Now that George Cochran has retired from professional bass fishing, the Arkansas angler doesn't mind sharing all of his bass fishing secrets with other fishermen.
“One good thing now when I teach people, I tell them all the truth,” said the 62-year-old Cochran. “I didn't lie before. I just didn't tell it all.”
Cochran, the only man to ever win both a Bassmaster Classic and a FLW championship, will be sharing his knowledge at Rose State College this month as part of a Bass Fishing Techniques class. Also teaching sessions will be celebrity fisherman Jimmy Houston, pro angler Kenyon Hill and Oklahoma fishing guides Ivan Martin and Bob Myers.
Cochran retired last year with two Bassmaster Classic crowns and an FLW championship. The Hot Springs, Ark., resident quit his job as a brakeman for the railroad and started fishing full-time for a living after winning the 1987 Bassmaster Classic, a tournament that he won with some deception.
The conventional wisdom in the 1987 Bassmaster Classic in Lousiville, Ky., is that the competitors were going to have to run several miles up the Ohio River through a couple of lock and dams to catch fish in the August tournament.
In practice, Cochran had found bass in a weedy area near the launch. He was fishing in the remote spot only because his 9-year-old son was with him that day. There were storms in the forecast that day and he wanted to be close by to trailer his boat quickly.
“We had a heck of a day fishing,” Cochran said.
Cochran decided it was as good as any area on the river to fish during the tournament. But he didn't want any of his competitors to find out about it. So after takeoff during the tournament, Cochran would run up the river several miles and then pretend have trouble with his boat motor.
“I took off like I am running to the lock and pulled over two or three miles before I got there and acted liked I had motor trouble,” Cochran said. “Once everybody got on by, I would crank it back up and come back a mile or two from the takeoff.”
George Cochran on this month's Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake
“It's a good winter lake. Unless the weather is brutal, there will be a lot of fish caught. I think it will take 20 pounds a day to win unless the weather gets ugly. The water is going to be cold, like in the '40s. It can be won on other lures, but a jig in cold water, a jerk bait in cold water and a drop shot in cold water, those should be good.”
On duck hunting in Arkansas:
“I've always been an avid duck hunter. That's my passion. This year was one of the best years we've had since I can remember. We killed them from opening day until the last day. It hadn't been that cold but we've been covered up in ducks. Duck hunting is about water. If you got a lot of water, you are going to have a lot of ducks.”
Bass fishing classes at Tulsa Community College
Bass Fishing Techniques
Where: Rose State College, part of the school's Outdoor College.
When: Feb. 12.
Instructor: Jimmy Houston.
Topics: Fishing spinnerbaits, flipping and pitching, techniques for locating bass.
When: Feb. 19.
Instructor: Kenyon Hill.
Topics: Finesse fishing, finesse jig fishing, tackle and tactics for fishing the Carolina Rig and Alabama Rig.
When: Feb. 26.
Instructor: George Cochran.
Topics: Flipping and pitching, topwater fishing, jerkbait fishing and fishing squarebill crankbaits.
When: March 5.
Instructors: Ivan Martin and Bob Myers.
Topics: Seasonal patterns, lures and tactics for fishing Grand Lake, Lake Murray and other Oklahoma lakes.
Cost of the four-week session is $99. For more information, call 733-7392.
Bass Fishing Techniques will be taught at Tulsa Community College beginning Feb. 13.
Instructors for the classes will be former Bassmaster Classic champions Paul Elias and Ken Cook, Wagoner pro angler Tommy Biffle, former BASS pro Jim Morton and Grand Lake fishing guide Ivan Martin.
Classes are scheduled Feb. 13, Feb. 20, Feb. 26 and March 4. Enrollment fee is $99. To enroll, call (918) 595-7200.