Patience Pays Off
Editor's Note: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Arkansas, one of the truly nice guys on the professional bass-fishing circuit and a longtime member of Strike King's Pro Fishing Team, doesn't call attention to himself. But when tournament day arrives, the quiet Cochran becomes one of the most fierce competitors on the tournament trail. Also the winner of two BASS Masters Classics in 1987 and 1996, Cochran has qualified for the Classic numerous times. Many anglers consider Cochran the master of finding overlooked places to fish and using under-utilized tactics to catch bass. A maverick who doesn't follow the crowd, he has proved he's one of the best shallow-water anglers in the nation.
Question: What do you do when you're struggling, nothing is working for you, and the bass just won't bite?
Cochran: I never give up. I keep an open mind and continue to fish. You have to realize that sometimes during the day bass will quit biting, and you just can't catch them. However, if I know I'm using the right tactic and the best bait, then I'll stay with that strategy until the bass start to bite. The fish have to feed sooner or later. I've won a number of tournaments in the last five minutes of fishing time because I won't give up until I've fished every bit of time that I have.
I believe in using the solunar tables. When the weather is normal, I consistently have seen bass bite when the solunar tables have said the time is best for catching fish. I've also learned that the solunar tables are extremely helpful to let you know when a big bass is going to bite. I believe solunar tables can predict when a big bass will bite better than anything else I know.
Question: How critical is mental attitude to your success as a professional angler?
Cochran: I believe that mental attitude is critical not only to your success as a bass fisherman but also to your success in life. If you don't have a positive mental attitude, you can't compete to win in a tournament or in life. I know if I only fish 10 tournaments a year, I can fish really good and be successful in at least six of them. Therefore, the more tournaments I fish, the more I'll win. The real key to success for me is to fish enough tournaments so that I can establish a consistent winning pattern.
Question: How do you come back mentally after a major loss in a tournament?
Cochran: Being a tournament fisherman is like living on a roller coaster. You have many big highs and a lot of low lows. One day you're great, and the next day you may fish terribly. I've learned that after each tournament is over to put it behind me. If I've had a bad tournament, I don't think about it anymore. I only concentrate on what I can do to try and catch more bass in the next tournament. I've learned to stay with the type of fishing that I believe I am strongest at -- shallow-water fishing. If the tournament is going to be on a lake that has productive shallow-water fishing, I can usually do really well. If the tournament takes place on a lake with very little or no shallow water, then I go out and do the best I can.