When Yamaha Pro Todd Faircloth begins a day of fishing, he may strap as many as 15 different rods on his boat deck, each rigged with a different lure or type of line. To many this might seem excessive, but to Faircloth it’s often a shortcut to success.
“Certainly, I change lures when I’m not getting strikes,” Faircloth acknowledges, “but I usually change lures when I do start getting strikes, too, primarily to learn if the bass will hit something else a little better. Gradually, as the day continues, I’ll begin putting certain rods and lures away, but initially, I want everything available immediately so I don’t use up time having to rig a rod when I’m on the water.
“Most of the time, when I’m still trying to figure out where the fish are and which lure they prefer, if I don’t have a particular lure ready to cast, I just won’t take the time to rig it.”
Faircloth’s on-deck lure selection includes jigs, different sizes of crankbaits, and soft plastic worms and creature baits rigged in various styles. In the summer, he’ll also have topwaters and probably one or more swim baits. He’ll have casting rods, spinning rods, and flipping sticks, too.
The order in which Faircloth rotates through his lures depends on the water temperature and the season of the year, both of which largely determine what the bass should be doing. Nevertheless, he always begins by fishing with one of his “confidence lures,” such as a jig or a Carolina rig plastic worm.
“I think a fisherman should always start by trying to catch bass with a lure he really likes and feels confident using,” explains the Yamaha Pro, “because he’ll usually work it more efficiently. The problem is making yourself put that favorite lure away when bass aren’t hitting it.
“It’s important to remember that not getting any strikes is not necessarily bad, because it definitely tells you you’re doing something wrong. You have to analyze every situation and try to adjust for it. For example, if you’ve been fishing a crankbait and retrieving it fast, maybe a different lure and presentation, such as a jig crawled along the bottom, will be more effective.
“This is why I have both jigs and crankbaits available on my boat deck. I can make that change immediately.”
Faircloth also emphasizes the importance of changing lures even when bass are biting. This is particularly true when you’re catching only small bass, which usually tend to be more aggressive. Catching those fish indicates you are around a group of bass, but making a slight change may result in catching large fish.
“When I catch two or three small bass from the same general spot, I usually change to a slightly larger lure and also try to fish a littler deeper,” he notes. “Catching smaller bass tells me I am doing something right, but I have to figure out what that is, so I also change retrieve speeds.
“On the other hand, if the bass I catch are quality fish in the three to five pound class, I may change lures to see if there’s something else they’ll hit better. The type of strikes I’m getting may tell me what I need to do. Very light strikes, for example, might indicate that my lure is too large, so I’ll change to a smaller one.
“Rotating through different lures also keeps the fish from becoming accustomed to always seeing and hearing the same lure,” Faircloth continues. “Schools of bass often stop biting after you’ve caught several of them, but by continually showing them a different lure, you may be able to keep them active longer.”
Still another reason the Yamaha Pro keeps so many rods and lures available for immediate use is that it allows him to fish faster. As he works his way down a shoreline or a long point, he’s able to fish vegetation, rocks, boat docks, or whatever type of cover or structure he encounters, simply by putting down one rod and picking up another.
“I know the boat deck looks crowded, and I have accidentally kicked a rod overboard,” Faircloth laughs, “but overall, I’m convinced having everything right in front of me like I do makes my fishing much easier.” Y