Fishing knots for all occasions
There are three knots that I use most of the time because they’re simple, quick to tie and dependable. When I’m fishing with monofilament and tying on a topwater lure, buzzbait, soft jerkbait, floating worm or frog, I’ll use the Palomar knot. If I’m fishing braid with a single hook for soft plastics, I’ll snell the hook. I’ll also tie a Palomar with braid or fluorocarbon.
A good starting point when fishing for bass
When you go to a lake you’ve never been to before, and don’t know anything about it, chances are you’re going to be baffled at first as far as knowing where to start.
What do you know about bass?
In more and more lakes now there are good populations of smallmouths and largemouths, or spots and largemouths. In some lakes like Beaver, there’s a pretty fair population of all three. That being the case, a fisherman needs to develop an understanding of the feeding preferences and likely hangouts of the different sorts of bass.
Spawning baitfish create solid opportunities to target bass. Making the most of them begins with understanding the bait’s spawning behavior and whereabouts.
If you’ve ever toted a plate of cupcakes into a room filled with children, set the cupcakes down and watched what happened next, you can imagine what occurs when the forage species of bass spawn. The bass soon figure out that their favorite foods are congregated and captivated, and they show up for the feast.
Dig bottom with a crankbait
Always use a crankbait that will dive deeper than the depth you’re fishing. You always want to be rooting up the bottom. A lot of times that will stir up the fish and get reaction strikes, even when they’re just down there with their bellies on the bottom and not wanting to eat.
New technology offers advantages to put more bass in your boat
When you’re fishing with an old-school bass angler, nothing will sour his face faster than seeing you slip a smartphone out of your pocket to peek at your email. As understandable as that attitude is, no one can rightly deny that today’s phones provide a tremendous amount of useful stuff. Such a device can be as valuable as your graph or a good landing net. In fact, your phone is more like a toolbox than a tool because each app serves a separate function.
What to do when bass are just bumping swimbaits
When I’m not getting good hookups, there are a couple of things I try. For one, I might add a small treble to a belly-weighted hook, or even to the hook where it comes out the top. If the fish are just grabbing at the tail, I might make a short leader of monofilament or braid and connect one end to the main hook and the other to a small treble.
Switch gears and baits for muddy-water bass
It happens to just about everybody in the spring – you’re fishing a fairly shallow run of bank and catching bass on soft-plastics or topwaters. Then a storm front comes through and really muddies up the water you’ve been fishing. The next day, you can’t buy a bite. Most of the time, the fish haven’t left or haven’t stopped eating; they’ve just had to switch gears.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Whenever you’re sight-fishing in shallow water and moving around, you never want to take your eyes off of a potential target if you can help it. The reason is simple: You might lose track of it.
Sunshine is the fisherman’s best friend now
Staying in front of the fish is critical in the early spring. I believe that the first wave of spawning bass is the largest in the lake, and a fisherman needs to be there when they move up.
Bulge shallow crankbaits at the surface for an explosive springtime bite
Just as the best bass pros are multidimensional, sometimes the best lures are too. Take shallow crankbaits for example. Not only can they dive and deflect off cover; many can also be made to wake the surface. Wakebaiting is a technique that lies somewhere between cranking and topwater fishing, but whatever the definition, it excels when other crankbait patterns flicker in effectiveness.
Keying on spring transition banks
It seems that the weather has been more up and down this year than usual, which makes it even harder to get dialed in to where the bass are and what they’re doing. Despite the dramatic weather swings this spring, though, the fish in general are gradually moving up toward their spawning areas.
How to tackle rising and falling water in spring
Sitting outside a small cove on the first morning of practice for the 2009 Walmart FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake, the 3M Scotch Tape and Peltor Brands pro from Dover, Ark., tried to peer to the back of the cove. Had the water been at a normal level, his line of sight would have been clear. Instead, it was blocked by a “logjam” of junk collected between flooded buck brush.
Choosing the proper jerkbait for varying springtime conditions
Take in an early spring tournament on just about any fishery, and you’ll see dozens of anglers jerking, twitching and snapping a bevy of slender minnow-shaped jerkbaits. Yet the same select and relatively small group of anglers usually cashes the bulk of the checks on many lakes during the spring. Somehow, they manage to set themselves apart.
Match buzzbait to the cover you’re fishing
Buzzbaits don’t all run in a straight line. A lot has to do with how the blade is cupped. When fish are taking buzzbaits, it’s important to have one that veers to the right and another that goes in the opposite direction, as well as one that tracks straight.
Rig up with a screw-lock jighead
Pretty much all umbrella rigs are the same, as far as I’m concerned, but the jigheads and swimbaits you use with them aren’t. In my experience I’ve found that screw-lock heads are the best to use rather than the kind where you just worm the swimbait onto it.
Logic suggests that locals should dominate tour-level events, but the stats prove otherwise. So we asked several top pros to explain why, and they revealed that fishing “in the moment” always trumps “fishing memories” on the tournament trail.
How is it then that locals get beat so often? How can anglers who have never laid eyes on a lake come in and win tournaments against guys who have years of experience there? The answer, according to a few of today’s top pros, rests in the ability to “fish the moment;” that is, to tap into the current behavior of bass and not what they were doing last year, last week or even yesterday.
Treat hooks like the specialized tools they are
No matter what type of fishing you like, choosing the best hooks for the technique and keeping the hooks in good shape is very important.
Getting the most out of a spool of braided line
Braided line will last a lot longer if you take it off your reel spools and store it indoors when you’re not going to be using it much. I have my own system for storing braided line.
Secret is out as Minnetonka, Minn., company launches new Scatter Rap line
The company that introduced the Original Floater, Shad Rap and DT Series says its newest line of lures could be its most successful yet. And so far, action is speaking louder than words as all the major industry retailers, including Walmart, have purchased a piece of the action.
When to lighten up on umbrella rig hooks
Umbrella rigs are really effective in the Ozark mountain lakes I routinely fish, especially in late fall through early spring. These lakes typically have standing timber in them and when you snag an umbrella rig you’re often faced with one of two possibilities – either you’re going to lose the whole rig or you’re going to waste a lot of fishing time trying to free it.
Use electronics to figure out bass
Fishing electronics have really come a long way. There was a time when you couldn’t be sure what kind of fish were under your boat. But with the electronics we’ve got now, you can just about see their scales.
Keep time on your side during a tournament
It’s always best to keep up with running times from one place to the next. By the end of the day, no matter where you wind up, you should be able to estimate how long it’s going to take to get back from where you are at quitting time.
Choosing the best spinnerbait blade
I live around deep, clear lakes and I love to slow-roll a spinnerbait in deep cover. That’s how I won the Forrest Wood Cup in 2007. A spinnerbait can be used to catch bass at any depth, in any season, though. Most of the time I use a ¾- or 1-ounce spinnerbait for slow-rolling and it’ll have a No. 5 willow leaf and a small Colorado blade with it as a kicker.
About a week ago, I received the first copies of my new book called, "Walleye Trolling: Tackle, Techniques and Systems Used by North America’s Best Walleye Tournament Pros and Guides," which I co-authored and self-published with FLW magazine contributor and professional walleye guide Ross Robertson.
Yo-yoing a lipless crankbait for prespawners
A lot of fishermen think that using a lipless crankbait in late winter or during the early prespawn is all about chunking and winding, but I’ve had better success yo-yoing one off the bottom.
Giving fish a second chance with an umbrella rig
A lot of people don’t use an umbrella rig in the prespawn, but maybe they should. To me it’s a great follow-up lure to a lipless crankbait or square-bill when you’re fishing shallow flats or gravel banks.
Grass key to southern bass action during colder months
Aquatic weed beds that last through mild winters on bass Meccas like Kentucky Lake, Toledo Bend, Amistad, Okeechobee and tidal waters like the Potomac River offer strategic cover, warmth and feeding opportunities.
David A. Brown
Pro Stephen Johnston reveals that not all bass spawn alike
On a dim morning in early February, pro Stephen Johnston and I set out onto Lake Amistad to see if there was anything the Hemphill, Texas, angler might do to catch a respectable stringer after a sharp cold front sent prespawn fish into a frustrating funk.
David A. Brown
House cleaning for next spring
If you fish all winter like I do, you don’t have to worry about winterizing your boat. Maybe a little maintenance is in order, taking stock of your rods and reels to see how they’re faring. However, getting the lure boxes ready for the next tournament season is a different matter.
Understanding the when, where and why
If you’ve ever picked ice from your rod guides, if you’ve ever pried Vienna sausages from juice that was more solid than liquid, if you’ve ever ignored the warning on a package of hand warmers and put them in creative places for fear you might lose life or limb, then you’ve probably spent a cold day or two in a bass boat.
Multiple looks, multiple tactics keep football-head jigs productive year round
NFL playoffs are just around the corner. But flash forward a few weeks from now and football fans may be feeling a bit of a letdown while sweeping up after those Super Bowl parties. However, unlike their gridiron counterparts, bass anglers know that their football – specifically, the football head jig – will remain a relevant part of their lives year-round.
David A. Brown
Breaking the confidence barrier
Mastering a new technique or pattern isn’t an easy thing, but boy, it sure makes a world of difference in your confidence level. In 2012 I finally made the big move on fishing deep, finesse-style techniques.
Tournament scouting with lake maps
I’ve been enjoying crappie fishing and deer hunting lately, but in the back of my mind I’m also starting to think about the next tournament season. Every tournament is different, but there are things you can expect to happen on a lake at a certain time of the year. So I like to get out my lake maps now and try to figure out what the fish are likely to be doing when the tournament gets going and anticipate where I need to look for them.
Store hooks where the air can’t reach them
Over the years I’ve settled on my favorite hooks. I use a round-bend Gamakatsu worm hook in various sizes for soft-plastics. For hard baits I like the Daiichi Death Trap round-bend trebles. The only other hooks I use on occasion are Roboworm rebarb hooks.
Less action will get you more jig bites
In the prime fishing months when bass are in a chasing mood, all sorts of lures, patterns and presentations might produce. When the water temperature gets below 50 degrees, though, it’s time to slow down and simplify. In most lakes the fish get lethargic and don’t move around much.
Three patterns for winter bass in highland lakes
Bass aren’t as aggressive in the winter, but that doesn’t mean they don’t eat and that you can’t catch them. For me, it’s a matter of settling on a few lures and following a pretty basic game plan.
The finer points of winter spoon fishing
Fishing with jigging spoons is one of the most productive winter patterns, especially when bass are holding in deep brush and on ledges.
Cool weather drives heavy bass feeding, creates stellar angling opportunities
For planning purposes, a handful of FLW competitors helped share a rundown of their fall favorites in an effort to help anglers navigate this tricky season.
David A. Brown
Washing a jig in a winter river
I grew up fishing the Coosa River of Alabama for big spotted bass and my favorite time to fish there is from late October through March.
Take care of your tackle
If you live in an area of the country where your fishing pretty much shuts down in late fall, it’s a good idea to give your rods and reels a maintenance going-over now so they’ll be ready to fish next spring.
Trigger X Flutter Worm fits bill as Senko alternative
I’ll admit it; I’m a Senko aficionado. My friends, family and even co-workers chide me for how often I throw Yamamoto’s famous soft-plastic stickbait. Guess what? I don’t care. Mock me all you want, but if you’re a serious bass fisherman, you appreciate the efficacy of the Senko. It’s simple, and in the spring, it’s nearly impossible to beat.
Focus, but keep fishing fun
How many times have you practiced for a tournament and did well, but then, in the tournament, you bombed or didn’t catch nearly as many fish as you figured you would?
Docks are great fall bass hangouts
Now that the weather is transitioning into fall, shad are moving out of the open water and into coves – especially coves with creeks. I like to fish docks this time of year because bass will gang up under them and pick off bigger shad and other prey fish.
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.
You’d expect 2006 Forrest Wood Cup champion and National Guard pro Brent Ehrler to unleash a bag of Western swimbait tricks on unsuspecting Southeastern bass occasionally, considering his California pedigree. But when it comes to heavy soft-plastic swimbaits, those rigged with internal lead weights, he’d be the first to admit that he learned a lot of what he knows about them after he came East.
Painter’s Tape is a good rod bundler
I always have a bundle of spare rods with me in case I break one or two during a tournament. I’ve found that the best way to keep them from getting beat up and banged around is to use some 3M Painter’s Tape to bind them together
Prespawn bass fishing is widely known as a “zero-or-hero” season for many anglers. While it might be relatively simple to locate fish, it’s not always easy to make them eat. Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark., lets us in on the prespawn crankbait arsenal he uses to pry open the lips of tricky prespawn bass.
Upsize trebles for surer hooksets
When I’m fishing crankbaits and the fish seem to be just slapping at the lure and missing the hooks, I’ll upsize the back treble from, say, a No. 6 to a No. 4. A lot of times fish are sluggish in the spring and will just nip at a lure or barely get hooked on the front treble.
Take plenty of rods, reels along
In spring, it’s always a good idea to plan on covering water and throwing a lot of different lures until you find the two or three baits that work better than others.
Don’t wait too long to respool
I fish docks and shoreline cover a lot when I’m practicing for a tournament. On the last day of practice I’ll put on fresh line because the old stuff has gotten nicked and abraded. But I don’t wait until the night before the tournament starts to change the line.
Get to know a lake before you fish it
A lot of fishermen make the mistake of applying a good technique or pattern that works on their home lake to every lake. It’s a waste of time in most cases.
Take the lures you’re likely to need
A fisherman should work out the tackle management system that makes sense to him. By this time of year, I’ve gone through my boat and replenished everything I think I might need anywhere the tournament trail goes.
Maximizing your brainpower
Successful fishing is a complex process requiring mastery over your intellect, emotions, and behavior. To consistently catch fish you have to be able to think clearly, control your emotions, and act efficiently, displaying both urgency and care, depending on the issues at hand.
Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish
Lighten up on creature baits
Last year I won six tournament checks with a Gene Larew Biffle Bug that I fished in shallow cover. I really like that bait because every little leg and tail on it seems to be moving all the time when it’s in the water – whether you’re dragging it, hopping it or just letting it sit still.
Slow is the way to go for spring jerkbait fishing
In early spring when the water is still cold – say, in the mid to high 40s – I never want my jerkbait floating on top. It needs to be suspending or even sinking a little.
Adding a treble hook to a swimbait
Sometimes fish will hit at a swimbait as it goes by, but not get the hook inside their mouths because of the angle of their approach. When that happens consistently, I’ll add a size 2 treble hook to the bait and let it dangle under the belly as a stinger hook.
It was a question posed by a man whose familiarity with the White River country compelled him to ask it: Why can’t minimum flowage be maintained in the river below Bull Shoals Dam?
Spring fishing is as easy as one, two, three
During much of the year, bass fishermen have many choices to make when it comes to where to fish and which lures to use. In spring, when the weather is warmer and bass are spawning or preparing to spawn, the choices are fewer. We know that most of the fish will be in shallow water and that’s where we need to look for them.
Sunglasses: When fit is more important than fashion
Good fishing glasses are always important, but they are especially useful in early spring when bass are bedding or cruising the shallows. Distortion-free, polarized glasses will let you see fish, but they also will help remove any doubt that what you’re seeing in the water is really is a fish.
Fishing frogs fast
Buzzing a frog has been a great springtime technique for me, especially when the weather is just starting to get consistently warm and that first batch of spawners moves up into super-shallow water.
When the bite turns tough, turn to your tried-and-true baits
When daylight’s fading, or tournament time’s expiring, fishermen desperate for a bite often fall back to a handful of tried-and-true baits in which their confidence rests. It may be some old-time favorites or a lake-specific selection. In any case, the proverbial “panic box” can be the make-it-or-break-it element when anglers struggle.
David A. Brown
Drop-shotting in the dead of winter
Winter is one of my favorite times to drop-shot because the fish tend to stack up in certain places and stay there. Of course, it’s very critical that you pinpoint the locations where fish are holding. When I get to a deep, clear lake, the first places I look are rocky points, bluffs or rocky shorelines because rocks hold a little extra heat even when the water’s cold, and forage such as crawfish also are likely to be in them.
Although they hail from opposite sides of the country, National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of California and Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of North Carolina are both proficient with using jerkbaits in cold climates. Their styles differ, but each has developed tried-and-true wintertime techniques.
A couple Alabama rig casting tricks
A lot of people are still in the experimental stage with the Alabama rig, including me. There have been all kinds of variations that have come out since the original one, and I’ve tried a good many of them.
Follow the clues to big bass
It won’t be long before bass start moving toward the shallows and staging for the spawn. This is the time of the year when the most big bass are available to an angler because there are only a relatively few places where they will spawn. Find these places and you might catch the fish of a lifetime.
Learn to use wind to your advantage and you’ll never dread it again
Here’s a riddle: What do we curse in the spring and fall but wish for in the summer? Answer: wind.
Making a pitch for practice
One of the best ways to spend your spare time in the bass-fishing offseason is to learn how to pitch a lure or cast underhand or sidearm underhand.
Lighten up your skipping load
I prefer spinning tackle for skipping lures under a dock because I can get even a lightweight worm or a Zoom Fluke a long way up under there.
Tips and tactics to improve efficiency and effectiveness of underwater rigging
When bass play hard to get – either with deep inhabitance or bad attitudes – the drop-shot proves its merit as a bona fide tough-bite negotiator. This effective finesse tactic consistently appeals to green and brown fish coast-to-coast, but a handful of tips for tweaking your rig and perfecting your presentation will make a significant difference in your productivity.
David A. Brown
Find a flat with isolated cover
At the end of the year, I like to reflect back on my tournament season and consider what worked for me. One thing I’ve noticed is that fishing flats produced some good catches for me in 2011.
Advice, tackle for rigging soft jerkbaits for any situation
Soft-plastic jerkbaits are old reliables of the fishing world, with roots that trace back to the days of the Lunker City Slug-Go. Nowadays, every soft-plastic manufacturer has a jerkbait. Small wonder; it’s easy to use and effective. You can still fish it the simplest way, which is weightless on a worm hook. Or you can experiment with weighting systems and new hooks designed to amp up performance. Here are some terminal tackle and rigging options to consider ...
A complete guide to the latest, greatest, biggest, baddest, ultimate, coolest, most realistic, tournament-proven, lab-tested, longest-lasting, fish-catchingest new stuff for 2012
A complete guide to the latest, greatest, biggest, baddest, ultimate, coolest, most realistic, tournament-proven, lab-tested, longest-lasting, fish-catchingest new stuff for 2012
Snell knot improves soft-plastic hookups
Nowadays when I’m flipping soft-plastics in heavy grass, I use a little trick that Peter Thliveros showed me. I tie the hook to my braided line with a snell knot. It doesn’t slip at all, and it changes the way your hook behaves when you set the hook on a fish. Because the line passes through the eye the way it does, the point goes up into the roof of a fish’s mouth for a more solid set. Guys like JT Kenney and Terry Scroggins are also doing this when they fish heavy cover. It’s improved my catch rate from about 50 percent to 90 percent.
Tease ’em into biting
If you’re using a suspending jerkbait, which is a great lure this time of year, you’ll notice that a lot of bass will just follow your bait without hitting it. Sometimes I’ll get 30 follows to every five bass I catch.