How many times are you in the weigh in line at a local, regional or Pro-Am style tournament and hear another angler say “I just couldn’t get that kicker bite”. These words have been uttered and spoken by all of us that have fished competitively.
There are many things you can do to put that kicker in your live well. There are also many things that you can do that will stack the odds against it.
- What is a kicker at the event you are fishing? If you are fishing at Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn, Falcon or OH Ivie a seven-pounder is certainly not a kicker fish. On the flip side if you are fishing smaller bodies of water or lakes that are not known for big bass, a seven pounder is an absolute water donkey. You need to have a realistic idea of what size bass lives in that particular body of water.
- What are you catching & what should it take to win?
Will 15 pounds win? Will 20 pounds win? If you are fishing a Carolina Rig on main lake points and are consistently catching two pounders and have five in the box for 12 pounds will this win-place or show? If not, you need to change things up. You can start throwing larger bait or go to a different game plan altogether. I have heard you can’t leave fish to find fish. I however disagree with this 100 percent. When you pay your money to compete, you are not simply trying to catch fish. You are then trying to catch the biggest five possible. Nobody cares that you caught 30 fish and the guy that won only caught seven.
- Change your mindset. Get it out of your mind that you have to be catching fish constantly. When you know you have a decent limit and are looking for that kicker, you need to transition into hunting mode. Select areas and baits that you have confidence in catching larger than average size fish. If you have the mindset of trying to cull up a few ounces at a time, you will rarely catch that kicker fish you need to win.
- Best Baits for Kickers. Remember what I said earlier. Know your body of water when it comes to selecting the right bait when you are head hunting. My trio of baits that will be deployed when I am gearing up for battle are a Swimbait, Large Walking Bait (Spook) and a big jig w magnum trailer. I have an extreme amount of confidence in these baits to catch larger than average size fish. I will throw these baits and not worry about getting tons of bites. Remember, QUALITY. You are needing ONE BITE. If your confidence baits are a magnum fluke, 10-inch worm or a Alabama rig pick um up and throw um knowing a collision is coming with a green sea creature.
- High Percentage Areas. If you are fishing a body of water you know well, fish areas that have produced kicker fish in the past if the season is right. If you do not know the body of water very well, fish high percentage areas such as long tapering points, channel swing banks, deep grass lines and creek mouths in the main lake.
Not The Norm
Big fish are not the norm or else everyone would catch them. When you have a decent sack and are looking for that kicker fish, don’t be afraid to mix it up and swing for the fences. At this point you are looking for one swing of the rod to win the event. My good friend Boone in the picture came all the way from Kentucky to fish for a few bites a day in hopes of that “kicker” fish. We decided to leave smaller fish and numbers for less fish and more quality bites. It paid off big time as Boone caught his new personal best, this 10.12lber on a Pantone ¾-oz football jig in 22 foot of water. Don’t quit just because you aren’t getting bit, keep the right mindset and be ready when the big bite does come.
In the words of Michael Iaconelli “Never Give Up”!