Bass Fishing 101: Tools of the Trade Part 2
Bass Fishing 101: Tools of the Trade Part 2 Tackle, Boats, Accessories, Lures and Baits (All About Plastics, Spinners, Crank and Others- Topwater and Specialty Lures).
Whether you are fishing from the banks, boat or float tube, most would suggest you use a six to six and a half foot (1.8 -2m) medium, heavy-pushbutton, spinning or bait-casting rod and reel combination, with strong line (10- pound).
If you are fishing in weeds, heavy cover, thick, slop, grassy wetlands, swamps, etc. a heavier line (braided), will serve you better/best. Hook sizes typically recommended around a # 4 live-bait hook, sharpened, and turned up slightly (say around 10%), this is done to ensure that the fish stayed “hooked” and gives you a ‘fighting’ chance to reel it in and land it successfully.
A weed-less, # 5 hook can also serve you well in these conditions. Large-mouth bass can be caught at any depth, using live baits, throughout most of the year (even ice fishing)! Sharp hooks are key.
Weights and sinkers are another element you must consider, especially in dark, cloudy waters and or when fishing deep water specifically. There are also specialty sinkers, with rattles these days to entice the fish even more. They are very sensitive to sounds, noise and vibrations in the water – so anything you can do to create that allure, tease and temptation is great to bear in
mind. Do everything you can to trigger their feeding response and ensure a strike/bite!
Also, remember, fish are a lot like us – on hot, humid days, they look for shelter, food and comfort. These are their handouts and feeding ground (no different than us, wanting to sit under an umbrella, or in front of the TV, in an air-conditioned environment, trying to stay cool and enjoy our snack-foods!).
Knowing and considering these habits will help you catch more fish. Look for the lily pads, think cover, giving them shade from the sun. Find the right depth, structure and hide-away (they normally look for cover, like any other predator) and their lightning-fast speed enabled them to cover water/ground quickly and really strike/attack/hit their “prey”.
Weedy, shallow bays, hard-bottom flats, rocks, trees and or other structures, creeks, channels, deeper waters, drops, bluffs and more can all be part of their moving patterns and habitat, where they look for food. They also like being close to access points to deeper water.
More later their preferred spots and how to optimize these patterns.
Examples of luring techniques and how the right equipment can help you: Surface, Top-water and or Buzz baits: Acting almost like a spinner bait, but with a flat blade that enables it to surface with speed, this is a popular choice for many a bass enthusiast..
It attracts the attention of the bass, by creating a disturbance along the surface like a minnow, triggering their basic feeding instincts and hunter impulse to strike. Rewarding you with a handsome catch!
Carolina Rig: this can easily be described as simply a variation of the standard, so-called ‘Texas Rig’ (see below), great for use with plastic worms or other soft bait. Most expert bass anglers suggest using a heavier weight like 1/2 -1oz or more. Slide the weight onto the line, follow with three plastic beads, a barrel swivel, and a leader line (somewhat smaller than the main
What this allows the bass angler to do is to get the bait to ‘drop down’ to the floor with speed and is especially recommended for fishing deep waters. The movement of the leader allows the bait to swim and rise above the bottom and fall slowly down. For most beginners this is easy to do and practice and is very versatile to get your routine rigging and tackle skills to improve.
Crank bait: mostly refers to lures, which are usually made from a variety of materials, including unbreakable plastic or wood. With an added feature of a diving lip on the front (simulating effectively the movements of natural prey, wobbling, diving and swimming actions), entices the bass to strike.
The rule of thumb, normally is that the larger the lip, the deeper it can dive. Enhancements like rattles are also good for certain conditions.
Jerk baits: A seasoned favorite amongst bass anglers, for topwater, as well as suspended bass fishing. longer minnow-shaped plugs, available in lots of different sizes and colors. As a surface, top-water bait with a slight twitch-and-stop type of retrieve, or even as a more slow-and-steady retrieves underwater.
Another option is to use suspending jerk baits that typically dive deeper, jerking it, almost teasing and tempting the bass to come up and bite right at it.
Jigs: Some have described these trusted tackle as ‘lead head and hook with dressing’. Their ‘added’ features could take the shape of rubber or plastic skirts, soft plastic baits for bodies, instead of skirts. Most bass experts combine them with a frog, or a plastic Bait as a “follower’ (plastic worm, crawfish).
Lipless Crank bait: mostly referring to sinking-type lures, made from plastic, sometimes with many rattles inside for noise, vibrations and causing disturbances underwater.
Poppers: Top water lures that carry long-range punches. Retrieve with these kinds of lures are fast, jerky or move in one spot for a duration of time. Can be quite effective if you trying to figure out ‘where the fish are’.
Soft Jerk bait: these can be used to great effect in the same manner as a regular jerk bait, but can be dropped to the bottom quite successfully as well to tease out our deep-water predator, swimming around for food and feast.
Spinner baits: another simulator of movement and prey on the go. It is very similar to a jig, but with a blade that runs above the hook, and spins to imitate a bass favorite as well: fish.
Texas Rig: this is considered and named specifically for standard rigging with a plastic worm. Use a sliding weight, usually bullet shaped, and a hook sufficient for the size worm you have chosen.
Sharpen the hook and stick the point of the hook directly into the worm head, bring it out the side about 1/8 – 3/16″ below the entry, thread it again. Rotate the hook around so the point is facing the worm’s body.
Lay it over the side to see where it should enter in order to hang straight. Position the work straight onto the hook if it is hanging. NOTE: if the worm is twisted, your line and action will pay the price and it will be less effective.
Walking- the-dog: this is an angling technique that usually requires some time to master, but beginners should not shy away from trying it, for it is quite effective with bass. Casting over a relatively long distance, allow the bait to sit for a brief period of time, take up the slack, and with your rod tip pointed at the water, give it a jerk to the side, then immediately move it backward and reel in any slack, then jerk again, and repeat all the way back.
More or less a darting from side-to-side. You are in effect simulating the prey’s elusive movements, enticing the hunter to follow, stalk and hit! This might be your ace up your sleeve for hooking YOUR NEXT BIG ONE.
Slip-bobbers, rigged with a ¼ ounce plastic jig, live bait like minnow, night-crawler or leech at its tip and of course, all on a sharpened hook.
Jiggling, lightly shaking, presenting this close to any emerging weeds or brush, underwater logs, trees, stumps, or cover, may prove successful.
Remember that fish are constantly on the move while feeding. The timing of day, amount of sunlight, temperature of the water and more all feature into the angling equation.
Bobber-rigs or jigs are popular and quite successful too. Slip sinkers, Carolina (drop-shot rig) works well too.
Free-line fishing in shallow waters may yield many a bass angler quite the haul. Casting a plain hook with live bait and feed the line to the bait, allowing it to ‘swim’ naturally will attract some certain attention.
Other experts would recommend if you are in the so-called watery salad, weeds or heavy slop, cover and jungles underwater, to go heavier is the key. 20 lb line the minimum and heavy-action, sturdy bait-casting rod and reel
combos with long, straight handles to provide you with leverage
to reel your BIG ONES in!
Floating jig-heads, with slip-sinker rig, with 2–3-foot leader have proven to be useful too, especially when kept close to the bottom, watching not to get snagged in the process. Weed-less hooks can help you retrieve live bait and or that hooked fish, through a very thin underbrush.
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