Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Want to learn how to catch those big hawgs and become a better angler? 

Your choices of baits and techniques are almost unlimited but many either fish them the wrong way or just are not fishing where the bass are. As a rule 90% of the bass are only in 10% of the water on any given body of water.
That brings up two big points when in comes to catching bass. 1. Are you using the right bait and technique to catch those fish. 2. Are you fishing in areas of the lake that actually are holding bass. Before I get into that how about a little bass trivia.
  • Ray Scott organized the first bass tournament in 1967 and called it "The All American Bass Tournament". 106 anglers from around the country paid $100 to fish the tournament on Beaver Lake, Arkansas. Stan Sloan wins the event and top prize of $2000 and a trip to Acapulco.
  • The following year Scott officially formed the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. This started the multi-billion dollar industry bass fishing is today.
  • In 1970 Roland Martin entered his first BASS event finishing 2nd. This started one of the most successful careers in BASS history. Martin fished 25 events with 7 wins, 8 2nd place wins, and never finished below 16th place. He also had 9 Angler of the year titles.
  • Bill of my favorite personalities...actually won the first Angler of the Year title in 1970
Ray Scott and B.A.S.S. are responsible for many innovations in the sport including kill switches on motors, aerated live wells, and initiated the catch and release programs.

 All those anglers in some of the first tournaments didn't have much to go on except personal experience and knowledge. They more understood bass habits and habitats, and what parts of the lake were likely to be more productive than others.

 If you are wanting to be more successful during your trips to the lake then there is nearly unlimited information available through just about any mean there is. One tip I can give you is this. If you are not already fishing some local tournament trail then get in one. People talk about baits they use. How they caught their fish and techniques they use to catch them.

 I do fish many local tournaments and have narrowed my selections of lures and techniques to ones that have worked for me over the years and here are some of the tips and techniques I use with those lures.

 Tips and techniques #1. Jigs. 

 If you are not using a lead head jig then you may be missing out on catching some of the larger bass in the lake you are fishing. I keep a jig tied on year around. It will produce in just about any condition, even in the colder months of the year when you can't hardly even get a look with other baits. Jigs imitate crawfish and that is one of a bass favorite foods. Most all lakes have plenty and bass seek them out. Black and blue is a good choice and catch some good fish. I really like a black/brown/amber jig and probably use that one color 80% of the time. I have confidence in that lure and that means a lot when fishing. I usually add a trailer to the jig and match same color. One of my top trailers are Lake Fork brand craws. I usually pinch off about 1/4 inch of the tail before adding one on.

 Tip and technique when using a jig.

Many folks just flip the bait to certain targets, give it a few twitches, then reel in and toss to another target. It is true that a good majority of bites occur on the initial fall but by working your lure at least partially back to the boat you may get some bites you would otherwise miss. After you work the bait out a bit, instead of picking up and quickly reeling in, swim the bait back to you with a slow up and down motion of your rod. That bass to the right hit my jig about 10' from my boat as I was swimming it back. She weighed a health 10.66 pounds. I've caught many other fish using that very technique.  

Tip and technique #2. Soft Plastics.

  I'm not affiliated with this company but get you some Lake Fork brand craws. This is my top producing soft plastic. First color choice is black neon. Also get some in blue bruiser and watermellon/red. There are other colors but those colors will cover lure choices in most lakes. Fish those the same way I described fishing the jigs above.

 Tip and techniques fishing these craws and other soft plastics.

Use the lightest weigh you can get away with. I use 3/16th tungsten weight. These weights are more dense and you will have a better "feel" of what your lure is doing. They are also about 1/3 the size of lead weights in same weight. I peg all my weights with rubber pegging strips.

 Tip and techniques #3. Crankbaits. I'm mainly talking about a lipless crank bait here and mainly a 1/4 oz Bill Lewis Spintrap. A spintrap is like a normal rattletrap but with a spinner in place of the rear hook. I am convinced I got more hits with this setup over a normal rattletrap. About the only color I use in this lure is one in chrome/blueback. I have no doubt I've caught more fish on this one lure than all my other lures combined.  

Tip and technique when using a spintrap.
First thing I do is change out the one hook on this bait with a RED gamakatsu treble of same size. The red hook will make the lure appear to be a bleeding injured baitfish. Next thing is get a can of clear coat auto paint at your local autoparts store. Spray the paint on both sides of the lure. Chrome paint flakes off easily and this will help it hold up longer.

 Cast the lure out and try different retrieves. Sometime a good steady retrieve works fine. Sometimes you can really burn it back to the boat. Other times slowly use a pumping action with the lure. To do this reel in a little while lifting your rod tip then pause and let the lure freefall a foot or two. Then repeat the process. This give the lure an appearance of an injured baitfish and an easy meal for a bass.  

Tip and technique #4 Finesse lures.

And here I'm mainly talking about using medium action spinning equipment and shaky head jigs. This is a great technique to use when fishing is really slow and on really high pressured lakes. The spinning gear allows you to use much lighter weights and the shaky head tipped with a finesse work is a killer setup. You can twitch this little lure and have it practically stay in the same spot. The finesse worm just sits there and wiggles a bunch attracting any bass nearby.

Tip and Technique using a shaky head.

The fish on the left was caught on a shaky head and tilapia color squirrel tail worm. Was double the fun on light spinner gear. It weighed a little over 6 pounds. I've used different styles of these heads and like the Owner brand shaky heads the best. They are solid jigs heads with a small spring wire to "screw" your worm on, then bury the the hook into the worm and you have a near weedless bait.

Get you some Squirrel tail finesse worms made by the Big Bite Bait Co. The tails have a little air pocket which make it float up while working the lure. This is a killer little combo and has worked for me when all else fails.  

Tip and technique #5. Fish attractants. Lure companies have put a good deal of money into research on the various fish attractants so I'm really want argue with their effectiveness for catching fish. What I do firmly believe is that when a bass does take your lure while using an attractant they will hold onto the bait longer giving you a better chance for a hook set.

Only attractant is use is Bang garlic attractant. It comes in an easy to apply spray can. I use it frequently when fishing my jigs or soft plastics. I really don't bother when using other cranks or spinners type baits. If you will use some of the tips and techniques I described above you will catch some fish. You can find other resources throughout the internet that will help you catch more bass. Now if you really want to take your fishing to the next level I do recommend a few manuals. This way you can learn all you really need in one source.

 One I really like and recommend is called Largemouth Bass Extreme.

 This manual will help you learn more about the different tips and techniques you can use to catch more and larger bass. It will teach you what a bass may be doing given certain situations and where you can likely find them. It leads you through a systematic process of locating those fish on any body of water.

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