We’ve mentioned Jason Lucas here at the Bass Fishing Archives a number of times as being the father of contemporary bass fishing and will continue to do so as time progresses. For those of you who don’t know, Lucas was made angling editor of Sports Afield magazine in the late 40s and penned the first real book on bass fishing in 1947, which was reprinted two more times, first in 1949 and again in 1962.
As Brian said in an article earlier this year, we’ll be doing a book review on his Lucas on Bass Fishing book at some point in the future – if any of you have read it, you know that won’t be a trivial task. In the meantime, I was reading a couple of my old issues of Sports Afield and thought I’d share with you some of Lucas’ thoughts on bass fishing and even give you a test that was featured in the April 1958 issue of the magazine. (For those of you who like tests, there won’t be any grades or awards. If you ace it, just know that Lucas would be proud of you.)
April 1958 – You Can Always Find Bass
From this article penned in 1958, I think you’ll realize what I mean about Lucas being one of, if not the best bass anglers of the time. This article not only talks about how to find bass but how to efficiently catch them. What I’ll do here is show a few clippings from the article and make some comments about them.
At the beginning of this clip Lucas is referring how good anglers can catch fish out of nearly any body of water at any time. He then goes on to talk about the 10/90 rule we’ve heard so often in fishing and that the 10 percent of the anglers doing all the catching are more efficient. Doesn’t sound like too much of a stretch but when you think about the year it was written, it’s pretty amazing.
Here’s another clip that really breaks down Lucas’ thoughts on why experienced anglers catch more fish. He states that the experienced angler doesn’t waste any motion and keeps his lure in the fish’s eye on nearly every cast. He’s talking not only about high-percentage casts but also high-percentage lures for the conditions.
In this clip, Lucas is again referring to the advanced angler as being efficient by not only choosing the right casts and lures but also the right areas or spots. He said, “[H]e’ll concentrate on the spots, often far apart, that will have most bass in them, passing up the rest without a glance.” Is he talking about pattern fishing or just fishing a bunch of known spots that differ in cover/structure, depth, etc? I think it’s the former. Lucas may not be given credit for the term pattern fishing – he never mentioned the term in anything I’ve ever read from him – but I feel pretty confident this is exactly what he’s talking about.
The next part of the article deals with how to find productive spots. The interesting thing is he talks of off-shore structure rather than finding shoreline areas. Mind you this is one year after the Lowrance (LEMCO) Fish Lo-K-Tor was developed and not many anglers had them let alone had heard of them. How did Lucas find offshore structure? Here’s part of the answer.
In this part of the article it’s obvious from the words that Lucas was talking about how to find a great area on a natural lake. He talks about the secondary weedline away from the shore and what to do if there a depth break away from that weedline. This information may seem obvious to today’s angler but up through the 70s it was this type of information that anglers were craving. Lucas was talking about it in the 40s and 50s.
Since few anglers used or even knew of electric motors during this time, Lucas relied on his main tiller-steered motor and an anchor to hold him on a spot. Lucas knew that sound vibrations had an effect on bass and therefore had a warning for his readers.
The lateral line? They knew about that in 1958?
Lucas also talks about noise generated in the boat and by fish when landing them. Here’s something I think you’ll really find interesting with respect to his findings pertaining to this issue.
Lucas may be the first person to actually say in written word that catching a fish can excite a school – something you hear many pros today talking about.
Lucas then goes on to talk about which lure to choose when fishing an area of this type. He’s had the angler find a spot that has a depth break off a secondary weedline and anchor on the depth break. He now advises them to first throw a topwater lure, presumably towards the weedline as their first choice – depending on the time of day.
His reasoning for using the topwater lure are for pure sport of fishing but if you think about it, this also pertains to today’s bass angling thought of – catch the active fish before the non-active fish. In other words, catch the dumb ones first and then switch to a slower moving lure that can get the rest.
Here’s what he has to say about surface versus deeper presentations.
The next piece of information Lucas talks about is fishing far offshore and how to locate and remember where these spots are.
Notice how tricky Lucas was with respect to marking his spots in order not to allow anyone else to find them. It’d probably drive him nuts today with the sidescan depthfinders and GPS systems we use today. That or he’d call every contemporary angler something like subpar or entitled.
This is just a small look into the world of Jason Lucas and his thoughts on successful bass fishing. As stated in the beginning of this article we intend to bring to light a lot of his work and ideas of bass fishing. Until then we hope we’ve given you an idea of what he was like and what he had accomplished as an angler back when there was little if any technology. In conclusion, here’s the test that was presented with the article. We’ll post the answers as they were given in this piece from 1958 next Monday. Have a great weekend everyone and we hope your livewells are full.