GEORGE COCHRAN’S HALF-MILLION-DOLLAR WEEKEND
Getting to Know George Cochran
NOTE: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Arkansas, has just
finished a tremendous bass-fishing career with a $500,000
FLW (Forrest L. Wood) Championship win, the highest
payout for any bass-fishing tournament in history. Cochran,
a Strike King pro staffer for 30 years, has won two
Bassmasters Classics. Cochran admits, “Winning
championships on both the BASS and the FLW circuits
is a dream come true.” Only a few anglers in history
have been able to complete a double grand slam like
QUESTION: George, what does this win at your hometown
lake of Lake Hamilton mean to you?
COCHRAN: My bass-fishing career is coming to an end,
so the money from this win will
help to secure my retirement at 55 years of age. I want
all my sponsors like Strike King to know that I can
still win a tournament.
QUESTION: George, you’ve won two Bassmasters
Classics and the FLW tournament by fishing shallow water,
which seemed to be an inappropriate tactic to use. So
what made you fish shallow?
COCHRAN: I’ve learned through my 30 years of
tournament bass fishing that my strength lies in shallow-water
fishing. I also know I have strength in finding bass
where no one else can seem to locate them. As I’ve
grown older, I’ve learned to stick to what I do
best, and not worry so much about everything else. I’ve
learned that when I can find an area holding shallow-water
bass, those fish will be biting. Shallow-water bass
usually bite better than deep-water bass. Once I pinpoint
region I want to fish, I’ll next determine what
lure I should be fishing with and what time of day I
should be fishing, so that regardless of what time of
year it is, I’ve got a good chance to win.
QUESTION: What was the temperature on the days you
COCHRAN: The water temperature was in the high 80s,
and the air temperature was in the mid 90-degree range.
The weather was hot, the conditions were clear, and
there wasn’t much wind. Under these conditions,
catching bass can be really tough. On the lake I was
fishing, 90 percent of the bass were suspended off the
bottom in 15 to 20 feet of water and feeding on little-bitty
minnows that were 2- to 2-1/2-inches long. Some of the
fish were feeding on shad that were about 4-inches long.
Most of the competitors in the tournament were trying
to catch the suspended fish off points and over other
QUESTION: What was your strategy going into this tournament?
COCHRAN: I planned to win this tournament just as I
do every tournament I enter. I decided I would save
the best bank on the lake for the last day of the tournament,
knowing I could catch bass on that bank fishing top-water
lures. The two baits the bass were hitting were the
Strike King Spit-N-King and the Baby Chug Bug.
TOMORROW: THE BIG GAMBLE