As the majority of the country either already finished the spawn or is just about to begin the swing of things, I wanted to touch base on how I approach the spawn and how fishing tournaments on new bodies of water during this period can a great experience.
First, there are millions of opinions on how to approach bed fishing and it would take a novel to cover them all. I will touch based on the three tactics I employ to trigger a strike on bed fish. First, after you have spotted the bed and located the fish, the initial cast I make is past the bed allowing me to work the bait into the bed. To do this I use a J&J Jig in a 5/16 oz size paired with a Mountaineer Custom Rod with 14 pound Gamma edge. Note, the jig itself I trim the skirt to make this a very finesse jig, the skirt is only about an inch long at its longest strand. I then pair this jig with a Reins Ring Craw. The Ring Crawl is very buoyant and when you craw and stop the jig the Ring Craw stands up adding extra action. My first cast is always with this jig usually the fish strike this jig.
The second technique if they are not communist to the jig is a light Texas rigged wormed with a 3/16 Reins tungsten. Fish will nose down on a 3-4 inch senko type bait and if you up your hook one size, when the fish picks the worm up to move it off the bed they grab the hook. Third, the 1,2 punch. I say this because when the fish is fired up and running enemies off the bed, a first throw a weight fluke type bait, something like an Optimum Opti Shad, and twitch it aggressively toward the bed. If the fish hit it but does not eat it I immediately throw in a wacky rig. This year I utilized a Reins Swamp Mover, this bait in a medium size has an aggressive but subtle action when floating and twitched. I throw this right into the bed after firing the fish up with the jerkbait. (all of these products can be found on tacklewarehouse or reins website)
Fishing tournaments during the spawn on new bodies of water allows you to quickly identify unproductive water and replicate areas and patterns across a lake. This past month I competed in the BASS Carhart College Regional on Lake Norman in NC. This tournament went from prespawn to full spawn in 4 days and tested me in my ability to deviate from prefishing to analyzing current conditions . In summary, my prefish the weekend prior yielded winning stringers of prespawn spotted bass up the river on main river points with an Alabama rig. When we went back for our one day of practice before the event water temps rose 10 degrees.
We couldn’t locate any bedding fish and our prespawn bite was nonexistent. What we did do was study our navionics overlay and look for possible spawning areas with docks. We fan casted and skipped docks near sand and natural rock adjacent to deep water. We fished entirely new water both days of the two day tournament. We caught upwards of 60 fish a day but the majority were bucks and we couldn’t locate more then 4 females a day. However, we fished areas solely by looking at lake contours, never having prefished. This was an incredible learning experience. Although we fell around a pound short, fishing 14 out of 62 when the top 12 made the nationals, we were able to be consistent fishing entirely new water. This bodes large amounts of confidence for the remainder of the season.
Dissecting water, utilizing our electronics, and having the proper equipment was crucial. This tournament utilized three baits and set ups, 7′ med hev Mountaineer Custom spinning rod, with 10# Gamma Torque with an 8# Gamma edge leader attached to a 5 inch finesse worm. A 6’6″ med hev Mountaineer Custom dock skipping special rod, with 10# Gamma Torque with an 8# Gamma edge leader attached to a wacky rig. And a 7′ med hev Mountaineer Custom all purpose rod paired with a Shimano Core with 10# Gamma Edge with a 3/16 Reins tungstens Texas rig.
by Carter White
There are so many techniques for bass fishing out there I learn new rigs and techniques all the time from Carolina rig to wackey to top water and all the way to crank baits there tons of options. My preferred and most often used is the classic Texas rig. Texas rig has produced 100s if fish for me and has caught me more fish than any other technique.
My favorite thing to through Texas is a zoom lizard in green watermelon rigged on a 3 or 4/0 hook with a 1/8 oz bullet weight thrown on 14 pound fluorocarbon on a lees speed spool with a 7 ft skeet Reese. I like to work in on banks and shallow flats on the bottem with a jerk and reel than a few seconds of sitting after fishing like this it almost becomeS a natural motion. I also am a big fan of top waters because the produce large fish. The bird is my go to lure because of its design and also the plastic formula.
I like the plastic because lots of frogs such as the Matzuo frog have a really nice tough durable plastic but is fairly hard to push down. Then the koppers frog which is easy to push down but the plastic tears easily and rips making the lure useless. The bird has the best of both worlds with an easy push down to the hook yet a very tough durable plastic that will last you a while. I like to flip the bird under low overhang on the bank using 40 pound braid on the quantum escalade using a skeet Reese 7 ft rod.
Those are my two go to rigs for when I want quantity or quality fish and a little insight to how I fish them.
By Kyle Louis
My friend went to his secret spot. They only had 2 hours to fish so they didn’t have time to walk all the way down where they usually go. While they were walking they saw a bunch of shad jumping in about 1 to 2 feet of water. So they decided to go see what was going on. They started casting and there was a school of bass eating the sad. They were using shad color crank baits and they were getting hits on every other casts. When they had to leave they ended up catching 90 plus bass.
He and his friend went back the next day but they didn’t try to catch the bass eating the shad they went down to where we usually go it wasn’t as good but they still caught a lot but not a ton. The next day my friend and I decided to go we walked down to the usual spot we caught a few walking down I was using lipless crank bait on one pole and spinner bait on the other. In the morning I caught the most with the spinner bait and later I caught more on the crank bait. I switched the spinner bait with a California swim jig with a roboworm ez shad as the trailer it worked pretty well but then I lost it.
On the way back we caught a few more but when we got up to the shallows were all the shad were I started catching a ton with crank baits and spinner baits. My friend was trying to get top water fish with buzz bait but they stopped biting it so he decided to switch to a crank bait and started catching a lot. My friend told me to tie on a top water frog to see if I could get some blow ups. I was working my frog and my friend looked like he was getting ready to set the hook so I asked him are you about to set the hook and he said no but you should and as soon as he said that I got my first blow up and I got really excited but I missed that fish so I kept casting and finally got one.
Then it started getting dark and my parents came to pick us up. And that was the end of the exciding day of fishing.
By Carter White
I live in southern georgia and fishing is just a part of life for me. I’ve had so much fun fishing with family and friends and have created lots of memory’s. my dads not much of a fisherman or my grandpa but my great grandad was.
Thanks to him we have a cabin in the mountains of north georgia on lake chatuge. Chatuge is not a very good bass lake actually it’s considered the worst in georgia. I have managed to find success with the spots there though. Catching fish there gives me the confidence that I can catch fish anywhere. My best memory though is when is was younger my whole family would load up in the pontoon and my grandpa would take us to a spot we called the secret fishing spot it was just a bank with tons of rocks and we would just pull out tons and tons of bream. we would catch about 50 in a hour or so they just bit better than anywhere ive eve been. Most my fishing memory’s come from fishing with my best friend jace.
We’ve been friends since we were to we grew up going to church together and were both extremely crazy about fishing. Infact when I go fishing with out him it is weird because we feed off withers knowledge to know what baits workin plus were both competitive which drives us to be the best angler we an. My beat fishing memory was with him its when i landed my 8 pounder this past summer. i was also there when he caught his 7 pounder.
We’ve created a lot of memory’s together nd are tournament partners.Now we are still best friends and still love fishing its just about all we do. Those are my fishing experiences with my family and friends.
Since the 2013 season is now underway in the majority of the country, I began to look back at the 2012 season and review my decisions and analyze where, how, and why I caught my fish in a variety of different situations. I noticed a constant trend in the tournaments that were successful: shallow stained water.
Regardless of the conditions and time of year, shallow stained water seemed to capture my best fish in each tournament scenario. Yes, there is a bias considering the Potomac River is my home waterway, naturally it’s my confidence setting, but finding these conditions yielded great statistics in very diverse venues. I will attempt to examine a few vastly different experiences and unlock the secrets to shallow water, aside from the Potomac.
Experience A: Lake Kerr, NC FLW College Regional Qualifier
This tournament took place in June of 2012, which presented a tricky venue unlike previous dependable conditions of Lake Kerr. Lake Kerr is know for buck brush and pitching, it is no secret. But, this tournament served a totally different entree to anglers as lake levels were extremely low due to droughts eliminating the majority of the quality shallow water fish and substantial cover. The northern everstart series I believe was won fishing in 20 some odd feet of water, off shore, which yielded a significant limit of largemouth.
During our tournament practice we were able to locate a specific area with constant current flow coupled with shallow stained water and an abundance of shallow structure. Given our short practice period, this location yielded the key features that keep a portion of fish shallow regardless of current conditions, cover, current, and creatures, (yes I mean bait I just wanted to use alliteration). Given the the low water conditions and high temperatures, locating shallow water that offers fish a current flow while also holds substantial cover and other forms of aquatic life separates productive shallow water from the rest of the bank. In this example, we were able to catch a respectable limit for our particular tournament fishing very shallow exploiting the key features that hold fish shallow when the water levels drop in the summer months.
In this particular scenario I utilized the Peak series rods constructed by Mountaineer Custom Rods, which was a 7 foot, medium heavy rod, which was used to drag a Carolina rig across a shallow chuck rock grassy hump located in less than 5 feet of water in a small creek lined with aquatic vegetation, buck brush, and substantial current. I depended upon the ultimate strength of 12 lb test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon paired with a 1/0 Trokar offset worm hook to bag a 5th places qualifying finish. Due to the current flow, fish were positioned in this shallow stained water, regardless of the heat, because of the plentiful supply of vegetation that was sustaining oxygen. More importantly, the current was transporting bait which would stack up against the rock bluff. The bass located themselves on the sides of the hump feasting on bait that washed out of the grass and pooled up in the slack water outside the current flow.
Example B: FLW Northen Conference Championship Philpott
This particular event took place in September of 2012 on Philpott Lake in Va which further unlocks the secrets to successful shallow water fishing, taking place in the summer to fall transition period. Philpott lake is a much different than the Potomac River or Lake Kerr, but at this particular time of the year it in fact fished like the Potomac. This lake sets up much like a Lake Lanier fishery, very deep, very clear, with the north section of the lake shallower with creek entries, and with southern end being the dam and very deep with abrupt steeper banks. The strategy upon fishing this lake was thought to be light line, electronic fishing for deep school bass in main lake areas and secondary points. At this time of the year, the thermocline was deep with oxygen levels being more suitable deeper, housing larger more consistent schools of bass. This pattern did in fact yield the most consistent and winning limits of bass but there was potential to compete with the pattern exploring the shallows, going against the grain.
In practice for this event, I had just gotten my Humminbird 898si unit and hadn’t yet gotten comfortable graphing and identifying deep structure and utilizing the unit to vertically attack fish. As I began to dissect the lake via fishing my way around each creek, I discovered similar areas that held substantial amounts of grass uncommon to the rest of the lake. Each of the three areas I was able to identify where flats located near deep water the had clearer water near the mouths of the flats with tall deep stalks of grass and transitioned into think matted vegetation to the surface with stained water in the backs of the flats.
Each of these areas possessed shallow stained water with thick vegetation significant different than any other area on the rest of the lake. Although the majority of the fish in the lake were deep suspending off shore, the better quality fish, although sparse, were catchable shallow within these three locations because of the drastic difference in water clarify, the presence of grass, and large shad that were utilizing the grass for cover which was few and far between in this lake. Looking back on this scenario there was a much larger potential limit within these three areas to be exploited but never the less I was able to catch quality fish within these areas by understanding how and why the fish would position themselves within these shallow grassy pockets.
The fact that the water clarity was so vastly different in these areas allowed fish to be extremely shallow to ambush prey. In the morning while temps where cool, shad had migrated to the shallows within and behind these isolate grass areas which placed the bass around the outskirts of the grass. As the day progressed and the sun rose, the shad would migrate to the adjacent deeper grass and water placing the bass deep within the matted vegetation. Let me explain that the shallow grass I am referring to was located in 3-4 feet of water or less, what the deep stalks of grass was located in 8-15 feet of water, while the majority of anglers and large schools of fish were located in ranges such as 20-35 and 45-60 feet of clear water.
How I approached these areas was first with the use of Mountaineer Custom Rods and Gamma Edge fluorocarbon employing the same strategies as the Potomac. First, during the morning I pitched weightless plastics using the Peak series medium heavy Mountaineer Rod with 10 pound test Gamma to target the chasing bass on the outskirts of the grass. After fishing my way around the grass I would then transition to pitching a 1/2 oz tungsten weight to create a reaction strike within the thick grass on the same medium heavy action Peak Series Mountaineer Rod, but upped my line to 16lb test Gamma. I would perform this same strategy to each of the three locations I identified and rotate through each location.
As I transitioned to from the thick grass to the deeper grass, I covered the water by throwing a J&J Custom swim jig which captured fish as the day progressed. By exploiting this shallower stained grassy area I was able to weigh in the largest fish of the tournament but the quantity of fish was not as consistent as the deep water bite. The fish I weighed in was enough to secure a 6th place sitting on the first day and a 7th place overall tournament finish. To look back, the stained water was prevalent in other areas within the creek but fishing by myself in this partner tournament had me focusing on the areas I had caught fish in practice because of the confidence I had built within the grass. I should have expanded the pattern to the adjacent shallow areas.
Regardless, stained shallow water had the potential to compete with a top finish within this deep water bite tournament if you understand how to unlock the secrets of shallow water. Fish are always shallow all year long, but locating the areas that hold these shallow fish and being able to exploit the features within the prime locations is the hey to success.
I hope this helps to shed some light on how to dissect shallow water and exploit key features within the shallows to unlock the potential for shallow pigs! Please visit www.jonathanmillerfishing.com to check out the sponsors mentioned within the article and other articles and videos to aid your fishing experience.
By Micheal Wenger
When it comes to topwater bass fishing there is one lure you can count on to produce time after time. That one lure is the Flip in the Bird lure. This lure produces more big fish than any other topwater lure out there. The reason this lure produces so many big fish is it is something hardly anyone throws. It is also the only lure of its kind on the market.
When fishing this lure you want to find the nastiest looking over hangs you can find. Once you have done that Flip in the Bird as far under there as you can possibly get. Then you want to twitch it a few times and let it sit for about fifteen seconds and twitch it some more. This way of flipping in the bird is the best way I have found.
The setup I like to throw this on is iRod Air 754c, the Lew’s Super Duty SD1SH, and Seaguar Kanzen 60lb. braid. This setup will help you land every fish that bites. The reason I like the iRod 754c is because it is lightweight sensitive and designed just for heavy cover topwater fishing. The Lew’s SD1SH was designed just for heavy cover heavy braid fishing. This reel is 7.1:1 gear ratio reel this helps with getting the fish out of the nastiest cover imaginable it even has a special place on the reel for braid to start so it isn’t slipping on the spool. The line Seaguar Kanzen 60lb. braid is the best braid that I have found its super strong absolutely no stretch and super sensitive.
The next time you plan on going out and doing some heavy cover topwater fishing make sure you Flip in the Bird. Go out to your local tackle shop and pick up a couple for yourself you will put down all other hollow body topwaters that you have ever fished before.
I’m in Middle School, but the High School I will be going to is starting a fishing team and they said I could join. So I’m super excited: This blog is going to be about you and an adult you know who likes to fish starting a fishing team at your high school. In oder to start a fishing team you need to talk to your schools principal. Then you need to get a teacher to sponsor (kind of like a coach) of your team. You need to be willing to put money into your team. Because your going to need a jersey and you will have to pay your entry fees.
I would like to thank Mr. Jeff Elkins for helping to start our fishing team. It will be a start (along with Flip In The Bird) to follow my dream to becoming a professional bass angler the FLW and B.A.S.S. So make sure to talk to an adult that you know that likes to fish about starting a team at your high school, talk to your principal, geta teacher to sponsor your team, and be willing to pay money to fish on your team. Make sure to check out my Facebook page at Flip In The Bird Junior Anglers and send me an email or message on Facebook about joining the Flip In the Bird Junior Anglers and purchasing a jersey. My email is email@example.com Thanks Guys!
The “Flip in the Bird” fishing lure is something that caught my eye a while ago, but I was not completely sold. Why would I buy another hollow-bodied top-water lure when I already have lures that I have tried and definitely trust? After hearing more about the bird, I realized that it wasn’t like anything I already have in my tackle box. Instead, it covers a completely different aspect when chasing bass – truly imitating a bird, not just a frog trying to pass as something new and innovative.
I think the bird will help me catch bigger bass because it is innovative. Largemouths eat birds. If bass eat it, I want a lure that will imitate it with me when I’m out there. After all, one of the keys to becoming a better angler is adjusting to what the fish are doing and a huge part of that is having the lures to do so. The bird will fill a gap that many anglers miss – the fact that bass have a predatory and reactionary instinct to target birds.
As I mentioned, this lure is different from frog lures, but the bird can be used in the same situations as frogs, adding new looks to similar styles. A great part of the bird’s design is its life like profile. As I love to walk frogs over pads and submerged weed beds, I am familiar with the fact that frogs normally need to be in motion for bass to become interested. Of course, bass do strike frogs on the pause, but this is typically after several twitches to catch their attention. When the bird sits in the water, though, its wings and foe tail feathers fan out. If a bass sees the profile of the bird on the surface, it triggers their instincts, causing them to strike. Since the bird’s looks alone compel responses, they do not need to be worked like other hollow-bodied lures. This allows the angler to let the bird sit in the strike zone, the area that you are targeting with your cast, for longer, giving the angler a better chance to light up the lunkers.
I think that these are just some of the awesome opportunities that will help me catch bigger bass when flippin’ the bird.
If you’re anything like us, a little rain doesn’t stop you from hitting the lake in search of big bass. The only real problem is finding a foul-weather gear that doesn’t push us into a foul mood because it fails to deliver on the promise of keeping us warm and dry. We just stumbled upon a review on one of our favorite sites, Tackle Tour. Simms ProDry Rain Jacket is exactly the kind of gear that can make the difference in how productive you can be on the water.
If you’re having trouble keeping warm and dry while hunting big bass, take a look at this great new product from Simms!