 predominant tools he possesses, which include hitting for average, hitting for power, overall speed on the bases, fielding prowess, and arm strength when throwing. In bass fishing, I have never really seen 5 performance tools laid out, so here’s what I came up with based on my experience and “scouting” other great anglers. What are your strengths, and where do you need improvement?

Fishing What You See: Understanding how to attack and decipher shallow cover is a huge component of bass fishing. And I'm not just talking about choosing the correct bait. I'm referring to the ability to choose the prime shallow locations based on variables like time of the year, picking the best cover when there's tons of other great looking cover available, and the ability to gauge if that piece of cover is worth the time to fish. Good shallow fishermen decipher this well; great shallow fishermen dissect the most finite details of what their spot should hold and how to use it to get results.

Fishing What You Don't See: There is something about fishing deep that creates a roadblock for many anglers. Great deep fishermen precisely calculate all the measurements of their boat electronics, boat position, and strike-inducing casting angles. They possess the uncanny ability to feel their baits on the unseen structure. The average angler has difficulty with deep-water fishing because there are usually no immediate visual cues or feedback associated with each cast or each fish caught. It's a hugely important tool that some never develop, but a very necessary one to master if you want to conquer bass during all phases of their annual cycles.

Adapting to the Conditions: It may be a little difficult to pinpoint an accurate measurement of this tool, as it would be in the case of timing a home-to first run in baseball, but it’s still very important. In bass fishing you are dealing with many variables like weather changes, water clarity, barometric pressure, wind…this list could go on and on. The ability to adapt to the given situation—or changing situation—requires a lot of data absorption, processing, and recalculating. Doing it well often takes a great deal of mental fortitude and a willingness to roll with the punches without panicking or giving up. Some have it, and therefore can make split-second decisions to move, stay, or change lures. Others are "one trick ponies," or spend too much time weighing options, which inevitably results in less bass in the boat.

Casting: Not only is it necessary to have pinpoint accuracy at all distances to score high in this category, the presentation, landing, and overall manipulation of a particular bait to get strikes has to be second nature at all times, especially during the pressure-packed moments. In baseball, a great hitter uses all parts of the field with both power and average in mind and holds the bat like a magic wand, even in the clutch. So must a great casting angler, regardless of what style rod, reel, or lure is in his or her hands.

Endurance: If you think both physical and mental conditioning doesn't play a part in the success of the modern bass fisherman, you are dead wrong. A day on the water is a long drawn out game, and if you lump three or four days together you are talking about a very tiring process for the mind and body. I often find that poor decisions made on the water are the result of an angler being tired. So, an angler that scores high in this category must be able to look beyond what the body and mind tells them not to do after the 7th inning stretch, and do it anyway to afford the opportunity of a win in the bottom of the 9th.

Comments (12)

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from buckhunter wrote 36 weeks 1 day ago

I love the analogies. Great advice, also. Having played and coached baseball nearly all my life I could not agree more.

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from omarfishesalot wrote 36 weeks 1 day ago

this article is one of the reasons I hate largemouth bass and bass fishing.

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from David Wolak wrote 36 weeks 1 day ago

Bass are often referred to as the most sought after game species. When you have this many people chasing them wherever there is fresh water, there are some anglers that are going to stand out as better than others in certain aspects of how they catch bass. And then there are others that don't wish to become better. They may enjoy their "hang out in left field" approach or simply wetting a line... maybe with some buddies. It's all just as good though, no matter what level of involvement you choose. Thanks for reading.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 31Alpha wrote 36 weeks 1 day ago

I agree with the Bass Fishing concept, but I think America should reassess baseball as a favorite pasttime. Especially with the new crop of popular "professional" players. Most of the popular players are not exactly role model material (A-Rod, for example). I'm sure there are some out there that are doing good things, and not just for publicity. And I'm sure the professionals are highly skilled at what they do, but are they truly athletes in the physical fitness sense? I would argue that marathon runners, cyclist (mountain/road), football players, swimmers...etc are the truer definition of athletes than baseball players. Sure, most probably couldn't hit a 400ft home run off a 98 mph fastball, but I would consider that to be a specific skill than a demonstration of athletic prowess.

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from buckhunter wrote 36 weeks 20 hours ago

Not so fast there, Alpha. I hear the use of PFD's is rampant on the professional bass tours.

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from buckhunter wrote 36 weeks 20 hours ago

Not so fast there, Alpha. I hear the use of PFD's is rampant on the professional bass tours.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 31Alpha wrote 36 weeks 18 hours ago

@buckhunter...I see what you did there...*slow clap*

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 31Alpha wrote 36 weeks 18 hours ago

@buckhunter...I see what you did there...*slow clap*

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 36 weeks 17 hours ago

Hey. It's free. lol

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from rjw wrote 36 weeks 12 hours ago

Those 5 reasons you speak of are some of the reasons I fish for Bass, its all about the challenge and becoming better in everything we do. Not saying that I excel in them to the point of becoming a Pro, just more in the sense of enjoying a challenge and putting the proverbial puzzle together and the best reward is when you get that little tug on the line that almost rips the rod from your hand, and of course cruising at 60+ mph across glass right at sunrise is the best way too start any day.

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from David Wolak wrote 36 weeks 1 hour ago

Well said rjw....

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from santa wrote 36 weeks 42 min ago

Dave, The best thing about bass fishing is the same as golf or sex, you do not actually have to be good at it to enjoy it. All the performance tools you mentioned are acquired conditioning. It just takes practice and experience to get good. If you choose to try to make a living at bass fishing, all the performance tools you listed are a must because your family depends on you to perform well in order to provide support for them. I was paid to fish, design, and test tackle in the seventies and I was "forced" to fish at least 50% of my time. Baitcast reels used to have the levelwind go back and forth going zing when you cast. The friction of the moving levelwind mechanism when you cast limited the distance of your casts and provided some resistance to slow down the spool. The new BB1 reel of our design team completely disengaged the levelwind for casting so I not only had to learn to cast a new type of baitcast reel, but I also had to help wright the rules on how to cast the new disengaging levelwind baitcast reels. I had to get good at bass fishing because it was a part of my profession and it took the fun out of it. For the readers out there who love to fish for relaxation or just have fun, remember that "fishing" is merely an activity where you "try" to catch fish and even a pro can get skunked. Just enjoy the chase and practice the sport as often as you can and all the tools mentioned above will come naturally. Then if you acquire all the above mentioned tools and if you do turn pro, fishing no longer is a hobby, it becomes a job which is work. It is hard to believe, but when it becomes a job, you actually look forward to a vacation from it at times.

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from buckhunter wrote 36 weeks 1 day ago

I love the analogies. Great advice, also. Having played and coached baseball nearly all my life I could not agree more.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from David Wolak wrote 36 weeks 1 day ago

Bass are often referred to as the most sought after game species. When you have this many people chasing them wherever there is fresh water, there are some anglers that are going to stand out as better than others in certain aspects of how they catch bass. And then there are others that don't wish to become better. They may enjoy their "hang out in left field" approach or simply wetting a line... maybe with some buddies. It's all just as good though, no matter what level of involvement you choose. Thanks for reading.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 36 weeks 20 hours ago

Not so fast there, Alpha. I hear the use of PFD's is rampant on the professional bass tours.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 36 weeks 42 min ago

Dave, The best thing about bass fishing is the same as golf or sex, you do not actually have to be good at it to enjoy it. All the performance tools you mentioned are acquired conditioning. It just takes practice and experience to get good. If you choose to try to make a living at bass fishing, all the performance tools you listed are a must because your family depends on you to perform well in order to provide support for them. I was paid to fish, design, and test tackle in the seventies and I was "forced" to fish at least 50% of my time. Baitcast reels used to have the levelwind go back and forth going zing when you cast. The friction of the moving levelwind mechanism when you cast limited the distance of your casts and provided some resistance to slow down the spool. The new BB1 reel of our design team completely disengaged the levelwind for casting so I not only had to learn to cast a new type of baitcast reel, but I also had to help wright the rules on how to cast the new disengaging levelwind baitcast reels. I had to get good at bass fishing because it was a part of my profession and it took the fun out of it. For the readers out there who love to fish for relaxation or just have fun, remember that "fishing" is merely an activity where you "try" to catch fish and even a pro can get skunked. Just enjoy the chase and practice the sport as often as you can and all the tools mentioned above will come naturally. Then if you acquire all the above mentioned tools and if you do turn pro, fishing no longer is a hobby, it becomes a job which is work. It is hard to believe, but when it becomes a job, you actually look forward to a vacation from it at times.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from omarfishesalot wrote 36 weeks 1 day ago

this article is one of the reasons I hate largemouth bass and bass fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 31Alpha wrote 36 weeks 1 day ago

I agree with the Bass Fishing concept, but I think America should reassess baseball as a favorite pasttime. Especially with the new crop of popular "professional" players. Most of the popular players are not exactly role model material (A-Rod, for example). I'm sure there are some out there that are doing good things, and not just for publicity. And I'm sure the professionals are highly skilled at what they do, but are they truly athletes in the physical fitness sense? I would argue that marathon runners, cyclist (mountain/road), football players, swimmers...etc are the truer definition of athletes than baseball players. Sure, most probably couldn't hit a 400ft home run off a 98 mph fastball, but I would consider that to be a specific skill than a demonstration of athletic prowess.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 36 weeks 20 hours ago

Not so fast there, Alpha. I hear the use of PFD's is rampant on the professional bass tours.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 31Alpha wrote 36 weeks 18 hours ago

@buckhunter...I see what you did there...*slow clap*

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 31Alpha wrote 36 weeks 18 hours ago

@buckhunter...I see what you did there...*slow clap*

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 36 weeks 17 hours ago

Hey. It's free. lol

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rjw wrote 36 weeks 12 hours ago

Those 5 reasons you speak of are some of the reasons I fish for Bass, its all about the challenge and becoming better in everything we do. Not saying that I excel in them to the point of becoming a Pro, just more in the sense of enjoying a challenge and putting the proverbial puzzle together and the best reward is when you get that little tug on the line that almost rips the rod from your hand, and of course cruising at 60+ mph across glass right at sunrise is the best way too start any day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from David Wolak wrote 36 weeks 1 hour ago

Well said rjw....

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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