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That much of bass fishing as we know it today has been a sort of chuck-and-chance-it, haphazard proposition, can be taken for granted, one reason why there are so few really successful fishermen in this branch of the angling art.
To fling any plug indiscriminately hither and yon and reel it through the waters and expect to take fish during such aimless dredging operations may work in waters that have been but little fished.
But in waters that are cast over day after day from spring till the snow flies by hard-fishing votaries of the sport, is yet another thing.
Sooner or later one comes by the common knowledge that as fishes become accustomed to the presence of its chief enemy, Man, and more and more lures of all kinds are seen parading the waters, they become, in the sense of things, “educated.”
Surely in the name of self-preservation, the first law of Nature, we can visualize that possibility, even though we might not be willing to concede to the fish a scintilla of intelligence.
We like to think of fish more or less as dumb items of life that should pleasantly commit suicide one after another on any sort of a garish dingus offered them. But nothing of the sort happens. Call it heightened or advanced instinct or call it the operation of a grain of intelligence; we know it to be a fact that the fishes, especially bass, inhabiting our waters, are becoming smarter and more shy.
As I will indicate somewhere in this work, we have been able to harness the atom, but when we come to making a sure-fire killer on bass we still are a long way from our goal. It is doubtful if that day will ever come.
To match wits with “educated” bass, the fisherman must perforce use tackle of a finer nature, less clumsy, less heavy in caliber, lures that are smaller, lines that are less distinguishable in the water, combined with a definite skill in casting and placing the lure to the right spot as silently and in as lifelike a manner as possible.
I believe that the practice of spinning, though greatly exaggerated as to value, still has hit upon a right solution and is due to become much in vogue in the future, much as some of us dislike the idea and hate to be pestered with it.
Bache Brown, who introduced spinning into this country, did one thing for which he can everlastingly be thanked.
Spinning virtually closed the past eras of large lures and gave us the midget or baby lures, which every tackle firm of note is now engaged in putting out.
This has not only been a boon to the spinning enthusiast, who has been depending on insignificant spinning lures from England and France, but the lightweight tackle enthusiast using a light bait casting rod, lightweight tournament type reel and light line, has at last found such lures to select from as he never dreamed would be possible. It has been to his benefit as much as to the benefit of the man who cleaves to spinning.
The practice of “hazard” fishing has been gone into. This is one of the most exciting adventures met with in bass fishing. I have been one of the first to cover the intricate nature of such fishing which is conducted in the most dismaying of all grounds: the weeds, marsh grasses, reeds, pads, bonnets, vines, brush, stumps, debris and down-trees, those places in fact where some of the largest of the bass are to be found when feeding bent.
There is also info on the Kentucky or spotted bass, and the only true bass in our inland fresh waters, the white bass or striper.
No attempt has been made to conceal the name of a lure. It is one of those ironic misconceptions entertained by many that should you so much as identify, by name, any product, at once the suspicion becomes prevalent that you are being paid handsomely by the company whose product is named.
Of course there is ample reason for such suspicions since the practice of “plugging” products, especially on the air, has become common place, if not a prime nuisance, and is carrying commercialization to a tawdry limit.
Oddly enough, in the guns and ammunition field one can mention any company and any product freely and fully and no one arises to criticise. But in the field of tackle-making, up until the present there have been editorial dampers on the use of names. It is to be noted, however, that books on angling are now naming lures out and out, so we no longer find ourselves suppressed and squeamish on the score of calling who is who and what is what by its proper name.
We are not in the employ of any tackle maker in the world, and we receive no compensation for naming a lure, or lures. If a plug or attractor is named, the reason is obviously to distinguish a type, thus to lead the fisherman right in seeking to establish the manner of lure indicated. By this short-cut we, are saved the ordeal of answering interminable letters, which otherwise come in asking to know the name of this or that manner of lure that has been discribed.