Regular maintenance will keep your rig looking like new
If there is one thing I hate worse than seeing a nice bass boat with a filthy finish, it’s seeing one with dirty carpet. I like to keep my stuff clean, but not just because it looks good. A bass boat is a huge investment, and the more you can do to protect that investment the better the returns if you ever decide to sell or trade it.
Busting those winter-fishing myths
Not surprisingly, bass fishing has its own set of myths: Bass don’t eat topwaters when it’s sunny, big fish only eat big lures and so on. Winter fishing seems to take myths to a whole new level. Maybe the long hours in freezing cold numbs the mind as much as it does the hands, but one could write an article about how many myths there are regarding this chilly time of year – and whether or not they’re true.
FLW Tour pros weigh in optimal drag settings, the best hooks for braided line and how to decipher when grass mats are too thick for punching
If I use heavy-gauge hooks for flipping grass with braided line, why not use the same gauge hooks for fishing all soft plastics?
FLW Tour pros sound off on the effectiveness of rattling baits
Though some anglers contend that rattling baits don’t necessarily attract strikes, and might even deter them, the preponderance of evidence favors the rattle crowd. Virtually every hard lure made nowadays – crankbaits, jerkbaits, stick baits and so forth – can be had in rattling and silent versions.
Trebel hooks are not all created equal so here's what you need to know
As a general rule, the treble hooks on the lures of most tournament pros aren’t original equipment. Less-expensive stock trebles are usually replaced with ultra-sharp premium hooks of the angler’s choice.
Try this reaction tactic to fool dock-dwelling bass this fall
Well-honed casting skills are required to send a crankbait deep into the reaches of a dock. It can’t be skipped on the surface easily, but even an average caster can make a crankbait go where dock bass are likely to be if he employs a trick that Walmart FLW Tour pros Bryan Thrift and Wesley Strader call “driving,” or “steering.”
Curtis Niedermier; Illustrations by Ron Finger
Cool new products for the modern fisherman
The following products were originally featured in the 2013 August/September issue of Bass Fishing magazine.
When lake managers draw down reservoirs, fish behavior changes, and savvy anglers alter their strategies accordingly
As summer winds down, however, things can change quickly on a drawdown lake – a reservoir where lake managers reduce the water level in late summer and early fall. Come practice for the EverStart showdown, Dan Morehead’s fish were nowhere to be found. In fact, despite the amazing pre-practice, Morehead didn’t catch a fish during the first day and a half of practice. The dropping lake and progressing season had caused everything to change.
Jeff Samsel; Illustrations by Ron Finger
Four top Walmart FLW Tour pros weigh in on some of tournament fishing’s toughest on-the-water decisions
Tournament fishing isn’t just about catching fish. It’s about making sound decisions based on experience and applying the proper strategies to make good things happen when they count the most. Of course, sometimes it’s just about trusting your instincts.
Accuracy, repeatability are required to scrape bass from the abyss
Anyone who follows big-league bass fishing knows pro David Fritts is legendary for his ability to sniff out and catch bass on a crankbait. True, Fritts is handy with other styles of lures. But he is the iceman with a crankbait, particularly when the bass relate to cover or structure in deep water.
Matt Williams; Illustrations by Mike Mathison
How to outfit a jig for any situation
A jig trailer seems simple enough: a piece of molded soft plastic that dangles from a jig’s hook to add bulk, enhance action, temper the fall and suggest a crawfish or other food item. Those basic functions, though, are somewhat divergent and sometimes work against each other.
While there is more than one way to get to a fat bass that is buried up in the jungle, few methods are more effective than flipping or punching. Both are short-range techniques built around a hard-core fishing system that includes thick line and a stout rod, and any number of lures and rigs designed to slip in and out of thick cover with the skill of a grass snake.
Eventually, your rod collection will grow to the point where it’s cost-effective for you to acquire the tools and learn the skills to make slightly advanced repairs, such as replacing a broken line guide. The task does require some special equipment, but if it keeps your favorite rod in the game without having to wait a couple of weeks for a local shop to fix it, the cost is worth the investment. And a few tools still cost less than replacing one of today’s specialized high-end rods. You might also consider going together with a fishing buddy to split the cost.
How two of the best break down large expanses of vegetation
Lakes filled with matted grass produce some of the best bass fishing in the country, but can leave even professional anglers feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. If you understand why the bass use the grass, as well as the prime locations to begin your search, in what situations each species of grass is favorable to bass habitat and how to break down these large grass mats, you’ll unlock the best bass fishing of the summer.
Walker Smith (photo illustrations by Ron Finger)
Bulge the surface or slow-roll the depths with bass fishing’s classic bladed bait
What bass lure is more versatile than the spinnerbait? Not only will it work in water that is clear, stained or muddy, a spinnerbait will catch bass that are holding in shallow water or deep around all sorts of structure and cover such as grass beds, brush, laydowns, rocks, ledges, docks and stumps. Adding to the versatility of the trusty lure, it can be adapted to situations when the fish want something moving quickly, slowly or at a retrieve speed somewhere in between.
Striking it rich in untapped wetlands
Call it a bayou, bog or pond. Call it a marsh, swamp or slough. No matter what you call it, there are thousands of acres of backwater wetlands connected to major lakes, rivers and reservoirs that hold shallow-water bass year-round.
How two Walmart FLW Tour pros prepare for intermittent current flow
Early in his career as a tournament angler, Evinrude pro Dan Morehead became convinced he’d found the winning spot for an upcoming weekend event on Kentucky Lake. His premonition proved to be correct, as his ledge eventually produced 31 pounds of hungry largemouths. But it didn’t happen the way he’d expected.
Mark Rose suggests fish location based on current
Predicting bass location on a ledge based on current is not a sure-fire science. Actually, it’s completely unpredictable most of the time. There are just too many variables.
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.
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.
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.
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
Once one of the hottest baits, the tube has since been replaced in the minds of many anglers by sleeker, sexier models. But two top tour pros say this classic never lost its luster.
Each year, dozens of new soft-plastic lures hit the market, touting unique profiles and fish-catching features. A few become tackle box mainstays, while most just drift off into the past without leaving a big footprint in bass fishing.
How swimbaits in the cold months can boat you a limit … or the biggest fish of your life
They’re both transplants, and they both hold a secret for winter fishing. National Guard pro Justin Lucas and EverStart Series pro Matt Peters of southernswimbait.com both reside in the southeastern U.S. (Alabama and Arkansas, respectively). They didn’t always, though. At one point in time each called California home.
In the process of this transition, FLW Walleye Fishing will cease publication following the November/December 2012 issue, but that doesn’t mean we want to lose you as a reader.