Photog Blog- By Jason Stemple

Power vs. Finesse, Lake Bessie, Florida

Shooting bass fishing is relatively new to me. So on this day of shooting in Central Florida there were a few things that made it interesting. First was learning some more about the lives of bass and the how the pros work to find and pattern bass on any given day and secondly was the challenge of finding ways to make my images stand out in a sea of bass images.

Shooting towards the setting sun allowed me to light up the spray off the reel. Nikon d800, 82mm, f/5.0, 1/2000 sec

Shooting towards the setting sun allowed me to light up the spray off the reel. Nikon d800, 82mm, f/5.0, 1/2000 sec

I’ve often wondered how one would go about finding fish in lakes or the ocean for that matter. It seems to all look the same from above. That is probably why I’ve always stuck to the shorelines and why I’m drawn to rivers and creeks. It is also likely why I haven’t had much success with bass. That is not to say that bass aren’t found on the shorelines or around visible structure, but that you need to have more in your bag of tricks to catch them consistently in ever changing conditions and as they mentioned on this day, the bigger fish were likely schooled up in deeper water. Lake Bessie is the third body of water I’ve seen Miles and Joey using the Lowrance to “chart” the bottom in offshore areas. It was interesting to watch them buzz around circling until they pinpointed something they liked, then slowing down to narrow in on it, then finally marking schools or individual fish to target. Once located, they would employ a number of different techniques, which in this case led to the power vs. finesse discussion.

they found what they are looking for! nikon d300s, 70mm, f/4.0, 1/160 sec

they found what they are looking for! nikon d300s, 70mm, f/4.0, 1/160 sec

One of things I really liked watching was “video game fishing”, where they targeted individual fish on the screen and watched it all happen-electronic sight fishing. I need a lot more time using the electronics before I’m able to use them effectively.

This shot from another show works as a production shot, but it's usually pretty hard to get the shot you want from the back row. nikon d800, 70mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec 

This shot from another show works as a production shot, but it's usually pretty hard to get the shot you want from the back row.
nikon d800, 70mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec 

The other part of my day on Lake Bessie was trying to get great bass fishing images. Shooting on and around fishing shows is always a challenge: you have to be silent, shoot from behind a couple of video guys and you can’t make sudden moves that shift the boat. This is pretty much the opposite of what I do on a normal fishing shoot where I direct the angler verbally, get in close putting the lens right up in the fish’s face and move around a lot to get different angles. Then there is the standard bass landing and holding techniques, which generally don’t flatter the fish. Some of my issues can’t be helped but we have worked on the handling to try to get some more gentle looking landings and releases and I have been able to try a bunch of different angles, just not on each individual fish. I was worried about them all starting to look the same, but their appearance actually varies quite a bit, even from fish to fish out of the same school.

laying the bass in the water allows it to look much more natural and in its element. d800, 175mm, f/4.0, 1/1250 sec

laying the bass in the water allows it to look much more natural and in its element. d800, 175mm, f/4.0, 1/1250 sec

action is always good! i always have one of my setups ready for jumping or other action, if you're not ready for it you'll miss it. nikon d300s, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec

action is always good! i always have one of my setups ready for jumping or other action, if you're not ready for it you'll miss it.
nikon d300s, 300mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec

always try to come up with a different angle, high, low underwater, etc. gopro hero4 silver, f/2.8, 1/125 sec

always try to come up with a different angle, high, low underwater, etc. gopro hero4 silver, f/2.8, 1/125 sec

So for me, shooting on Sweetwater is a great learning process, half about the fishing, and half about the challenges of getting unique images with a distinct batch of challenges.

it's not just about the fish. 1000 different things happen on the water everyday that make the day unique. nikon d300s, 125mm, f/5.0, 1/3200 sec

it's not just about the fish. 1000 different things happen on the water everyday that make the day unique. nikon d300s, 125mm, f/5.0, 1/3200 sec