By Kevin VanDam
When you watch or hear how fellow competitors approach various situations, you can get a different perspective of what works for others.
Some pros opt for power fishing, others with finesse fishing and then there are those who mix the two dramatically different techniques.
It’s no secret that I love to power fish. I feel more efficient when I’m covering water. I believe it increases my odds of finding an area where the fish are numerous and biting, especially on the lakes we fish that are vast and you can’t cover much territory by fishing slow.
On the other hand, I’ve come to realize that there are times when finesse fishing is the most effective way to fish.
I struggle with that because I’m always looking to power fish first and use finesse as a backup. I’ve won tournaments over the years by fishing both ways, but the skill level of today’s field makes it even more important to utilize both.
You can no longer fish one way in most tournaments and still win. There are times when you have to finesse fish to maximize the number of fish you catch off one spot or from an area.
I am well aware that you can ALWAYS catch bass finesse fishing. There are days when there are enough fish confined to one area where you can do that.
But it doesn’t happen very often.
Angler temperament is another issue. Some anglers feel more comfortable power fishing while others prefer to stay in an area and finesse fish.
Mark Zona and I are good contrasts. When we fish together, he usually reaches for a jig, drop-shot, or tube and touches every piece of the bottom in a small area. I’m working a broader area with spinnerbaits, crankbaits or jerkbaits.
It’s amazing how we can both be successful doing our own thing fishing the same area, but there are other times when one works better than another.
Choosing the best technique is always a guessing game but it often come down finding a presentation that balances your confidence level with the fishing conditions.
That doesn’t mean one is always better than another.
While watching tournament videos of other anglers, I’ve seen competitors fishing the same general area but each doing something different to be successful.
Sometimes it calls for a hybrid approach with “power finesse” tactic. For example, if I think the bass aren’t biting a fast mover, I will fish a jerkbait that stays in the strike zone longer and use that to help me determine what’s there. If I pick up a couple of fish, I will go back through it with a finesse application and pick off a few more.
The jerkbait allowed me to cover more water quicker and it also gave me the confidence there are fish there and to fish back through it with a drop shot, tube or jig.
So fish your strengths but be prepared to utilize both styles. It will make you a more rounded angler and allow you to capitalize on what the lake has to offer on a given day.