Hiding a Fish to Win
Editor's Note: Thirty-one-year-old Mark Rose of Marion, Arkansas, has fished professionally for about 3-1/2 years. In the past, he worked as a district executive for the Boy Scouts of America's national office. He went pro with Strike King about 3 years ago. Although he's never won a tournament, he proves his consistency and determination by always finishing near the top.
Question: Do you think you've done anything that can be considered weird at a tournament?
Rose: Normally, I'd think it is weird for a fisherman to find a big fish in a bed and put a brush top over it so that other fishermen don't spot their fish. But I actually had to utilize this tactic this year. I found a bed in the back of a pocket with a large bass on it. A sailboat was anchored close to the bed. When I reached the bed, I was thinking "how on earth can I hide this fish?"
I looked around and saw no one, so I anchored the sailboat on top of the bed. Since I knew the fish was there, I was able to come back and throw underneath the boat and catch the fish. I don't usually recommend moving sailboats over beds, but I think that tactic was very helpful in this tournament situation. So, if you locate a bed, find a way to hide it. Place something over the bed that doesn't affect the fish and its spawning.
Question: Will a bass move away if you place something on top of its bed?
Rose: No, it doesn't affect its mood or its spawn. This tactic is merely a way that you can set yourself apart from the others.
Question: How do you find these bedded bass, and what tactics do you use to catch them ?
Rose: Some anglers are using their relatives to help them in sight-fishing tournaments. Relatives or someone who hasn't fished on the tournament lake are the only people that can pre-fish with the professional angler. I know lots of tournament fishermen who get their fathers or family members to drive their boats while they look for bedding fish.
I have also seen several guys whose dads idle them around while they stand up on the front seat. People are taking sight fishing to extremes by elevating their platforms so they can see into the water better. The law says that you can't go above the top level of the boat with any kind of elevation, but you can stand in your seat. Sight fishing is really getting competitive, and the fishermen are going to extremes to catch the best bass.
Question: What do you look for when trying to pick the perfect spot to fish?
Rose: When searching for the perfect place to fish, look for the clearest water on the lake and for hard bottoms. Ultimately you want to go toward a dam and find the clearest water. If a certain spot doesn't look as clear as the others, go to the clearest areas. You want to try to plan your pre-fishing around the brightest weather. If you're probably not going to have bright skies during the tournament, don't waste your time looking for beds while you pre-fish. Probably the information you learn won't be applicable.
There are so many ways that you can utilize sight fishing, but most of the time you are looking for the time of the year when the water temperatures gets up to around 50 degrees. So look for the clear water, find the most-perfect fishing spot on a bright, sunny day, and try to read the fish as well as you can.