Gary Klein is a bass fishing legend who might have forgotten more about the sport than most others have ever learned.
After all, the Bassmaster Elite Series pro and the co-founder of Major League Fishing has qualified for the Bassmaster Classic an amazing 30 times; has won not one but two B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year titles; has won eight B.A.S.S. tournaments; and has pocketed just over $2 million in career tournament earnings.
Much of that success is due to Klein’s ability to find bass in off-shore haunts, especially during the summertime.
How does he do it?
“I’m going to be looking for anything that is not bank related, things such as an underwater hump,” said Klein, a longtime resident of Weatherford, Texas.
“To me, cover is something I can see with my eyes on the shore and structure is anything below the surface.”
To find such bass holding features, Klein relies heavily on his boat’s electronics.
“I’m trying to establish an activity zone and I do that with electronics,” said Klein, a longtime pro with Lowrance electronics.
“I’ll turn on the Lowrance and idle across a creek channel,” he added. “It will show me things like the thermocline and certain depth zones with activity.”
When Klein - who finished in fourth place in the 1979 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Texoma - finds those zones that are holding bass, he will really begin to study the features showing up on his sonar screen.
“Say I notice activity in 18 to 22 feet of water, then I’ll look for structure in that area and really start hunting for these fish.”
A hunt that goes both ways for Klein - looking for good spots and not-so-good spots.
“It’s a process of elimination,” he said. “You can’t just go offshore and expect to get on them.
“Anglers need to develop a good relationship with their electronics and what those machines are showing them. Once you do that, you can eliminate water pretty quick or establish an area that has a lot of fish in it.”
When Klein establishes an offshore area that has a lot of fish in it, he’ll note the spot’s location and toss a marker buoy overboard.
Why the latter?
“I do that so I know the cast I need to make,” said Klein. “A lot of times, you have to make multiple casts to trigger fish (to strike).
“You might have to make 15 to 20 casts to a fish. (But) you finally get a bite and then (you) get a bite on 15 straight casts.”