The Interviews

Article Index

Cochran's Unusual Tactic

Editor's Note: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Arkansas, a longtime member of Strike King's Pro Fishing Team, has won the BASS Masters Classic twice and has qualified for this World Series of bass fishing numerous times. Cochran has proved he's one of the best shallow-water anglers in the nation. Many fishermen consider Cochran the master of finding overlooked places to fish and using under-utilized tactics to catch bass. Today we're going to talk with Cochran about one time when Strike King saved the day for him.

Question: What unusual tactics or baits have you used in a tournament?

Cochran: Of course, I'm noted to be a shallow-water fisherman. I use one lure that people read about but rarely see anymore. This lure -- the Strike King Spence Scout -- has helped me win a few tournaments and catch bass when nobody else is catching them. I like to fish it in real thick cover. You can fish this little, wooden, weedless crankbait with a chartreuse skirt or a white skirt on the back through heavy cover.

This bait has helped me finish in the top 10 numerous times and is nothing like any of the other bass lures. I've never seen anything close to it. This lure has won several tournaments for me. I like to fish it in an unusual way. I throw it back over cover and reel it slowly, letting it crawl over logs. If you just reel it through the open water like most people do, you probably won't get a bite. But if you'll throw it over the cover and pull it over the log, you'll catch fish.

Question: How did you discover that method?

Cochran: When you're as old as I am and fish as much as I do, you'll try everything.

Question: Do you have another one?

Cochran:Yes, I have one more unusual method. During a B.A.S.S. tournament, I was in third place going into the last day. I was fishing in a location where I'd caught numbers of fish on a crankbait in the past, yet that day I couldn't catch a fish. I kept seeing these bass breaking the top of the water, and I couldn't figure out how to catch them.

I threw a few top-water lures, but the bass showed no interest in them. I picked up a Strike King Bitsy Bug buzzbait and threw it out. Usually, when you fish a buzzbait, you reel it so it makes little bubbles or noise across the surface. When I retrieved the buzzbait in this manner, the bass would swirl at it. So then I started throwing the same bait and reeling it under the water, which is not the way you fish a buzzbait. I fished it under the water slowly, and I started catching these big bass. I finished second in that tournament.

Since then, I've fished in situations where I couldn't catch a bass using normal methods. So, I'd take that little buzzbait, throw it out and reel it real slow. For some reason that's a different tactic than anybody is accustomed to, and that's how I've caught a lot of fish.

Question: Can you think of any other unusual or odd tactics that you may give a try?

Cochran: You know when you fish for a living, like I do, you try all new lures when you're not in a tournament. And you try new gadgets. I've learned a few secrets. For instance, most people flip a weighted-down Strike King tube. I've been taking a tube, putting a hook in it and working it like I will a top-water lure across the surface in heavy vegetation. I've caught a lot of fish this way. But I've just learned this new trick, and I'm anxious to see this year on the tournament trail if I can get the right situation in really thick cover to fish this tube. I just know it will work.

Question: How important do you think constantly coming up with new techniques is?

Cochran: One of the hottest things going is usually baits that fish haven't seen. Let's face it. All these big lakes have tournament after tournament after tournament. These bass get caught and released, and I know that they get educated. So they quit hitting some of the more-familiar lures. Therefore a new lure that they've never seen before is usually hot for a year or two before they become accustomed to it. You also can change-up how a lure looks by reeling it really fast, very slowly or by doing things with those lure that bass never have seen.