Ron Howe talks about great Gift ideas for Bass Fishermen ,IMA baits are available at www.Monsterfishingtackle.com
Ima Lures Skimmer Grande
The Ima Lures Skimmer Grande is a topwater walking bait that subtly glides across the surface replicating the action of small shad that are often found roaming the surface. The Grande size Ima Skimmer retains the design of the original, but increases the size from 4.5″ to 5″ in order to mimic lager species of forage that predatory fish feed upon. The Ima Skimmer Grande possesses a slim profile that has proven to be one of the most appealing bass lure shapes ever. As a result of this subtle shape, the lure will glide across the surface softly much like the wake of a lone shad as it seeks refuge from the predators below. There’s a whole lot to be said simply for this slender profile and silhouette, and the Ima Skimmer Grande is really the only topwater hardbait that has perfected it.
WILD BOILING ACTION…
A large part of the Skimmer Grande’s action is caused on the ending movement of each zig or zag as the tail-weighted back end of the Ima Skimmer Grande stirs the water slightly causing a natural boil. So every time that the Skimmer zigs or zags left or right, the final movement of the weighted tail interrupts the consistency of the slick surface and the lure slips out barely ahead of the boil, just like a desperate baitfish narrowly escaping a bass’s lunge.The Skimmer Grande’s action then becomes a non-stop series of ever-widening boils emanating behind it. It’s like having a school of surface-feeding bass on the scene, all boiling the surface behind the Ima Skimmer’s tail. If there’s ever anything that gets a non-committal bass to bite, it is other bass feeding in front of it – and that’s the competitive feeding cue that the Skimmer’s tail-stirring movement sends out to all bass within range of sensing the surface-feeding boils trailing out behind the Skimmer.
The IMA Skimmer Grande measures 5″ in length and weighs 5/8oz.
IMA Skimmer Grande Specs
- Length: 125mm, 5in
- Weight: 17g, 5/8oz
- Classification: Top Water
- Hooks: Owner ST-36 #4
-3 Hooks: Made with three hooks. This design helps increase catch ratio when fish are in a reactive mood and not willing to aggressively feed. Most commonly an asset in colder water early and late in the year and in post frontal situations.
-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.
-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.
-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.
-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.
-Jerk Pause: Starting each jerk with a slack and ending with a slack after single to multiple jerks. Increase frequency between jerks and pauses as fish activity level increases and as water temperature increases. Work the lure with your rod top close to the water to maximize depth, bringing the rod tip up as you would like to work it shallower or through or over shallow cover.
-Deadsticking: Working the lure with very little contact with the lure itself and inching the lure forward by bringing up the slack and using the weight of the line to move the lure forward. Start out with a couple cranks and with the Jerk Pause technique to get the lure to depth before working the deadsticking technique.
-6’0″ to 7’0″ depending on height: You want the rod as long as possible, but just short enough to where your rod tip is not dragging in the water on the Jerk Pause technique when your rod is pointed downward.
-8lb-14lb line: The lighter the line the better, when you can get away with it. This will maximize the natural action of the lure. As there is more cover and debris to wear line easier, increase the weight of the line.
-Reel: Most reels can be used, but suggest using a 6.3:1 ratio or greater for easy use.
Flit 120 – Available in 18 colors
Flit 120 – 114 Table Rock Shad
Flit 120 – 171 Boned Shad
199 – Clear *NEW*
100 – Silver Flash
101 – Gold Flash
102 – Clown
104 – Chartruese Shad
105 – American Shad
107 – Olive Herring
108 – Misty Shad
109 – Ghost Minnow
113 – Brown Flash
115 – Blue Shad
116 – Tennessee Shad
125 – Matte Bluegill
150 – Ghost Tennessee Shad NEW COLOR
151 – Pro Blue NEW COLOR
152 – Phantom Craw NEW COLOR
Tournament Bass Fishing Tips by “Ron Howe”
I am by no means any super Pro Bass Angler, but Ive had a lot of Tournament success in recent years and I want to share what has made me better and hope it can help you be a better Tournament Bass Angler.
We all start out as Beginners or Rookies or Future pro’s. We develop a love for fishing and a love to compete. Throw a high horse powered bass boat in the mix with a cool looking gel coat and were hooked! Blasting off against 60,70-230 boats is a serious endorphin rush! You against the world the weather the water and oh ya the fish! Once a Angler fishes a few events they get addicted to Tournament Bass fishing. I did!
Very few Anglers ever make it to the top level of Bass fishing and fish as a “Pro” for a living. Many of us can live the dream regionally near home and are happy to do so. With kids a full time job and few sponsor dollars available for a weekend warrior we are limited in our opportunities.
I have been tournament fishing for over 20 years now. I love it! I love meeting new people and love to compete. Along this journey I started at a club level. We caught fish, but rarely got in the money or won a Trophy or some Wood! The same guys always did well. We new we were good anglers, but couldn’t get to the top of the club event level. Then you meet new people and learn about events with a higher winning potential. So you say sign me up im in! And much like the club level you fish well, but never end up in the top level of the circuit. The same guys always do well??
When we fish at the club level or regional semi-pro level it is the last time we will ever get info on how these Anglers did better than us. You must stay to the end of every event you fish to learn and get better. In time you will find out what won the events or what the top 5 teams did to out fish the rest. If you leave the event early because you didn’t place well you are loosing the chance to get better! Stay, ask questions, hang out with those willing to talk, many Anglers love to brag! Heck I do! That’s how you learn!
Take what you learn and go practice it, get better at it. When you tackle your weakness find another tournament tactic and get better at it. The more versatile you are the better you will become at Tournament Bass fishing at any level! Don’t get mad when a team does well, try to find out what they are doing that you are not! Now go get good at it. Many years ago I forced myself to practice Punching or heavy flipping. Its not that I couldn’t do it, I love to flip just not in the junk. If I can open water fish I would rather do so. By forcing myself to practice this and get better at it I Punched 25lbs in 15 minutes. That’s all I needed to do 1 time to get me to get over what I want to do and what I need to do at the right times. Drop shotting was an other one, Its not hard, I just didn’t like to do it. I would rather drag a jig or a 10” worm, but quickly I forced myself to improve at this tactic and believe me it has paid off! Get better at what you don’t like to do, it will make you a better Tournament Bass Angler.
One big bit of advice I can give you is to take control of as many things as you can. This is one of the most important steps to becoming a better Tournament Angler. Make sure your line is new or in great condition. Always tie new knots. Always use new hooks. Make sure your boat is fully ready before you leave your house. Know the weather, the tide, the water level, the seasonal pattern you will fish and know the primary food source at that time of year where you are fishing! And as I have asked my partners on a few very sad occasions when the big fish gets off, did you have a trailer hook on? Being pre-paired is the best thing you can do that will improve your Tournament results as a weekend warrior.
This one is tough, but invest in good quality products. Make sure you buy products that are proven tournament products. Have the right rod and reel for what you’re doing! A red crank bait just aint a red crank bait if it doesn’t work correctly. If a spinner bait doesn’t work properly it just wont catch as many fish. Bite the bullet and buy good stuff. Make sure you bring enough product that you do well with, do not run out! I have multiples of my favorite baits; I don’t want to run out.
Time management. This is critical to your success in tournaments. This does not mean fish too fast. This means fish every second of the day effectively. Each time you start and stop do it quickly. This will add 1-25 more casts per day in every event. If you made 25 more casts in 5 events that is 125 more chances to catch a big one! It is a percentage game and you are improving your chances. If you are the non boater, are you getting ready to go quickly? When the boater puts his pole down and grabs the trolling motor rope that’s a big clue you need to be on the move. Timing is everything!! Think how many times in practice you pull up and first or second cast BANG you get a big one! If you manage your time in tournaments you will increase these odds in your favor. I do a lot of Salmon fishing and I get asked a lot “how come you hook so many fish?” I always answer because im a tournament Bass Angler! And then respond by saying I make more casts than the average angler. Make the most of your time and you will become a better Tournament Bass Angler and a better fisherman.
I hope you can use some of these valuable tips to improve your time on the water and your success in your next Tournament.
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!
Ripbaits According to Gary Dobyns
Written by Russ Bassdozer
Few names in history evoke as much fear as “Jack the Ripper”, a notorious figure that preyed on London in the late 1880’s. Over 100 years later, the name of Gary Dobyns evokes fear too – in those going up against Gary and his ripbaits in Western tournaments. That’s because Gary Dobyns has won well over one million off his competitors, a good chunk of it by ripping them with hard plastic-lipped ripbaits.
Q: Gary, you’ve recently had some newsworthy success with ripbaits. I’d like to ask you more about ripbaits today Gary. To set the scene, you rip with a 7 foot Loomis CBR845 baitcasting rod, 6:1 reel and primarily 10 lb line, either monofilament or Yamamoto Sugoi fluorocarbon which lets you get a foot or two deeper than mono. On the rod, does it serve any other purpose – crankbaits, topwater or whatever?
GD: Russ, this is the only rod model I rip with, using 10 lb test for ordinary ripbaits, and 12 lb test for larger ripbaits. I also throw a lot of small crankbaits with this rod. However, I do not throw big cranks with this rod. For larger crankbaits, I step up to the Loomis CBR847 rod.
The ripbait rod (CBR845) is also perfect for small poppers. So, the G. Loomis CBR845 crankbait rod is universal in that it can cover ripbaits, small crankbaits and small topwater poppers in one rod model.
Q: Gary, I know you rip more than 90% of the time with Lucky Craft baits. So let’s limit this article to the Lucky Crafts you use most often. What can you tell us about each of the Lucky Craft ripbaits you use, Gary?
GD: Russ, there’s nothing specific about any individual model. These are the ones I tend to use more often:
- Flash Minnow 110SP 4-1/2″ 5/8 oz 2-3 ft
- Pointer 128SP 5″ 1 oz 3-5 ft
- Pointer 78SP 3″ 3/8 oz 4-5 ft
- Pointer 78DD 3″ 3/8 oz 7-8 ft
- Bevy Shad 75SP 3″ 3/8 oz 7-8 ft
- Staysee 90SP 3-1/2″ 7/16 oz 8-10 ft
I use the deep divers more often earlier in the year, because the fish are deeper then, and the two deepest models are the Staysee and the Bevy Shad. As fish come up real shallow, the Flash Minnow and the Pointer 78 are the shallowest models. The Pointer 128, being a big bait, I use it for brawling with big shallow largemouth.
What causes me to use one model or another is that I am trying to reach different water columns where fish are stacked. The difference of getting my ripbait a couple of feet deeper or shallower is what makes the difference between getting bit or not.
Q: Gary, sometimes a bait gets categorized as a smallmouth killer or a spotted bass killer, or other species-specific usage. Do you think ripbaits have a specific appeal to smallmouth, spotted bass or largemouth?
GD: You’ve caught me by surprise with that question, Russ. Honestly, I’ve never made a species distinction when it comes to ripbaits. Ripbaits have universal appeal to all three bass species. Using ripbaits, I’ve never noticed a difference in catchability between largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass.
Q: Gary, some anglers mention having a good ripbait bite first thing in the morning, and then have it fade out and die on them by mid-morning. Is that something you’ve seen about the ripbait bite? Is the ripbait bite similar to what many have experienced with an early morning topwater bite, that it’s usually good at first light, and shuts down once the sun hits the water?
GD: In spring and winter, the ripbait bite can last all day. By late spring and early summer, an early morning ripbait bite can be very true. Especially in clear warm water, the ripbait bite is easier in low light, a lot better early in the morning and late in the evening. Once the sun is overhead and water is clear, the ripbait bite can become harder. This is basically true of any reaction bait bite.
Q: Gary, what would you say is the biggest error you see anglers make with ripbaits?
GD: There are two things:
- Not tuning them. Anglers should test their ripbaits in a pool or clear water. They should swim perfectly straight on a steady retrieve. Otherwise, when you rip them, they’ll roll up on one side or another, and you won’t get the depth or the action you need out of the ripbait.
- maintaining too much line tension. Between rips, many anglers keep too much line tension, which keeps the lure creeping forward ever so slowly due to line tension. When a ripbait pauses, the fish needs to see a dead still lure. I move the rod tip back toward the bait to give a little slack after every rip, which causes the lure to come to a dead stop.
Q: Overall, what action are you trying to create with a ripbait, Gary? What impression are you trying to make on the bass with a ripbait?
GD: I am creating a rip-pause action. Actually, the rip is more like a pop (how you would pop a popper is a good idea for those who haven’t ripped yet) – and always the pause, which is when you get bit. I’ll mix the number of pops from one to three – pop, pop, pop, pause, pop, pause, pop, pop, pause. I deploy an erratic action.
The impression I am trying to make on a bass is that the ripbait is crippled or injured. Again, you can think of this as the same sort of impression we often try to make on the surface with a popper.
Q: With the rip component of the action you create, do you vary the rip for different seasons?
GD: Not really, Russ, I usually rip it good. Again, think of them as pops. In really cold water, I won’t rip it as hard as I normally rip it the rest of the year. Speaking of very cold water, there is a misconception that ripbaits don’t work well in water temperatures below 55 degrees. That’s not true. There’s one fishery that’s typically 44 degree water in winter, and I rip them.
Q: With the pause component of the action you create, do you vary the pause for different seasons, Gary?
GD: In winter, all the prey fish out there are colder, therefore slower. With predator fish, nothing is as aggressive in winter as in spring, summer or fall. Most of the time, I will pause 2-3 seconds and pop it again. Just in winter, I may go slower on the pause – anywhere up to 5-7 seconds. That’s an awful long time for a fisherman to wait! Sit here and count it to yourself now.
Q: Do you look to develop a cadence for the day? That is, once you catch a few on a certain sequence of pops and pauses, do you find all your fish going for that same sequence of popping-pausing – or do you catch fish on a diversity of cadences during the day, Gary?
GD: That’s a good question, Russ. Once I rip a few fish for the day, I will get tuned into that way of creating a certain retrieve for the rest of the day. Once I’ve gotten results with a certain cadence, I will get into it, and stick with it the rest of the day. It’s the same thing, for example, with a buzzbait. Some days they want a buzzbait slow, the next day fast. It’s a trial-and-error method to begin the day, then you discover what they want from you, and lock yourself into it.
Q: Gary, I speak for every reader when I thank you for sharing your insights on ripbaits with us. Are there any other points you’d like to mention before we say goodbye, sir?
GD: Ripping is an easy technique, and it can be very easy when bass do not want to feed, but are just acting aggressive. Ripping evokes an aggressive predator instinct. Also, it can be a big fish bait.
Again thank you, Gary.
Fall Jig Fishing
The days are getting shorter, nights longer and the deer woods are calling, it must Fall.
This is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only for the cooler weather, the hunting seasons and the comfort food that’s on it’s way but for the fishing. One of my favorite types of fishing is Jig fishing, this time of year is when it really starts to shine. All types of lakes turn on in the fall for the jig bite, this mostly happens because the fish are really trying to feed up for the winter hold over. The smaller fish have a tendency to hang out and around the bait balls and gorge themselves on the bait fish. Bigger fish will of coarse eat bait fish as well but if they get the chance for one good meal, they are taking it.
The crayfish that a jig represents, is a more nutritious meal and helps put more weight on. As the winter months near the bass are trying to stack on as much weight as possible. While the lakes are full of free swimming bait fish at this time of year, bigger fish are still more territorial and have the tendency to stay closer to structure and wait for the bait to come to them. The structure they tend to stack up on is rock piles and vertical wood. the rock piles will hold more temperature and crayfish are often found in the vicinity. The standing timber also attracts the bigger bass but in this instance it gives them a vertical feeding alternative as well.
Now that we have some areas to search for these bigger fish lets talk about the jig itself. My favorite jigs are the LBS Tackle 1/2 ounce football. The 1/2 ounce size is probably the most used jig on the market. I like to stay with very natural colors. Brown, orange, black, blue, green and purple to name a few. Any combination of these colors can really make for a great jig. My best advice is to try and match your jig to the surrounding cover. So, if you find a lot of clay banks I stay with brown and orange or just brown, so on for grass, rocks etc. I like silicone skirts with band collars. They are very versatile, I can keep my head tied on and change the skirt as needed.
Fishing the jig,
once I find the structure I’m going to fish I like to position my boat a full cast away so that when I cast the bait actually lands a few feet on the other side of the structure. I like to start by hopping the jig kind of quickly along the bottom pulling and raising the rod to give the fish more of a reaction bite approach. I can always slow down and drag it but in the fall I like to go fast first, then slow down. Make sure you fish from several angles before you move on to another area. If I have a spot that has produced before, I like to hit six to ten different angles just to see if the bass are positioned in a certain way, on the structure. When you catch fish remember to pay attention to the angle and speed of your retrieve, this will probably be the way all the fish are set on this structure. Now you’ve caught several fish off this structure, I always like to throw a different color jig back in there, just to see if I can pick up that extra fish. A lot of times the big fish has watched the same color come through, time and time again then a different color comes through and that’s the trigger.
Jig fishing in the fall is about hitting your good spots and making multiple casts to the same
areas. You might not catch the numbers that the bait fish guys are but the fish you catch will be of better quality.
My favorite LBS Tackle jigs are the Scarecrow, Molting Craw, Deep Purple, Mud Candy and the Brown and Orange.
See you on the water.