John's Journal...


Getting to Know George Cochran

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S 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 this.

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 Click to enlargewill 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 theClick to enlarge 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 fished?

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 Click to enlargebigger 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 deep-water structure.

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.


Check back each day this week for more about GEORGE COCHRAN’S HALF-MILLION-DOLLAR WEEKEND

Day 1: Getting to Know George Cochran
Day 2: The Big Gamble
Day 3: Days One and Day Two of the Tournament
Day 4: Head-to-Head with Brent Chapman
Day 5: Victory on the Last Day



Entry 311, Day 1