I just got back from an epic weekend of fishing at Lake Wheeler in northern Alabama with bass professionals Gerald Swindle (pictured here with a blue cat he caught on a crankbait), Terry “Big Show” Scroggins, and 28-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier Gary Klein. Not only did we have a great time, I learned an awful lot… funny, those things usually go hand-in-hand on a successful fishing trip.
What I really enjoy about fishing for bass with spinning gear and baitcasters is that I inevitably learn things that help my fly fishing. In this case, I spent a lot of time with the G-Man and Show talking about bottom structure, and how fish gravitate toward those hard structures (like rock piles and stumps) in a massive lake. Gary Klein talked at length about how currents often dictate exactly where the fish will be… exactly as they do in fly fishing for trout in a river.
While some fly fishers will go out of their ways to brand themselves “fly-only” anglers, I think that’s short-sighted. I’m becoming a proud, card-carrying bass-whacker. In fact, I’d say, that unless you spend time on other species like bass, and using other gear like baitcasters and jigs, you really can’t tap your full angling potential. I’d flip that around and say that you also can’t really become the complete conventional gear angler until you dabble around with a “flea” rod every now and then. Just my opinion, but it happens to be shared by some of the best in the business… It isn’t a coincidence, for example, that Mr. Merwin eloquently explains the best grips for a fly rod, as well as a baitcaster, in different posts on the Honest Angler blog.
There will be more stories to share from this Alabama trip in the future.