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

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.



“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.


“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
Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog 65
Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog Jr. 60
Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye King Daddy
Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog

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 (Denny Brauer)

Tackle Warehouse Spring Pros Picks


Drop-Shotting Spawning Bass With Hank Parker

New techniques come along every year, but most of them turn out to be fads, and we wind up discarding them for tried-and-true traditional methods. I’m here to tell you that drop-shotting is here to stay.

Anglers are still learning the many advantages of this deadly finesse technique and just how versatile it is. The tactic was initially introduced as a method for taking bass holding on structure in deeper water. However, I’ve found it can be equally deadly in shallow water and on finicky spawners.


Previously, I had to cast a 1/2oz tube bait. A heavier jig was required to get the lure on the bed and hold it there. However, if a bass didn’t eat it aggressively, it would jump and throw the bait because of that heavy lead inside.

Drop-shotting eliminates those problems. I can put as heavy of lead as I need on the end of the line and keep it in the bed. With a bait rigged about a foot above it, the bass will come up and eat it nearly every time. I also have fewer problems landing them because the weight is away from the hook.

Lure Selection:

I prefer rigging my bait with a Mustad nose hook right through the tip of the lure, which is usually a Berkley Gulp! Baits. Those baits are fabulous for bedding bass, and the Gulp! Leech is tough to beat. It is a small bait that looks more realistic than any artificial bait I’ve used.

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Spring Time Bass Fishing

Spring Time Bass Fishing


Pre Spawn




Fishing a Jig in the Cold of winter by Dan Wells

Fishing the Jig in the cold of winter by Dan Wells.



Jigs will catch fish 12 months out of the year however the cold water period is when a jig can really shine! When the water temps are at their lowest during the winter many bass only eat once every few days and they prefer a meal they don’t have to work hard for and provides a large amount of protein, what better then a slow moving crawdad. A jig mimics a crawdad better than any other lure!

Winter fishing with jigs will take place from 5’ to 50’ of water so you need to be prepared with a few different weights. 3/8, ½, and 1 oz will do fine. As a rule and to keep it simple use the 3/8oz jig from 1’ to 20’, 1/2 oz 20’ to 40’, and the 1oz from 40’ and deeper. Having the right tools for the job are critical. In clear lakes I use 12lb fluorocarbon line and in extremely clear water I will go to 10lb fluoro. When fishing Clear Lake I use 15lb fluoro because the water is usually more off colored and there is heavy cover present. A high speed 7;1 gear ratio reel is critical so you can pick up slack line fast and keep pressure on big fish that are hooked in deep water. The right rod is just as important as the line and reel. For my 3/8oz jigs fished to 20’ of water I use a Dobyns 734C Champion casting rod and for the 1/2oz and larger jigs fished in deep water I use a Dobyns DX 784C ML casting rod. The DX 784C ML rod is 5” longer then the 734C rod and this will help move more line on a deep water hook set, both rods have a fast action which allows the rod to react very quickly for hook sets and working the jig.

There are a million different colored jigs out there and they all catch fish but again I try to keep it simple with my colors. Brown, Brown/Purple, Green Pumpkin and Black Blue are about the only colors I use and they cover almost every situation you will come across. My number one go to jig is a 1/2oz Brown/Purple football jig, this jig is very versatile and will catch fish on every body of water there is!

There are 3 types of retrieves I will use in the winter. Dragging (slow movements with the rod tip in a downward angle, or using the trolling motor to drag the jig in a certain depth), small hops or shaking (using the rod tip in short popping movements and letting the jig rest back on the bottom) and stroking ( fast sharp hops similar to a hook set then letting the jig rest back to the bottom). You will have to experiment with all three retrieves daily to find what the fish have keyed in on or what mood they are in. There will often be a certain cadence that fish will key on and respond to better then another.

Use your electronics to find what depth the bass are holding at best and concentrate on that depth. Once you have a determined depth then try different types of banks and cover( mud, small rock, boulders, 45 degree banks, etc) soon you will have a pattern developed to start targeting larger bass.

In winter I really focus my search for bass on deep main lake features such as points, ledges, humps and creek channels. Start fishing your jig shallow and work your way deeper till you begin to get bit. When a little warming trend moves in and settles for a few days I will start fishing creek channels that go from main lake areas into pockets and deeper flats that the fish will move on to and feed.

Jig Tips. Use scent! I have been using the BIOEDGE crawdad potion and I have noticed my number of bites go up. In Cold water apply scent often to help attract sluggish bass. If you are fishing a lake with little cover in it you can thin a few strands out of the weed guard and spread it with your fingers to help with hook ups and if your jig ever feels funny or a little heavier than normal, SET THE HOOK! Colors can be confusing and if you are not sure exactly sure what the fish are keyed on and what the crayfish look like, just match the bottom color the best you can, this will give a good starting point. One more thing to remember when fishing a jig in the winter is to experiment with different trailers on your jig and if the water gets real cold, say in the 48 degree and lower range try a pork trailer. You can’t fish a jig to slow and often large bass are caught on jigs while barely moving them or even dead sticking them.

Good Luck out there and stay warm!

Dan Wells


Winter Delta Fishing Tips

As fall comes to an end winter arrives right on time on the California Delta!

     There comes a point when you can feel fall is over and early winter is here. This will usually happen in the first week of December.The key factor is the morning temperatures. When you get your first freeze on your window and the roof tops are icy winter has arrived! The water temps will be in the mid 50’s but begin to drop, this is a great time to fish the Delta!  You must use caution at this time of year as the fog can be very thick and dangerous so be carefull.

     At this point in the year the bass will be slowing down and become less active. This is a great time to get out your jerk baits to entice lazy bass to come up and strike your baits. Shallow diving baits with a 3-6 foot diving depth will be best like a IMA Flit 100 and 120. You must work your baits slowly and use long pauses in your retreives. You will catch many quality fish on the outside of weedlines. Look in dead end sloughs,marinas and large bays for best success.  Use 12lb flourocarbon line for no strech and instant hookups. For colors choose your colors according to the sky you have on winter days. On cloudy foggy days try the Boned shad, on clear and sunny days try silver  flash and matte bluegill.

This winter get out to the Delta get your jerkbait tied on and go chase those bass!

Good Luck!






how to Texas rig a Berkley Havoc Devil Spear

Abu Garcia® pro Mike Iaconelli speaks about his favorite ways to Texas rig a Berkley® Havoc™ Devil Spear™.

TackleTour Video – Pro Angler Bub Tosh goes Punching with the new iRod

Pro Angler Bub Tosh talks about the new iRod and what to look for in a punching rod. Bub demonstrates punching for bass in thick vegitation.