By David A. Brown

When fishing is tough, bass anglers may go hours without a bite, so it’s understandable that finally getting bit jacks up the enthusiasm. Actually, it’s probably more about relief, but nevertheless, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jason Christie warns against rushing head long into assumptions.

“One fish is not a pattern,” Christie said. “It takes two or three doing the same thing before you should think ‘All right, this might work.’”

Recalling his disappointing experience in the Elite event on the St. Lawrence River, Christie adds: “A lot of times, you can catch a fish and it can lead you in the wrong direction. There could be one stupid fish up there where he’s not supposed to be and he can confuse your analysis of the situation.”

As Christie said, it’s important to pay attention to not only what baits are producing bites, but where those bites are occurring. Sounds straightforward, but the prudent angler knows that canning the outliers – no matter how encouraging they may seem – can be a critical element in the overall game plan.

Bottom line: Trust, but verify – it’s not just a Reagan-era policy of international relations – it’s a smart strategy for anglers working through a tough period.