When decades from now they conduct an autopsy and cut Bryan Thrift’s brain open, I suspect they’ll find a scrolling ticker tape that spits out the combined results of four 12-inch graphs and the solunar tables.
At Anglers Inn El Salto, the guides fully expect to land every one of the many fish you’ll catch. I don’t really roll like that, so my general rule is to land all fish caught on single-hooked lures myself, unless they are net-worthy, and to leave the vast majority of fish caught on treble hooked lures to them.
Since we don’t live on the Tennessee River or some other classic ledge lake, Hanna and I don’t get a lot of chances to catch two fish on one bait on a single cast. I’ve done it once in my life in Virginia, landing two 1-pound non keepers on a Rat-L-Trap while practicing for a tournament at Smith Mountain Lake.
One of the nice things about traveling to Anglers Inn International’s properties is that they launder your clothes every day. Remove one item of clothing from your luggage and you can stow away a few more packs of Senkos. Drop another pair of shorts or shirt and there’s room for another big crankbait or several more topwaters. It is, in the truest sense, addition by subtraction.
While a Senko has probably accounted for 75 percent of the bass I’ve caught in recent years, I have worked hard to pare down the number of colors I carry in the boat. Truth be told, at this point I could probably get away with black with blue flake (#021) and green pumpkin (#297) for the vast majority of my efforts.
The best natural fisherman I know is someone who can throw the wrong lure in the wrong place at the wrong time, occasionally on the wrong tackle, and still catch a fish better than any of the ones in your livewell. You work down a grass line with him in the back of the boat and he throws away from the grass into open space and catches a kicker. You’re fishing thick brush with big fish and he throws in a 10 inch worm on a 1/0 hook with 10 lb. line and effortlessly hooks and lands a 5-pounder. I’ve seen it time and time again and while it remains amazing it’s no longer surprising.
For a long time, Kevin VanDam was the model for building a bass career. Not only was he exceptionally gifted and ruthless on the water, but he simultaneously seemed to understand the media and business side of the sport as well. He was able to focus on each individual event without losing sight of the long game. Whether he knew it or not, he served as a template for the next group of super-successful pros – the Ikes, Swindles, AMarts and even Skeets.
My current Bass Cat Eyra, which I plan to replace later this year, is the fifth bass boat I’ve owned. It’s also the most lightly used among the bunch. As I’ve gotten older, not only have increased obligations prevented me from fishing as much, but a decreased sense of urgency combined with greater discretion lead me to treat my boats more gently.