Where Large Bass Live with Pro Angler Ken Cook
When I interviewed Bassmaster Classic winners to learn how they would locate the biggest bass in a lake, they all agreed that you needed to hunt for areas that no one else would fish. Several anglers mentioned they take numbers of big bass on clean banks that don’t have any cover or structure on them. Most fishermen will look at these areas and say, “There’s no point in fishing that spot, because there’s no reason for a bass to be there.” Although there may not be but one or two bass in a half-mile of clean bank, those couple of bass usually will be larger bass that are very aggressive, since they haven’t seen many lures. Too, bigger bass like to hold on the deep tips of long points. Because most anglers fish in the top 5 to 8 feet of water on a long point, that zone is the story of water that receives the most fishing pressure, boat traffic and wave action. All that pressure on the baitfish and the bass will cause them to move-out onto the deep end of the point. Although very-few anglers fish the deepest tips of points before they drop-off into a creek or a river channel, that’s the place where you’ll probably locate the bigger bass. Fishing longer and more intensively in what appears to be non-productive areas may help a fisherman catch bigger bass.
Just as a detective might consult human behavioral scientists to determine what a particular personality type might do under stress and pressure, I talked with fisheries scientist, Ken Cook of Meers, Oklahoma, who won almost $1 million catching bass, before retiring recently. A consistent competitor on the professional bass-fishing scene, Cook could tell me why large bass did what they did and base that information on sound, scientific principles. “Big bass like their solitude,” Cook says. “By the time a bass reaches its trophy potential, it probably has had some negative experience with anglers. Therefore, it has learned how to avoid fishermen. Big bass prefer to hold where there’s some type of overhead cover, which can be either heavy structure or deep water.” A big bass becomes very-territorially-minded if it finds a piece of heavy cover that it can stay in without being harassed and often may spend much of the day in that cover, while remaining relatively inactive. The only way to catch a large bass like this is to put a bait close to the bass. Even though the fish is a large bass, it’s still an opportunistic predator that will attack any bait that passes close by. According to Cook, “If the big bass isn’t in heavy cover, the fish will generally go to deep water. Bass that are deep are very hard to catch, because an angler can’t place his lure as accurately in deep water. Too, he can’t see the structure where the fish is holding. Accurate lure presentation can trigger an instinctive bite from a large bass that may not want to feed. But most fishermen are not as proficient with lures in deep water as they are in shallow water.”