When you are my age, you learn to appreciate experience. That’s just one reason I know that Martin Elshout and Mark Price of Ruston are good fishermen. Combined, they’ve got 100+ years of bass fishing experience. If that isn’t enough, all you have to do is read bass tournament reports from around the area to know this dynamic duo knows how to put bass in the boat.
I have known these two anglers since Mark fished as a high schooler in the North Louisiana High School Bass Tournament on D’Arbonne and Martin was leading the pack of the North Central Bass Club way back in the 1970’s. I haven’t seen them for years, but had the chance to hook up on the lake a week or so ago.
First, a little about their resume’. They won the Fishers of Men opening tournament this year on Claiborne in weather that the Postman wouldn’t even go out in. Their five best fish weighed 14.83 pounds. Probably their biggest win was last fall when they won the Skeeter Bass Champs Championship on the Red River against 203of the best fishermen in the region. They won some big trophies and several bass boats before, but the big prize in this one was a new $75,000 bass boat that had everything except big screen TV and Wi Fi. And for the record, Martin is a retired manager for Weyerhauser’s particle board business and Mark has been a coach and is now a contractor. Since Martin is retired, he gets on the water more than Mark and has picked up some nice sponsors, including Ludwig Brothers Marine, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards and Kistler Rods.
So how does all this help you?
Here are a few helpful hints I picked up from them to help your (and my) fishing:
Martin offers this: “I kind of always fish what I like to fish”, he says. “There are all kinds of ways to fish and baits to fish, but I’m not real high on learning every new technique that comes along. I like to fish shallow and I guess you’d call me a power fisherman. I don’t like little lures and light line. Mark and I might fish a spinning rod and a wacky worm if we have to, but I like flipping around cypress trees and fishing heavy cover.”
What that translates to for us is to learn how to fish some techniques and lures that you like, build confidence and fish them. Adapt to conditions and don’t get stuck on one color or lure, but don’t try to be Kevin Van Dam.
Price and Elshout fish as a team most of the time and Price’s strong point is something we all need to remember. “I think my strength is persistence,” he says. “I think one thing that helps us win is that we are willing to wait the fish out. If we know they are there, we will wait them out. Don’t take off and hit other stuff just because you know where it is. Stay with the fish. Then when they bite, you are there.”
What else can you do to catch more spring bass?
First of all, pay attention to what you are fishing. If you catch fish in lilly pad stems in four feet of water, find more areas like that. If you catch them in two feet of water around cypress, find other similar areas and you’ll likely find fish. Second, learn as much about the area you are fishing as you can. Find grass patches or beds, know where fallen trees of big stumps are and learn the river and creek channels. The more you know about the lake, the better chance you have of finding and catching fish.
And then, finally, go fishing as often as you can. You probably won’t ever hook up with two bass fishing buddies with 100 years of experience, but get all the experience you can. It will pay off with more bass in the boat!