A Review of "101 Bass Catching Secrets" By Roland Martin
Updated: Oct 29
When one of the sports legends puts out a book you need to read it. Despite this book originally coming out in 1980 at the height of his career someone with over 100 top 10 finishes in his 300 professional career tournaments has a ton everyone can learn from.
Roland was one of if not the pioneer of patterning fish! Before his time the idea of jumping from similar spot to spot because of the way fish were behaving was a foreign concept. While most anglers often hear about different patterns from every fishing news source and understand it at a high level Roland was the first to define it as the "exact set of water conditions such as depth, cover, structure, temperature, clarity, currents, etc which attract fish to that specific spot and to other similar spots all over the same body of water".
The only issue with patterning is that you need a ton of information to reveal the pattern, and you need to be able to see it! Not to mention you need to experience all the different scenarios to collect information. While Roland has enough experience on the water to recognize all these patterns most people don't have this time to learn them. At New wave Fishing Academy we don't want this to stop you from becoming more successful on the water. Our strategies are all developed from observed patterns and applying biology to determine the likely behaviour patterns we haven't yet been able to observe.
While a number of patterns are discussed in this book some of the interesting points we found had to deal with very subtle behavioural details and changes Roland makes to capitalize on them. One of these items has to do with the "reactionary bit". Roland thinks it happens as a defense mechanism for the fish where as a common thought is that it is a feed or miss out reaction. To back up his claim he pretends he is trying to snag fish by running his bait aggressive through the exact spot he figures they will be sitting to promote this strike.
Roland also mentions that he figures bass don't feed from hunger more than 1/3 of the time! This is similar to musky as was discussed in our review of "Musky Metrics". The more you learn about different fish the more you learn they are the same. Aside from hunger and as a reaction Roland notes bass will bite because of anger, competition, protection of the nest, and straight up ignorance. The small easy fish to catch typically bite more from ignorance but the bigger smarter fish out of anger or competition. The ignorance bite can be enticed by using "brand new" or baits nobody else is fishing. We often see this when new baits hit the market that fish haven't seen. There is usually a season of crazy catches before it dies off and becomes just another bait in the tackle box. This highlights the importance of changing things up and is unfortunately a reason why you'll never have enough fishing lures!
Competition is the other interesting bite that we have had the rare opportunity to witness a few times. When fish are schooling and feeding it only lasts a short time. During this time anything you can put in front of the fish will get bit. The important part is just getting something in front of them. One instance Roland mentions of this is having 5 rods all rigged with a bait he likes for schooling fish; instead of unhooking each fish he would just get it in the boat and grab a new rod to catch another, and another, and another before unhooking them. While this is pushing the boundaries on the fish handling practices of todays standard he noted he could boat 5 fish in the time his partner would only boat 1 before the feed died off. In a tournament setting this can be huge!
While different depths are mentioned throughout this book "deep" water is considered anything in the 15-20 ft or more range but the fish are mostly encountered in less than 10 ft. An important note when trying to break down your bodies of water.
Overall, this book was a very good read. Anglers of any skill can learn a ton from this book and is a handy reference if you are trying to learn more about bass fishing. As someone who has stood on the shoulders of giants like Roland and used the lessons he has passed down to improve my own success on the water it was very intriguing to read from the point of view of the pioneer and as the first release of these ideas to the public.
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