No doubt he’s one of the greatest bass anglers to have set foot in a boat. Was already recognized as one of the best 40 years ago, just 5 years into the new B.A.S.S. circuit, and still a formidable angler today, even. This weekend I was reading an interview he did while in Milwaukee back in 1973 with George Pazik and Spence Petros. I find it really interesting to see just what was already thought in terms of location and patterns that we still read and speak of, even accept, today, along with some of his thoughts on bass spawning and populations, subjects which are still debated to this day.
I’ve assembled a few excerpts from that interview on a variety of subjects covered to share with readers below.
EDITOR’S COMMENT: “A Roland Martin with a 10 horsepower motor will still knock the tail off the vast majority of fishermen.”
ON WINTERTIME: “The big problem in finding fish in the wintertime is that you have no lake stratification as far as temperature, so the only thing governing how deep they’ll go is water clarity and not temperature.”
ON STAGING AREAS: “The first place they’ll move to is the point nearest the spawning water.”
ON MOON PHASE & SPAWNING: “They’ll move in first on the full moon in January, and then on the new moon there’ll be some bass; on the full moon in February, the new moon in March, etc. It’s just like clockwork.”
ON FISHING FOR SPAWNERS: “Well, from my own experience I’ve not been able to catch but a very few percent of the fish that I have observed spawning.”
ON FISHING PRESSURE & BASS POPULATIONS: “Mother Nature does do a far more effective job on the balancing and eliminating of the bass population because we’re talking in the millions and billions here of bass. I don’t personally think that you can hurt a lake by fishing pressure.”
ON SMALLER MALE BASS: “There’s another thing that’s been kicked around by many biologists. Some people think these bass are hermaphroditic and that these little males that you see guarding the nest, actually have a change of sex after they get to about three pounds. This is all theory, but some people say they’ve proven it, but the fact is you’ve never seen a male bass over three pounds.”
ON KEEPING BIG BASS: “The most important thing is the female is not very fertile. She doesn’t have much time left so you’re really not hurting the bass population when you take a big lunker out in the spring.”
ON PATTERNS: “Well, first just a brief definition of a ‘pattern’. It’s a term that I coined about three years ago. It’s just a kind of catchall term that just for better clarification is, “the exact set of water and cover conditions which attract at least a certain percentage of the bass to that one spot…I’d say that on the average reservoir there’s probably 5-6 or so patterns each day that exist.”
ON SONAR: “Yes, the depth meter is the fisherman’s number one tool because it’s his eyes for seeing the underwater structure and cover. There’s one cardinal rule I follow every day that I fish, and that is to turn on the depth meter at the start of the day and to leave it run continuously all day long. Don’t ever turn it off…”