NEVER LET ME DOWN..."
NAFC Interview with Chuck Bauer
Chuck Bauer is a noted Big Bass Specialist who has been
recognized many times by various organizations, including Bassin'
Magazine, Texas Fish & Game, North American Fisherman
Magazine, Outdoor Life, Texas Hunting and Fishing News, The
Dallas Morning News, and Texas Outdoor Times Magazine.
Chuck is a Professional Member of the National Speakers
Association and he is on Pro Staff for Kick-n-Bass.
Chuck also does FREE fishin' seminars
in and around the Dallas/Ft.Worth Metroplex. You may find out
more information about Chuck at www.chuckbauer.com
NAFC -- HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN
CB -- I have been fishing for 36 years.
NAFC -- DESCRIBE YOUR
PHILOSOPHY ON CATCH AND RELEASE? HAVE YOU ALWAYS PRACTICED IT?
CB -- For many years, I was a trout fisherman and
really didn't practice "catch and release"
(C&R). In 1985, I switched to bass fishing and didn't
really know anything about it. In studying and reading many
magazines, I became familiar with C&R. At first, it was
difficult to throw fish back. After a while, it became very
easy; especially considering the long-term, positive effects
that catch and release has on any fishery. The NAFC
"Catch and Release Contest" taught me how easy it is
to document your catches and release them. Most anglers, for
some reason, will not carry a camera, measuring tape, and
scale with them. So, when those opportune times show up, they
miss their chance of documenting the catch and, most
importantly, releasing it. Best of all, it is such a rush to
release big fish, especially in front of young children or
other fisherman. You set an example; especially for the kids.
I fish every couple weeks with my good friend, Jeff, and his
three young boys. I remember two years ago starting to fish
with them -- the boys always wanted to keep their fish. Now,
it's catch, document, and release all the way. Heck, these
boys even talk about "Catch & Release" at school
and church! A true form of how one small positive thing you do
has such a ripple effect!
NAFC -- FAVORITE METHODS FOR
CB -- I have three favorite methods for fishing:
1ST, I use live bait. Yes, I know, many fishermen are
against using live bait, however I learned, a few years back,
that in order to catch BIG BASS on a consistent basis, you
must get out of the small-fish box and into the big-fish box.
Paul Duclos and Bob Crupi both asked me, "Would you
rather have a real steak or a rubber steak?" Same applies
to catching big bass. Bluegill, waterdogs, and crawdads are my
rule of thumb. With live bait, I am very SLOW and methodical
when fishing. I stay deep and am very patient. Bob Crupi, who
has the 2nd largest bass on the books, told me that with that
particular fish, he cast a crawdad out and let it sit for
quite some time, not even touching his pole, before the big
female hit it.
2ND, I'm prepared mentally. To catch big bass, you have to
get mentally into the big-fish box. Your mental state and
belief has so much to do with catching big fish, and is just
as important as using live bait. I know, each time I go out to
fish, that I will catch a bass over 22-inches, and I have to
do things different than most fisherman to accomplish that.
Being mentally prepared means going against the current; i.e.,
when others are beating the bank for a 3-pound bass, I want to
be deep and sitting on spots where the big bass are most
likely to congregate. Mental toughness also means sometimes
fishing by yourself. Many of my fishin' buddies like to catch
numbers or do the opposite of what it will take to catch a BIG
fish. I tend to plan out my strategy and place the advantage
to me when it comes to finding that big fish. I do not fish
for numbers. I do what it's going to take to catch big fish.
That means staying away from normal strategies and going
against-the-grain, in most cases. Stealth is such a big
factor, as an example. In some cases, I will shut down the big
motor and drift over to a spot over 50 yards away. There are
reasons why a bass gets big, so you have to do everything in
your power to turn the advantage to you.
3RD, I use big plugs. Big fish hit big baits. Often, I will
use a Castaic Trout, AC Plug, or even big saltwater plugs to
fool big bass. In the summertime, one of my favorite
techniques is to use a big saltwater pole with lead core line
and run a plug 40-50 feet deep in selected areas of my home
lake. Back in February of 1998, I caught a 25-inch 9-pound
bass on the Castaic Trout right out of a small pond in Dallas.
You just never know.
NAFC -- HOW LONG HAVE YOU
BEEN A MEMBER OF THE NAFC (NORTH AMERICAN FISHING CLUB)?
CB -- Four years. (Note: Chuck is a life member of
NAFC -- BEST PLACE TO CATCH
BASS IN YOUR STATE?
CB -- Two places for me are the best in Texas. First
off, there are a variety of tank ponds and even city ponds
that hold big bass. It amazes me, when I pull a six- or
seven-pound bass out of a neighborhood pond, how it will shock
people -- again, the belief cycle at work. I even carry my
poles, camera, tape, and scale with me in my Suburban -- just
in case I come across a pond that I haven't fished before.
I've had women pushing a baby strollers come by and take
pictures and witness for me -- and they cannot believe the
size of the fish -- and when they tell their husbands, they
think their wives have gone waco. Beyond that, Lake Ray
Roberts just northeast of Dallas is my favorite lake. I truly
believe that Roberts holds a number of 14-pound bass and
bigger, and in the next few years some huge bass will be
caught there. Additionally, Ray Roberts does not receive the
pressure that Fork gets. I had one day last year at Ray
Roberts that I had four bass with a total weight of 34 pounds!
NAFC -- WHO TAUGHT YOU
HOW TO FISH?
CB -- My Dad. Since I was four-years-old, he always
took the time to take me out fishing in the ocean off Southern
California and every once in a while we fished little Irvine
Lake. Dad had me tying my own knots by the age of four. I am
so thankful for his time and effort; he put into me and
fishing -- kept me out of trouble in my later years. NAFC
member, Paul Duclos, who has been a fishin' mentor for me ever
since he caught his 24-pounder back in March of 1997, has been
exemplary in teaching and coaching me on big fish -- Paul got
me out of the "Little Fish Box" and into the
"BIG Fish Box."
NAFC -- ANY AWARDS,
RECOGNITION, ETC., FOR "CATCH AND RELEASE"?
CB -- My "catch and releases" have been
recognized many times by various organizations, including
"Bassin' Magazine," "Texas Fish & Game
Magazine," "North American Fisherman Magazine,"
"Outdoor Life," the "Dallas Morning News,"
"National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame,"
"Texas Hunting and Fishing News," and "Texas
Outdoor Times Magazine." I am on pro staff for
Kick-N-Bass Fish Attractant. I have also received a special
award from the "National Freshwater Fishing Hall of
Fame" for a 33-pound, 45-inch long channel catfish I
caught in August of 1998.
NAFC -- ANYTHING ELSE
YOU WANT MEMBERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
CB -- I owe a great deal to this wonderful sport of
fishing. Many times, we as humans are challenged with
different or difficult things, and I can say that, through my
whole life, fishing has never let me down. Outside of my love
for fishing, I am a professional business coach, public
speaker, and small business consultant. I have a web-site
for my professional services and another web-site
with information on fishing; including photographs and