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.
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.
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.
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.
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.