The buzz on fall swimbaits
Now that we’ve started getting more rain in areas where we had drought last summer, lakes are coming up again and bass are moving back to the banks – or at least toward the shorelines. They’re scattered out and looking for shad, which makes this a great time of year to fish soft-plastic buzzbaits and cover some water.
Leader length - not too short, not too long
One thing I’ve noticed when I use braid with a fluorocarbon leader on my spinning outfit is that the braid tends to wrap around the first guide on the cast if the leader is too long. I’ve found that the best way to keep the braid from wrapping the guide is to make sure that the leader connector knot is never on the reel spool.
Know when to fold ’em
Say you’re on a really good spot and the fish are biting everything you’re throwing at them. You’ve got a limit of 3-pounders and you’re hoping for a good kicker or two to give you a boost at weigh-in. But if you don’t get a big fish within the first few you catch, chances are you’re not going to.
Baitfish schools ring dinner bell for fall bass
As soon as the weather and the water temperature begin to cool off, the fish really start keying on schools of baitfish rather than bream or crawfish.
Think pink in the fall
I’ve heard a lot of pros say that lure color doesn’t really matter, but after 30 years of experimentation with different colors, I’ve proved to myself that it makes a big difference.
The smell of fishing success
The main purpose of scented baits is to attract more strikes, and to varying degrees they do their job. I’ve found that sometimes a scented bait will close the deal with bass when they’re not really in the mood to feed.
Almost time to head for the mats
Going against the grain for late-summer bass
Hot summer, fish deep – that’s the standard game plan for most bass fishermen, but every once in a while somebody proves that it doesn’t always work that way. Jacob Wheeler won the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier by fishing in 2 feet of water or so. In any lake, there’s always a large population of bass that live super-shallow all year.
Electrician’s tape for emergency repairs
Make sure you carry some electrician’s tape with you when you go fishing and keep it handy. If you knock the transducer off the bottom of your trolling motor on a stump or rock, you can always tape it back on with the tape and go back to fishing.
Working the flats with a flutter spoon
When fish are really spread out, maybe because it’s a cloudy day or it’s in the fall and they’re really feeding and roaming around a lot following the bait, I like to fish a Strike King Sexy Spoon. With its vibration and flash, and the fact that you can cast it a mile, it’s a good lure for covering a lot of water.
Sunglasses for all occasions
Good sunglasses are valuable fishing tools. In low light they can help you spot obstacles under the water and at the surface when you’re running down the lake; and in bright sunlight they can help you see cover or fish. The Typhoon Mariner is my choice because it fits my face better and doesn’t let in much ambient light.
A five-step game plan to score big in after-dark tournaments
It’s summertime, which means bass anglers with a taste for competition are probably tossing their weekly allowance – and their pride – into the kitty at jackpot tournaments down at the local res. What is it about fishing for gas money and bragging rights that makes summer night tournaments such an anticipated tradition?
A subtle approach for summer bass
Bass generally aren’t as aggressive and don’t tend to move around as much in the hottest part of summer. They’re often suspended or holding in brush near the bottom, but a subtle approach with a drop-shot rig can be effective. Keep it simple. For the leader, I always use fluorocarbon in 6- to 10-pound-test. The size and length of the leader depend on the clarity of the water and where the fish are likely to be holding.
Keep a marker buoy handy
Marine electronics are so good now that it seems like they’ll do almost everything but catch fish for you. Still, I never go fishing without one or two of those orange plastic marker buoys somewhere in my Ranger. When I mark a place I want to fish, I’ll toss out a marker buoy right on top of it.
Catching schooling fish early
Pickwick Lake is one of my favorites for schooling bass in the summer and it’s pretty typical as far as how the fishing is likely to line up on any given day. Usually I’ll begin fishing on a break from 5- to 10-feet deep over a hump or river ledge.
The basics of fishing summer ledges
I really enjoy fishing deep ledges in the summer. If you get on the right spot, you can catch a limit in a hurry. Not to oversimplify, but I have a couple of approaches that usually work for me. If there’s current, I’ll go with a jig or a crankbait. Usually, that’s all it takes and the current makes the fish active.
Wiggling or wobbling crankbaits?
I don’t know why it is exactly, but I’ve proved to my satisfaction that fish will very definitely change preferences as far as the action of a crankbait goes. For some reason, it seems that the colder the water, the tighter the wobble of the crankbait needs to be to draw strikes.
When braid is best
I don’t use braided line a whole lot because most of the time fluorocarbon fits my fishing style and approach. Still, there are times when braid works better than anything, such as when you’re fishing grass – milfoil, hydrilla, coontail or whatever.
Keep those high-dollar rods under wraps
The new high-modulus specialty rods available now are very sensitive and really great, but there is a tradeoff.
Rod-bending revelry on the Rio Grande reservoir
Its Spanish name means "friendship" and bass anglers who value that rare mix of quality and quantity will enjoy getting to know Lake Amistad. A largemouth powerhouse that attracts a steady stream of tournament and casual angling interest to its namesake National Recreation Area – the Rio Grande reservoir just 12 miles northwest of Del Rio, Texas – also abounds in subtle scenic beauty, historical treasures and some cross-cultural accents you won't want to miss.
David A. Brown
Good practice strategies can pay off in tournaments
When I’m practicing for an upcoming tournament, there are a couple of important things I take into account. For one, there’s the body of water I’m fishing. Is it a Lake Guntersville, or a Beaver Lake? If I figure it’s going to take stringers of 3- to 5-pounders, as it would on Guntersville, I go through as many fish as I need to until I reach that size range. Then I leave them alone, make note of where they are and what I caught them on, and go find some more like that somewhere else.
Keep your mind free of clutter
A lot of guys underestimate or discount the mental game involved in bass fishing. When you’re fishing in a tournament, or practicing for one, you don’t want any distractions or anything on your mind except figuring out the bass.
Seek out the shadiest docks
One of the best places to fish for postspawn bass is under docks that are near where they spawned. These fish will stick around for a while unless the bottom falls out of the lake. Of course, bass aren’t under every dock. This time of year they favor the ones that are shallow, low to the water, and have dark shade under them. And bass also like the docks that have a lot of bream, because they feed on bluegills until they move out. I don’t fool with the docks that are in deeper water, and whether they have brush under them is no big deal. I just fish the shallow ones and skip jigs or soft plastics under them as far as I can.
An easy way to keep rust at bay
Those toolbox liners that absorb moisture so that tools won’t rust will also keep fish hooks from rusting, which is why I use them in my tackle boxes.
Lining up your lures
When I choose line for fishing soft plastics, light jigs or shaky heads, I don’t worry about whether the fish can see it. My main concern is how the line will make the lure fall in the water.