Mojo Revival?


I Lost My Mojo…and How to Get It Back.

Mojo Definitions:

Lost Mojo | Adverb: is defined as: To lose one’s confidence, energy, or enthusiasm, especially coinciding with a decline in one’s success. Example: After his summer of fishing for bass, with lousy results, it seems Brad has lost his mojo.

Mojo | Noun: is defined as good luck, charm or skill that seems to come from something magical or supernatural. An example of mojo is someone’s ability to consistently catch fish under a slew of challenging conditions. Brad is hoping by changing his standard approach to fly fishing for bass, he might get his mojo back.


2019 is shaping up to be the worst season for fly fishing bass ever. Yes folks, it happens. We think we can return to the same waters year after year and have the same grand success we’ve enjoyed in the past.

It all started this spring, full of the promise of yet another wonderful season of float trips, jumping fish and hot fly patterns. I’ve probably done at least 12 different floats on rivers small and large this season, in canoes and my river jon boat. Nearly every trip has been disappointing with a few…downright brutal.

The river conditions have been great with nice water levels, water clarity and reasonable water temperatures. There is only one thing missing – biting fish. I simply can’t believe the cause is an over abundance of natural food items, compared with years previous, to keep fish off the bite. Something else is in play.

I’ve used the old: “There must have been a major pollution event, feed-lot spillage, owing to the fish kill”. But we’ve been on too many different watersheds to get anyone to take that bait. Nonetheless, seldom has a trip even come close to matching previous years. There are a couple of particularly embarrassing trips that took the low honors for the summer.

Tough to Take

I auction off river float trips for a couple of different fundraisers in my town. I show photos of trips past at the events and get people lathered up to bid high, on what will surely be an epic day on the big river. I take two anglers who vary in ability and have them generally spin fish with buzzers, spinners, stick baits, and jerk baits. These weapons will generally trigger fish at some point on a 4 – 5 hour trip. The first trip featured a father and son who were very excited to try the big river. We picked the perfect day or so I thought. The son, about 40 years old, flogged constantly, all the way down. Result: One hit, no fish. ; { )

Next trip, I took a 45 year old woman and her friend Charlie (85 years old) down on another beautiful day. Both fished hard all the way down. I did 100% better than the previous trip…one fish and that one was lucky – coming through a shallow riffle and she thought she was snagged. Thankfully she wasn’t. Pitiful. ; ))


My brother, my normal fishing partner, has experienced similar results for walleyes both in Canada and closer to home in Minnesota. I’m sure some of you will laugh, thinking we’re just lousy fishermen…I’m starting to believe that myself. But years of successful results seem to refute that idea.

Overcoming a Lost Mojo

I decided I needed to up my game. Instead of throwing the same flies and lures at the bass, I started trying some tactics outside my bubble, such as swim baits, drop-shots and diving crankbaits, both hard and soft. Remember the rivers are only a few feet deep and of course all bass fishermen love top water. But I had to diverge from the norms if I was to rise above the depression. My results have been a bit better with these new methods. At the very least, adding to one’s arsenal is always a good move – in any pursuit.

I even tried to switch species, chasing large bluegills and such.

Maybe I’ll switch to duck hunting…Naahhh…I love fishing.

Here’s my strategy for overcoming a blown mojo:

  1. Change tactics and techniques, as described above. For you fly fisherman, try more streamers and odd shaped topwater flies, such as foam sliders, divers, hoppers and the all-purpose gurglars. Change your retrieves more, try sliding top water flies, as opposed to popping them. Try swinging flies both top and subsurface. Try new colors. For the spin fishermen, try some of the newer swim baits and buzz bait add-ons – like the plastic frog and craw bodies, instead of skirts, etc.
  2. Change locations: Trying new lakes and rivers is tough for a lot of fishermen. We get into the “same old – got ’em there before” mentality. Challenge yourself and commit to trying a new body of water every other time you go out. I’ve done this and it’s surprisingly fun! Sure you strike out, but every once and a while…
  3. Pray: I don’t do this often, but when all else fails, give it a shot, maybe someone will listen…