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When Strike King Saved the Day for George Cochran

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: Tell us how one of your Strike King lures saved the day.

Cochran: Thinking back to one of the first times Strike King saved the day, I was in a B.A.S.S. tournament, fishing Kentucky Lake. I'd been catching fish in thick cover with a spinner bait. Going into the last day, I was in the top five fishermen. Well, by noon I'd fished my best areas with the spinner bait and had caught only one bass and lost two or three more. The bass just didn't want that lure.

I guess the bass had seen the spinner bait in this area, and I'd caught all the good ones or all the ones that were easy to catch. The rest of those fish were getting hard to catch. So I set down in my boat at noon with only 2-1/2 hours to go. I opened my tackle my box and started looking. I said to myself, "What can I do to catch these bass? I know they're there, but I can't catch them on that spinner bait like I'd been catching them." I looked in my tackle box and suddenly saw the Strike King Spence Scout.

I can't tell you how many times I've fished logjams and really thick, shallow cover in the old days with the Spence Scout and caught fish on it. That's I keep some in my tackle box. I'd brought them with me just for a situation like this. I tied on a chartreuse-and-white Strike King Spence Scout. On my second cast, I caught a bass that weighed about 3 pounds. Next I took another one about 2 pounds.

Then I got to a lay-down log and caught one about 4 pounds. However, as I was fighting that bass and got it up to the boat, the bass went underneath a log and broke me off. I about had a heart attack. But I had one more Spence Scout. I tied that one on. I caught a good stringer of bass. I finished second in that tournament. If I'd caught that 4-pounder that broke me off, I'd have won the tournament. And don't forget -- we're talking about what happened in two hours during that tournament.

You never quit learning as a pro. My best advice to anybody listening to what I have to say is to never give up. If you're in an area where there's bass, and you're not doing very well on two or three baits, sit down in the boat. Study your arsenal. Sometimes, like me, you never even think about a particular bait until you open the drawers in your tackle box and see it -- like the ole Strike King Spence Scout. Once you see that bait, you may know it'll work. Strike King certainly saved the whole day for me on this tournament day.


Spinner Bait With Copper Blades

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: Tell us about another time Strike King lures saved the day.

Cochran: Another time a different one of the Strike King baits saved my fishing day was in Cincinnati, on the last day of the Classic held there. I'd been catching my fish on a worm and a tube.The last day of the Classic was really windy, with 20- to 30-mile-per-hour winds, which making worm fishing very hard. I knew I was in an area where there were some fish. The water was muddy, and I sat down in the boat and looked through my box.

Quite often I look at all my lures, thinking about how I can catch bass with them. And generally when I can't worm fish, I'll throw a crankbait or a spinner bait. On this last day of the Cincinnati Classic, I spotted a chartreuse Strike King spinner bait on which I'd put copper blades. Since I liked to fish this bait in muddy, dingy water, I tied it on. I didn't have but a few hours left to fish. And I went from 10th place to 6th place. Pulling that Strike King spinner bait out those last few hours saved my day.

Two years ago in Nashville, Tennessee, on Old Hickory Lake, Strike King saved my day once again during the last day of a tournament. On the first couple of days, I'd been catching fish on a Strike King tube, a top-water bait and a buzzbait. I had about a 1-mile stretch of creek I'd been fishing, flipping a tube around stumps and logs and throwing a buzzbait in real shallow water.

I was catching bass. Going into the last day of the tournament, I was in about 5th place. That last day, I fished everywhere I'd been catching bass and caught one fish. With only a couple more hours left to go in the tournament, I began to think about what I could do. I knew where the fish were.

Strike King had just come out with the little Series 1 crankbait, and I decided to try it. I tied on a shad color Series 1 with a green back and white sides. I went right back through the same area I'd fished slow earlier but hadn't caught anything with the other baits. The first pass I made, I caught a limit of bass. The next pass I culled one or two.

I finished 2nd in this tournament. I almost won the tournament by picking up the Strike King Series 1 crankbait, on the last day, in the last couple of hours. I'll never forget it. Since that day I bet I have won $100,000 on Series 1 crankbaits. That day made me a believer.


Cochran's 1/8-Ounce Buzzbait

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: Tell us about another time Strike King lures saved the day.

Cochran: I was in a terrible tournament and had caught fish on a spinner bait and a crankbait. This tournament paid the top 40, but going into the last day, I was placing somewhere in the 60s. I knew the only way to have a great day was to really get in some good bass. But by 11:00 a.m. on the last day, I still hadn't caught any fish using spinner baits or crankbaits. I wasn't sure if I wasn't around the fish or if I just wasn't throwing the right lures.

I came around this point, at a shallow-water bay and could see bass breaking. I threw a few different top-water baits and a floating worm and still didn't get a bite. I threw a minnow-type bait and still couldn't get a bite. So I started looking in my boat. I spotted a little 1/8-ounce buzzbait that Strike King had just come out with that I'd picked up at Wal-Mart.

I'd never even thrown the bait before. I tied on the buzzbait and started throwing it in the pocket. It threw like a 1/4-ounce bait, and I caught a nice string of fish. My partner didn't have anything smaller than a 1/4-ounce, so he was throwing a 1/4-ounce Lunker Lure. He only had four bites and never hooked any of the bass. I had 12 bites on my 1/8-ounce Strike King buzzbait and caught 11 fish.

The 1/8-ounce Strike King buzz bait matched the little minnows in that pocket. I had a field day. Strike King had, once again saved my bacon, with this new little lure. I now carry it everywhere I go. If it's a calm day, and the fish are feeding on little minnows, I guarantee this bait will catch them.


Cochran and the Spit-N-King

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: Tell us about another time Strike King lures saved the day.

Cochran: As you know, bass fishing is like any other sport. When you go into a sporting-goods store, if there is anything new, you have to buy it. That's how I came to own Strike King's top-water bait, the Spit-N-King. I have almost every top-water bait because I love to fish top water. So, when I saw it, I bought it.

I was entertaining one of my sponsors, so we went fishing. On this particular lake, I'd been catching fish on a Pop-R, a Devil's Horse and any other top-water bait. We'd caught a few bass that morning but weren't having the response we wanted. Many of the fish would blow up on our baits but wouldn't take them.

When my sponsor asked me what other top-water baits I had, I told him to open my tackle box and get anything he wanted. He found an unopened Strike King Spit-N-King and asked me if he could use it. I told him I hadn't ever thrown it, and I hoped he caught a fish using it. So he tied it on and fished right behind me.

I was fishing a Pop-R and any other top-water bait I could find. He fished the Spit-N-King. I caught one fish. He caught a nice string of fish. Of course, I only had one Spit-N-King, and I couldn't very well ask my sponsor to give me back my lure. So, he continued to catch bass, and I didn't.

The Strike King Spit-N-King saved my bacon that day. It was doing something none of the other baits had done, and I suppose it was because when you're chugging it along, it spits and really looks like a dancing minnow. That day the Strike King Spit-N-King really made all of the difference, turning an average fishing trip into a great fishing trip.


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.