3 min to read
Going for the Big Bite – Destin DeMarion
Category : BACK DECK
Big baits, heavy cover, stout rods, and strong line. These are the things we think about when we consider big fish tactics. As a co angler, opportunities to catch these big fish are going to be much narrower than our boaters. Therefore, we need to be able to capitalize on these opportunities. In this article, I will explain the importance of the “big bite” for a co angler, and things to do that have worked for me.
Different tournament organizations have different rules for co anglers that definitely impact how you want to strategize. Here is a list of tournament organizations and differing co angler limits on fish:
- Bassmaster Opens – 3 fish limit
- FLW Tour, Everstarts, BFLs – 5 fish limit
- PAA Tournaments – 3 fish limit
- ABA Tournaments – 3 fish limit
How many fish I need to fill a limit is going to shape my game plan for each day. For circuits like the FLW, when I need a 5-fish limit, my strategy is normally to try and catch a solid limit and then focus on upgrading. If it’s a stingy fishery however, I will more than likely just swing for the fences from the get-go because bites will be at a premium for everyone. For the circuits that have 3-fish co angler limits, my gameplan is almost always going to be to swing for the fences.
When swinging for the fences I go big nearly every time. The techniques I usually employ are throwing swimbaits/Alabama Rigs, frogs/toads, jigs and punch rigs, big spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits. It takes a huge commitment in order to make these techniques work for you, especially out of the back of the boat. You are fishing for much fewer bites, but you are also looking at above average quality of fish. It’s extremely hard to commit to something like this especially when your boater and other fisherman are catching fish on other techniques, but it can pay big dividends by the end of the day.
Knowing which technique to employ is half the battle. Throwing a swimbait is not always going to be the right choice, just as a throwing a buzzbait may not be either. Make sure you are using the right technique in the right situations and under the right conditions. Practice time and time on the water in general will help you make the right decisions. If you aren’t able to have much of either of these, just make sure you do your homework and you should be able to make an educated decision. Be open-minded and trust your instincts. Pay attention to where you are fishing and what is going on around you.
In each of my top 10 finishes this season, I swung for the fences at some point. At the Bassmaster Southern Open at Logan Martin Lake, Alabama, the key for me making the cut was the deep swimbait bite I was on. Day 1, my bag was anchored with a 3.5 lb spot and Day 2, a 4+ lber. Each day, I only managed a few bites on the swimbait, but they were definitely the most beneficial. At the BFL Northeast tournament on the Potomac River in June, it was fairly easy for me to get bites on finesse techniques, but my kicker fish came from flipping a beaver with a punch skirt around scattered vegetation. Without that fish I would’ve just had a decent bag, but because I was able to have that huge upgrade, it enabled me to sneak into the top 10.
There have definitely been times where I have been burned by this all or nothing attitude. You have to be able to adapt this mentality when needed. Trial and error have been the best methods for me and I believe they can work for you also. Just don’t be afraid to fail sometimes, because remember failures only leads you closer to success. Tightlines!
Circuits Fished: Bassmaster Northern and Southern Opens, Everstarts, BFL Northeast, and Bassmaster Weekend Series
Years Co: 2.5
Favorite Technique: Power fishing with a Frog, Chatterbait, or Swimbait
Hobbies aside from Fishing: Running and Hunting