Crank Deep When the Weather’s Hot

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Mike Iaconelli
Mike Iaconelli

Last time we talked about topwater options for the postspawn and early summer. As good as those baits are, though, they only last so long. At some point the weather and the water turn hot. We need to think about bringing them up from deep water.

There are several ways to do that but one of the best is with a deep crankbait. A deep crankbait will help you search for them. And, when you do find them it’ll catch them when they’re hungry as well as with a reaction bite when they aren’t. It’s a universal-type bass fishing lure.

My education into deep cranking came early in my career. Back in 1993, I was fishing a B.A.S.S. Top 100 tournament as an amateur. On the third day I drew the legendary crankbait pro and Bassmaster Classic champion, David Fritts. He was throwing a crankbait on slow tapering points in 15 feet of water. I was throwing a Carolina rig. He wore me out. I’ve never forgotten that day.

The toughest part of deep cranking is in your head. Deep to me used to mean anything below 12 feet. Now it means as deep as 20 feet. I know that cranking that deep is hard for a lot of anglers to wrap their heads around. Twenty feet sounds really, really deep. The thing is, though, it isn’t all that deep. Look at your bass boat. It’s probably about 20 feet long. That’s all there is to it.

Now let’s talk about how to do it. In my mind deep cranking can be broken down into four parts — the lure, the line, the rod and reel, the cast.

Rapala Ike's Custom Ink DT Series Crankbaits
Rapala Ike’s Custom Ink DT Series Crankbaits

The lure: There are several good deep crankbaits on the market today. For my money, though, I’m going with Rapala’s Ike’s Custom Ink DT Series Crankbaits. The four deepest running models will run anywhere between 10 and 20 feet deep. That’s where you want to be at this time of the year when the fish start moving from the postspawn into a true summer pattern.

Another thing about our DT Series is that the colors have been custom designed by me for maximum effectiveness. I guarantee you they’ll all catch bass. Pick the one that matches the forage where you’re fishing. If you’re in doubt, go with a shad looking color.

Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon
Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon

The Line: Your line is what’s between a big bass and a broken heart. Why take chances? I don’t. That’s why I fish my baits on Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. It’s thin. It’s tough. It’s affordable.

I always fish with the lightest test-weight I can get away with given the size of the fish I expect to catch and the water conditions. The thing to remember about line is that the lighter the test-weight, the deeper your plug will run. As a general rule every two pounds of test weight will move your bait up or down about a foot and a half depending on whether you’re moving your line’s test-weight up or down.

And, don’t be afraid to go with light test-weights. I fish deep with 10-pound-test all the time. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon is tough. It’ll hold a knot for a while. Still, deep crankbaits put a lot of pressure on line so I recommend retying often. You know, just to be sure.

The rod: This is an easy one. I fish my deep crankbaits with my Abu Garcia Ike Delay Series Casting Rods. The longer models range from 7 feet to 7 feet, 10 inches. The longest one has a medium heavy action. The others are medium actions. They all have a moderate taper with a short delay — less than a second — when you set the hook. They’re perfect for deep crankin’.

Abu Garcia Ike Delay Casting Rod & Abu Garcia REVO IKE Casting Reel
Abu Garcia Ike Delay Casting Rod & Abu Garcia REVO IKE Casting Reel

The cast: Make as long a cast as possible and make sure it goes past your target. Every lure takes a few cranks of the reel handle to get down to its maximum depth. I usually crank fast for a few turns and then slow down a bit.

Pointing you rod tip down helps with depth and so does a medium or high-speed reel. I personally use an Abu Garcia REVO Ike Casting reel with a 6.6:1 gear ratio. That gives me what I need as far as speed and power is concerned.

Now I want to tell you the most important thing of all about deep cranking: Hit something, anything, with your lure. Almost every bass I’ve ever caught on a crankbait happened when it was striking or deflecting off of something.

Don’t let deep bass get the better of you this year. Crank ‘em up!

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Position Your Boat Correctly

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Mike Iaconelli
Mike Iaconelli

I haven’t seen much media coverage lately about boat positioning. That is not a good thing. If your boat isn’t positioned correctly in relation to what you’re fishing, you’re doomed.

We all know that to fish a log correctly you need to cover the top end, the bottom end and both sides. To do that you must have your boat positioned correctly and move it a little with each cast so that you have the right angle. The same thing is true with a brush pile, a rocky flat or a drop. You have to cover it all, and from different directions.

The trick to doing that is to know how to control your boat.

Bass Cat Cougar
Bass Cat Cougar

My Bass Cat Cougar and my Yamaha 250 V MAX SHO make starting out easy. I can get where I’m going in a hurry but, at the same time, I’m not making a lot of noise or creating massive waves that’ll mess up my spot.

I like the Cougar because it suits my style of fishing. But, they have a ton of other models that might fit you better, and they range in price to fit almost any budget. Check them out when you’re in the market for a new boat. And don’t forget: You can get accessories for them if you’re disabled or physically challenged.

The Yamaha on the back is a great addition to my Cougar. It’s quiet, efficient and reliable. Again, they make all sorts of different sizes and styles. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best outboard I’ve ever owned. Check them out before you buy anything.

V6 V MAX SHO
Yamaha 250 V MAX SHO

As a package this combination gives me a stable casting and fishing platform. That’s what you need as a first step in proper boat positioning.

Once I get near my spot it’s time for my Lowrance equipment to go to work. We’ll talk about my trolling motor — Ghost — first. It gives me a 130 pounds of thrust which is enough for any situation. And, it’ll hold me in position with absolute certainty as well as do a lot of other neat things.

But the real deal is that it’s quiet. It doesn’t scare the fish like most trolling motors when you’re in shallow water.

Lowrence LiveSight Sonar
Lowrence LiveSight Sonar

Once I have that going I check out my Lowrance GPS and SONAR system. It’s unbelievable. I’m seeing things with my new LiveSight that I didn’t know were on the bottom in waters I’ve fished for years.

In just a minute I’m going to give you a few tips that’ll help you position your boat correctly. Before I do that, though, I want to say something from the heart. My equipment is top of the line. I know that. I’m a pro and depend on it to earn a living. But, just because your equipment is a few years old, or less expensive, or has less features on it doesn’t mean that you can’t put your boat where it needs to be or catch a boatload of big bass.

Here’s the truth of the matter: I learned to position a boat long before any of this new equipment was around. It’s easier and better now. That is for sure. Nevertheless, back in the day we used 12 volt trolling motors and flashers, and we caught a lot of fish. What I’m saying is that if you can get the newer equipment, go for it. You won’t be sorry. But if you can’t, don’t give up. Use what you have efficiently.

In order to do that — with new equipment or old — you need to learn to do a few things, and learn to do them well.

  1. Always create a safe zone around your target, an area your boat never goes into or disturbs anything. Don’t hit the bank or stir up mud. There’s nothing wrong with making long casts.
  2. Use the wind and current to help you position your boat. Drifting backwards while you’re casting is OK. I did it for years.
  3. When you do use your trolling motor set it to the lowest possible power stetting you can get away with. The less noise and disturbance the prop makes the better.
  4. Run your trolling motor on constant whenever possible. The off and on turning of the prop disturbs the fish more than a constant speed.
  5. Use your electronics as your underwater eyes. I have one eye on my map and one eye on my SONAR at all times. I want to see everything both of them is showing me. Two screens are the best, but a split screen will do the same thing.
  6. Don’t neglect marker buoys just because you think they’re old-fashioned. I use commercial ones when I’m practicing or fun fishing. When I’m in a tournament I go with clear soda bottles. Wrap some heavy string around them along with a heavy weight. They’ll work as good as the ones you bought at the tackle shop.
  7. A drift sock is super good when you want to fish across a long break or a giant weedbed. The strings on them will control them pretty well once you get the hang of using them.
  8. Avoid anchors when you can. I only use them in extreme conditions, when I want to protect a spot from other competitors or when I’m bed fishing.

Careful and precise boat control will put as many fish in your livewell as anything else you can do when you’re fishing. Do it!

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The Shallow Shad Rap

Mike Iaconelli
Mike Iaconelli

We all know about the Rapala Shad Rap. It’s one of the all-time great lures, one of the best ones ever made to be blunt about it. But, you don’t hear so much about the shallow version of this bait. You should, and you should have a handful of them in your boat at all times.

We’ll deal with “all times” first. Too often this lure is thought of as only a shallow, clear water lure. I’ve caught bass on them in muddy water and in water that’s 20 feet deep when the bass are suspended or when they come up to feed. So, don’t ever not think about throwing a Shallow Shad Rap just because of the time of the year you’re fishing or the depth of the water. That would be a mistake.

Rapala Shallow Shad Rap
Rapala Shallow Shad Rap

The thing that makes this lure different is the way the lip is constructed. Instead of being short and coming off the nose at an angle like other shallow baits it drops straight down and then straight out. It’s still short, though.

This gives it a different kind of wiggle as it moves through the water. When you combine that with the buoyancy of good, high-quality balsa wood you have something that’s truly unique, something very few bass have ever seen. At the same time, though, it looks natural.

Shallow Shad Raps come in at least a dozen colors and four or five sizes. There’s a magnum size, too, in case you’re looking for a giant. It’s called the Super Shad Rap. It’s basically just like the shallow model except that it’s much bigger, heavier and tougher.

Rapala Super Shad Rap
Rapala Super Shad Rap

I pick my colors to match the local forage. This lure looks like the real thing when it moves. I want the same look when it comes to finish.

Most Shallow Shad Raps will run between 1 and 3 feet deep. If you use really light line, you can get them down to 4 or 5 feet. The bigger models might get down a little deeper than that, but not by much.

The Super Shad Rap will get all the way down to 9 feet if you throw it on light line and crank it properly — not too fast, not too slow.

The only modifications I make to these lures is that I upsize the hooks a little so that they’ll slowly sink or suspend and I add a split rig to the nose. I tie direct to it. Otherwise, they are perfect right out of the box.

The final thing I’m going to say — this is Top Secret, Your Eyes Only so don’t ever tell anybody else — is that Shallow Shad Raps are the very best subtle jerkbaits ever made. They slip effortlessly through the water with a gently pull. If there’s a jerkbait bite on, give one of them a try. You’ll load the boat, for sure.

I fish every model and size, except for the biggest one, on medium action spinning tackle and with 6 to 10-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line.

Keep a few Shallow Shad Raps handy this year. You’ll catch more bass.

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Watch the Super Shad Rap Swim!!

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Bass Fishing with the VMC Spinshot Hook

Bass Fishing with the VMC Spinshot Hook thumbnail
Mike & VMC hooks
Mike Iaconelli

I love to drop shot but I don’t love line twist, and that’s one of the biggest problems with drop shotting. That’s too bad because on tough days a drop shot is one of the most effective ways to put one in your livewell.

With that in mind, I set out to solve that problem. That shouldn’t come as any surprise to those of you who know me or who have followed my career. I tinker with everything and, thanks to some first-class professional sponsors, some of my modifications actually make it to fruition. The VMC Spinshot Hooks are in that group.

VMC Ike Approved Wide Gap Spinshot Hooks
VMC Ike Approved Wide Gap Spinshot Hook

There are three basic designs with these hooks. We have a Wide Gap, a Power Shot and a standard Drop Shot.

The Wide Gap is designed for bigger, bulkier plastics. The wide gap on this
hook makes sure your bait won’t get balled up inside the bend when the fish takes it, and the 3 degree offset hook point makes sure you get a good, clean penetration when you set the hook.

The Power Point has a wide enough gap to use with big baits and it’s strong enough for heavy tackle and giant bass as well as nasty cover. And, like the Wide Gap it has a 3 degree offset at the point.

VMC Power Shot Hooks
VMC Power Shot Hook

The standard Drop Shot is your basic hook for everyday drop shotting, but don’t confuse basic with ordinary or routine. This hook has a series of unique bends that minimizes snags but at the same time makes hooksets easy and efficient. In fact, this hook is so unique that it was named Best of Show in Terminal Tackle at the 2011 ICAST Show, the biggest and most complete fishing tackle trade show in the nation.

The other thing that happens when you’re fishing with it is that your lure will spin and dance all during your retrieve, and when you’re holding everything perfectly still it’ll move back and forth naturally with the movement of the swivel.

VMC Spinshot Dropshot Hooks
VMC Spinshot Dropshot Hook

These hooks are for real, guys. Give them a try this year and watch your bass fishing improve every single time you rig a drop shot.

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Want to learn more about drop shotting?
Check out these videos:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyCWUDVes10
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jBBYZoTrpg

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The Bass University (BassU.tv) has 11 video about drop shotting by such Pros as Brent Ehrler, John Murray, Seth Feider, Josh Bertrand and the legendary Shaw Grigsby.  Type “dropshot” into the search box to bring up the previews. (Subscribe now to see the full videos AND get a 10-day free trial! Cancel anytime.)

Subscribers, login and type “dropshot” into the search box to bring up the full videos.

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Subtle Topwater Fishing for Postspawn Bass

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Mike Iaconelli It’s the postspawn all around the country and with that comes a topwater bite. The thing is, though, sometimes a noisy, splashy topwater plug runs them off rather than fills the livewell. When that happens I go subtle. That means I reach for a Berkley HAVOC Subwoofer.

It’s a unique bait in that it has a short (4 inches), fat body with a classic cut tail that’ll move a lot of water when you crank it fast. And, you can do that with this lure because of the way the body is designed. It not only has a fat, shad-like look but it also has a kind of keel on the bottom that keeps it upright and forces it to run straight and true no matter how fast you crank it back.

Berkley Havoc 4" Subwoofer
Berkley Havoc 4″ Subwoofer

What’s so important about all of this is that it gives you the option of fishing with a subtle buzz bait, something that you can Texas rig and throw into almost anything without the fear of a hangup.

It’s especially good in clear water when the fish are skittish or when there’s a lot of pressure and the bass have seen every topwater plug ever made three or four times a day for the last couple of weeks.

I Texas rig mine with a VMC Ike Approved Wide Gap Hook. That gives me enough bite to nail and hold the biggest bass but at the same time lets me keep the hook point protected from everything else in the lake or river.

Abu Garcia Ike Power Series Casting Rods
Abu Garcia Ike Power Series Casting Rods
VMC Ike Approved Wide Gap Hook
VMC Ike Approved Wide Gap Hook

 

In heavy cover I like to throw my Subwoofer with a 7 foot, 4 inch medium-heavy Abu Garcia casting rod along with a high speed Abu Garcia reel and 40-pound-test Berkley braid line. That’ll get me through almost anything.

Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier Spinning Rods
Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier Spinning Rods

Under lighter conditions I go with a 7 foot, 6 inch medium action Abu Garcia spinning rod and a Berkley fluorocarbon   leader.

 

There are two ways I fish a Subwoofer in the postspawn:

The first is with a steady retrieve. I hold my rod up high and just reel my bait straight back to the boat. There’s nothing fancy here except that I fish the thickest, nastiest stuff I can find. This rig will rarely hang and if it does it’s no big deal. Plastics and hooks are cheap. This isn’t an expensive hard bait.

The second is with a pop and reel retrieve. The Subwoofer has a cupped nose, unlike a lot of similar baits. You can fish it along the surface with a popping motion — pop it two or three times and then reel in the slack — that’ll oftentimes pull bass in from long distances.

Regardless of how you fish it, however, be alert for missed strikes. When I have that happen to me I lean into the bait with my rod. The Subwoofer will fall slowly and gently with a shimmy that’ll give the bass a chance to turn around and come back for a second attack. That’s often the one that results in a catch.

There are topwater lures around that’ll produce, and they are very different from the ones you’ve been throwing for years. The Subwoofer is one of them.

 

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Want to learn more about postspawn and topwater fishing?  The Bass University has more than ten  1-hour online video about those two topics.  See a preview here.  Type “topwater” or “postspawn” into the search box to bring up the previews. (Subscribe now and get a 10-day free trial!)

Subscribers, login and type “topwater” or “postspawn” into the search box to bring up the full video.

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Click here to see Ike’s latest Going Ike episodes on YouTube.     (Subscribe! See weekly episodes. It’s free!)
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The Venerable Lizard

The Venerable Lizard thumbnail

You don’t hear much about them anymore. I really don’t understand that because they’ve been a staple in my fishing since 1998. It’s true that there are new plastic designs coming out every day, if not every hour. But that doesn’t make any difference to me. I never leave home without a few sacks in my truck or in my boat.

Berkley PowerBait Lizard
Berkley Powerbait Lizard

I’m talking about a simple, old-fashioned 6-inch lizard.

There’s a good reason for that. They catch fish. Some guys think it’s because they look like the real thing. Other guys say they look like something alive no matter if the bass has ever seen a lizard. I don’t care about the why. All I care about is that they do it.

My choice is a Berkley Powerbait Lizard. It’s a basic, 6-inch lizard with four legs and a tail — each of which has a curl to them for subtle action. That’s important. I don’t want my lizard to have a lot of action but I do want it to have some. As far as I’m concerned the Berkley version is as close as you’ll ever get to perfect.

Here’s how I fish them.

The spawn

VMC Ike Approved Worm Hook
VMC Ike Approved Worm Hook, 3/0

Most of the time I rig them Texas style with a light weight — something in the 1/8 ounce to1/4 ounce is about right. I peg the sinker when I’m fishing in cover but I allow it to slip up and down the line when things are a little more open.

I like a 3/0 VMC offset worm hook. It fits the body about right and it’s plenty big enough to handle the bigger bass I’m expecting to catch.

Natural colors seem to work best when I’m fishing around the spawn. If I’m actually fishing in a bed for a bedding female I go with white. It’s easy to see so I can see what it’s doing, and I can see how the bass is reacting to it.

The post spawn.  This is Carolina rig time. I believe the shape and the action of a lizard is perfect for dragging it around open or semi-open territory.  I set my rig up with a 1/2-ounce or 3/4-ounce barrel weight from VMC. I use braid for my main line

Barrel Weight
Barrel Weight

with a 12 to 24 inch fluorocarbon leader. All my lines are made by Berkley. I arm my lizard with the same exact hook I use for my Texas rig during the spawn.

My Carolina rigged lizard is always set up so that the flat belly is down. It looks more natural that way and it glides better that way.

 

 

 

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Want to do a deep-dive into rigging and fishing with soft plastics?  The Bass University has a 1-hour online video with legendary bass angler Gary Klein talking about rigging and fishing with worms, lizards, craws, tubes, etc.  See a preview here.  (Subscribe now and get a 10-day free trial.)   Subscribers, login and type “lizard” into the search box.

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Click here to see Ike’s latest Going Ike episodes on YouTube.     (Subscription! See weekly episodes. It’s free!)
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Monofilament Line Still Has Its Place in Bass Fishing

Monofilament Line Still Has Its Place in Bass Fishing thumbnail

We don’t hear much about monofilament line anymore. That’s understandable in some ways, I suppose. Fluorocarbon and the new braids are taking over. However, the real story is much more complicated. Monofilament still has a place in serious bass fishing, even if it’s a somewhat limited one.

The reason it still has a place in our sport is because it has some qualities that, when put together, no other line can duplicate. For openers, it’s buoyant. It floats. Another thing is that it has stretch. Sometimes that’s a real advantage. And last, but not least, it has low memory when compared to fluorocarbon.

We’ll talk about when these qualities matter in just a second.

In the past when we talked about quality monofilament we were pretty much talking about Berkley Trilene XL and XT. But now any serious discussion about monofilament line must include Berkley Trilene Sensation Professional Grade.

Berkley Trilene Sensation Professional Grade
Berkley Trilene Sensation Professional Grade

It’s the real thing. It’s strong, has excellent knot strength and has a very low memory. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you buy a spool. You’ll see immediately what I’m talking about.

I still use monofilament in a number of situations. Three of them are common with all anglers…

Topwater presentations

We want our topwater plugs to stay on top. The easiest way to do that is to fish them with a line that floats. Monofilament does that. Even when I’m using braid on top I mostly tie a monofilament leader to it.

Fishing over some types of cover and structure

There are times when we don’t want our plugs to reach their maximum depth. Sometimes, like when you’re fishing over brush or weeds, we want them to stay high. Monofilament will help with that.

Certain cranking situations

I’m talking primarily about square bill crankbaits, lipless crankbaits and wake baits. These baits all need to bounce off of cover and structure with sharp, erratic movements. Monofilament, with its stretch and its floating properties, is the best line to do that under real fishing conditions.

Remember something: We caught thousands and thousands of bass with monofilament lines back in the day. Is there any reason to believe we can’t keep doing the same thing?

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For more information about fishing lines, view these:
Mike Iaconelli tells the difference between co-polymer and monofilament lines   
Mike Iaconelli Talks About Line in Clear Water

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Click here to see Ike’s latest Going Ike episodes on YouTube.     (Subscription! See weekly episodes. It’s free.)
Like Ike on Facebook,  and follow him on Instagram  and   Twitter to see weekly Vlog for Going Ike episode, along with fishing and fun content.
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Swinging jigs

Swinging jigs thumbnail
Mike Iaconelli

The swinging jig — made popular by Bassmaster Elite Pro Tommy Biffle — is a serious fish catcher. My guess is that’s because it’s a darn near perfect imitation of a baitfish rooting on the bottom. Every angler should have a handful of them in his or her tackle box.

There are dozens of different makes and models out there. Some have traditional round heads and some have football heads. Each has its place. But I think a head that’s somewhere in the middle is the best all-around option. That’s what I want, anyway.

VMC Swinging Rugby Head
VMC Swinging Rugby Head

That was the idea behind our VMC Swinging Rugby Head. Our head design will work under a wide variety of conditions and bottom composition, and our recessed line tie protects your knot when you’re fishing in tough conditions.

Beyond that we offer it in three colors, five weights and two different hook options—one an offset worm style and the other has a straight shank with a bait keeper.

No matter how good the VMC Swinging Rugby Head is, however, it won’t catch them if it isn’t fished properly. Here are four things that I’ve learned about it…

You don’t need a lot of action

Ike's Devil Spear
Berkley Havoc – Ike’s Devil Spear

This bait has plenty of built in action. You don’t need plastic trailers with curly tails, a dozen feet or two dozen arms and pinchers. I fish mine about 90 percent of the time with a Berkley HAVOC Devil Spear. Its gentle ripple is action enough.

Fish it fast.  This is not a slow, finesse lure. Fish it fast and make sure it bounces off the bottom. Slow down only if it starts to lift up off the bottom. Think crash and burn with this baby.

Go heavy.  A swinging jig needs to be on the bottom, like I just said. Therefore you should always go as heavy as possible depending upon the water depth. If it starts to lift up off the bottom, let it fall back down. This bait is not designed to swim in open water.

Concentrate on hard bottoms.  This lure works best when it’s bouncing off rock, sand and gravel. Concentrate your efforts in those type areas.

Swinging jigs have a place in every angler’s arsenal. Make sure they’re in yours.

 

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Let’s walk-the-dog

Let’s walk-the-dog thumbnail

Many anglers think of topwater presentations as something of a fun deal. They really don’t think of them as a primary pattern or something that can be used on a regular basis. That thinking limits their ability to put bass in the boat because a skillful topwater angler can often out fish other anglers two-to-one. That’s especially true if he or she chooses the right lure and presents it properly.

The best lure and the best presentation — at least for covering water and catching bigger fish — is a hard stickbait gliding back and forth across the water. We all know that presentation as walking-the-dog.

Rapala Skitter V
Rapala Skitter V

There are plenty of hard stickbaits around. Probably the best known is a Zara Spook. They’ll catch fish, of that there is no doubt. But for my money the all-time best is a Rapala Skitter V. It’s 4 inches long and weighs 1/2 ounce. That’s just what you need for most bass fishing.  Just as important, though, is that it has a kind of keel on the bottom that helps it glide from right to left and from left to right.

If you want to make that glide happen, you need to work your rod correctly. Start with the rod at the two position and bring it down to the four or five position. Do this with a sharp, quick snap on a reasonably tight line. As soon as your rod tip is down you should bring it back up on a semi-slack line. Then, before you snap it down again; take up all the slack. Develop a cadence. That’ll make all the difference in the world.The process is a little hard to describe in writing. I’d suggest you go to YouTube and watch some videos before you start your on-the-water practice.

Abu Garcia "Ike" Delay Series Casting Rods
Abu Garcia “Ike” Delay Series Casting Rods

Walking-the-dog correctly requires the right equipment. Start with a fairly soft rod that has a parabolic bend, and make sure it’s no longer than 7 feet and has a short butt for a handle. I have one that’s designed just for this technique. It’s the Abu Garcia 6 foot, 4 inch short butt Delay Series rod.

Abu Garcia REVO Premier Generation 3 Casting Reel
Abu Garcia REVO Premier Generation 3 Casting Reel

I use an Abu Garcia 7:1 reel. That’s fast enough to keep my line coming in and plenty strong enough to handle big bass. Most of the time I spool it with 40-pound-test Berkley Trilene Professional Grade Braid and I usually tie a short monofilament leader on to give me a little more shock protection.

Learn to walk-the-dog this year if you don’t already know how. It’ll make a big difference in your catch.

Giant Spinnerbaits

Giant Spinnerbaits thumbnail

I’ve written about spinnerbaits in the past. They’re one of several older, super good lures that have fallen out of favor because other baits have come along that are newer and more popular. That’s too bad because they serve a serious purpose.

I never leave the dock without a handful of them in my boat, and within that handful will almost always be a few giants.

Before we get too far into this thing, though, we need to define giant. I’m talking about something in the No. 5,6,7 or even No. 8 range. I want lots and lots of flash and a serious amount of thump when I wind it back to the boat.

What I don’t mean by giant is heavy. Most of the time I’m throwing a 1/2-ounce or a 3/4-ounce head. Almost never do I go above a full ounce. This isn’t about weight. It’s about creating a huge profile when the bass sees my lure.

Molix Venator with Willow and Colorado Blades

My choice of spinnerbaits is always a Molix Venator, at least when I’m going giant.  They’re well built, reasonably priced and can be modified quickly. The modification thing is really important. You only need four or five bodies and a box of blades to make dozens of different looking lures. I usually put a big willow leaf blade behind and a smaller Colorado up front.

Here’s when and why I throw giant spinnerbaits…

When I’m looking for a big bite

It’s no secret that big baits attract big bass. I know nearly every angler can tell a story about a big bass that bit a tiny lure. Most of them will be true. Nevertheless, if you want to catch big bass, I suggest you throw big baits.

When I’m fishing dirty water

Colorado Blade

Bass are primarily sight feeders but their lateral line is important, too. The bright flash from a huge blade and the hard thump that accompanies that flash makes it much easier for the bass to find your lure and attack it.

Hint: Sometimes replacing a big willow leaf blade with a big Colorado helps when the water’s really nasty.

When I’m looking for a really big smallmouth

Don’t believe all the nonsense you hear about smallmouth being partial to small forage and small lures. It isn’t true, at least not for the ones in the 5 and 6 pound class. They’ll grab something big before they even look towards something small. Most of the time, though, I downsize my big blade to a No 5 when I’m hunting big smallies.

Another thing to keep in mind about big smallmouth is that they are partial to shock colors. I often throw pink, orange and almost any hue of fluorescent. If you don’t believe me, give them a try.

Fish giant spinnerbaits, especially if you’re looking for giant bass.

 

 

 

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