Watching a Pro at Work: Andy Young, Professional Bass Fisherman
It's always interesting watching a professional at work. No one sits around watching weekend duffers swinging their golf clubs, but crowds gather to watch the pros playing in the major PGA tournaments. I had an interesting afternoon watching a pro at work a few weeks ago on the St. Croix River which forms the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin just east of Minneapolis.
I was invited along with Andy Young for a couple of hours. Young has been a touring professional bass fisherman for twenty years, fishing most of the top tournament circuits at one time and being crowned "angler of the year" awards in many of them at one time or another. Last year he was included in the field at the Bassmaster's Classic, arguably the Super Bowl of competitive fishing.
I've been in the boat with many pro-bassers at one time or another and most shared many traits. The first thing I noticed on Andy's boat was the absence of a bow seat or even a bow leaning post. All bass fishermen position themselves in the bow of the boat where they can operate their electric motor with foot controls putting themselves and keeping themselves, in ideal positions to make pinpoint casts to the places they think the fish are waiting.
A seat, or even a padded half seat to take a bit of the strain off their legs and lower back is a standard accouterment. I asked Andy about the missing fixture in his "office."
He said, "It keeps me on the cutting edge. When I'm fishing, I'm working. Luckily, I don't have problems working on my feet. Shunning a seat or leaning post keeps me from relaxing, it keeps me on point and the cast I don't make because I just settled back for a few seconds could have been the one that would have connected with a tournament winning fish."
"I've fished the St. Croix River many times," he said as we left the launch ramp. "It's wide and deep and there are not many areas with distinct structure, weed areas or places like that to hold fish. I've always done well fishing boat docks along the edges of the river."
As we motored down the river and then fished our way back towards the marina, he passed places which had a single boat dock, but he'd stop where there were a half dozen or more clustered along the shore. It was as it he didn't want to shop a lone convenience store when there was a mall just down the road.
He fished the docks with a surgeon's precision, in fact, when we got to the first set of docks, he assembled an array of rods and reels, most sporting a different lure or similar lures with different colors on the floor next to where he was standing. It reminded me of a surgeon or dentist laying out all the tools close at hand needed for a procedure.
He'd maneuver the boat in position to cast his lure alongside and close to the dock. He didn't spend a lot of time at any one dock making no more than a half dozen casts on each side of the structure, often just two or three.
"If you make a good cast with the right lure, it will get a bite. You don't have to goad them into a strike with repeated casts. If I put the lure right along the dock and work it down along the edge, if there's a fish there, I'll catch it," he said.
Often he'd make one or two casts with a swim-bait that edged along just under the surface. Then Young would quickly switch to a rod and reel loaded with a whacky worm or tube jig he could work slower and down near the bottom.
Nothing there? Move to the opposite side of the dock or on to the next "shopping area" a few yards down the shore.
Often, there was something there. A steady stream of smallmouth bass were pulled from their hiding places under the docks as Young fished down the shoreline.
What should I have expected? He's a pro and it was exciting to see him do his work.
If you want to learn more about Andy Young go to www. andyyoungfishing.com.