Cal Coast Fishing Tackle Management with Michael Coleman
Cal Coast Fishing Tackle Management with Michael Coleman
I am by no means any super Pro Bass Angler, but Ive had a lot of Tournament success in recent years and I want to share what has made me better and hope it can help you be a better Tournament Bass Angler.
We all start out as Beginners or Rookies or Future pro’s. We develop a love for fishing and a love to compete. Throw a high horse powered bass boat in the mix with a cool looking gel coat and were hooked! Blasting off against 60,70-230 boats is a serious endorphin rush! You against the world the weather the water and oh ya the fish! Once a Angler fishes a few events they get addicted to Tournament Bass fishing. I did!
Very few Anglers ever make it to the top level of Bass fishing and fish as a “Pro” for a living. Many of us can live the dream regionally near home and are happy to do so. With kids a full time job and few sponsor dollars available for a weekend warrior we are limited in our opportunities.
I have been tournament fishing for over 20 years now. I love it! I love meeting new people and love to compete. Along this journey I started at a club level. We caught fish, but rarely got in the money or won a Trophy or some Wood! The same guys always did well. We new we were good anglers, but couldn’t get to the top of the club event level. Then you meet new people and learn about events with a higher winning potential. So you say sign me up im in! And much like the club level you fish well, but never end up in the top level of the circuit. The same guys always do well??
When we fish at the club level or regional semi-pro level it is the last time we will ever get info on how these Anglers did better than us. You must stay to the end of every event you fish to learn and get better. In time you will find out what won the events or what the top 5 teams did to out fish the rest. If you leave the event early because you didn’t place well you are loosing the chance to get better! Stay, ask questions, hang out with those willing to talk, many Anglers love to brag! Heck I do! That’s how you learn!
Take what you learn and go practice it, get better at it. When you tackle your weakness find another tournament tactic and get better at it. The more versatile you are the better you will become at Tournament Bass fishing at any level! Don’t get mad when a team does well, try to find out what they are doing that you are not! Now go get good at it. Many years ago I forced myself to practice Punching or heavy flipping. Its not that I couldn’t do it, I love to flip just not in the junk. If I can open water fish I would rather do so. By forcing myself to practice this and get better at it I Punched 25lbs in 15 minutes. That’s all I needed to do 1 time to get me to get over what I want to do and what I need to do at the right times. Drop shotting was an other one, Its not hard, I just didn’t like to do it. I would rather drag a jig or a 10” worm, but quickly I forced myself to improve at this tactic and believe me it has paid off! Get better at what you don’t like to do, it will make you a better Tournament Bass Angler.
One big bit of advice I can give you is to take control of as many things as you can. This is one of the most important steps to becoming a better Tournament Angler. Make sure your line is new or in great condition. Always tie new knots. Always use new hooks. Make sure your boat is fully ready before you leave your house. Know the weather, the tide, the water level, the seasonal pattern you will fish and know the primary food source at that time of year where you are fishing! And as I have asked my partners on a few very sad occasions when the big fish gets off, did you have a trailer hook on? Being pre-paired is the best thing you can do that will improve your Tournament results as a weekend warrior.
This one is tough, but invest in good quality products. Make sure you buy products that are proven tournament products. Have the right rod and reel for what you’re doing! A red crank bait just aint a red crank bait if it doesn’t work correctly. If a spinner bait doesn’t work properly it just wont catch as many fish. Bite the bullet and buy good stuff. Make sure you bring enough product that you do well with, do not run out! I have multiples of my favorite baits; I don’t want to run out.
Time management. This is critical to your success in tournaments. This does not mean fish too fast. This means fish every second of the day effectively. Each time you start and stop do it quickly. This will add 1-25 more casts per day in every event. If you made 25 more casts in 5 events that is 125 more chances to catch a big one! It is a percentage game and you are improving your chances. If you are the non boater, are you getting ready to go quickly? When the boater puts his pole down and grabs the trolling motor rope that’s a big clue you need to be on the move. Timing is everything!! Think how many times in practice you pull up and first or second cast BANG you get a big one! If you manage your time in tournaments you will increase these odds in your favor. I do a lot of Salmon fishing and I get asked a lot “how come you hook so many fish?” I always answer because im a tournament Bass Angler! And then respond by saying I make more casts than the average angler. Make the most of your time and you will become a better Tournament Bass Angler and a better fisherman.
I hope you can use some of these valuable tips to improve your time on the water and your success in your next Tournament.
On the california Delta with over 1000 miles of water to fish there are many patterns you can catch bass on in the fall. One of my favorite ways to fish this time of year is to use crankbaits.
Baitfish and Bass will begin to move into dead end sloughs and or the middle of large bays. I look to follow them from the main river channels to theese dead end sloughs in hopes of finding how far the bait and bass have began to move. In October the fish usually are closer to the mouth of the sloughs and in November they tend to be from the middle of the slough to the back. In December the bait and the bass will be tword the end of the slough or in the middle of the bays.You just have to search and find them.
I really like it when the cold weather begins to force the bass out of the grass and puts them either out on the edge of the grasslines or puts them in the holes between shallow grassy areas. They are eager to feed up and a crankbait is just perfect!
I make my choice super simple, I use 2 crankbait styles tight wiggling or wide wobbling. From day to day the fish will tell you wich one to use. You can use the rule of thumb that dirty water equals wide wobble and clear water equals tight wiggle. Most of the time I will allways start with a wide wobbling bait since aggresive fish will attack these and I just like the way they feel on my rod. If the fishing is tough I will change to a tight wiggling bait. Use 2 basic colors shad colored baits or crawfish colored baits.
The Wide Wobbling Crank Bait seen below is a Ron Howe favorite a Strike King series 4 crankbait.
The Strike King Series 4 Crankbait is s medium-sized body with a wider wobble & an oversized bill to deflect off cover. Great for Mid-depth, heavy cover applications and dirty water.
In December the tight wiggling baits and rattle traps will be your best bets!
Shallow running crankbaits will always be fish catchers. The Speed Traps are one of the most exciting baits you can throw when the crank bite is on.
For line I use 12-15lb Berkley 100% flourocarbon.
Use these simple Crankbait tactics this fall on the California Delta and you will have some fun days of fishing!
As the spring time rituals of spawning end and hot summer days are approaching us quickly, bass move into a post spawn mode. These post-spawn fish will be in a recovery mode from the spawning period. This can be a very tough time to catch bass. There are many ways to tempt a lazy post spawn bass into a feeding response. First I recommend using plastic worms such as flukes in shad or pink colors. Cast these near spawning areas and dead stick them or barely move the baits with small twitches and long pauses. My next bait is a drop shot. I will use this on light line like 6-8 lb Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon since the bass are wary, tired and most likely have received heavy pressure all spring. I use primarily 2 colors,Purple or Morning Dawn. I will use both 4 and 6 inch sizes. I recommend using a 1/8oz drop shot weight. Simply stick to coves and secondary points leading away from spawning areas. Toss your drop shot up there and don’t move it! We call it dead shottin’! Twitch your rod slightly 1-2 times, don’t move the bait, let it sit there. Watch your line. They will swim away with it! Remember, many males will be guarding their fry and will remain shallow! Many big females will also remain shallow for many days after spawning to recover.
This period of skinny fish that are finicky will pass and the next phase of post spawn will be feeding time. Bass will begin to school up and start to chase bait. This is when it can be fun! TOPWATER TIME! Now we have so many choices, but here are a few of my favorites. First, I like wake baits and buzz baits. I can keep these baits moving slowly and they draw tremendous strikes and catch BIG fish! I use a 7-6ft Medium heavy action Abu Garcia Veritas rod on wake baits with 20lb Berkley Trilene monofilament line. My favorite wake bait is the MS Slammer and for colors I will use Trout, Baby Bass, and Bluegill colors primarily. I use a super slow retrieve at this time of year and the fish will tomahawk the bait! For buzz baits I will use Persuader Double Buzzers and the Persuader Gold Rush Buzz Baits in white and chartreuse/white. I will use 15lb. test Berkley Trilene XT monofilament line on a softer tipped rod with good backbone. Many post spawn fish will just slurp the bait down and this softer tip will help to hook a few more of these fish. I always use a trailer hook in post spawn, like a Daiichi Bleeding Bait Trailer. Next is the Spook type bait or Zig Zag Topwter Bait. They come in so many choices, take your pick. My favorite is the good old Zara spook made by Heddon. I use 3 sizes-small, medium and super spook! Shad and Baby Bass are the only colors I use. Slow walking this bait in post spawn can be deadly! If the fish are swirling on the baits and not committing to eating them I will use a popper and use very slow pops with long pauses. If you are fishing a body of water that has lots of weeds,tules or grass MR. FROGGY should be rigged on 65lb Spider wire and worked slowly in these areas. Hang on big ones love the frog!
Last but not least is one of my favorites as bass begin to gorge on bait fish such as shad, bluegill, and baby bass. It’s Dr. Crankenstein time! There are so many Crank baits to choose from its crazy! I stick to a water column approach! Shallow ,mid, and deep. For shallow cranking I use IMA Square Bill crank baits. For mid cranking I use IMA Pinjack crank baits, . For deep crank baits I use Norman DD-22’s .Shad and Bluegill colors dominate my tackle box this time of year. A true crank bait rod is a must in my opinion. I recomend 7-6″ foot for long casts and a 7ft for target casting.The shorter rod can help you to make more accurate casts at a close distance. I prefer fiberglass rods for a softer tip allowing the bass to better inhale the bait! If all else fails, drag a 3/8-1/2oz football head jig in green pumpkin super slow!
Good Luck “Ron Howe”
Fall is a continuation of summer. Bass will feed shallow early in the day and move deeper as the sun comes up.On warm days in early fall Bass will still be looking for shade and good oxegen. As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler the water temps will begin to drop quickly. This change will bring on the fall bite. In fall all bass think about is food! The bass are long removed from the spawning season and the cooler water makes the bass more comfortable and they will move shallow and feed heavy before winter. The big key is that the bass will follow the bait. In fall the bait will be where the Bass were in spring. Backs of creeks,bays,coves and protected areas. Minnows will be abundant and Baby Bass will be feeding on them. When you see this use baits that imitate Baby bass. Flukes in baby bass or green albino,rip baits,spooks in baby bass,and senkos in the 912 color can be effective at this time. Another major food source in fall will be shad. The shad will also be up in the creeks,bays and protected areas in the body of water you are on. Shad feed on small plankton and which ever direction the wind blows into you will find the shad. Shad have a ton of protein and Bass will take advantage of this and gorge on this bait fish to prepare for winter. Small shad colored crank baits will do well at this time of year like a Luhr Jensen Speed trap in white or other shallow diving crankbaits like a Stike King series 3 crankbait in sexy shad. Shad will feed on algae as well so look for wood in the backs of creeks or ditches since summer algae will still be growing on the wood. White spinner baits like the Persuader Echip spinner bait will do well when you find schools of Bass feeding on shad. If you see the Bass feeding on the shad and pushing them up to the surface try a Heddon super spook in Bone white or throw Zoom flukes with long pauses.In the afternoons when the water warms up a few degrees dont be shy to throw a Persuader inline buzz bait, you wont catch alot of fish on this bait,but you can bet they will be good ones! A rattle trap can be a key factor at this time of year I recomend Lucky Craft. This bait is so versitile you must expearament with it. Try a lift and pause when around the shad let the rattle trap flutter to the bottom. This dying shad type look will trigger a strike! Another effective methode is to look for shallow weed beds,Bass will look for slightly deeper weeds that are still alive as the cooler weather kills many of the shallower weeds,make sure you cast past the target and try to get your bait hung up in the weeds and rip it out this will trigger strikes on tough days! My last and one of my favorites is flipping. On the cooler fall days Bass will hold tight to cover such as wood or rocks and they will be shallow. This puts them in the flipping zone! I like to use creature baits that mimick crawfish or bluegill. I will use a 3/8oz tungsten weight with either a sweet beaver in 420 or dirty sanchez,a 5″ Zipper worm in green pumpkin or a Persuader E-chip jig in green pumpkin tipped with a single tail grub.
These are just a few ways to attack fall bass fishing!
This time of year allows Bill Lowen to enjoy the contemplative side of bass fishing – while mercilessly crushing freakish numbers of shad-hungry largemouth. “In the fall, a lot of guys are thinking about hunting more than fishing, so the lake is usually pretty peaceful,” he says. “Plus, the bass are keyed in on shad and are often holed up in shallow water, so they’re easy to catch. This kind of fishing is right up my alley.” Ever the power fisherman, Lowen looks to incite reaction strikes with a quartet of shad imitators in the backs of creeks and bays, where much of the lake’s bait is corralled. Here’s what Lowen uses to tag and bag hefty sacks of bass this month.
Tightlines UV Tube:
Lowen stresses that your baits and presentations should mimic shad, so he Texas rigs a 4-inch UV Tube with a 1/4-ounce Reins tungsten sinker and works it around visible cover such as stumps and laydowns. “The bass are really focused in on that shad migration, so I try to make this look like one by snapping it around rather than dragging it. I’m looking for a reaction bite.” Lowen snaps his tube with a 7-6 All Pro APX Elite flipping stick with 17-pound Trilene fluorocarbon.
Ima Square Bill:
Lowen designed this flat-sided crankbait for Ima because he wanted a big profile bait for crashing in and around cover. “The key for this is to crank it faster than you would a normal crankbait,” he says. “This makes it run more erratic than it does normally.” Lowen sticks with either a chartreuse/black back or bone or citrus shad hues to closely mimic the silvery forage. He throws them with a 7-foot, medium-heavy All Pro APX Elite crankin’ stick and 15-pound Trilene fluorocarbon.
D&L Tackle Bill Lowen’s Swim Jig:
“This may be the easiest way to catch a bass this time of year. If you can throw a spinnerbait, then you can throw this – and for me, a swim jig catches more fish,” he says. “Work it just how you do a spinnerbait: Throw it out and reel it in.” Lowen tosses a white or black-and-blue 1/4-ounce model tipped with a Tightlines UV grub on an All Pro Bill Lowen Signature Series Swim Jig rod. Regardless of water clarity, he always uses 30-pound braid.
D&L Baby Advantage jig:
Lowen likes this compact jig for its speedy falling action. He hops it around the same shallow cover as he does the tube. “Once again, this is great at getting a reaction bite.” He hangs a Tightlines UV Beaver on for maximum descent speed and appeal. Green pumpkin and white are his go-to colors. “Whatever you’re doing this time of year – be it cranking or flipping – it needs to be fast and about the reaction bite,” Lowen says.
The Enegizer Bunny and B.A.S.S. Elite Series pro Todd Faircloth share a common trait. While the bunny keeps on ticking, Faircloth keeps on flipping. He never winds down – cast after cast, short, methodical, thorough. Faircloth is like a well-oiled machine as he eases along a grassline. He has full confidence that bass are clustered somewhere in this green cover, and sooner or later he’ll find them. When he does, he knows he can “get well” in a hurry. This is a classic warm month pattern, right? Absolutely, but it’s not exclusive to the hot season. Faircloth, of Jasper, Texas, says on many lakes, bass linger in the vegetation into late autumn. “I’ve caught ’em flipping grasslines in December on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn and Lake Amistad,” he attests. “Now I may not get as many bites flipping the grass this time of year , but I’ll get enough to keep things interesting, and the average size fish I catch will be big – 3 to 4 pounds.” This is why other anglers should keep this pattern on the front burner as fall progresses. This time of year most people gravitate to the backs of creeks where shad are working. But Faircloth knows from experience that deep grasslines still hold some good bass this time of year, and he will usually have these fish all to himself. Here is how he racks up some hefty catches when the air is cooling, the leaves are turning and the fish are gorging themselves in anticipation of the cold months ahead.
“In Texas lakes, I’m usually fishing grasslines in 8 to 20 feet of water, and the water color is clear to slightly stained,” Faircloth begins. “The grass usually quits growing at the edge of some sort of dropoff – a creek, ditch, underwater point, etc. The fish travel along these contour breaks, and they use the grass as cover. So anglers should look for contour changes with grass growing on them.” More specifically, Faircloth looks both visually and electronically for places where a grassline turns or makes a point. “These bends and points are the most likely places for the bass to concentrate,” he notes. “They’re natural ambush places where they can hide in the cover and watch for forage fish to swim by.” He adds, “Sometimes the grass will be matted up on the surface. Other times it’ll be growing to within 2 to 3 feet of the surface, but you can still see it . In both cases, you can find the prime spots just by looking. These are the best conditions for fishing this pattern. “But other times when the grass is a little deeper, you have to depend on your graph to see it and to follow the breaks. Still, the same rules apply. You want to work the edges of the grassbeds and focus mainly on those points and turns in the cover.”
To do this, Faircloth flips a 1 to 1.5 ounce All-Terrain Tackle Grassmaster jig mated with a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog trailer. His go-to colors are a black/blue jig and a watermelon Hog. He explains, “Bass holding in these deep grasslines in the fall are mainly feeding on bluegill, and this color combination matches this prey species.” Faircloth picks his jig size based on water clarity. “The clearer the water, the faster I want my bait to fall, so the heavier the jig I’ll use. I’m looking for a reaction bite with this presentation. I don’t want the fish to have much time to study the bait. Instead, I want it dropping by them fast so they have to make a split-second decision on whether or not to bite it. I believe this is the best way to trigger strikes in clear water ,” Faircloth says.
As he slides along, Faircloth makes a new pitch every 4 to 5 feet, over and over, always just ahead of his boat’s bow. When he pitches into the grass, he lets his jig free spool to the bottom. When it hits, he engages his reel, hops it once or twice, then reels it back up quickly and makes the next pitch. He says 90 percent of his bites come on the first drop he makes into a new spot. He calls this technique “speed flipping.” He says, “I don’t spend a lot of time looking for individual fish. Instead, I’m looking for groups of fish. If I can find a group clustered together in one small area, I can load up in a hurry.” Faircloth adds, “It’s amazing how much water you can cover fishing like this, and this is what you have to do. You just keep working those grass edges and searching until you hit a place where some bass are holding. You might go a long way without a bite, then you’ll hit an area the size of a pickup truck where the bass will be gathered up. This is what you’re looking for. This is where you can put together a good limit in just a few minutes.” Faircloth continues, “When you hook a fish, you need to land it and get your bait back in the same spot as fast as you can. When you catch one, it’s important to keep the bite going. If you’re fishing with a partner, he needs to get his bait in there quickly. It’s commonplace to get a double in this situation.”
Fall is the favorite time of the year for bass fishing’s funniest man, Gerald Swindle. The former waterbug-quick Locust Fork High School running back and kick returner finds peace in a tree stand following a long Bassmaster Elite Series season, and he finds bass returning to a variety of shallow water patterns where he enjoys catching them most. Not to mention, Swindle makes his home in the heart of college football’s Southeastern Conference, and that always leads to a truckload of smack talk debates with his fellow football lovin’ brothers of bass.
How to Catch ‘Em: “It’s spinnerbait time, and there ain’t a more fun lure out there at this time of year. After fishing slow and deep all summer long, I finally get to go to the back of a creek and cast a spinnerbait,” says Swindle. “I’m throwing a spinnerbait to match the shad they’re feeding on, and I’m not expecting to catch a school of 5-pounders, but I know I’m going to catch a bunch of fish, with a few 3 or 4 pounders mixed in. You can catch them from a wide variety of habitat, ranging from laydown trees to riprap.” Equipment: 20-pound Sunline shooter spooled on a Quantum SL100SPT 6.3:1 Smoke reel.
How to Catch ‘Em: “The bass are transitioning to rocks, because rocks hold heat even during the cooler nights of late fall,” says the Warrior, Ala., pro. “This is the time when shallow square-bill crankbaits like the RC 1.5 shine. I may start my day toward the back of the creek, but my main focus will be mid-way toward the front of the creek on all rocky banks and riprap shorelines.” Equipment: Swindle makes an interesting note that while he loves the slower 5.3:1 Quantum Cranking Classic reel in the spring and summer, speedier reels like a 6.3:1 Energy PT simply seem to trigger more strikes with shallow crankbaits during football season.
How to Catch ‘Em: “The water is getting cold enough that they aren’t chasing cranks and spinnerbaits as much as they were earlier in the fall. So instead, the jig comes into play,” says, the 2004 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. “I’m going to pitch a 3/8-ounce jig to brush around shallow docks, rip rap or laydowns.” Equipment: Swindle says he uses a 3/8-ounce jig 90 percent of the time because it has the right rate of fall, descending just slow enough in colder water.
How to Catch ‘Em: “I’m going to look for as many sun-drenched rocky banks on a creek channel swing as I can find,” says Swindle with arrow straight focus. “Even in the South, the water will likely be in the high 40s or low 50s, so I’m gonna’ drag that same 3/8-ounce Arkie jig from the rocky, sunny shoreline out to 15 or 20 feet deep where the creek channel kisses the bank. I’m just dragging it along the bottom until a bass picks up on it. It’s key to maintain constant feel and bottom contact.” Equipment: Swindle stresses using a quality rod like the 7-foot, 4-inch Quantum EXO that affords ultra-sensitive feel for bites that are sure to be passive and feather-light in early winter’s cold water.
Jeff Kriet has a reputation for staying put. The Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Oklahoma knows how to find bass, and once he finds them he has little trouble putting them in the boat. When it comes to finesse tactics or catching suspended bass, he has few equals. That’s why it’s something of a surprise that he completely changes his ways when it comes to fall bassing.
Kriet focuses his attentions on the backs of creeks and pockets, flats and windy banks, but what he’s really looking for is shad. “The shad could be almost anywhere, but those are the high percentage places to look,” he adds. “I like areas that have a channel nearby so the bass have some deep water access, but the bass are going to be near the bait.”
“I usually like to fish really slowly,” he says, “but fall is the one time that I want to cover a lot of water, and my favorite way to do it is by burning a spinnerbait.” That’s another departure for the affable eight-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier. Fall is one of few times that he ever ties on a spinnerbait, preferring a lipless or square bill crankbait when bass are in thin water. “A big part of this pattern is the right bait,” Kriet says. “My favorite spinnerbait for this tactic is a 1/2-ounce Sebile Pro-Shad Finesse Spinnerbait in Holo Greenie. It’s a terrific shad imitation, and the bait performs like no other on the market because it’s compact, has a unique blade design and works great in clear water, which we have a lot of at this time of year.” The blades on the Sebile spinnerbait have the outline of a baitfish, and they’re small enough that they provide little “lift.” That keeps the lure under the water even at high retrieve speeds. The compactness of the bait allows Kriet to make long casts and cover lots of water. “It’s a very natural looking bait, and that means a lot in clear water,” he says. “It’s important to match your spinnerbait to the shad, so a natural color is key. I think the blades on the Sebile make a difference, too.”
Because he’s making long casts (and may have to set the hook from long range) and retrieving very fast (which can result in short strikes), Kriet likes a trailer hook on his fall spinnerbaits. It can dramatically cut down on missed bass. “I’m moving fast and covering lots of water, but I want to keep my bait in the strike zone, so I like to move in close to the bank and make parallel casts that keep me in the productive zone as much of the cast as possible. “I also like to give the bait some added action,” Kriet says. “While I’m reeling it in, I’m also twitching and moving my rod tip a lot to throw a little slack in the line and make the bait pause and flutter. Sometimes that makes all the difference.” Kriet’s fall pattern is not without its caveats. “If the bass aren’t cooperating,” he says, “I’m going to put that spinnerbait down fast and go to something else. When they’re on it, it’s fantastic – there’s no better way to catch them in the fall. But don’t go out there and push it for four hours waiting for something to happen. I don’t fish this pattern unless I know it’s the deal.”
Kriet’s Fall Gear:
When burning a spinnerbait, Kriet opts for 15-pound-test Hi-Seas Fluorocarbon line spooled on an Abu Garcia Revo casting reel (7:1 gear ratio) mounted on a Falcon swim jig or Falcon Eakins Jig rod. The jig rods have just the action that Kriet likes for spinnerbaiting.
Lure Selection & Presentation:
Having already iterated the frog as a fave way to land lunkers, Lane explained the two types of the frog imitations that he uses as toad temptations. “There are two kinds of frog fishing,” he stated. “There is the floating frog and there is the swimming frog. A floating frog like the kind made at Snag Proof are made for grass mats. I fish a Bobby’s Perfect Frog for this kind of fishing, except at Guntersville. When I’m fishing a floating frog, I’m looking for thick matted grass that the fish are in and work it real slow. When I’m in scattered grass or sparse vegetation by logs, I want a swimming frog. I use a Luck E Strike swimming frog.” Lane continued his differentiation of the two types of froggin’ as the relate to tidal water saying that he opts to throw a swimming frog on edges of vegetation when the water has moved out and then changes to the floating frog on tops of mats as the water depth rises.
He described the variation on working each type of frog. “With a swimming frog, just reel the entire time unless you see a bass just under it, but not striking,” stated Lane. “If you see that, just pause and let it sink a little, then pick right back up reeling and wait for it to explode on it. The floating frog is a reel, twitch, sit, let them come it get retrieve.” When setting the hook, Lane always gives a two-second wait time after the frog disappears. If he finds he is missing fish after a blow up, he said, “wait longer.” Offering an extra two seconds, before setting the hook could make the difference in those “ones that got away stories”.
Chris Lane’s Guntersville Frog:
As for the inspiration for the Guntersville Frog that Lane developed with Snag Proof he stated there was no fishery that could compare to his home water, – Lake Guntersville in Birmingham, Ala.”We, as fishermen – are funny,” said Lane. “We always think we can do something different, something that swims better or has a better hookup or a bigger strike. I knew that was something that could be done with a frog on Guntersville. That place has world-renowned, forage frog fishing. Anything can happen there. It holds big, big bass. The anticipation that an angler feels as soon as you throw that floating frog over a mat, is incredible. “The amount of mats and type of vegetation is the best; there just isn’t any place like it. It needed a different kind of frog.” He described the mats as thick, but hollow underneath allowing a space for the fish to get up underneath. He explained his ideal mats saying he looks for ones that are look as though they are dying and have the appearance of “dried out”. Describing the hopper that he created for Guntersville, he said the legs are weighted to depress the thick mats indigenous to the fishery and said that they can come with rattles as well for an added, audible attraction for the bass to track the bait. His personal best on his home water invention went 10-lbs.
Standard supplies and setup Lane uses for froggin’ is a 7’2″ All Star Rod with a 6.3:1 Abu Garcia Revo reel. “I want a stout rod for frogs,” he stated. “I use 50-lb Stren Sonic braided line. If the frog bite is really, really good, I may move up to 65-lb, but that is very seldom. I use 50-lb, because I can cast farther with it.”
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Heddon One Knocker Spook:
“This is one of the best baits to use the first thing in the morning to cover lots of water. Plus, it gets big ones,” Christie says. “Chuck it around shallow cover and see what they show you. Also, if you’re fishing offshore, you never know when they’ll come up schooling, and this is one of the best baits for that situation.” Christie keeps a pearl shad Spook on deck all day.
Bomber Fat Free Shad:
Christie likes the BD7 Fat Free Shad to really cover some ground. “A lot of your fish are going to be offshore on ledges, and I throw this 90 percent of the time in practice,” he says. “When you’ve found a school, this will fire ’em up. The key is to reel it as fast as you can. A lot of people just reel it, but it’ll be work if you’re doing it right.” Foxy shad is his go-to color.
Yum Money Minnow:
Once he’s found a school of fish on his electronics and the Fat Free Shad has quit working, Christie goes into “cleanup” mode with a swimbait. “If you’ve got that school fired up, you can catch 10 fish in 10 casts,” he says. “But once that dies, you need something more subtle to roll through ’em, and this is it.” He likes a 5-inch shad color (such as foxy shad) on a 3/4-ounce jighead.
Yum Wooly Bug:
Not every fish in the lake is going to be deep, so Christie prepares for a shallow bite with a soft plastic tailor-made for flipping. He rigs the Wooly Bug on a 5/0 TroKar flipping hook and pegs the getup to a 1/2-ounce sinker. “This is my go-to in river systems and in and around shallow stuff,” he says. “It’s good for hydrilla, laydowns, pads – whatever’s there and fishy-looking.”
What Jason Christie Throws In July And August July/August 2013 Bassmaster (David Hunter Jones pg. 26)
Iaconelli started off explaining the “deeper” pattern saying it is the primary summertime pattern. He then explained that there are three reasons that bass go deep in the summer. The first to find cooler water. “At this time, the surface temp of a body of water can go up to the 80’s, 90’s or even into the 100-degree range,” he stated. The second reason a bass will go deeper is due to stratification. He explained saying, “As this occurs, oxygen levels will deplete in shallow zones and as a matter of survival, fish will go deeper to find more oxygen.” Lastly, a bass will follow their food source and as they found their meals shallower in the spawn, that forage will move deeper as the water warms. “It is just like wolves, it doesn’t matter what kind of baitfish it is – shad, yellow perch, alewife – they all move deep,” he added. While Ike stated there is not one bait across the board that is best for the deeper pattern, due to the vast difference in depth range that deep could equal, he did recommend two baits for areas that are 20- to 25-feet or deeper. “You do need a specialized bait when targeting fish that deep,” he continued. “The first is a deep diving crankbait and the second is a football head jig. The important thing about these two baits are that they can trigger a reaction strike. When bass are deep, they typically feed in low light or nighttime conditions and most of the time, we are on the water in the day. That is why, I want something that is really good at triggering a ‘non-feeding’ fish to bite.”
Ike’s Deeper Lure Selection & Gear:
Ike’s preferred deep diver is a Rapala DT. “The ‘DT’ means ‘dives-to’,” said Iaconelli. “On my lake, I’m using a DT 10, because it dives to 10-feet. At Kentucky Barkley, if I’m on an 18 or 20-ft ledge, I’m using a DT 20.” For the next bait – the football head jig – Ike uses the Berkley Gripper Jig. “I like it because it is a tremendous reaction bait,” he continued. “It lets me get past that normal barrier of 20 or 25-ft. You need that in many places, like the Great lakes or the deep mountain lakes out West. A crankbait loses its effect when you’re deeper than 25-ft. I use a 1/2 or 3/4-oz jig. My jig trailer in the summer is different too. You want a lot of action in the summer vs. a more neutral action in the winter. The high-action trailer I like is a double tail grub. Berkley makes one in the Havoc line called the Deuce. It is just a bigger, beefier grub.”
Favorite gear for fishing his deeper baits were specific. “Fishing a deep crankbait is more specialized, because of the super-long casts that you need to make,” he said. “I use an Abu Garcia Veritas – a really long 7’11” rod in the Winch series. It has a softer action to achieve maximum diving depth and the needed long casts. I also like a reel that holds a lot of line and has a slower gear ratio, especially with a big crankbait like the DT 16 or DT 20. I use an Abu Garcia Revo Winch with that big spool in a 5.1:1. That slow gear ratio helps you fish that big bill. I use 10- to 12-lb Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon because of the density it sinks, getting deeper for bottom contact.” He throws his jig with a 7′, medium-heavy Veritas with a 7.1:1 Revo Premier reel for quicker line pick up. He upsizes to 15 or 17-lb line for his Grippers.
“This can throw people off, but even in the heat of the summer, after the spawn, even if the water is 80, 90 or 100, if there is available thick cover, some fish will remain shallow,” noted Ike. “That is where the second pattern comes into play – the ‘thicker’ pattern. Thick is relative depending on where you are. In Florida, on Okeechobee, Kissimmee or Toho it might be the grass – hydrilla, milfoil, reeds, etc. In California on the Delta, it might be hydrilla, milfoil or duckweed. In other places there might be no grass, but there is cover, like Lake Wylie in North Carolina. There isn’t a stitch of grass there, but there is a ton of lay down trees. In other places, like Lake Norman in the Carolinas, has 1000’s of docks. If you look, they provide shade, overhead cover and keep the water cooler. It’s even better if you can find a dock near a fresh water run-in. Look around the thickest part of the cover in the shallow zones for minnows, shad, crawdads, etc. Locate the thickest part of the cover, if you’ve found baitfish there should be some bass.”
Ike’s Thicker Lure Selection & Gear:
Ike’s punch’ rig includes a 3/8 to 1 1/2-oz VMC tungsten weight . The thicker the cover, the heavier the weight. The color of his weight relates directly to what he is trying to imitate. “If there are bluegills or craws around, I will use realistic colors like muted greens or blacks,” he said. “You don’t see silver on bluegill or craws. If I’m trying to imitate an alewife or emerald shiner around a dock, I’m going to use a smoke or silver. I want the package to look as real as possible.” He uses a VMC Bobber Stop and a stout flippin’ hook that he helped develop – the VMC Ike Approved Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook in 3/0 or 5/0, depending on bait size. “There are lots of different plastic creature baits out there,” said Iaconelli. “I use the Berkley Devil Spear. It’s amazing for punchin’. It has a nice compact body with no appendages, no arms or curly tails. It is streamline, like a spear, with deep grooves. Those deep serrated ribs catch water on the fall making the tail shake back and forth. I use the regular 4 1/4-inch size with a 5/0 VMC hook, when I see adult size craws and bigger bluegill. I use the smaller 3 1/3-inch size with a 3/0 VMC hook when I see smaller minnows or grass shrimp. I’m always trying to match the hatch.”
He ties on with a snell knot and noted that up until eight or so years ago he used a Palomar. The switch in knots increased his hookup percentage by at least 30 percent. He also stated that the VMC hook he helped create has two keeper barbs that were specifically designed to be positioned 1/8 of an inch below the eyelet of the hook to allow room for the snell knot. Punch gear for Iaconelli is a medium-heavy, 8′ Veritas. I like this long heavy backbone which is about 80 percent o f the rod,” he added. “Twenty percent has a little tip which is good for casting. This is a close quarters bait and you’ve got to have a fast reel. I use an Abu Garcia STX 8.1:1. Seventy percent of the time, he punches with 50- to 65-lb Spiderwire Stealth braided line for thick cover and stained or dirty water. The remainder of the time he will use Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon. He stated the criteria that would prompt the fluoro would be super clear water with thick shallow cover or super-heavy pressured areas.
“People have in mind certain types of water, when you say current,” explained Ike. “Like current you find in rivers or manmade current from a dam. That is wrong. Every body of water has current, even a natural, bowl shaped lake or pond has current from wind, from boat traffic from movement in the mouth of a canal or in a saddle that is formed a between point and an island. That is important to remember, because by default the current will increase the oxygen, make the water cooler and attract baitfish and forage. Current is the third summertime pattern that I’m looking for and I’m going to go out of my way to find the areas with it.”
Ike’s Current Lure Selection & Gear:
Once again, Ike explained there were many lures and techniques that could be used in the current. He noted that his top-two were a spinnerbait and an Iaconelli go-to the shakey head. “The spinnerbait is a great tool in lots of situations, but I think it may be the best lure in a current situation,” he said. “The blade has movement in current on its own without any action from your rod or your reel. It is often my first choice in summertime cover.” He uses the Molix Water Slash spinnerbait due to its scaled down compact size and the distinctive head design that invokes a unique side-to-side motion or shimmy that Ike compared to a Senko. The majority of the time, Ike ties on a 3/8 or 1/2 oz spinnerbait and said 10 percent of the time it will be a little lighter or littler heavier, depending on the circumstance. As always, he chooses to match the hatch with colors such as fire tiger if yellow perch were in the vicinity or gold if golden shiners were showing themselves and a silver, if the shad were around. Blade styles depended on water clarity. “If it is stained to clear and I can see three or four feet down, I will use a willow leaf, he said. “If it is stained to muddy, like it just rained and it’s chocolate milk and I need more vibration, I am going to use a Colorado. If I want more flash then I’m going to use a willow.” “My finesse standby for current is the shakey head,” said Ike. “It is a classic current bait, especially when you already know they are there and you want to maximize the spot.” He uses the Havoc Bottom Hopper on his shakey head due to its flat bottom design and the gliding and sliding nature.
Ike’s spinnerbaits are fished on 7′ Veritas medium action rod. He chooses this to allow a little more delay in the hookset. His reel is a 7.1 Premier Revo which is versatile allowing him to slow down or burn back. The line is Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon depending – 15-lb for open water, 17 for moderate and 20 for thick weeds. The Veritas 6’6″ spinning rod and the Revo premier spinning reel in the 30size with 8 or 10-lb 100% fluorocarbon seals the deal. “You want a big reel so you can spool your line and still leave about 1/8-inch in there,” said Ike. “Also, you always want to fish up current and then let the bait come back down to you naturally the way the baitfish, crawfish or earthworms would drift towards you – this will double your bites, for sure.”
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Ike’s Three Keys Summer 2013 Bass Angler Magazine (Jody Only pg. 72- 75)
“There are two types of heavy cover,” he began. “First, there is matted vegetation, which is for punchin’. Second, there is heavy wood. Wood is the simplest – it is the nastiest, heavy wood you can find – like a thick, fallen tree. The bass will go into the deepest, darkest spot of that submerged tree. There are also flooded trees and laydowns.” Productive wooded structure can be found in depths from six-inches to 15 or 20-feet. “If you find a flooded tree and you catch one or two or a few fish, you will find the key depth. Then, you can eliminate the wood in deeper or shallower areas. The fish will tell you how deep you should be.” He elaborated on how the fish setup within the wood explaining that there are times that they are on the bottom and other times they are suspended in the structure or under a limb. “A flippin’ bait allows you to give it to them in either place – in both strike zones,” said Crews.
When deciding which mats hold the monsters, he prefers a mixed mat, going with the more the merrier theory. “If there are tules mixed with the matted vegetation, that is good, if there is hyacinth over milfoil mixed in with the tules that is better, but if there is all that plus hydrilla, that is best. The more types of grass that are mixed in the mats, the better.” Crews goes straight to the heart. He described the best places as where the mat comes to a point or the center. “If I’m in practice, I will go right to the middle or thickest part where the big ones are,” he explained. “If I know the area is good, I will slow down and pick it apart. Once you cast to a spot in a mat, you spook the fish that are sitting between your cast and you, so you have to be careful and decide if you want to fish any of that area before you cast past it.”
“For baits, I use a Missile Baits D-Bomb or a Missile Craw,” stated Crews. “There is a distinctive shape and fall and action for these baits. They were developed this way. I use the D-Bomb for a bigger profile. It has more water displacement and a straight fall. I started with this at Falcon. When I didn’t get that many bites, I changed to the more subtle presentation of the Craw. It is thinner with a smaller profile. That makes it fall faster with more of a darting action and a different look on the bottom. Sometimes that is the fish’s preference.” Saying the action and fall rate are more important than the color of the bait, Crews keeps his color choices basic, using red around the spawn, natural shades on sunny days and darker ones in off-colored water. If he finds he is gettin’ bit, but they’re not holding on, he suggests adjusting the color or adding scent. When choosing his weight, Crews opts for a 1/4 to 3/4-oz., depending on how thick the cover is. “The fall rate can make a big difference,” he noted. He prefers flat black weights.
“When you’re flippin’, the bait will take the path of least resistance,” explained Crews. “Pitch it out there in the heavy wood and the fish will find it.” Patience is a virtue when flippin’ wood. “Don’t get in a hurry,” he warned. “You don’t need to set the hook and land the fish in one motion. You need to give them a two second count, before you give them a good, hard hookset and then hold on. They’ll find their way out. They will follow the line and then you can guide them out.”
In the wood, Crews spools his Vicious line on a high speed, 7.3:1 Pinnacle LTE casting reel and uses a 7’6″ Pinnacle Perfecta DHC 5 rod. “It is medium-heavy with a fast taper,” he stated. “It bends more than most might like. For me, I like to have enough tip to cast well. I don’t like heavy flippin’ with too stout of a rod. It doesn’t pitch as accurately. I also want a great handle for balance, since I’m fishin’ all day.” Crews inspects his water and visually locates the heaviest wood. When he fishes these types of areas he prefers to tie on Vicious Fishing Fluorocarbon in 25-lb-test. “It slips over wood easier than braid,” stated Crews. “You have to keep an eye out for line abrasion, continually monitoring your line, when you are fishing wood like this.” He ties his flippin’ hook on using a San Diego Jam knot. Some call this the Reverse Clinch. His hook is a 3/O or 5/O Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook, depending if he using a smaller or larger plastic. Crews reviewed the differences when flippin’ heavy mats as opposed to heavy wood. “I’m using a heavier weight, a 1/2- to 1 1/2-oz,” he stated. “I still want a black weight for a more natural look. When I move up to a 1-oz weight or bigger, I bump my rod to a 7’9” Flippin’ Stick, because I need a little more backbone for the heavier action. Sometimes, I darken my line a few feet. I use Vicious 50- to 65-lb braided line for vegetation. I use the same hook, but tie it on with a Snell knot. I use the same plastic baits, but use darker colors.
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Crews And The Craws Summer 2013 Bass Angler Magazine (Jody Only pg. 40 – 42)
Lily pad fields can develop in many places on your favorite lake or river. Pads can develop in numerous backwater lakes and sloughs on rivers. On lakes, pads will start to pop up in shallow bays and shallow flats, the depth of water that lily pads grow in ranges, but I like to look for areas that have deeper water or ditches nearby. Some lily pad fields can cover several acres and could take a huge chunk of your day fishing to cover. You will want to dissect that area to determine what irregularities are present that the bass may be further relating to.
Certain things I look for are:
* Other forms of cover, such as wood mixed in with the pads
* Pockets of open water located within the pads
* When a section of the pads form a point or indentation
* If there is a depth change in the water under the pads
Frog Lure Selection & Presentation:
My lure selection is based off of fishing the two different areas of the pads, the area that is in the midst of the pad field and then the edge of pads. When I am fishing the area inside the pads, my favorite lure is either a Snag Proof Ish’s Phat Frog or Bobby’s Perfect Frog. With either of these frogs, I can target the bass in the heavy cover and then work it across the pads and let it sit when it comes to an open water pocket. I also like to walk my frog across open water as bass will come out of the lilypads and hit your frog in open water. I like to work my frog with a lot of action, making casts in heavy cover, I use a 7’2” Tessera Series Rod which has plenty of backbone, but still a soft tip, so I can give the frog a lot of action. I pair this rod with a Wright & McGill Victory baitcaster reel with a high speed retrieve, so I can quickly reel in line as a bass makes a run towards the boat and spool it with 60-lb. Seaguar Kanzen braided line.
Flippin’ Lure Selection & Presentation:
When I am flippin’ a creature bait, I am putting this bait right along the edge or sending it to open water pockets between the pads. There are various creature bait designs on the market, but the one common thing that I use is either one in black and blue or green pumpkin. I prefer to use a 1/2-oz. Lazer Sharp Tungsten Weight, so I can make nice long pitches. By using a tungsten weight, it is smaller than a lead weight. To get a solid hook up on these bass when I’m flipping around pads, I like to use 20-lb Seaguar TATSU fluorocarbon, because I believe it’s the best out there. It has low stretch and is super strong. Fluorocarbon coupled with a 4/0 Trokar TK130 Flippin’ hook has dramatically increased my hookup ratio.
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Fishing The Pads Summer 2013 Bass Angler Magazine (Glenn Walker pg. 70 – 71)
Thus, through his extensive experience at finding deepholding bass, Parker has acquired a comprehensive knowledge of the fish’s habits in midsummer and what it takes to catch them. He adds that his Kentucky Lake tactics are effective on other mainstream reservoirs throughout the U.S. Parker begins, “In the mid-South, most bass head straight back to deep-water ledges as soon as they finish spawning. They will concentrate in predictable areas along mainriver ledges [submerged banks of the old river channel]. Typical depths are 10 to 22 feet deep on top of the ledge and falling to a depth of 35 feet or more.” Parker continues, “The fish collect in these spots to feed on shad. Feeding activity is usually heightened when there’s some current running.”
When Parker finds a school of bass with his sonar, he positions his boat downstream of their location and casts upstream. His primary baits are a Nichols flutter spoon (5 inches), deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rigs and jigs. Parker says many anglers know and utilize this pattern in midsummer, and it produces consistently when the current is running and the bite is on. However, he has also learned how to catch these fish when the bite is slow and they are seemingly nowhere to be found. He explains, “The bass don’t always hold close to the bottom on these river ledges. Sometimes they will rise up and suspend just a few feet under the surface over a deep ledge. For instance, they may be hanging 4 to 6 feet deep over a ledge that’s 15 feet deep falling to 35 feet. These are like mystery fish. Most anglers don’t know they’re still there and orienting to the ledge.” Parker says this happens under a definite set of conditions: The surface water temperature is in the upper 80s or higher; current is slack; and big schools of shad are cruising near the surface.
Parker continues, “When these conditions prevail, sometimes I’ll scan places where I know the fish are hanging out, but I can’t see them on the graph. It’s like they’re gone. But before I rule that spot out, I’ll wait a little while, then come back and work it with a spoon to see if they’re hanging close to the surface beneath the shad.” To do this, he returns to the downstream side of the ledge, avoiding motoring over where he thinks the bass should be. Then he begins working the ledge with the flutter spoon, making long casts and retrieving it at different depths to try to contact the fish. “I’m very stealthy when I’m doing this,” he notes. “I keep my trolling motor on low and avoid making any noise that may scare them. It’s like shallow-water fishing.” When his spoon hits the water, Parker raises his rod to let the bait settle on slack line. Then he slowly lowers his rod tip as the spoon flutters down. “I haven’t engaged my reel yet,” he says. “I’m watching my line for some unnatural movement, and I’m also feeling for a bite. I won’t engage the reel until the spoon hits bottom or I get a strike.” If the spoon falls to the bottom, then Parker engages his reel and strokes the spoon off the bottom and allows it to settle again. He works the spoon all the way back to the boat in this manner. If no strike comes, he experiments with different retrieves and depths to discover the fish’s location. “On the next cast, after the spoon flutters down 5 to 6 feet, I’ll start snapping it back to work it nearer the surface. Sooner or later, if they’re there, I’ll find them.” Parker concludes, “It takes a lot of confidence to cast out in the middle of nowhere like this. But believe me, once you learn to read your sonar properly, then master the technique with the flutter spoon, you can load up your livewell.”
The Mystery Bass Of Summer July/August 2013 Bassmaster (Wade L. Bourne pg. 65 – 66)
“Outgoing tide is best,” said Weyer. “I would say the first 45-minutes to one hour after the outgoing tide change and the last two or two and half hours before the incoming change. I really like that last part before it really drops off.” He explained that his success on an outgo was due to the bass knowing that the water is moving out and how they position themselves on breaks during that time. He noted that when the tide is coming in and the water is getting higher the baitfish spread themselves out and the bass do the same. His optimum water temp for the technique is 55-degrees or higher. “The hotter the weather, the deeper they go into the cover,” continued Weyer. “In June, July or August, the bass are relating to the main rivers or channels with more current flow. In the main river areas, it is cooler, there are more baitfish and there are deeper breaks and these are things that the bass relate to as the conditions heat up. You may find some of them in backs of coves, but only if they are deeper coves.”
He recommended punchin’ in areas that are within a 1/2 mile to a mile off the main channels or rivers and targeting breaks of 6-feet or less. “I have caught them in a foot or less,” he added. “Especially if that shallow point is near a drop or deeper break. I’ve also caught them in just inches if a hole they’ve buried into is near deeper water. I got a back-to-back eight and a nine in holes on the bank in less than a foot on the California Delta.” As for optimum vegetation, Weyer wants a mixture. “Out west, some guys want to fish the hyacinth,” added the FLW Tour pro. “I love to fish the matted up elodea, but if it is combined with the hyacinth, that is really, really good. It can be a goldmine. If I’m in the Potomac or Louisiana Delta, I am looking for Gator Weed, milfoil and hydrilla.” Finding most production in the center, Weyer goes right to the middle of the mat. “That is where the big fish live,” he stated. He also expressed his liking for small patches of grass rather than big masses.
“The fall rate of how they want the bait is important to figure out and keep in mind, they can change how they want it,” he added. “Sometimes they want it to feather down, other times they want a quick fall. Sometimes they will strike when you hop it on the bottom, sometimes they strike at a shake. The fish will have to tell you what they want at any given time. I start with a drop and hop and go from there. If I’m not getting’ bit, I will try the shake. A lot of times you get bit on the fall, right away, before it ever hits the ground. But, other times you have to give it some effort, you cannot just pitch in there two or three times and move on, give it 10 or 20 casts. It depends on the pressure. If you miss one, definitely don’t move on. Pitch back in there. If no success, leave for 15 or 20 minutes and come and try again. You can still pick up that fish.” Pitch, drop, hop, shake – somewhere in there, you will feel the bite. When it happens, Weyer’s best advice was to WAIT. “Don’t set the hook immediately,” he warned. “Give it a quick one-two count and then set. You want to give them enough time to turn their head, so you don’t pull the bait out of their mouth.”
Getting’ his gear together, Weyer brings out a 7’10” to 8-ft rod. “I like a medium-heavy rod and I like a little bit of a soft tip that lets them take the bait, so it doesn’t jerk out on the set,” he stated. He uses 60 or 80-lb braided Seaguar Kanzen line with six to eight feet of it blacked out with a Sharpie, he ties on his punch rig with a Snell knot and a 4/0 or 5/0 Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook. The weight he uses is a black Penetrator weight. His preferred weight sizes are 1 to 1 3/4 oz. “Mostly, I will use a 1 3/4oz,” he stated. “I will go to a 2 or 2 1/2 oz if the wind is really blowin’.” He adds one or two Paycheck Baits Punch Stops to his punch rig, depending on the size of the weight. His hook size changes with his bait size or also if he finds he’s getting bigger bass to bite when he is using the 4/0, he will go to the bigger hook. To beef up the profile, there are times that Weyer adds a skirt. “Sometimes I use a Paycheck Baits Punch Skirt, sometimes I will use a homemade one,” he stated. “It is about 50/50, if I use a skirt. The ones I make myself are just a spinnerbait or jig skirt material. I make them in green pumpkin with red flake, like a California 420 color. I use that when I’m around bluegill. I make a blue/pumpkin color or black and red for when I’m around crawdads and a black with silver flake when I’m around shad. The coloring really depends on the baitfish or food source that I’m finding in the areas that I’m fishing. There are some differences depending on what part of the country that I’m in too.”
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Punch Party – B.Y.O.B. (Boat Your Own Bass) Summer 2013 Bass Angler Magazine (Jody Only pg. 50 – 51)
The first place the Paducah, KY native is going to look when searching out shallow water largemouth is in one of the major tributaries with a sizeable creek flowing into the back of it. This water will have a little more color to it and that dirty water is the key to shallow fish. It will be slightly cooler than clear water and it gives the fish a sense of security in the shallows. “I really like to find that dirtier water,” Bolton said. “With a little stain in the water these fish are more apt to stay shallow. You can find this water sometimes in the back half of the creek, but more often it is going to be in the back 1/3.” Bolton likes to target any visible cover he can find. Brush piles, stake beds, stumps, laydowns and patches of grass offer great casting targets and will usually have fish on them. Shad fry from the spring spawn will usually locate near this cover on the shallow flats which is another factor for bass.
Lure Selection & Gear:
He likes to cover water quickly in these shallow areas looking for active fish. He will generally have three lures to aid in his search; a small spinnerbait, a lipless, rattling crankbait and a shallow running square bill crankbait. Of the lures he likes for covering shallow water quickly in the summer, his first choice is a 1/4 ounce lipless crankbait.
For both the lipless crankbait and the square bill crankbait he will use the same rod, but changes the gear ratio on reel for the two baits. He fishes these lures on a 7-foot medium-heavy Denali cranking rod. For the lipless bait he will use a 7:1 Lew’s Tournament Pro Series Reel. He opts for the faster gear ratio in order to keep the bait off the bottom and he will spool the reel with 17- or 20-pound Gamma monofilament. His reel for the square bill crankbait will be a 5:1 gear ratio wound with the same heavy monofilament line. For Bolton, the heavy mono serves two functions. “Monofilament line floats so it will help you keep the baits off the bottom in this shallow water,” he explained. “Another thing it helps on the square bill crankbait is if you get hung up, which happens around all this shallow cover, you can pop your line and because monofilament has stretch, a lot of times it will pop loose.” His spinnerbait of choice will be either a 1/4 or 3/8-ounce Picasso spinnerbait, usually with double blades but at least one will be a Colorado blade to put off more vibration in the dirty water. He fishes this on a 6-foot, 10-inch Denali spinnerbait rod with the Lew’s reel sporting a 6.4:1 gear ratio to enable him to keep the bait moving quickly in the shallow depths.
Shift Gears, Slow Down & Flip:
He will fish through an area fairly quickly, but if he gets a few bites or just has a good idea they are there and won’t bite the crankbait or spinnerbait offering, Bolton will often go back through the area and begin flipping to the various targets. “A lot of times in that dirty water you are going to leave some fish because you are going through so fast,” he explained. “When you go back through and fish that same cover the fish that were there might have gotten active or some other fish have moved in. For whatever reason, going back through and flipping seems to catch fish for me. When I flip to these targets I don’t just make two or three flips and move on, I like to make multiple casts. Sometimes it might take seven or eight cast to one side of a log to trigger that fish to bite.”
While Bolton may opt to flip a jig, tube or creature bait, much like many anglers, he often chooses a large plastic worm. He often goes with an extra-large 10-inch worm which some people find unusual, but for Bolton, it pays big dividends. His worm of choice is a Trigger X ribbon tail. He will Texas rig it with a 1/4- or 5/16-ounce VMC Tungsten weight and a VMC hook. He flips and pitches the worm and retrieves it just like he would a jig, letting it fall along the cover and giving it some action with the rod tip. “Don’t ever hesitate to take a big 10-inch worm and flip it in a foot of water in the summertime,” he said. “A lot of times when they won’t bite anything else, they will bite that big worm. I am not really sure why, but summertime is worm time and I think a lot of the reason they bite it is because it is a big profile and it is a little more subtle movement. I cannot really explain it, but it works.”
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Shallow Water Bassin’ In The Dog Days Of Summer Summer 2013 Bass Angler Magazine (Tim Tipton pg. 16 – 17)
Vegetation, laydowns and rocks all play an interact part in a bass’ life. It’s uncommon to think that when the water temperature exceeds 90-degrees a bass would want to position in less than 2-foot of water, but they do. Here is my understanding of why: As the summer days lengthen and the water temperature rises, the deep water will remain cooler. Although the water in this area of the lake is cooler, it also provides bass with less oxygen and few options for food. During the long, hot days when sunshine is prevalent for 10-plus hours, the photosynthesis process is at its peak. It stands to reason that this creates the desired situation for not only bass, but also the food chain they follow. I found the most productive areas normally have the heaviest amount of vegetation creating the most shade and the highest oxygen content. From the bass’ perspective, they also offer great ambush points. I’ve found the most productive areas to be main lake stretches. Don’t count out small pockets and fingers especially early morning, late evening, or on cloudy days when the barometer is moving. The main lake is always the most productive in the summertime, because it offers the coolest temperatures and has the freshest water supply. This area receives the highest rate of traffic from fishermen, leisure boaters and jet skis, which creates water movement and aeration. The big necks and most creeks don’t have as much activity and tend to become somewhat stagnant.
Lure Selection & Presentation:
Typically, I approach this situation by starting off the day with fast moving baits such as the original Lunker Lure buzzbait in 3/8-oz coupled with a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper as a trailer. I spend the first hours searching for productive areas, covering as much water as possible while trying to capitalize on a morning bite. This combo is known for catching large bass, but more importantly, it has a strong resemblance to bait fish. Look for sparse vegetation areas located close to heavy vegetation. Specifically, try to identify where bass will spend the majority of their day. As the day progresses, I turn to my strength using a big flippin’ stick and heavy line. I prefer 20-pound fluorocarbon with an 8-foot flippin’ stick and Lew’s Super Duty reel. I alternate between 1/2-ounce and larger Lunker Lure Triple Rattleback Monster Grass jigs and Missile Bait D Bombs with a 5/16-ounce or larger tungsten weight. These baits are designed for heavy cover and will easily penetrate the thickest areas that I like to target.
Using the jig during my first pass will normally trigger a larger more aggressive bite while ensuring a good hookup. To show a different presentation, I’ll use the D Bomb when making a second pass through a productive area. The D Bomb also works really well in heavily pressured areas. It receives more bites while still catching quality size fish. Every angler has their go-to colors mine are black/blue on the jig with a blue sapphire Zoom Big Salty Chunk trailer. This combination works great in almost any water clarity, especially since the areas I target with jigs are normally dark in nature whether from water clarity or dense cover. Make short pitches for quiet entries and then give it couple of shakes. Once the bait hits the bottom, hop it a few times before moving on to the next target. Being as quiet and stealthy as possible when fishing shallow water is critical. Turn off Humminbird sonars so the “ping” from the transducers doesn’t sound. Also, limit trolling motors noise and backwash as much as possible.
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Hot Water And Shallow Bass Summer 2013 Bass Angler Magazine (Chad Morgenthaler pg. 58 – 60)
The Sacramento River is an important river of Northern and Central California in the United States. The state’s largest river by discharge, it rises in the Klamath Mountains and flows south for over 400 miles (640 km) before reaching Suisun Bay, an arm of San Francisco Bay, and thence the Pacific Ocean. The Sacramento drains an area of about 27,500 square miles (71,000 km2) in the northern half of the state, mostly within a region bounded by the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada known as the Sacramento Valley.
This a huge stretch of river nearly untapped for bass fishing. The Sacramento River has Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass and Spotted Bass. With all this river to fish where do you start you may ask? Keep it pretty simple narrow down the section of the river that is accessible from Sacramento to Walnut grove. There are many launch ramps to choose from in this area.
Next lets narrow it down to what type of Bass do you want to target? For Largemouth Bass think to stay away from the main current, any slough or river that is a bayou to the Sacramento river will hold Largemouth Bass such as the lower American River, Elk slough and the Sutter bypass. Don’t forget to check marinas up and down the river as they will be good areas to find Largemouth Bass. The Sacramento River and its tributaries provide three main types of cover for Largemouth Bass wood, rocks and grass. Docks and Boats would be other forms of cover. Crawfish are the main food source along with shad and other small fishes. Fish the cover accordingly flip the wood and the grass, crank the rocks and use topwater lures such as Buzzbaits and smaller spook type baits during warmer months. Largemouth Bass average 1.25lbs and can be found up to 5lbs in these areas.
Show below is Elk Slough south of Freeport this area is away from the main river and offers grass,wood and other forms of cover for Largemouth Bass.
Shown above is Sutter slough and the Sacramento river these are great areas for Smallmouth Bass.
Next would be Smallmouth Bass. This is the abundant species that dominates the Sacramento River. Un like the Largemouth the Smallmouth Bass like current. These fish live every where on the Sacramento river and in its tributaries. Some good areas would be, Minor Slough, Sutter Slough, Georgiana slough, Steamboat slough and the Sacramento river points that enter these tributaries. Crawfish and small fish are the main forage for these Smallmouth Bass. Use small crank baits,rattle traps, spinner baits, and small plastics or jigs for your best success. The Smallmouth bass like to hang around the rocks, ledges and wood that line the river so key in on these areas. “tip” many Smallmouth especially the bigger ones will be in front of cover facing the current rather than hiding from it.”tip” Smallmouth like baits moving fast! Key areas would be irregularities in the rock walls including smaller or bigger rocks, any old docks or wood posts in or around current, and any points leading to other tributaries. Smallmouth Bass average half a pound, but many 2-3lb fish can be taken.
Finally Spotted Bass would be the third species of Bass that live in the Sacramento river and its tributaries. These are the nomadic species of Bass they roam up and down the Sacramento river and chase shad and other small fishes. The Spotted Bass can be found from Walnut Grove north. They tend to stay in the cooler water. The American river holds some Spotted Bass as well. Small crank baits ,top water and plastics are your best bet for Spotted Bass. Spotted Bass average 1lb to 1.5lbs in these areas.
We’re heading into that time of year when baitfish will begin to head into the backs of creeks on most ,lakes and rivers, and the bass will start to pile up in there to fatten up on the available forage.
Baitfish are lured into the creeks by cooling water. Baitfish may include,shad,shiners,hitch,bluegill,crappie,minnows and the baby bass that feed on them. The colder the weather gets the more the baitfish will be concentrated. Incoming rains will increase the nutrient level in the water also atracting more baitfish. This will create a great feeding oportunity for bass to feed up in fall and prepare for a long winter. This is a great time to start using shallow diving crankbaits.
Using spinnerbaits and flipping techniques work well, too this time of year, but a crankbait can be a better choice, especially when the water is relatively clear. You will need to cover water quickly to find the bass. Crankbaits make that possible, and they best resemble all the different kinds of forage.
If the water is heavily stained, the vibration of colorado bladed spinnerbait or slowy fishing a jig with a rattle, and flipping craw patterns into cover may work better.
Square-billed crankbaits are a great option because of the erratic action they deliver. The smaller, square-billed body baits are ideal when the bass bunch up in the shallows. If the bass get tough to catch after a storm front in clear water it’s recommended to use a tight wiggling crankbait to force a reaction strike.
If you head into a creek in the fall, You may have multiple rods rigged with different line sizes, baits and colors. The water tends to be a little more stained in the back of creeks than it is near the front of the creek, so be prepared for all the conditions you may run into.
Things to look for, if the water is stained or off colored, the fish will be shallower and holding tighter to the cover, so use heavier line such as 15lb Trilene and a bigger bodied bait. In clear water it is better to use smaller baits in more natural colors.
You need to have the bait hitting bottom or bouncing off cover, so using various line sizes will help this.In shallow water 12-15lb test is your best bet.
Bass will feed on the edges of flats near channels and will set up next to weed edges or stumps to ambush the bait.
Use theese fall crankbait tips to catch more bass!
Ledges are open water reservoir structures targeted by Bassmaster Elite Series pros, particularly during the summer tournaments. These offshore structures often hold large numbers of lunker bass that can be caught with a variety of lures and presentations. Use these pro tips when probing ledges on your home waters.
“A ledge is basically the old river bank in a reservoir,” says Elite Series pro Pete Ponds, of Mississippi. “If you look at a topo map of the lake, you’ll see the river channel and major tributary channels snaking throughout the system. The shallower areas immediately adjacent to these channels are ledges, and they’re major holding and feeding stations for bass.”
“The defining feature of a ledge is its rapid descent into deep water,” Ponds notes. “Many of the ledges we fish in competition are around 14 to 22 feet deep on top and drop off quickly to 60 feet or more when they hit the channel. Bass, often big schools of them, will move on and off these structures throughout the day, and if your timing is right, you can often load the boat quickly.” Ponds and other B.A.S.S. pros use sophisticated electronic units with side scan technology to pinpoint ledges. “But even a $99 graph will clearly show these structures,” he says. “They’re relatively easy to find – just idle your boat out away from the bank toward open water while watching your graph. When you see the bottom drop rapidly into a deep channel, you’ve found the edge of a ledge. Idle along that edge and drop several marker buoys near the dropoff as you follow the structure; the markers will to give you a visual casting target.”
“Ledges are often large structures, and bass aren’t everywhere on them,” says KVD. “They’ll stack up in key places along ledges that we call sweet spots. These might include isolated pieces of cover, like a big stump, a sunken tree or a rockpile, or some structural irregularity in the ledge, such as where it makes a sharp bend or indentation. Finding these sweet spots is what ledge fishing is really all about, because bass often gravitate to them from a wide area and in large numbers. If you can pinpoint these key places and figure out how to fish them correctly, you’ll have some of the most memorable bass fishing moments of your life, whether you’re casting for cash or fishing for fun.”
Lure Selection & Presentation:
Elite Series pros use several lures and presentations when probing ledges, including the following:
Deep-diving crankbaits: “Big diving plugs like Strike Kings’s 6XD are my No. 1 ledge lures during summer tournaments,” says Elite Series pro Kevin VanDam, of Michigan. “I usually fish them on a 7-foot medium action cranking rod with a 5.3 baitcasting reel and 14-pound fluorocarbon line.” VanDam positions his boat in deeper water, makes a long cast onto the ledge, then grinds the crankbait along the bottom of the structure, trying to “crash the lure” into bass-holding cover to provoke a reaction strike.
Football jigs: “These are big fish baits that are perfect for ledge fishing in hot or cold weather,” swears Mississippian and Elite Series pro Cliff Pace. “I’ll use either a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce V&M Living Image Football Jig with a craw trailer, depending on the depth of the ledge I’m fishing. I’ll make a long cast past my target, let the jig hit bottom, hold my rod at a 45 degree angle and use my reel handle to crawl it slowly along the bottom, like a live crawfish.”
Big worms: “In hot weather, a big (10- to 12-inch) plastic worm, like my signature Yum Big Show Paddle Worm, either Texas or Carolina rigged, is an awesome ledge lure,” says Floridian and Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins. “Cast it past fish-holding cover or structural irregularities and bump it slowly along the bottom. Worms are slower to fish than crankbaits but often work better when the bite is less active.”
Flutter spoons: “These metal spoons are big – often 5 inches long – and displace a lot of water, so they flutter to the bottom erratically, like a dying shad,” claims Elite Series pro Kelly Jordon. “I really like ’em on ledges because they’ll catch the bigger, lazier bass that are often holding under a school of smaller fish and are used to preying on injured baitfish.” The Texas pro fishes spoons on heavy baitcasting gear. “Cast to your target, let the spoon flutter down, then stroke it off the bottom with a sharp, upward sweep on your rod. As the spoon falls back down, lower your rod while reeling up slack line, then stroke it again. Most strikes occur as the spoon flutters back to the bottom, so watch your line and set the hook hard if you see it move.”
Pro Ledge Fishing Tactics June 2012 Bassmaster (Don Wirth pg. 68 – 69)