As Im getting into tournament season mode I thought Id talk about my preparation. Since I wont be posting reports as much as the events draw closer(until after the event), and preperation is a very important part of tournament success. Last year I didnt do much prep, more of awing it approach. Due to that my results were lack luster. This year I had planned and in doing so I am more prepared.So where to start?
I Love to Dropshot and the reason why is simple.I catch a lot of big bass with the drop shot.And I’m not the only one,How many times have you seen the Big Bass at a tournament caught on a drop shot and everyone say”,Oh he just got Lucky”.Well its not luck and here are some of the tools I use.First and foremost is my rod,My rod of choose is the Dobyns 702 SF Champion series.The rod is a seven foot,one peice Med/Light Fast Action.The sensitivity of this rod is without comparison in my opinion. When I get a bite there is never a doubt and I don’t need to set the hook like a monster because of the excellent backbone the 702 has. The simple fact is I put more fish in the boat thanks to this rod.
Next is my reel.My reel of choose is the ABU Garica Orra SX 20.The main reason I love this reel is the drag system.The drag on this ABU reel is so smooth and I can adjust it easily while I fight a fish.
When it comes to the line I use several brands but always 100% fluorocarbon in eight pound test.The reason I use fluorocarbon is the sensitivity and lack of stretch.Then there’s the hook,I use a Owner thin wire #1.Most people laugh when they see my hook but are quickly taken back when they see the size of fish I can land with it.
I have two favorite baits and colors.Pro Worms and Robo Worm’s are always in my boat and the two colors I use most are morning dawn for clear water and margarita mutilator for stained water.There are many choices in this department but overall these two get the job done for me.Now ,how I fish it.Well that is where I differ from most.On the Delta I flip it in grass and on tully points in very skinny water and any drop off or grass ledges I come across.On Clear Lake it’s my number one bait to toss on a bed and simply fan cast on spawn flat’s.On other lakes I fish it normal by merely dragging it with a little shake once in awhile.Or dropping right on their nose when I graph them.I fish the drop shot with a great deal of confidence because I look at the way a fish eat’s in the same way I eat.What that means is no matter how much food I’ve eaten that day,if my wife walk’s by and offers me a little piece of candy.I’m Gonna Eat It.To a big bass that drop shot is a little piece of candy.
Good Luck on your next outing Bob Tyler
A few Winter Bass Fishing tips and presentations by Ron Howe
Once fall passes and winter comes on in full force it is down right cold outside. I know that the 100mph Goretex suit is coming off the hanger and going in the truck with me. My beanie will be on when I leave home and my whool gloves will be in my truck warming up for when I arrive at the lake. A warm cup of coffee and Im good to go!
The fish are much like we are in winter slow! So when you are approaching winter time bass fishing you must think the same way. SLOW! Slow down your fishing presentation. You can still catch many fish on reaction type baits just slow down!
One of my winter time favorites that I recommend is to use rip baits or minnow type baits. If fishing in shallow water say 8-10 feet deep I use a rip bait that dives 4-5feet deep Like the IMA Flit 120. 8-10lb Berkley Trilene flourocarbon fishing line is recomended and will help to get the bait down a little deeper since flourocarbon line has a better sink rate. Cast the bait out reel it down to the desired depth and stop! Let the bait sit for 15,20,30 seconds then twitch the bait once! And stop! Let the bait sit for 15,20,30 seconds then twitch the bait twice really slow twitches and repeat. Be patient you are trying to get a slow lazy cold Bass to rise up and grab the bait! If fishing in water that’s a little deeper try using a Rip Bait that dives say 8-10 feet deep once again light Flourocarbon line will help the bait get a little deeper. I add suspend dots to the IMA Flit 120 to get it down deeper and help make longer casts. Use the same application as above slow twitches with long pauses. You will catch some good size bass doing this in winter.This is effective on all species of Bass. In clear water use shad or white colors. If the water is slightly stained use a little bit brighter color like chartuese.
Another great winter time bait is a jig. There are many to choose from and they all work. A jig imitates a crawfish and a bass cant resist! If fishing in a lake I recommend a football head type jig or casting jig around rocks and mud or clay banks. If fishing around heavy cover I will use a arky head jig or a flipping style jig since they come thru the snags and cover much better. For colors in winter I will stick to brown and purple jigs or black and blue. For jigs I attach a little trailer to make the bait better resemble a crawfish such as a jig chunk trailer,a small beaver or a pork trailer. I use a color that matches the jig best in browns,black,or blue. Largemouth Bass will be from 20-40 ft most of winter 3/8 to 1/2 oz jigs will work fine here. Spotted Bass will be from 2ft to 70ft deep they just dont play by the rules 1/4oz for shallow fish to 3/4 oz jigs for the deep fish will be what you need.
When fishing deeper in lakes I will use 8-12lb fluorocarbon fishing line. I do this to detect light bites in winter. Fish points,ledges and guts or deep v creek arms. I will drag the jig on the bottom as slow as I can. Do this in real short drags. Crawfish dont move very fast in cold water! Look for clay banks with small rocks these are prime areas to fish jigs!
A good example of many points and a deep V gut thats empty here at Lake Oroville CA.
When fishing shallow I recomend using the flipping type jig around heavy cover. Do this on 15-20 lb test line. Fish this bait really slow and get ready to set the hook hard as the bass will hit the bait on the fall many times. If they are not willing to take the bait on the fall let the jig sit still for long periods of time and wait for the bass to come find it!
Below is a good example of heavy cover in the California Delta.
Persuader Baits Casting jig “Lakes jig”
Our hand crafted casting jig baits are made with the finest components.Powder painted custom head design to minimize chipping, with recessed line tie Mustad Ultra Point Hooks. Custom “Bio-Flex” thin cut skirts .Cork screw plastic holder for attaching plastic trailers.Eight super colors to chose from.
- Features an electronic ‘E-Chip’ mounted on the shank of the hook that emits an electrical discharge identical to what bait fish give off when being chased by larger fish.
- Mustad Ultra Point Hooks.
- Powder printed heads to minimize chipping.
Stay tuned for more winter tips from RB Bassfishing!
Winter Tactics for Spotted Bass
By: Jim “Jimbo” Mathley – Jimbo’s Lake Lanier Spotted Bass Guide Service
Many anglers make the common mistake of underestimating the viability of winter fishing. While the outside elements are not always favorable, the months of December, January, and February on Lake Lanier can offer anglers some of the best fishing of the year. Big sacks of spotted bass can be taken during these cold-weather months if you approach the lake with an open mind and are willing to try some different techniques and locations. While the bass’ metabolism is indeed slower due to the colder temperatures, they will still actively feed and can be caught, if you do the right thing, at the right time, in the right place. The notes below will help your winter fishing and make you a better, more complete angler on Lake Lanier.
A ditch can be defined as a significant depression, typically narrow in width (2-10 feet), which offers a sharp depth change of 2 feet or more from the surrounding structure. Ditches can be naturally occurring or can be man-made. An example of a naturally occurring ditch would be a creek channel that feeds a pocket or cove. A man-made ditch could result from a trench that was dug during the construction of a housing edition near the lake. These features exist in many places on Lake Lanier, and they hold fish during the winter months. Ditches can be found both shallow and deep, and can be approached in a number of different ways.
Often times, if you find a shallow ditch (15 feet or less) in a creek, you will find bait fish present in and around this ditch. Bass will show up and feed in these areas, particularly in low-light conditions, even in the dead of winter. Slow-rolling a Fish Head Spin or slow cranking a crankbait in these areas at daylight is a great way to take some huge spots through-out the winter. Present a jerkbait over these same areas for bites as well. Cast your jerkbait long distances over the ditch, and work the bait back to the boat with a jerk, jerk, pause retrieve. Include long pauses of 20-30 seconds between jerks. Also, ensure that you jerk the bait on slack line to improve the erratic action of the bait, which will trigger more strikes. The key to this technique is patience. Long pauses are critical to getting bites. I prefer a Denali Jerkbait Rod for this technique. The Michael Murphy Signature Denali Jerkbait Rod is the best on the market. It provides a fast tip to aid in presentation and plenty of backbone to fight and land a big fish. If these 2 techniques do not produce, try dragging a worm or jig in the area of the ditch or the ledge created by the ditch. Again, slow is the key. Impart short movements of the rod tip and drag the bait on the bottom for more bites.
Many of the same definitions and techniques will still apply to deeper ditches, but there are some key differences. When you search for these deeper ditches (25-50 feet deep), start by following the shallow ditches out to deeper water. Once you have moved to the deeper part of the ditch, use your Lowrance electronics to look for cover within or around the ditch that may offer an ambush spot for bass. Always remember that bass are predatory and constantly seek an advantage through a point of ambush. Structure changes, such as a ditch, along with ancillary structure/cover such as brush or standing timber, offer a refuge for bait fish, as well as an ambush position for the bass. If you can find an area with a ditch, standing timber, brush, and key feature changes such as an outside channel bend intersected by a road-bed in 40 feet of water or so, you have found the perfect winter haunts of the bait and our green-backed friends. Good electronics, such as Lowrance HDS units with Structure Scan Technology, are vital to finding these subtle depth changes and cover. Once you find a location like this holding fish, start by dropping a jigging spoon down to the location of the fish. Allow the spoon to sink to the bottom and then real it 2 cranks up before beginning your presentation. Jig the spoon with quick, short, upward thrusts of the rod and include pauses in your presentation. Let the fish tell you how they want the bait presented. Most bites will come on the fall, so after jigging the spoon upward, follow the line back down with your rod tip so you maintain “contact” and therefore “feel” of your lure. Other options for these deep fish include a drop-shot rig. Rig a drop-shot with a small worm or minnow imitation and present the bait in the area of the fish. Shake the bait with your rod tip slightly and include intermittent pauses. Do not lift the weight off the bottom, simply shake the bait lightly. Vary the length of your leader on your rig as necessary. When the fish loads up your rod-tip, simply lift your rod sharply upward. Do not set the hook as you would traditionally. With the proper set-up to include a small, light-wire hook, lifting the rod is all that is required to set the hook properly. Jig head worms and jigs with twin-tail trailers can also take these fish. Again, slow is the key.
Steep Rock Banks/Rip Rap
These features consistently hold fish during the winter months. These “vertical” banks, present both in the creeks as well as the main lake, offer the fish the ability to change depths within the water column without traveling very far. This provides an optimal situation for the fish whose metabolism and activity levels are slowed by the colder water. Begin by using your electronics to graph a likely area in search of bait. You will often find bait fish in “balls” on your graph. When you see these, you can rest assured that fish are somewhere in the area. Search for changes in the structure as your starting place. Look for points, pockets, contour changes, or transition areas where sand meets rock or clay, for example. Begin your prospecting in these areas with a jerkbait. Impart the jerk, jerk, pause retrieve mentioned previously, with a focus on long pauses. If the fish are not active enough to hit the jerkbait, try worms or jigs worked slowly down the rock bank. Position your boat in deeper water and cast towards the bank. Work the bait slowly and methodically back to the boat, paying particular attention to your lure’s movements. Bites in the winter are often VERY subtle. Once you detect something unusual in your lure’s action, set the hook. Do not play the “is it a fish” game. Just set the hook – they are free! I have found greater success in both the number of bites I get as well as the length of time the fish hold onto the lure by using JJ’s Magic Garlic Scent. I use the clear on all of my jigs and plastics, and I often dye the tips of my worms in the chartreuse color to provide additional attraction.
Boat Docks and Slips
Boat docks in creeks and the main lake, as well as slips in marinas hold fish year ‘round. There are several important factors to consider as you approach these features. First, explore the area around the docks you are considering fishing. Ignore the docks themselves and focus on the contour changes, structure, and available cover in the area. Does the dock or row of docks sit on or around a point? Does the dock extend over a creek channel bend or ditch? Asking questions like these and finding the answers will help your fishing immensely. Find the docks that are near key bait and fish holding areas, and you will find potentially productive docks. Do not fish random docks as your success ratio will be lowered considerably. Evaluate the area and focus on the docks that intersect with other fish attracting features and success will be yours!
Once you have identified the docks or marina slips you are going to fish based on the surrounding features, to include bait and fish in the area, there are many ways to approach these fish-holding structures. I like to focus on deeper docks in the winter that sit in 20-35 feet of water. This is a general rule and can vary based on the day, water temperature, and weather conditions. There are times when fish will position on shallow docks in the backs of creeks, particularly if we experience a three-day warming trend or a warm rain. Fish will hold on different areas of these docks and marina slips based on the same factors. Set up to fish these docks and marinas in such a way that you ensure proper boat control. Position your boat into the wind, for example, as opposed to drifting with it. I like to fish a dock or a set of docks with some faster moving bait options first, such as a jerkbait, crankbait, or Fish Head Spin for example. I will start by making parallel casts to the face of the dock, followed by presentations parallel with the sides of the docks and in the slip itself when possible. I will vary the retrieve on each presentation to cover different depths of the water column. Generally, when the sun is out, I like to focus on the shady side of the docks as this creates the best ambush environment for the fish. If the moving baits are not working, I will then switch to a worm or jig for a slower presentation. Present these baits in the same manner as mentioned above, but also make “corner” shots with your bait. Target the corners of the dock at the back and the front, along with any “corners” that are created by boats harbored in these docks. When fishing the worm and jig, bites occur on the fall, or as the bait is dragged through a likely area of cover or structure within the dock, such as brush pile or corner, as we discussed above. Again, think in terms of ambush locations. Also, as the water reaches its coldest temperatures, the docks sporting the iron posts should be of particular focus. These iron posts, usually found on older docks, hold heat. Water temperature differences of 1 degree or more can be found in these areas. This temperature difference, albeit small, is enough to attract bait and fish. Focus on these objects and make multiple presentations to these areas with your lures. Remember to be patient and work your baits slowly. Also, incorporate the use of spinning gear to present your worms and light jigs around these docks. With practice, you can use these rigs to skip baits around boats within docks and slips and actually present your bait further back in the dock, which can hold a better concentration of fish. Think like the fish – where would you be if you are looking for maximum comfort/protection as well as an ambush location? Often, the very back of the dock under a boat is the place.
While these three areas are not the only possible places to find fish on Lake Lanier in the winter, they are three very good areas to begin your search. Remember to look for bait and fish in an area before fishing it – fish where the fish are! Good luck out there and see you on the water!
On the california Delta with over 1000 miles of water to fish there are many patterns you can catch bass on in the fall. One of my favorite ways to fish this time of year is to use crankbaits.
Baitfish and Bass will begin to move into dead end sloughs and or the middle of large bays. I look to follow them from the main river channels to theese dead end sloughs in hopes of finding how far the bait and bass have began to move. In October the fish usually are closer to the mouth of the sloughs and in November they tend to be from the middle of the slough to the back. In December the bait and the bass will be tword the end of the slough or in the middle of the bays.You just have to search and find them.
I really like it when the cold weather begins to force the bass out of the grass and puts them either out on the edge of the grasslines or puts them in the holes between shallow grassy areas. They are eager to feed up and a crankbait is just perfect!
I make my choice super simple, I use 2 crankbait styles tight wiggling or wide wobbling. From day to day the fish will tell you wich one to use. You can use the rule of thumb that dirty water equals wide wobble and clear water equals tight wiggle. Most of the time I will allways start with a wide wobbling bait since aggresive fish will attack these and I just like the way they feel on my rod. If the fishing is tough I will change to a tight wiggling bait. Use 2 basic colors shad colored baits or crawfish colored baits.
The Wide Wobbling Crank Bait seen below is a Ron Howe favorite a Strike King series 4 crankbait.
The Strike King Series 4 Crankbait is s medium-sized body with a wider wobble & an oversized bill to deflect off cover. Great for Mid-depth, heavy cover applications and dirty water.
In December the tight wiggling baits and rattle traps will be your best bets!
Shallow running crankbaits will always be fish catchers. The Speed Traps are one of the most exciting baits you can throw when the crank bite is on.
For line I use 12-15lb Berkley 100% flourocarbon.
Use these simple Crankbait tactics this fall on the California Delta and you will have some fun days of fishing!
The late summer early fall transition is here and its no time to fish chicken! The water will begin to cool, the trout and salmon will start getting planted, the baitfish will begin to surface and all the bass want to do is feed and prepare for winter.
We all know that fall is one of the best times to fish reaction baits and cover water looking for active fish. One of the most over looked patterns in the fall is fishing deep with reaction baits and reaction techniques while looking for fish feeding on the surface. So how do you fish deep and keep a fast pace while looking for active fish? Simple take your standard deep techniques and add weight plus speed!
My absolute favorite way to fish in that 20’ to 40’ foot zone and move at a good pace is a 3/4oz TNT Baits M-80 jig. Yes a jig is not your traditional reaction bait but when you fish a heavy jig very aggressively with a lot of movement you have just made a reaction bait out of a typical bottom dwelling lure.
Start looking for the points at the mouths of creeks and large coves, fish the tops of the points with a topwater bait until you find active fish on top or locate bait with fish on the graph. Once you find the bait and the right kind of points reposition the boat and throw that heavy jig up on the point and start hopping and swimming it down the point banging it into anything you can trying to create that reaction bite. In the fall it’s very hard to fish the 3/4oz TNT jig to fast! Just lift it up with short sharp snaps and let it bang back into the bottom, swim it through the deep bait balls and let it fall right through them. Just keep it moving!
Fishing the jig fast in deep water gives you another tool to keep on the move in the fall while always looking for the schools of better fish. It is a great complement to the topwater and traditional reaction baits like spinner baits and crankbaits that cover the upper water column. Now use the M-80 jig to reaction fish in the lower water column.
I do recommend a good sensitive fast action rod with good length to fish those depths and still move enough line to get positive hooksets. I prefer the Dobyns DX784C ML with a high speed reel spooled with 12lb Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon. The reel is important because you need to be able pick up slack line quickly when you get bit and keep tension on the fish till the rod is in full load. Seaguar fluorocarbon is important because during the fall draw down our reservoirs are clear and the fish get spooky but you still need a strong line to hold up to the hook sets and rocks, plus the sensitivity Seaguar Invizx offers is huge plus you want to be able detect those soft bites in deep water.
Get some heavy TNT M-80 jigs and go bang them around! Good luck!
With so many choices of great Frogs to use where do you start. Monster Fishing Tackle carries a wide variety of Snag Proof frogs to meet your needs for fishing the Snag Proof open. Here are a few of the Frogs we recommend to improve your Summer Bass Fishing success.
Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Buzz Frog
The Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Buzz Frog is a topwater frog style lure that features a buzzbait blade in front of the frog for a completely new buzz frog. The Perfect Buzz Frog, from Snag Proof, offers anglers another option to fool big bass in striking a topwater lure. Best described as a buzzbait/frog hybrid, the Perfect Buzz Frog opens up a whole world of possibilities for frog fishermen. While standard hollow body frogs have proven very effective, their best use is targeting bass in small, specific strike zones. The buzzing version allows anglers to cover a great deal of water and presents the added benefit of being able to pause the bait should an attacking fish miss the target on the first strike. The Perfect Buzz Frog is extremely weedless and can be cast into reeds or wood fields without fear of snagging up and ruining the cast – in fact bumping the frog off the structure will likely prove to be the most effective technique for anglers. As the frog is retrieved it leaves an excellent bubble wake in its path with the combination of the blade and kicking legs. The Snag Proof Perfect Buzz Frog weighs in at 3/4oz and is available in excellent color patterns.
- Gamakatsu EWG Double Hook
- Internal Glass Rattle
- Kickin’ Paddle Feet
- High Quality Aluminum Blade
- ITT Tube Technology to keep the water out!
ITT is a tube through the center of the frog allowing for better hook ups and longer lasting frogs. Initially introduced in the Snag Proof Phat from and now part of the top selling frog of all time –
Click here to get your Bobby’s Perfect Frog.
Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog
Hollow Topwater Frog
The Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog is a hollow body topwater frog lure intended to be fished on the water’s surface. The Bobby’s Perfect Frog from Snag Proof was designed by renowned frog guru, Bobby Barrack. Western Pro and California Delta Guide Bobby Barrack has been using Snag Proof Frogs for 13+ years with tremendous success. However, he would always make a few modifications to each frog before tying it on. Those days of modifying the frog are gone. Snag Proof is now manufacturing the exact bait that Bobby’s been throwing for years. Bobby Barrack is often considered, if not the best, certainly one of the best frog fisherman of all time.
This Snag Proof Frog is Perfect right out of the package. Just tie it on and throw it. Many of the largest bass have been caught in open water while “walking” the bait next to boat docks or over submerged vegetation or wood.
Always great in moss, “cheese”, weedbeds and lily pads, the Snagproof Perfect Frog is even more versatile in that it “walks” like a stickbait in open water! Anglers will now be able to “walk the frog” like the pros. Here’s how: Point your rod tip down straight to your feet aimed at the frog. Twitch from 8:00 to 6:00 with enough slack at the end of your rod to make a “C” not a straight line. If the line is straight, the frog will move straight. Repeat this process and the frog will move left and right, right and left.
The big difference is in the elimination of the “thighs” of the Snag Proof frog. This allows the nose of the frog to move more freely. Believe it or not this frog will walk easier and tighter than any other frog out there.
Click here Bobbys Perfect Frog
Snag Proof Bleedin’ Frog
The Snag Proof Bleedin’ Frog is a topwater frog style lure that mimics the action and appearance of frogs that are often attacked as they swim across the surface. The red hook makes the frog look like wounded prey, automatically triggering the strike reflex. Bass can’t help themselves, and anglers will notice the difference. The hook design and position in the frog allows for better penetrating hook-ups. What’s even better, the Bleedin’ Frog walks right out of the package. The redesigned body provides effortless side-to-side movement due to the unique weighting system. The Frog is great for open water and great for fishing the snaggy, weedy places where the big ones hide and feed. The Snag Proof Bleedin’ Frog is 3″ in length and weighs 1/2oz.
Click Here Bleedin Frog
Get these popular Snag Proof Frogs and more at Monsterfishingtackle.com
Dan Wells Professional Bass Angler explains the ins and out of frog fishing, listen close and learn how to improve your frog fishing tactics and catch more bass. Dan will cover the right Dobyns rod, Spider wire line,and ABU Garcia reel to use as well as how to pre pare a frog for catching more and bigger bass, In this case the Snag Proof open is coming up in august and Dan will show you how to prep your Snag Proof frog and help you increase your catch rate.
Dan Wells and Ron Howe holding there Snag Proof champions trophy’s from using the tips in these videos for there success!