|Yamaha bass pro doesn't always go for a heavy-duty rod.|
Most anglers think it takes a heavy-duty rod to land a big bass, especially if you are a tournament fisherperson. Todd Faircloth has a different take.
Faircloth, a Yamaha sponsored pro angler and six-time Bassmaster Elite tournament winner, isn’t always looking for a sturdy rod to quickly host his catch into the boat.
Yamaha’s media relations folks recently shared interview thoughts with Faircloth, who hails from Texas, and his thoughts may be useful to the everyday bass angler as well as those who fish the tournament trail.
Among his contemporaries in professional bass fishing, Todd rates as one of the most consistent anglers in the sport, regularly finishing well. He has a simple answer for his consistency: he doesn’t lose very many fish.
“It’s not an easy lesson to learn, and believe me, I’ve lost my share of fish that ended up costing me some high finishes and definitely a lot of money,” smiles Faircloth, who will be fishing his 14th Bassmaster Classic® in March, “but I have also spent a lot of time studying why I lost those fish, and have made some serious adjustments in my fishing style to keep fish losses at a minimum.”
The first adjustment Faircloth made was to change to softer action rods when he fishes treble hook lures such as crankbaits and jerkbaits. One of the main reasons anglers lose bass is because their rods are too stiff and hooks simply pull free. Instead of using a heavy action rod, Faircloth has changed to slightly more limber medium action rods that flex evenly and with less pressure.
In winning a Bassmaster® Elite tournament at Lake Amistad several years ago, for example, Faircloth used a medium-action, 7-foot 6-inch flipping stick while fishing a heavy swimbait lure. Most want the heaviest action rod they can find with these types of lures, but Faircloth boated bass over eight pounds with the more limber rod and won with a total of 76 pounds, 15 ounces. Just as importantly, he never lost a fish.
“On swimbaits, crankbaits, and jerkbaits especially, you’re not really setting the hooks on the fish itself,” explains the Yamaha Pro. “Instead, the bass is grabbing the lure and you’re just pulling the hooks into it. A stiffer, heavy action rod simply does not flex to absorb the shock when you do this, and the hooks never grab the fish.
“This doesn’t happen nearly as often with a single-hook lure like a jig or plastic worm because you’re just driving the one hook into the fish’s mouth, and a stiffer rod can do this.
“At the same time,” adds Faircloth, “treble hook lures often tend to be larger lures, and bass use the weight of the lure itself as leverage to help them ‘throw’ the lure free.” That led to Faircloth’s second major fishing adjustment, which is to change all the treble hooks on his lures to short-shank models.
“The majority of factory-made lures today are fitted with long-shank treble hooks that swing more freely when a bass jumps and shakes its head,” he adds. “Every time a fish does that, chances increase the lure will come loose.”
Faircloth’s third fishing adjustment was to change how he played bass as he was bringing them to the boat. He stopped depending on the drag systems in his baitcasting reels to control the fish and began relying entirely on spool pressure he applied himself.
“I don’t use the drag system on baitcasters at all,” the Yamaha Pro emphasizes. “Instead, I disengage the reel and thumb my spool. I feel like this gives me quicker and more complete control, especially on a larger bass.
“These are just three changes I’ve made in my fishing over the years, and now I hardly think twice about them,” concludes Faircloth. “I still lose a bass occasionally, as does every fisherman, but certainly not as many as I did a few years ago.”