DOCK TALK...A QUEST FOR FIVE BITES
By Tim Gruber
Hang around any dock long enough and you'll hear the words "I'm just looking for five bites". Let's see...Eight hours of fishing divided by those five bites and it looks like an easy task. Before you all go buy a new Ranger and all the accessories to become a bass pro stop to consider how many of the "Five Bite" club consistently win the prize. Off the top of my head I can think of a couple who are successful with this approach, Gary Dobyns and Bobby Barrack. So, two out of a couple thousand tells me that a better approach for the rest of us is to catch and cull as many fish as possible to find our five bites on tournament day.
Gary and Bobby are gifted anglers who know when, where, how, and why those five bites occur. Whether specific tides are the primary factor or clouds and wind these two consistently find the combination. The point is every tournament angler goes into action with a preset plan; the lone exception being Dave Gleibe who has a legendary ability to fish intuitively stopping only when some obscure cover calls his name.
All this leads to the question of the day...How many of us can fish for 5-bites on tournament day, stick all five, and win? Based on the recent BASSMASTERS championship, made up of the "best sticks in the World", the answer is not a single one of us. Therefore, what the "Five Bite" club really infers is that you fish in areas where the right "Five Bites" can occur and sort through a few other fish in the process. You commit to a certain pattern that might only yield one bite per hour or structure that requires heavy artillery and a great deal of patience.
I consider myself a weekend angler who happens to enjoy tournaments. I spent the last year working on my "five bite" quest and with only a couple exceptions failed miserably. And, more importantly, it took the fun out of fishing. On the Delta, a better mindset is to break down the goal by months of the year. If you average out what it takes to cash a check in the summer, it's somewhere around 12-14 lbs. The fall requires 12-16lbs...Winter 10-13lbs...and Spring 18-22lbs. Therefore, a better strategy for the 'weekend' folks is to figure out a way to be consistent in the ranges above. Basically, figure out how to catch better-than-average limit fish week in and week out.
One thing is for certain, you'll enjoy your time on the water a great deal more and your results will improve.