Tournament Bass Tips to Improve your success

Howe Hog

Tournament Bass Fishing Tips by “Ron Howe”

I am by no means any famous 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!

Lucky 7 wrap

 

     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.

Delta BHQ Ron Howe_Steve Adams - 14

      I have been tournament fishing for over 22 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??

Ron-Howe-Oroville-May2012-08

 

 

      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!

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      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. A few 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.  

clear lake froggy

 

 

     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 the best thing you can do that will improve your Tournament results as a weekend warrior.

2013 March 27 Bullards Bar  - 088 spotty

 

 

      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. 

Ron Howe at Dicks Sporting Goods

 

        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.

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    I hope you can use some of these valuable tips to improve your time on the water and your success in your next Tournament.

Howe wins

 

Good Luck

“Ron Howe”

Rons Sponsors are; Christophers Construction,Valley Oak Appliance,Abu Garcia,Trilene,Berkley,Havoc,Ima,Optimum,

Persuader Baits,Daiichi Hooks,Rod Glove,

Bass Boat Seats.com,

To learn more about Ron go to:

www.Ronhowefishing.com

 

        

Falls pro picks by Tackle Warehouse

Bill Lowen’s Fall Lure Selection

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.

Flipping Fall Bass With Todd Faircloth

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.

 

Location:

“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.”

Lure Selection:

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.

Presentation:

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.”

How Gerald Swindle Fishes The Football Season

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.

 

Late October:

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.

Early November:

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.

Late November:

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.

Early January:

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 Changes Gears For Fall Bass

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.

 

Location:

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.”

Lure Selction:

“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.”

Lure Presentation:

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.

Tackle Warehouse Pros Picks for Summer Bassin

Tackle warehouse

Pro’s Picks For Summer Bassin’

Froggin’ With Chris Lane

With summertime upon us, there are many ways to find some fun in the sun action. For fishermen tying on their favorite frog and hitting the water – the excitement of that visible blow up is one of the best ways to spend the hottest season of the year.”Froggin’ that’s easy,” said Lane. “It’s pretty simple, you just have to listen to the fish and let them tell you what they want. Other than that, it’s just about the most exciting way you can fish. It is definitely a favorite technique of mine.” 

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.

Frog Gear:

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.”

Click Link To Shop: Bass Angler Magazine

 

Froggin’ With A Champ Summer 2013 Bass Angler Magazine (Jody Only pg. 32 – 33)

Jason Christie’s Summer Lure Selection

You’re not the only one sweating this time of year; the bass are just as warm and seeking refuge in cooler oases, namely, deeper water. Speaking of hot things, Elite Series pro Jason Christie is darn near on fire. With two major wins under his belt for 2013, he’s made the biggest splash in bass fishing since the Alabama Rig. He says that during these months, most fish will be offshore in deeper water, likely in the 15- to 20-foot range. “The key to finding fish now is using your electronics and covering water,” the Oklahoma pro says. “With Lowrance’s StructureScan and the like, it’s easy to look at a lot of stuff, and I don’t typically cast until I see fish on the graph.” 

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)

Three Keys To Unlocking Summer Bass With Mike Iaconelli

Summertime fishing will strike most part of the country during the months of June, July and August. Iaconelli explained it simply by fishing during the warmest air temps and warmest water temps of the year and stated there only three things that an angler had to keep in mind to set themselves up for the best summer bass bounty that they could achieve. “I say these three things over and over and over in my head, no matter where I am fishing,” said the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champ. “There are three main patterns and these are the three things that I think about – deeper, thicker and current. That’s it. Simple as that – deeper, thicker, current.” 

Deeper:

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.

Thicker:

“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.

Current:

“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)

Flippin’ Summer Bass With John Crews

In a Bassmaster Elite Series event in March of this year, John Crews from Salem, Va. crashed through the ceiling on the 100-lb benchmark. Joining the Century Club for four days on Falcon, his haul of 103-13, was mostly attributed to flippin’ a subtle, plastic creature bait. The plastic responsible for the bulk of his bass action was a Missile Craw. The bait is near and dear to Crews as it one of those launched by his own company Missile Baits that began biz last year. With proof in the pudding, Crews put the Craw to the test and came out on top at Falcon. 

Location:

“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.”

Lure Selection:

“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.

Presentation:

“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.”

Flippin’ Gear:

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)

Fishing The Pads

Once the calendar hits late June on through September, one thing is consistent with catching bass and that is VEGETATION! Depending on where you are fishing, the forms and amounts of vegetation to fish are endless, but I’ve found one form of vegetation that always seems to hold not just bass, but quality-sized bass. That is lily pads. Why do lily pads have this aurora to them? There are several reasons. One is that they provide bass with adequate cover, both from the sunlight sinning into the water and also it provides them with an ambush point to feed, which leads us into the second point. The amount of activity that goes on around lily pads is so vast. To the angler’s eye, much goes unseen. Small insects will gather on to these floating green circles and in turn bring in bluegills, sunfish, etc., all of which are mighty tasty to a big ole bass! The next time you pull up to a stretch of lily pads, be sure to listen for bluegills popping away underneath the pads. I also feel that lily pads hold quality bass more often than not, because of the water quality and bottom composition where they are growing. Lily pads grow in mucky or silty bottoms up to 5-feet deep. If it weren’t for the pads, bass wouldn’t relate to the soft bottom so it gives them great structure in an otherwise poor area. 

Location:

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)

Flutter Spoons & Ledges With Ben Parker

A few years back, Ben Parker faced an intimidating fishing challenge. Side-scan sonar technology had just hit the market, and Parker, a pro angler and guide from Samburg, Tenn., was “lost in the forest.” “I had no idea how this new technology worked, didn’t know how to turn it on,” he remembers. “But I realized it was going to revolutionize deep-water structure fishing for bass, and I had to learn how to use it if I didn’t want to get left behind.” So Parker designed his own self-study program. He bought a new side-scan unit and installed it on his boat. Then he began learning how to examine and fish mainchannel ledges on nearby Kentucky Lake. He recalls, “A friend told me to pick a ledge at random and start fishing it with a football jig. He said when I caught three bass on three successive casts to mark the spot, that there was a school of bass present. Then he said to pull the trolling motor up and drive over the spot and adjust the controls for a better picture of the bottom and the fish. “I repeated this process probably a dozen times, making adjustments until I could see individual fish in the school. When I finished with this process, I could idle over a ledge and tell immediately if bass were present.” In the following year, Parker spent nearly a thousand hours scanning ledges for approximately 80 miles on both sides of the old Tennessee River channel in this huge TVA reservoir. “Once I learned what to look for, I found a mega-school of bass about every three-quarters of a mile. I marked these schools’ locations on my GPS, and I’ve fished them ever since.” (Parker rates a “megaschool” as one holding 100 or more bass.) 

Location:

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.”

Lure Selection:

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.

Presentation:

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)

Punchin’ Tidal Water Bass With Charlie Weyer

Warming weather, matted vegetation, water temps on the rise – it’s time for a punch party – B.Y.O.B. Boat Your Own Bass. Party of two, FLW champions Charlie Weyer and Brian Carpenter met on the tidal waters out west, punch rig and punch rod in hand to pull out some big ol’ Delta bass with a lesson on how it’s done. 

Location:

“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.

Lure Presentation:

“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.”

Punchin’ Gear:

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)

Shallow Bassin’ During Dog Days Of Summer With Terry Bolton

Sweltering heat and humidity are the norm during a typical summer, which has the effect of driving bass to deep water on the main lake. Off-shore ledges, humps and deep points are excellent places to locate bass during these times, but FLW Tour Pro Terry Bolton says anglers should not ignore shallow water, even in summer’s heat.”Most of your major creeks on any body of water have two populations of bass,” Bolton explained. “There is going to be a transitory group, who move in to spawn and then move back out. There is also going to be a resident population of bass that live in these creeks year round. They have everything they need in the creek; Deep water, shallow water, food and cover. They don’t need to go anywhere else.” 

Location:

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.”

Flippin’ Baits:

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)

Targeting Shallow Hot Water Bass With Chad Morgenthaler

I first developed my skills as a shallow water angler while fishing Midwestern lakes. Not by accident, but by necessity. I had little to no experience with deep water structure and back then I didn’t have the equipment to effectively find or catch them. So, I worked with what I had available. What might be considered a deficit to some, turned into an opportunity to learn. It enabled me to hone skills and broaden my understanding of bass habitat and their relationship with different types of structures especially during the summertime. 

Location:

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.

Click Link To Shop: Bass Angler Magazine

Hot Water And Shallow Bass Summer 2013 Bass Angler Magazine (Chad Morgenthaler pg. 58 – 60)

Bobby Barrack Seminar at Gone Fishin Marine

Bobby Barrack with a typical bass via Snag Proof Frog

DIXON, Ca. – Whether or not you will be fishing the upcoming 12th annual Snagproof Open on August 3-4, if you are an angler that would like to increase your frog fishing – and frog catching skills, you simply do not want to miss the once a year seminar being held this evening at Gone Fishin Marine in Dixon.

Bobby Barrack aka the “Frogmaster” will be at the Gone Fishin Marine on Thursday, July 18th to share with those that want to know, techniques he has perfected over the many years he has used this unique bait, that will help give you the edge over the competition when the money is on the line. Some of the topics covered include:

– What is the best line to use – in what conditions?

– Colors: Does it really matter?

– Retrieve speeds/cadence

– Hook set timing

– Frog Rods and reels

– Modifying frogs – The REAL scoop on the effects of trimming skirts, painting the bait, and adding rattles

– How to spot the most productive Frog water

Bobby Barrack is one the top bass professionals in the west, and is for sure one of the top guides on the California Delta. Spending more than 200 days a year on the river, he knows where the big ones live and how to make them eat!

So make your way down to the Gone Fishin Marine in Dixon, at 6pm promptly, and join us for a special seminar featuring the absolute master of the Snag Proof top water frog!

See you all there!

For more information about the Aug 3-4 12th annual Snag Proof Open event go to www.snagproof.com or www.anglerspress.net

Gone Fishin Marine is located in Dixon California – 707.678.1600

Gone Fishin Marine Map

June Pro picks at Tackle warehouse

Brandon Palaniuk’s June Lure Selection

Fishing in June can be challenging, but also very rewarding. Elite Series pro Brandon Palaniuk says the bass are doing one of two things: bunching up and relating to bait in deep water, or cruising the shallows in a postspawn funk if they’re still on the banks. In tackling this month, Palaniuk looks for bait if he’s fishing deep, or cover that offers shade if he’s shallow. “Finding the bait is key this month,” he says. “If you find it, you’ll likely find a bunch of bass. You need to cover a lot of water, too.”

 

Berkley Power Worm:

Palaniuk likes a 10-inch model in either red bug, green pumpkin or blue fleck when targeting deep bass. “Once you’ve located fish, this worm will catch the biggest ones in the school,” he says. “Those big females are deep and getting their feed on.” He targets weedlines, shellbeds, ledges and other areas where bass are ganged up. “I can fish it in a foot of water down to 50 feet if I want. I just change the weight,” he says.

Rapala DT-14:

Palaniuk will often start his day with a crankbait because it’s most efficient at covering water. “It was a toss-up between this and the worm for No. 1. I like this to cover a lot of water, and I throw it in the same places I throw the worm, typically that 12- to 16-foot range. Plus, when I find a school it’ll fire them up, and you can catch a bunch in a hurry.” He prefers the line of Ike’s Custom Ink colors, saying their faded hues look more natural in the water.

Snag Proof Ish’s Phat Frog:

If the offshore bite is nonexistent or not hot, Palaniuk focuses on shallow fish, most of which will be hanging under or around cover. “I like to skip a frog under overhanging trees or docks or work it across grass mats,” he says. “All of these places offer bass shade and food.” More often than not, these are postspawn fish that haven’t come off the bank yet. Palaniuk uses either a black or a white frog. “You can catch big ones this way.”

Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper:

This finesse worm pulls double duty for Palaniuk. He’ll put a green pumpkin model on a shaky head when fishing shallow for bass, or he’ll thread it on a drop shot when targeting finicky offshore fish. “You can also skip it under docks weightless and that super slow fall makes for an easy meal,” he says.

 

What Brandon Palaniuk Throws In June June 2012 Bassmaster (DavidHunter Jones pg. 24)

Berkley Power Worm 10″
$3.69
Rapala DT Series Crankbait
$5.99
Rapala Ikes Custom Ink DT Series Crankbaits
$6.49
Snag Proof Ish’s Phat Frog
$8.99
Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper 6.25″ 12pk
$2.99

Wanna get bit? It’s time to get Flit!

 

 

Ron Howe shows off a lake Oroville winter Spotted Bass caught on the Ima Flit 120.

As the chill of fall and winter arrive bass begin to slow down and suspend. When this happens its time to get Flit.

Ima’s Flit jerkbait is perfect for leiry wintertime bass.  This bait has a eratic fleeing action like no other jerk bait. It has a perfectly balanced weight system for suspending in the most natural way. This fall and winter when you go bass fishing choose the Flit 100 and Flit 120 in the color that matches the hatch and you will catch more and bigger bass! The Ima flit jerk bait is available at Tacklewarehouse.


Please Note: Ima Flit 100 features raised scale pattern, while 120-size does not.

Design:
-3 Hooks System: Features three Owner #6 hooks for increased catch ratio.
-Flat sided, wider back: A common shape of baitfish resembling in the Herring family. If taken a cross section of, both will appear triangular in shape, as oppose to oval in shape, more resembling of a smelt or minnow, which is less commonly fed on by Bass.
-Forward pointed, skinnier bill: This lure has its action built into it’s design. Many competitors make a lure and adjust the bill width and size to give the lure its action. This will only create more resistance wearing the user out much quicker. The bill angle, length and width is designed for strictly the depth, where the body is designed for the action by resembling the shape of Herring, which includes Gizzard and Threadfin Shad, and giving a similar cadence, resulting in a much user friendly, less tiring lure.

Action:
-6 to 8ft dive depth: Most common depth, within visible sight, of suspending baitfish and predatory fish aimed to catch in colder months and post frontal situations.
-Flash: With how the sides of the jerkbait are designed, they reflect light slightly downward, naturally the direction from which a strike will most likely come from, as oppose to outward and in any which direction like most competitors.

Sound:
-High Pitch (small bb’s): Most Commonly resembling to baitfish in the Herring family (flat sided, as opposed to a round sided smelt), which includes Gizzard and Threadfin Shad, to imitate sound in colder water conditions and in post frontal situations.
-Triangular Internal Chamber system: This unique system maximizes sound by ricocheting bb’s at constant angles. With this design it allows for a controlled sound among all jerkbaits that come out of production, allows the jerkbait to be consistent in sound, and keeps the bb’s from getting stuck in crevices. This design emits a controlled sound and maximizes consistency, maximizing it’s realistic and unique sound.

Ima Length Weight Depth Class Hook Line Recom.
Flit 120 4.75″ 1/2oz 6-8ft Suspending #6 Owner Blk Nickel Stinger 8-14lb
Flit 100 3.9″ 3/8oz 3-5ft Suspending #6 Owner Blk Nickel Stinger 8-14lb

   

Sacramento River Bass Fishing tips

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.

 

 

ledge fishing tips and tackle

Summer Ledge Fishing With Elite Series Pros

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.

 

Locating Ledges:

“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)

Strike King Pro Model 6XD Crankbaits
$5.69
Strike King Pro Model 6XD Silent Crankbaits
$5.69
Quantum Tour KVD Cranking Casting Rods
$159.99
Quantum Tour KVD Cranking Classic Casting Reels
$299.95
V & M Living Image Football Jig
$3.49
V & M Mudbug Trailer
$2.39
Zoom Ol’ Monster 9pk 10.5″
$3.69
Nichols Lake Fork Flutter Spoons
$7.99
Strike King Sexy Spoon
$6.99
Talon Custom Lures Lake Fork Flutter Spoons
$7.99

Frog fishing tips

Froggin’ With Dean Rojas

Elite Series angler Dean Rojas has spent more time on the water throwing a frog than just about anybody. His experiences have taught him to frog when and where other anglers would never consider it. The story of how Dean Rojas has forever changed topwater frog fishing has been told many times since he introduced his first Bronzeye frog for Spro at the 2005 ICAST fishing tackle show.

 

Location:

“Basically, I throw a frog into places where I can’t even see if there’s water there,” the Arizona pro says matter-of-factly. “I try to get the frog into the hardest, darkest places I can find, because that’s where bass don’t see many lures. They’re more relaxed, more apt to come after the frog. “The lure has no limitations. You can fish it anywhere. You can keep a frog on the surface and in the strike zone indefinitely and literally tease a bass into grabbing it. That’s what I do.”

“When I’m fishing the frog, I want to put as many of the percentages of hooking and landing a bass in my favor as possible,” he emphasizes, “but at the same time I want to give the bass as many advantages as possible to get the frog. That’s why I don’t fish the big milfoil mats, the very places where frog fishing was born, because it’s too inefficient. The same is true with lily pads. I want the bass to have a clear view of my frog and an unobstructed path to it. Milfoil and pads have too many obstacles in the way.

Presentation:

“Most fishermen retrieve a frog too fast,” he says. “When I’m fishing around heavy cover, I believe a slower presentation allows bass more time to detect the lure and strike. This could be part of the reason fishermen who skitter their frogs quickly across the top of milfoil beds miss so many strikes. I like to stop my retrieve, too, especially when I think I am in a strike zone. I always try to visualize exactly where a bass is located and where the strike is going to come from so I can adjust my retrieve accordingly. “I like a walking retrieve because it’s slower and keeps the lure in the strike zone longer, but when I do fish through thin, scattered surface vegetation, I may use a stop-and-go chugging presentation, especially if the bass are aggressive. When I’m fishing choppy water and need more commotion, I’ll try a chugging presentation, too, but I can always change back to a walking retrieve if chugging isn’t working.”

Dean’s Frogging Gear:

The rod he designed, a 7-foot medium-heavy action with a 10-inch fast tip and a broomstick butt, is what allows him to work the frog this way; that tip is all he shakes, not the entire rod. The rest of the rod is used for hook setting and controlling the fish. His frog line, Sunline FX-2 Braid, is 80-pound test but has the same diameter as 65-pound braid, and it doesn’t break. When he gets hit, the rod absorbs his hook set and, because of the braid, Rojas has the fish coming toward him instantly. There’s no drag on his Quantum Smoke Burner 7.0:1 reel because Rojas has locked it down. He doesn’t play a bass at all; he swings it into the boat as quickly as possible, using the fish’s own forward momentum.

 

Why Dean Rojas Is A Better Frog Fisherman Than You June 2012 Bassmaster (Steve Price pg. 42-46)

Spro Bronzeye Baby Popper Frog
$7.99
Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog 65
$8.79
Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog Jr. 60
$8.39
Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye King Daddy
$11.49
Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog
$8.79

Spring Bass tackle favorite choices of top Pro’s

Get the right Bass Tackle for Spring Time Bass Fishing!

The pros have selected their favorite spring time bass baits to help you make the right lure choice. 

Chris Lane’s Two-Step Approach For Prespawn Bass

Chris Lane has never appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and he likely never will. Oh, he’s agile enough, perhaps, and he certainly has the confidence. But his upbringing in central Florida didn’t include learning the cha-cha, salsa, tango or other dances required for the show. But there is one “dance” in which Lane excels: the two-step for prespawn bass. When waters start warming in February and the fish begin moving toward the shallows, Lane gyrates his way to some heavy catches. There’s more chunk and wind than bump and grind, and “swing your partner” takes on a whole different meaning. But this angler’s one-two maneuver rarely fails to yield excitement and generous action. It works for Lane, and it’ll work for other anglers who copy and apply his methods.Location:“Everything starts breaking loose when the water temperature in a given lake edges into the mid- to upper-40s,” Lane begins. “In February, anglers should keep a close watch on the weather. If they get several warm, stable days in a row, they need to go fishing. It doesn’t take much water temperature change to get the bass on the move and put them in a feeding frame of mind.” Lane continues that he prospects for these fish in staging areas where they hold and eat before moving onto their bedding grounds. He says, “These areas are typically in coves, between the main lake and the fish’s spawning area. They may be on primary points, secondary points or the first dropoff out from a spawning flat. When the right conditions prevail, it’s very common to find a school of prespawn fish concentrated on one point or on one short stretch of a break in a creek or gully.”“My second option for February is moving up onto the spawning flats and simply covering water. I just troll around and try to find an area where the bass are feeding on shad. I’m usually fishing 1 to 4 feet deep now, depending on water clarity. As Lane trolls and casts, he keeps a sharp lookout for one key to a big catch: submerged vegetation. “This could be old vegetation from last fall, or it could be the first green vegetation of the new season. Whichever, the bass love this cover, and they like to hang around it or in it. If you can find green vegetation, I’ll just about guarantee you you’ll find bass in it or close by.”Lure Selection & Presentation:To find these schools, Lane stays on the move, covering a lot of water quickly. He casts continuously to likely spots until he starts getting some bites. He begins his day working the 6- to 10-foot depth range (deeper in very clear water; shallower in dingy water), and his primary search lure is a suspending jerkbait. He retrieves this lure across points and parallel to underwater drops, trying varying retrieve cadences to discover the presentation the fish prefer on that given day. Lane tries various shad color combinations to discover the fish’s preference. When fishing the spawning flats, Lane employs a shad and red colored 1/2 oz lipless crankbait. “I’m not generally throwing at targets, but instead I’m just fancasting and covering as much water as possible” Lane explains. Lane says he typically transitions to the flats in the afternoon, since the water is warmer and the bite is more active in the shallows after the sun has beamed down a few hours.

 

Davy Hite’s Spring Lure Selection

 

March is Davy Hite’s favorite month to fish. Why? “It’s your best shot all year at the lunker of a lifetime,” he says. “The bass are at their heaviest right now, and they’re catchable.” In most of the United States – save upper-Midwest and northeastern states – the bass are super-chunky because they’re full of eggs and have been feeding for a month straight to prepare for the rigors of the spawn. Hite is rigged up to catch some of these slobs, but he’s never forgotten that fishing is supposed to be fun. Here’s what he throws in March.Rapala DT10:“I use this as my search bait. Whether I’m at an unfamiliar lake or at one I haven’t been to in a while, a crankbait is a good way to find some fish,” he says. Hite opts for a shad colored DT10 and uses it to probe the best available cover – be it grass, sandbars, rock or timber.

Buckeye Mop Jig:

Hite tosses a Mop Jig when he’s looking for a big bite. “I’ve won tons of money on this thing and have caught big fish on it from Florida to California,” he says. “It has a different action and look than a regular silicone jig, so I feel that it gets bit more.” Hite prefers a 1/2-ounce, plain brown jig tipped with a green pumpkin Trigger X Flappin’ Craw. If there’s grass or wood, he flips it in and around the cover. “It’s a really versatile bait. I’ve caught fish by swimming it an inch under the surface all the way down to 30 feet.”

Trigger X Hammer Worm:

“If you can just take four baits, a worm has got to be one of them,” Hite says. “A lot of times if fish aren’t hitting a jig, they’ll hit a worm, and I can Texas or Carolina rig this and still target big fish.” Hite will either use an 1/8-ounce weight and fish shallow vegetation, or put on a 5/8 ounce and drag it off deep drops. Or, he’ll slide on a 1-ounce weight and Carolina rig this 10-inch worm. “Muck” is his go-to color.

Rapala X-Rap Pop:

“When you go fish, you’ve got to have fun, and there’s nothing more fun than seeing a bass smash a topwater plug,” says Hite. “The first three are versatile baits and the Mop Jig’s a big fish bait, but this thing is awesome if you get on some schooling fish – it busts ’em up, and you can have a lot of fun.”

Flippin’ & Pitchin’ The Prespawn with Denny Brauer

There’s a lot of variance in February around the country when it comes to bass fishing. Some of the fish will be up on the beds and others will be just starting to move towards the beds. One thing is for certain, however, they’ll all be thinking about the spawn. That means they’re vulnerable to a flipping or pitching approach.Location:Look for them around suitable spawning areas. Generally that’ll be in the thickest cover they can find near a hard bottom area. I usually start near pockets or other backwater spots, but you always have to keep in mind where you’re fishing. If backwater spots are few and far between on your water, you might want to look around to see what else is available. I’ve seen many a largemouth bed on a big tree limb in standing timber over 40 feet of water. In Florida they often spawn on pad roots. If you live in the north, the water will still be really cold. The bass may not be as far along as what I’ve been talking about. Look for them on breaks, channels and other natural travel routes from their winter spots to the bedding areas.

Another thing to keep in mind is the weather. Prespawn bass are very sensitive to cold fronts – more than during any other season of the year. One day they might be up making beds, but then the weather turns cold and they’ll run back into the thickest cover around. It doesn’t take much. A drop in water temperature of one or two degrees will do it.

Presentation & Lure Selection:

My lure preference for this type of fishing is a jig. I want something that’ll get through the cover but, at the same time, I don’t want much movement. The Strike King Denny Brauer Premiere Pro-Model Jig is perfect. If the water is clear, I fish a brown and green pumpkin color (No. 46). If the water’s dirty, I switch to a black and blue or a Texas Craw. I like to put a Denny Brauer Chunk on the back of my jig. This gives me more bulk but doesn’t have an unnatural amount of action in cold water. I always match the color to my bait. In my experience that’s more natural looking and will catch more fish. Weight is a matter of water depth. The deeper the water, the heavier my jig will be. At this time of year the fish are bottom-oriented.

Flippin’ And Pitchin’ The Prespawn February 1, 2012 Bassmaster.com (Denny Brauer)

 

http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/?from=rbbass