I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Roland Gittings. He is a bass angler from Maryland that has been very successful as a tournament co-angler. We talk to Roland about his success both tournament and recreational bass fishing.
When did you start fishing?
I began fishing when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I started out fishing from the bank catching the usual Bluegill, Sun Fish, Catfish, Perch and whatever else bit. I can remember one trip my dad, some of his friends and I went to his hometown in Lexington Virginia and I caught my first bass using this ugly think call a hellgrammite. I was hooked on fishing after that. It didn’t matter what we fished for. If I was fishing, I was happy.
My passion for bass fishing didn’t really start until I was about 13 years old. I was out fishing with some friends in a nearby creek, when I found a Cotton Cordell square bill crankbait painted in a crawfish pattern. I tied it on my line and the first cast I caught a 3 pound Largemouth. After that, Largemouth was the only fish I wanted to catch. I can remember going to the tackle shop and buying every Cotton Cordell square bill in that crawfish pattern.
Why do you love competitive fishing?
I love going out and fishing competitively because it’s not just fishing against other people, but it’s about figuring out the body of water and the fish. Being able to put it all together in 8 hours on the water. I played football and basketball growing up and there team sports, on the water it’s you for the most part.
Getting ready for the tournament season is the biggest think for me. It starts for me as soon as the schedule comes out. My tournament starts a few days before the tournament with some pre-fishing if I’m able to get out on the water with friends who are fishing the same event.
If I don’t get to pre-fish, I do tons of research on the body of water. During my research, I check fishing reports in the area, talk to tackle shops and one of my biggest things I doing when at tackle/baits shops is I look at the live bait colors and size.
The next thing is the Friday before the tournament is the tournament meeting, where you meet your boater. During that meeting, the normal things are discussed, like where to meet, what time, and any other important information. The day on the water starts early, very early usually about 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning.
You had a third place on the Potomac at a Ram Open Series event. How did that day go for you?
My third place finish on the Potomac River during the Ram Open Series event was a good day on the water. During the tournament, my boater and I fished for pre spawn Largemouth that were moving out of their winter deep water areas, up into the shallower spawning areas and grass flats areas. I caught my first fish around 10 o’clock in the morning.
As the sun got high in the sky and the water temperature began to rise, the fishing got better and better. I ended up catching 12 Largemouth that day culling out several smaller fish throughout the day. We fished one area that kept reloading as the day went on.
Being a co-angler has its up and downs, you’re at liberty of the boater. In some rare occasions you may have a boater that’s not familiar with the body water and will ask you where to go or what to use far as baits to throw. But on the Potomac I had a local guy who was awesome to fish with, he knew the river and areas to fish during the tournament.
What were your key baits that day?
My key bait was a Balck/Blue Phenix Lure and Baits Wobble Jig with a black Zoom Speed Craw as a trailer, basically it Phenix’s version of a chatter bait. I had a couple other rods that were just there for the ride. I would make long casts. When it came across the grass, I would just pop it off causing a reaction bite.
What have been some of your favorite waters to fish as a co-angler?
My favorite body of water this year has been Lake Champlain. I didn’t get to practice but was able to put it all together real quick and have a good day on the water. So I talked to my boater at the tournament meeting and he said he was around fish, but couldn’t get them to bite. So we went back to the area.
The water was gin clear with chunk rock and a grass line about 35 yards off the shore. I began the morning fishing deep diving crankbait that didn’t get touched. I then switch a 5/16 Hardhead made by Gene Larew paired with a Strike King Menace Grub, Green Pumpkin with Purple fleck. To get them to bite, I slowly reeled it back to the boat across the chunk rock. The fish in the morning were shallow 1 to 3 feet as the sun began to get higher in the sky they moved out deeper to 7 to 12 feet.
Being a co-angler, can be tough and requires a lot of positive focus. How do you keep a positive focus especially on days where the fishing isn’t going so well in the back of the boat?
Being a co-angler has its up and downs. You’re at the liberty of the boater. But when things aren’t going you have to keep positive, things will turn around. I remember watching Gerald Swindle’s Positive Mental Attitude video on YouTube and I always keep that in the back of my head.
What do you consider your favorite for fun place to fish?
My favorite place to fish is the Upper Chesapeake Bay. It’s my home water but I have my good days and my bad days. Being a tidal water fishery I have a love/hate relationship with it.
What is your favorite way to catch bass on the Upper Chesapeake Bay?
My favorite way to catch bass depends on the season. In the summertime, I like catching them on topwater especially a frog. To see one blow up out of the water to eat it is amazing. In the Fall my favorite bait is a crankbait. And in the spring, my two favorites are a chatterbait and lipless crankbait.
What are your fishing goals?
Win a BFL/ABA event, finish in the 10 Top, Angler of the Year, and make it to the BFL All American
Who are your current pro staff companies?
Team NPS, Liquid Mayhem, Nichols Lures, Phenix Lures and Baits, Evolution Baits, Amphibia Eyewear, Gambler Lures, Swagger Tackle, Black Label Balsa, Rayjus, and Denali Rods. I receive various discounts as a member of these respective companies pro staffs, which are greatly appreciated by me who pays all entry fees, travel and lodging for all my events.
Thank you Roland! Will be following on Instagram @rgittingsfishing.