Another thing Cobb will do is to rotate through baits until he figures out what makes the fish mad. Some fish like it subtle, and some like it more aggressive. It’s a one-two punch and understanding each fish helps determine the best way to catch the fish.
“Some fish are shakers – shake the bait and they swim over and look at it. Those are the easier ones to catch. Some fish you have to be aggressive – they don’t care about the bait, but they stay locked on the bed. Cast beyond the target and swim the bait into the bed. The key is to try and hit the fish to make them mad. You have to be careful not to snag the fish – the goal is not to foul hook them – just bump the fish enough so they get irritated and eat it.
Cobb warns to never hit a fish in the tail as it scares them and they will leave the bed and not return. Do not lead with that approach. If the fish seems catchable, employ the other methods before trying that. It is better to try and shake it in place and let them come to it.
For pairs of fish, Cobb has some in-depth information on how to approach fishing for the male and female. Once you locate a bed, if you stumble on a pair of fish, you must understand how the female reacts to the bait.
“If the female is showing interest in your bait with the male present, never catch the male first. Do what you need to shake him off or switch to a bigger bait that he can’t get. Likewise, If the female is sitting off bed or doesn’t show interest in the bait, try to catch the male off the bed. Either put him in the livewell if he is legal or release him away from the area.
The next step Cobb stresses is the absolute most important, and he notes this is where most anglers make a mistake. Once you catch the male, you have to get a bait back to the bed as quickly as possible.
“When you catch the male, the female will either leave for good, or go to the bed. Once she goes to the bed, you have to get a bait on the bed instantly, and she will usually bite. Where most people mess up is, they take too long dealing with the male and the female will leave. There is a very short window when the buck leaves, she will get mad and investigate. Once she realizes what’s happened, she may be gone and won’t come back.