In Part One of this review of Advanced Bait Casting by Charles K. Fox we covered the Preface through Chapter 6. Subjects such as theory, tackle, casting, etc were briefly discussed so as not to divulge too much information to the person who possibly might want to buy the book and read it for themselves – no “spoiler alert” here folks.
Here in Part Two we’re going to go through the rest of the book, Chapters 7 through 13 along with the Post-Face – In Retrospect. As with the first six chapters, what remains is pretty eye-opening.
Chapter 7 – Resting Locations and Feeding Grounds
As with many of the other chapters within this book, the title pretty much sums up what is covered. Fox, as he does throughout the book, starts off this chapter spinning a story of a trip from the past and segues into the theories of the chapter.
He talks about the resting locations and feeding grounds of the bass and starts right off stating that the big fish, because of their size and demeanor, always occupy the best spots in any lake or river. He then goes on to say that anglers need to concentrate their efforts fishing the feeding grounds when activity is high, and resting grounds when activity is low. Knowing the difference is what makes a good fisherman good. He states, “The greatest difference between the two environments is their respective depth.”
Fox also talks of the use of Polaroid glasses to be able to see into the water and the practice of sinking branches to make cover for bass.
“If the angler expects to concentrate his attention on one lake he most certainly is ahead of the game if he will cut large branches of saplings, wire them together along with heavy rocks, and submerge the entanglements in the places of his choice – thus providing the fish with fine new resting places to which they will readily congregate.”
Ahead of his time? I think so.
Chapter 8 – Night Casting
As the title would suggest, this chapter is not about night casting but about night fishing. Fox talks about the tactics used along with the best baits and times. From what I read, the best time being when you can get out there at night. Fox’s primary baits for night fishing are pretty much all topwater baits, as would be expected. This chapter is mostly filled with stories of trips past but is definitely an entertaining read if you like fish stories.
Chapter 9 – Fall Fishing
From what I took from Chapter 9, Fox had not always fished the Fall season and only started after a buddy of his had shared his successes with him. Fox describes the Fall season and talks of the fish moving to their deep-water haunts of winter. In his area, this may be true but to me, the Fall season is dictated by a drastic surface temperature drop of at least 10 degrees within a week.
This was probably the least informative chapter in the book but filled with a number of great fishing stories – many of which we can all relate to.
Chapter 10 – Field Problems
Field problems deals with mostly specific scenarios that Fox and his buddies had faced over their angling careers. He tells of the ways they determined how to catch fish out of places where “there were no fish” according to other local experts, how to catch fish when certain bug hatches were prevalent and what to use to imitate crawdads and various prey fish. It’s a good all-around chapter on how to make an outing successful with what you’re dealt with.
Chapter 11 – Reflections
This chapter deal primarily with “when to fish,” be it daily times, seasonal times or with respect to weather and its changes. One interesting thought I found in the chapter was Fox’s preference for fishing during a rising barometer – complete opposite of what we are all taught today. In fact he states that the falling barometric pressure is the worst time to fish. I wonder how he came to that realization, be it from his field notes or hearsay.
He also talks of his disdain for competitive fishing. Although there weren’t tournaments such as we have today, he was talking more about going out with other anglers who wanted to beat “the expert” at all costs. It’s obvious he was more into fishing for the sport of fishing and camaraderie amongst anglers. To Fox, fishing was all about character.
Fox also discusses his belief in closed seasons for bass fishing – especially during the spawn. A devout conservationist, his belief was that just prior to the spawn – what we call prespawn now – and when the males are guarding beds are the worst times in which to have an open season. Today this topic is argued amongst anglers and biologists.
Chapter 12 – Recollections
Recollections is just that. A compendium of fishing stories/events that Fox tells from his past. The book is filled with these stories and in subsequent chapters, these stories were told to drive a point home. Chapter 12, on the other hand, is just good story telling. From the preceding chapters alone, it is obvious that Fox had done a lot of fishing in his time. His ability to tell a story about a past fishing trip was on par with his fishing ability, though. For those of you only interested in gaining knowledge of tactics and techniques, you might want to open your mind up to some stories of bass fishing days past. Fox will not disappoint.
Chapter 13 – Conservations
In Chapter 11 Fox talks a lot about his views on conservations. In Chapter 13, though, he delves deeper into the subject – something that during the catch-and-kill timeframe must have been controversial.
Fox doesn’t just talk of the conservation of fish, though. He talks of the conservation of trees, the prevention of soil erosion and the prevention of pollution from industry being feed into lakes, streams and rivers. He talks of fishery management and the induction of creel limits and closed seasons. This all before the advent of Ray Scott’s Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, Peg-a-Polluter and Don’t Kill Your Catch campaigns. Unfortunately it seems Fox’s opinions didn’t take hold nationally, especially when you think of water pollution. I wonder if this is where Ray Scott got his initial ideas concerning the subject.
Fox’s end to the book is but a page and a half of words but within it is one group of sentences that really caught my attention.
“An analytical mind and an observant pair of eyes compose the better half of the sum total of our angling equipment. The constant employment of these two assets, which in effect are a fisherman’s personality, account for more action when fish are readily takable, and they are responsible for for more pleasure when conditions are more complicated. One cannot afford to overlook anything for fear that that necessary little something, which is the difference between action and the lack of it, might be omitted. Furthermore, the use of imagination adds zest to our sport all of the time.”
These words could have been written by any of today’s best anglers in the sport. Roland Martin, Rick Clunn, Kevin VanDam, Randy Howell. They are the words that drive today’s top anglers to do better, they are the words they make their living from.
Again, there isn’t much new in bass fishing, it’s just all been forgotten about.