iBass360 talks about the Tournament Season with the People's Champ, Nick Ferry
iBass360: So, Nick, you set some ambitious goals when you decided to take on the regional FLW series. How has the season been for you so far?
Nick: So far I have been a little disappointed. I had a pretty rough start on the Potomac. One of the two tournaments held there was a total bust. Not coming in with at least one weighable fish cost me 100 points and may ultimately be the difference that keeps me out of the top 40, and accordingly, keep me from being able to fish the Regional tournament on one of my favorite fisheries- the Susquehanna Flats- in October. Right now I’m sitting at 76th place, and if I had weighed in just one fish in that Potomac tournament, I’d be in the top 40.
iBass360: What would you say you have done right?
Nick: Since getting skunked, it has only been the lost fish in that tournament that has plagued me. My goal for the rest of the year is to not change a thing from what I have been doing since. Basically, with that exception, I have done my homework for these events, and that has put me in the right areas to catch fish. I feel I have been doing the right things to end each of the other tournaments with a respectable finish. I certainly have had my share of bad luck, but this will change. For example, in the tournament on Lake Champlain, I had a solid practice and found areas that yielded decent fish. That
area generally produced, but if I landed the only fish I lost (the proverbial one that got away)- definitely a 4+ lb. Smallie- it would have put me in the top 10. So, in terms of the preparation needed to finish well, I think I’ve gone about everything the right way.
iBass360: What are the lessons learned that will help you next year?
Nick: Well, I am not ready to write this year off yet, but as for lessons learned that will help me in future tournaments, the biggest lesson I have learned is that I need to relax. When I found myself slipping in that 2nd Potomac tournament, I can see now that I wasn’t patient. This really hurt me on that tidal water. I tried to push the fish even though I knew I was on the wrong area for the particular tide I was fishing. I need to tell
myself again and again- be more patient!
iBass360: Now you've fished Oneida. How do you assess your result?
Nick: Well I'd have to say the Oneida tournament was also a let down-118th out of 158- not to good! I only managed 2 smallies for 6lbs. I had a decent practice Wednesday into Thursday then the bottom dropped out on me Friday. I actually increased points movinh from 76th to 72nd for the year, but it looks like the only way I’ll reach the regional tournament is if I win at 1000 islands or at least get a real good placing. Time will tell. It certainly was another good learning experience. As always, I met some good people which soothes the sting a bit.
iBass360: And now onto the St. Lawrence?
Nick: Yes. I will need to find the biggest fish I can! During the practices, I will figure out under what circumstances to concentrate on Smallies- rocky structure, humps, rock
reefs etc., and when to focus on Largemouth in the back eddies and shallow weedy areas. That will help me focus for the tourney on the biggest fish for the conditions I am facing. There is no doubt there are some nice fish there- I have seen iBass360 anglers like Bill Lortz, as well as the Elites, do well by adding a real big one to an otherwise good bag. So, I’m going to concentrate on putting a pattern together not focused on catching 50-60 fish but catching the right ones. If I do this right, it is not a go for broke approach but one where I focus on looking for the biggest fish I can find.
iBass360: Are there any particular baits you think will be difference makers for you?
Nick: Yes, I am going to fish some typical big fish baits. I will be using Forage Lures Walking Baits and Poppers in the morning in my top water spots. When I need to switch I can go deeper with their cranks, even the lipless which smallies love. On deeper structure , I could drop-shot or even use a swim jig. I don’t plan to get crazy with 20 different presentation on just as many rods on deck. I am going to stick to just a few classics- sort of going back to my bassin’ basics. I will have my favorite Kistler rod/Ardent Reel combos at the ready all spooled with Seaguar line. These are my go to tools to get the job done.
iBass360: Last question, Nick. As you continue with your first big series season, what
advice would you give to other anglers looking to make the same fishing commitment you have made?
Nick: Well you need to be humble, if you aren’t, the first couple of tournaments will take care of that. Also, you'd be surprised what a toll this type of fishing can take on your physically. I lost a lot of weight but still need to work on getting my back to the point where I feel a lot more comfortable out there. But the one thing I have really learned, and I would advise anyone looking to enter this type of tournament series, it is to be patient, and make sure you have the versatility to adapt your approach to a lot of different weather, current and structure situations. Sometimes, even when you have had really good practices, things change. Things can change a lot! Therefore my advice is not to be afraid of the change and don’t try to force what was working under those different conditions to work under totally different conditions if the fish are telling you something different. Be versatile enough to try something different, and when you do, be patient…… and #LiveThePassion!
iBass360 Pro staff Nick Ferry is a “people person”. He has an engaging personality that lives up to his billing as “The People’s Champ”. Nick has been a very successful club angler in SE Pennsylvania with both the Peace Valley Bass Anglers and the Bucks County Anglers Club who is now taking that experience to the BFL. Nick is Pro Staff for Ardent Reels, Kistler Rods, Zee Baits, Forage Lures, JaKKed Baits and Seaguar Line. Nick is a regular contributor to the iBass360 Blog.