If you are like most bass fisherman, we all have a soft spot for topwater fishing. There is something magical about seeing a big bass explode on your favorite lure.
A lot of topwater baits are fairly large. There is no argument that these lures can produce some of the biggest fish of the year. These baits are a staple in any angler’s box. With that being said, I’ve seen times where smaller bass will not strike at these large baits, but are more than willing to strike a smaller version of the same bait.
Often times in tournament situations you are looking for 5 keeper bites. Going with finesse topwater baits will help put some of those barely keeper-sized bass in the boat, whereas larger profile baits may have gone by them without a strike. Some anglers don’t realize that big bass love these smaller presentations as well.
Most manufacturers make your favorite topwater lure in a smaller size. Some of my favorites are the Rapala Ultra Light Pop, 1.75 Live Target Frog, 2.25 Live Target Field Mouse, and Strike King Mini Pro Buzz.
I would really suggest you try some of these smaller lures and see how they work for you. It just may surprise you how many more topwater strikes you get. I think we all can agree that getting a ton of top water bites equals a great day on the water.
Fishing structure in shallow water is one of my favorite ways to fish for bass. There are many lure options to choose from when fishing shallow. I personally like to fish fast and cover a lot of water, and the buzzbait is a perfect choice for this style of fishing.
When fishing a buzzbait you want to make sure to keep the bait in the strike zone as long as possible. Fish these lures parallel to the bank, grass lines, or any other visual structure. Often you will see a wake coming at your bait before the fish strikes.
A couple of my favorite buzzbaits are the Booyah Buzz and the Accent Jacob Wheeler Original Buzzbait. These two baits are ready to go right out of the package. There are some modifications you can make that allows them to work a little better.
I like to add a trailer hook to my buzzbaits to ensure when a fish strikes, they’re going to get hooked. Many times bass strike buzzbaits so aggressively that they miss the bait and miss getting hooked. Adding a trailer hook greatly increases your chances of catching a fish.
Do not spend much time in one spot when fishing a buzzbait. Keep moving and covering new water. If an active bass is around, it almost always strikes on the first cast. Buzzbaits are perfect when the water temperature is hot and the fish are shallow. A buzzbait is an excellent way to put fish in the boat.
I spent about an hour this past weekend walking a local small creek to see what I could catch. Having never fished this creek before I wasn’t sure what to expect. The creek is no wider than a one lane highway and is very shallow. The deepest water I found was about 4 foot.
I used 6 pound test Berkly Trilene XL on an ultra light rod made by St. Croix. My lure of choice on this trip was a Slider grub, but I also really like a Mepps spinner.
Like any other creek in Indiana, I quickly found out the creek has bluegill, bass, sunfish, and carp. I’m sure there are many other species living in this creek too, but these are the fish I caught in my short time.
This is a great way to introduce new fisherman to the sport. The fish may be small, but they are usually very aggressive and easy to catch.
I did a little DIY on one of my kayaks this weekend. I fish a little lake that is full of crappies and catfish and one of the best ways I know to catch these species in the summer is to drift fish. Trying to drift with no rod holders from a kayak is very challenging, not to mention it’s a good way to lose a rod when a big catfish strikes. They will literally pull your rod in the water. See what happened to me in the post here.
Here is how I went about it.
I mounted the rod holders to a Perception Swifty 9.5 DLX. Check out my post about purchasing a kayak here. This kayak has a flat surface that is an ideal mounting location for a rod holder or two. I decided to use the Cannon Exclusive 3-position Rod Holder. This holder is very versatile. It allows me to use bait casting or spinning tackle while having a base that swivels 360 degrees.
Mounting these were very easy. I put the bases where I thought they would work the best and used a drill bit to make a hole through the kayak. I decided to only use 2 bolts through the bases (using all 4 holes is recommended). I thought two provided enough support and I didn’t want to put more holes in the kayak than I had to. I suggest playing around with where you want to mount your rod holders first. You may want to stagger them more than I did. Do what works best for your fishing rods and style of fishing.
One other thing I like about these Cannon rod holders is the bases are fairly low and do not stick high up on the kayak. This way when I am not using rod holders and I’m casting, they will not get in my way.
I am excited to get out and try these. I know it is going to make my drift fishing much easier and hopefully will allow me to put a few more fish in the boat.
Tube jigs are a great smallmouth and largemouth lure. They can be rigged several different ways, and fished anywhere from open water to thick vegetation. One big problem with the tube jig is they can be prone to losing fish when Texas rigged. The hook can have a hard time penetrating through the thick plastic.
Here is how I tweak my hook to ensure I catch every fish that bites.
I rig the tube like I would with any other Texas rigged lure. See how here. Make sure to leave the eye of the hook exposed. Do not pull the tube all the way over the eye. Doing this will lead to the tube balling up and not allowing the hook to come through the plastic.
Once you have the tube rigged and are ready to skin hook on the other side, slightly bend the hook outward. Do not over bend it! This will lead to weakening the hook. You just want to slightly open the hook more than it was originally. This is the key; the hook will now easily hook in the fish’s mouth without the worry of it going back through all the plastic.
This little modification will really help you hook up when fishing the tube Texas rigged. Try it and you won’t be disappointed.
There is a common thought in bass fishing, if you want to catch bigger fish, use bigger baits. I agree with this, but you typically don’t get as many bites using larger lures. I personally like catching all sizes of bass and hate to throw a bait that I know will only get a few bites.
One large lure that will catch big and small bass alike is a 10″ worm. This bait looks more like a snake in the water than a worm. Don’t let that bother you, it will catch all sizes of bass. I like to use the Berkley 10″ Power Worm. Black is my favorite color. That’s the only color you need. This bait works in clear and murky water.
Huge worms like this seems to work the best in very warm water. Bass get a little lethargic in hot water and like a slow moving meal. They normally will not pass up an opportunity at eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner all in one bite.
One misconception I have heard is you can only use big baits in big lakes and that you must use small baits in small bodies of water. I recently proved that theory wrong. I fished my pond using this lure and caught multiple small and large bass. Think about it, have you ever seen big snakes or bull frogs around small ponds? I know I have. Bass in all sizes of lakes and ponds are used to eating big things. Try this lure and see how it works for you.
My dad and I recently floated the White River near Brookville, Indiana in a canoe. This is the fastest flowing stretch of river in Indiana. There were definitely some areas of very swift current. The river is very scenic and offers some great water to fish. We even saw a bald eagle on this trip.
Picking the right lure is critical for success when you are floating at such a quick pace. Fishing with fast moving lures is by far the easiest and most productive way to cover water in these situations. Sure, you can anchor, fish the pockets and deep areas slowly, but these lures will work for the entire float trip in all current speeds.
I like to choose fast moving topwater lures such as a buzzbait or a fast working “walk the dog” style lure. This river is very clear and the smallmouth bass love to hit these speedy topwater lures. Choosing smaller baits is a great choice. There are a lot of small bass in rivers like this and bigger baits will not get as many bites. Don’t worry, big bass will hit these smaller lures too.
A shallow diving crankbait in a crawdad pattern is also a great option. These lures dive fast and deflect off most rock and wood cover making them very efficient. Not to mention, crawdads are very prominent in rivers and stream making them a regular meal for most fish. In the shallow stretches I hold the rod tip high which helps the bait run much shallower. When I come to deeper water in the river I will hold the rod tip low to the water, making the bait dive deeper.
Another option I like to throw is a small swimbait. Picking the right jig head is very important. If you choose too light of a head the lure will just be swept down stream with no action. If you go too heavy, it will sink and get stuck in the rocks and boulders. A good rule of thumb is to start with 1/4 ounce head and see how that works.
If you haven’t floated a stream or river in the summer months, you should give it a try. You can catch a wide variety of fish and will usually have the entire water to yourself.