There’s a raging debate between myself and my brother-in-law on whether luck or skill plays more of a part in bass fishing.

I’m a skill guy. Stephen is the other one. This is not to say that I have skill, but that I value the application of it to catch fish.

Stephen maintains that fishing is pure luck. It’s like a big a lot machine for him; You toss in your lure, pull the lever, and hope for the pay out. For him, there is nothing more than random chance.

This is interesting because the last couple times we’ve been out, his luck was low while my attempts to apply skill paid off. After the plastic worm brought no bites, I switched to my new buoyant spoon, and caught two bass within three minutes.

Apparently I had stumbled upon some skill. I was actually (and this is based on nothing more than observing conditions) casting my spoon upstream to let it drift into what looked like a deep hole in an eddy. And at least this time, it worked

Of course, on later trips, my skill seemed to have run out. So maybe Stephen was right.

And then I remembered something interesting: I have a high school friend who has become a celebrity in the pro bass fishing scene. Matt Shura was the crazy guy who was not afraid to say anything in the halls back in high school, and today he makes his living as a sponsored bass master. so I sent him a message on Facebook, asking what are the best lures and techniques to catch river bass. Here is his reply:

“Columbia river? Small mouth? Man I love that area. I did really well with a drop shot rig. Oxblood light red flake was the best color. 5.5inch curl tail. Drag it on the bottom.
Jigs and Carolina rigs were good also. Topwater in the am. I fish around where the snake drive disects the Columbia. Can never go wrong with a drop shot though.”

And there you have it. He described some good skill-related fishing, and said nothing about luck.

Of course I’ll try out the drop shot and his method. I wonder if Stephen will. Maybe, once his luck finally runs out. But in the mean time, we can all learn a thing or two from my old high school friend Matt.