Pro's Picks For Summer Bassin'
Mike Iaconelli's Summer Lure Selection
"A crankbait is something that I'm going to have in my tacklebox for the postspawn fish. When they come off beds, they go to those first breaks in deeper water, and there's no better bait to cover water and get a reaction bite than this," he says. "Depending on the lake's depth, I'd have between a DT6 and a DT20. I like to use one that dives at least as deep as the water I'm fishing, but it's better if it'll run deeper."
Berkley Havoc Flat Dawg:
"On the opposite end of the spectrum is the soft plastic stickbait, and I like it because it's so versatile," he says. "You can catch fish in lots of different phases of the spawn with it. It'll catch them off beds up north and will catch the fry guarders slightly farther south. Plus, you can wacky rig it, add a nail weight or Texas rig it." Ike most often rigs a green pumpkin Flat Dawg on a 4/0 VMC hook.
Molix Venator & Molix Lover:
When the fish are striking reaction baits but they're too close to cover for crankbaits, Ike reaches for one of two wire baits. "A spinnerbait is something that I can fish like a crankbait, but better in vegetation. If I'm in Texas or Florida or somewhere where there is milfoil, hydrilla, cedars or buckbrush, a spinnerbait is a better choice than a crankbait," he explains. "Plus, you can wake it on the top or slow roll it down deep. When I need a bait for dirty water, I usually use the Molix Lover, a vibration jig. Rather than relying on flash, the Lover is a vibration bait. My favorite way to fish it is to feather it. I'm letting it sink to the bottom, then I lift my rod tip from 3 to 12 o'clock, reeling in the slack, lifting, then I repeat. This is great around docks and other cover."
Rapala X-Rap Pop:
"This is not only effective, but it's also fun. "It's like the stickbait in that you can catch them in different places. Shallow fish and fry guarders are especially vulnerable, but ledge fish in their summer pattern will also come up and hit it." Perch is his go-to color.
What Mike Iaconelli Throws In June June 2014 BASS Magazine (David Hunter Jones pg. 24)
Jacob Powroznik's Late Summer Lure Selection
"This time of year, especially when it's been really hot, there isn't as much oxygen in the cooler, deeper water, so a lot of those big fish get under those shady banks and docks." he says. Skipping under shade trees is your best vet. He prefers either a Strike King Sexy Frog or a Spro Bronzeye 65 Frog.
In case he comes across schooling fish, Powroznik has a Zara Spool handy at all times. "Usually, no matter where we go, there will be schooling fish on the lake this time of year, especially in the mornings and if it's a smallmouth or spotted bass lake. There's not a better bite-getter from these fish than a Spook." Foxy shad gets the nod here.
Drop Shot Rig:
"A lot of times, if there are deeper schools of fish, they'll get tired of seeing a big worm or crankbait, so you need a drop shot that's a little more subtle. It'll get bit when other things won't," he says. He prefers a green pumpkin Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper finesse worm on the business end.
"This time of year, you'll see bass roaming in schools that I call wolf packs. As they're moving along the bank, they're competing for food, so if you get this near the school, one of them is going to eat it," he says. "This is good when it's skipped up under docks or trees or other shady places they'll go to get out of the sun and into oxygenated water." A green pumpkin worm works best for him on a weightless 2/0 Owner Straight Shank hook. Despite the heavy cover he skips this finesse worm around, he sticks with spinning gear and 7 pound line. "I've caught more big bass on 7 pound line than I have on 20."
What Jacob Powroznik Throws In Late Summer July/August 2014 BASS Magazine (David Hunter Jones pg. 24)
Lessons From The Ledge With Jared Lintner
It is widely known that locating bass can be more difficult than catching them. This is especially true when it comes to finding fish in deep water. "As fisherman we have a tendency to just want to go to the lake and start fishing. I've been guilty of that," said Lintner. "I don't want to put in the time to search. I just want to fish but if you spend the time and find a couple of sweet spots you can turn a 5 fish day into a 30 fish day real quick. More often than not, the guys who spend the most time looking and finding the key spots do the best." Today's advanced technology makes finding major structural elements easier than ever before. GPS and mapping chips can put you in the neighborhood, but the most productive spots are always harder to pinpoint. "Just because you find a big under water point using your mapping chip, that is great, but on that point somewhere there will be a sweet spot," explained Lintner. "I rely on a combination of traditional sonar, down imaging and side imaging to pinpoint specific spots." On Kentucky Lake, the most productive spots are shell beds which can vary in size from that of a small car to that of a house. On other bodies of water, the key spots may not necessarily be shell beds but can be other irregularities such as: subtle points, cuts, hard spots, stumps or indentations. The second key element that Lintner searches for is current. On the TVA, current is created when the utilities pull water to generate electricity. "The way the current runs and flows over the shell beds is key," explained Lintner. "On non current lakes, even the smallest amount of wind generates some current. Look for those areas where fish are gonna sit and ambush bait. On Lopez, I have a spot where I know I can go, make one single cast and catch a fish, just because the way the wind is blowing on it." In the absence of current, bass have a tendency to roam and suspend.
While there are a multitude of different options available to target offshore bass, Lintner relies primarily on three baits: a deep diving crankbait, a football head jig and a big flutter spoon. Crankbaits are great for covering water quickly and generating reaction strikes. "The faster you can wind it the better," explained Lintner. He relies on a either a Jackall MC60MR or a Muscle Deep 15+ in shad imitating patterns such as Ghost Minnow, Chartreuse Shad, or AL Shad. A G. Loomis rod GLX957CBR fitted with a Shimano Calcutta 200D and 12lb. Sunline Reaction FC Fluorocarbon round out Lintner's cranking arsenal.
When the fish stop reacting to crankbaits or are altogether uncooperative, Lintner switches up to his namesake 3/4 oz Eco Pro Tungsten football head jig in PB&J, Green Pumpkin Brown or Missouri Craw. "I like trailers with large flappers that create lots of action. I often use a full size Zoom brush hog shortened by half an inch. Bigger baits get bigger bites," said Lintner. "I fish the jig aggressively, moving it quickly, stroking it up off the bottom. These fish are positioned to feed, they want to react to it, they want to eat it. You may have to trick them into biting, but you don't need to force feed them. I use a G. Loomis NRX895 and a Shimano Curado 200I spooled with 16 lb. Sunline Structure FC Fluorocarbon. I can't say enough about the new Structure FC, it has all of the great attributes that Sunline is known for with added abrasion resistance."
A 5" Lake Fork Tackle flutter spoon rounds out Lintner's arsenal. Following the cast, he works the spoon with an aggressive cadence, sharply snapping the rod and allowing the spoon to flutter down enticingly. The spoon can be especially effective when the bass are tightly grouped or when the graph shows them actively slashing thru bait. Lintner fishes the flutter spoon on the same rod and reel combination that he selects for the jig with the exception of switching to 20 lb. Sunline Sniper Super FC Fluorocarbon.
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Lessons From The Ledge With Jared Lintner Summer 2014 Bass Angler Magazine (Mark Fong pg. 26-27)
Brandon Palaniuk - Fishin' On The Dock Of The Bay
"I start looking for the docks with deep water using my Navionics chip," he explained. "I look for docks that come over the contour lines that are closer together to find the steeper drop offs beneath them. The chip shows the docks on pretty much every lake I've been to." Palaniuk also determines the layout, position and shape (T-dock, L-shaped or straight) of the docks, eliminating the need to race around the lake to obtain a visual on each one. If a lake has fixed and floating docks, he further narrows his starting point by opting for the type that there is less of. He explained saying, "Because there isn't as many, I feel it may give the bass something different." He also noted that hot spots on docks may include the older ones on the fishery or ones with crappie poles or rod holders on them. "If crappie fishermen have stacked brush piles around the dock to bring crappie in, the bass will come in to eat the crappie or whatever baitfish are around," he said.
He further slims down the field of docks by concentrating on what is underneath of them, looking for brush piles or other extra structure (matted vegetation, rock piles, grass or secondary points). "I can use my Humminbird Side Imaging while I'm driving down a row of docks and actually see what is below them for the fish to hold on to," he said. "If I find a brush pile, I can waypoint it, by marking it with a brush pile symbol and then I will usually make a note of where specifically the brush pile is on the dock." Palaniuk's added notes with the location of any given piece of structure on a dock, allows him to make the exact cast needed to hit that high percentage spot without making multiple casting attempts. "Knowing the right cast at each dock may let me run 150 or 200 of them in a day," he said. "I just run and gun, rolling up, making one, two or maybe three casts and covering more water. I am going to try to find as many as I possibly can that hold fish, knowing that I'm not going catch fish on the same docks each day. Basically, you just have to know where the docks are that have the right elements and make a milk run out of them. The more of them that you have, the better the chances are to sustain the pattern over a four-day tournament."
Lure Selection & Gear:
A 1/2 oz, green pumpkin Terminator flippin' jig with a green pumpkin Berkley Chigger Craw trailer is Palaniuk's preferred lure for dock bass. When he is skippin' his jig, he uses a 7', medium-heavy Abu Garcia Veracity rod with a 7.1:1 Abu Garcia Revo MGXtreme spooled with 15 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. His next choice is a Berkley Havoc Flat Dawg, also in green pumpkin. He fishes this with a 1/16 or 1/8 oz Eco Tungsten Worm Weight. "Adding the worm weight gives the stick bait a little bit faster fall rate, allowing me to fish it quicker," said Palaniuk. "It also gives the bait more action." He throws this on a spinning rod - the 7 ft, medium Veracity with a Revo Premier 20 spinning reel. "I use 8 lb Berkley FireLine Crystal for the main line and I will splice an 8 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon leader with a Uni-to-Uni knot," said Palaniuk.
With his waypoints marked, his jig tied on and moving with his trolling motor at about 50 percent, Palaniuk's first cast is right into the heart of the brush pile (or other targeted structure at the dock). "I'm going to skip the jig in there, let it fall, hit the bottom, pop it three times, reel it back in and make the next cast," he explained. "I'm looking for those fish to eat it on the fall within the first hops and then I'm moving on." He first offers up the jig, because it is a presentation that allows him to cover more water and changes up if he feels the fish aren't aggressive enough to hit it. "Sometimes, when I'm fishing the jig, I will be reeling it back and I will see a fish come racing out behind it and that tells me that I need to slow down, so I will go the Flat Dawg," he said. When presenting the Flat Dawg, he again is skippin' it underneath the dock to the place where he expects the fish to be holding, letting it fall, hopping it three or four times and reeling it in. "I'm fishing this bait more on the edges of the cover," stated Palaniuk. "With its slower fall, the fish will come from further to eat it, because they have more of an opportunity to see the bait. Eighty-five percent of the time, those fish are going to eat that bait on the initial fall."
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Fishin' On The Dock Of The Bay Summer 2014 Bass Angler Magazine (Jody Only pg. 42-45)
Chad Morgenthaler - Monster's In The Grass
One of the very first things I do is to locate the lake's thermocline. To find the depth, I use the traditional down sonar feature and turn up the sensitivity function. A constant line of small particles will appear on the sonar and bait fish will consistently be holding at that specific depth. For the best reading, try to locate the thermocline in a deep part of the lake. Once I identify the depth of the thermocline, I refer to my mapping system and find main lake areas that offer structure located at that particular depth range and a little shallower. Look for structures such as rock piles, manmade brush piles, long tapering points or my favorite, grass edges. The depth of the thermocline is important to determine because during the summertime, bass very rarely "school up" and become aggressive below the thermocline.
When approaching structure I turn on my bow mount 360 Imaging and start working my way down the contour line. If looking for brush piles or manmade structures, I isolate my sweep for a constant view in the direction of travel, covering approximately 90 degrees. Cast out the back of the boat using bottom bouncing baits like a 1 oz Lunker Lure football head jig. Drag the bait at a speed that allows constant contact with the bottom while staying on the dedicated contour depth. This speed shouldn't exceed 1 mile per hour. This approach offers the ability to see what's coming and judge the distance by using the range rings on the 360 Imaging, as well as feel what's behind and what you have just went over with the jig. When approaching structure within casting distance that looks like it has potential, quickly reel in the jig and make a cast toward the structure. Feel the composition and see if a bite occurs before the boat gets too close. If the jig doesn't produce, immediately make another cast with a Texas rigged bait like a Missile Tomahawk worm. I generally use a 5/16 oz sinker with 12 lb Toray Fluorocarbon line - see if this presentation is what's needed to trigger a bite. More often than not bass bury in structure or position on the bottom, which can make them very difficult to identify on sonar. Bottom bouncing baits such as the football jig or the Tomahawk that penetrate the heavy structure without getting snagged will generate more bites. This technique will also allow you to cover a lot of water very quickly.
When targeting grass edges, my approach is the same except I change up the jig style. As I proceed down a grass line I look for several things within that line. The height of the grass, irregular features within the grass such as a point or a bend, and fish that show-up on the 360 Imaging. Making my way down these lines, I make a tackle change to 7'11" XH Denali Jadewood series flipping stick, Lew's Super Duty reel, Toray 55 lb braided line and 1 oz Lunker Lure Triple Rattleback Monster Grass jig. Keep bait color selection fairly simple. I prefer black/blue with a similar colored trailer in dirty water for jigs and "D" Bombs. Use green pumpkin with similar color trailer in clear water situations for jigs, "D" Bomb and Tomahawks. On occasion I will use a plum colored Tomahawk in clear water as well. Moving forward while paying attention to the 1198c SI, I make approximately 25 ft pitches ahead of the boat targeting the grass line to the point where it tapers completely out. The aggressive schools will typically locate in the areas that are closest to deep water and thick grass. It's the best of both worlds. The heavy jig is most effective free falling on slack line, so make the pitch and strip line as the jig is falling. Once it makes bottom contact, engage the reel and take up slack to a taunt line. Check to see if a bite has occurred on the fall. If not, shake the jig in place and hop it off the bottom 2 to 3 times in an attempt to make the jig look like fleeing bait. Reel the bait up and repeat the process.
When the bite occurs your hookset action must be very, very fast. It is an absolute must to land the fish as quickly as possible. More times than not during the summer you will have repeated bites because you've just fired up the school. As fishermen, this is what we live for - it's time to load the boat. When the school stops biting, I waypoint that particular area and identify the feature the school is relating to whether it was a point or a bend and the height of the grass etc. Continue on in an attempt to find a replica within a couple hundred yards of that location. Allow the school to regroup for 30 minutes to an hour then try making a small tackle change and switch from 1 oz Monster Grass jig to Missile Baits "D" bomb Texas rigged with 1 oz tungsten weigh. Making another pass through the previously "fired" school allows the bass time to regroup and presenting them with different baits will usually turn them back on. I can't begin to place enough emphasis on the importance of advancements in today's electronics. An up to date and accurate mapping system is also a must. LakeMaster offers the newest and most up to date GPS mapping information available. Couple, pinpoint accuracy with the techniques I explained, and you will experience what maximizing a summertime school of bass truly is.
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Summertime Schools &Monster's In The Grass Summer 2014 Bass Angler Magazine (Chad Morgenthaler pg. 24-25)
Largemouth On The Inside
It is no secret that in lakes with vegetation - “grass” as it's called in some locales and “weeds” in the north country where I live - largemouth bass love to live and in around that vegetation. Regardless the lake's location, a key to fishing success is knowing how bass relate to the weed growth at various times. This story looks at how early summer bass often relate to weeds and some good ways to catch them. Bass move shallow to spawn during spring and early summer. Often, we think that those fish are headed to the bank and, some certainly end up there. However, some fish spawn a bit deeper, out from shore, and never truly get to the bank. These are often some of a lake's bigger fish. Regardless whether a big female completes her reproductive cycle on the bank or offshore a bit, she often heads to deeper water shortly thereafter. In fact, in the situation that opened this story, I was catching the smaller “bank runners” that seem to hang around longer after the spawn and might actually spend most of their time bank-related. The deep weed edge can be a mid- and late-summer hotspot, but as the occupants in the other boat that day experienced, the inside edge is usually better during early summer. Inside weed edges can, in fact, be great areas to load the boat during this time as it is often a key gathering spot for big largemouth migrating from their spawning areas. Some fish might hold there for a few days before moving on, while others set up residency for the summer. As in any fishing situation, a key to success is finding fish. The first step is finding the inside weed edge. That can be as simple as motoring out from shore watching a sonar unit for where weeds start growing. Humminbird's Side Imaging technology makes finding weed edges, both inside and outside, even easier as they can be seen easily by “looking” off to the boat's sides.
Lure Selection & Presentation:
Once the edge is found, I like to get on the bow mount trolling motor and follow that edge fishing a search bait like a swim jig, rattle bait, or shallow running crankbait. Lipless rattle baits that imitate sunfish like LIVETARGET's pumpkinseed and bluegill models work great because they cover lots of water, fish through and above emerging weed growth well, and flat out catch fish! When fishing these, I often cast ahead of the boat and fish the baits back along the edge. I alternate casts shallower and deeper trying to establish a locational pattern. Often the fish will relate right to the edge, but during low light times or on windy days they may be shallower than the edge, roaming right up on the clean sand inside the actual weed edge. Casting inside is, in fact, a way I've put some big bass in the boat early on tournament days when the sun is just emerging from the horizon and the fish are still roaming. On lakes with smallmouth bass, casting to the sand is a good way to catch some bonus brown bass as well. Search lures like rattle baits are great ways to find inside weed edge bass. Once a fish or two has been caught from an area, I like to slow up and strain the area trying to catch as many fish as I can and trying to figure out why those fish are there. Often a little bend or point, or maybe a small open spot, in the weeds will hold the fish. Determining that keys me in to what to look for in other areas.
Traditional flipping and pitching baits like jigs and Texas-rigged plastics will obviously work for straining an area. These baits work especially well when weed growth is fairy thick. Because weed growth during early summer is often just emerging, however, my favorite baits are usually Senko-style stick baits. My preference is for the Impulse Dip-Stick Worm as this stick has a scent and flavor that largemouth love. If the weed edge is fairly shallow or the weeds aren't too heavy along the edge, it often works good to wacky rig this bait weightless on a hook and cast it to likely fish-holding areas. Allowing the bait to slowly flutter in the fish zone is often too much for even a finicky post-spawn female to resist! When the weed edge is a bit deeper, I will rig the bait - again wacky style - on a light jig head and cast this combination to the fish. Regardless whether fished weightless or on a jig head, a Dip-Stick Worm in a traditional color like black & blue, June bug, or green pumpkin works well. My “go to” color for big fish the past several years, however, has been the camo pattern which blends watermelon with pumpkinseed. My simple, yet effective, inside weed edge game plan involves running the edge with a search lure, slowing up with plastic baits when fish are located, and then moving along the edge looking for the next hot spot! When attempting to find early summer bass hotspots in waters with extensive weed growth, it is usually wise for anglers to consider visiting inside weed edges. These areas will, in fact, be home to some of a lake's best numbers of largemouth at this time. Using some of the methods described above will probably help you locate and then catch some of the big largemouth bass roaming the inside!
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Largemouth On The Inside Summer 2014 Bass Angler Magazine (Mike Frish pg. 62-64)
Packin' A Southern Punch With Scott Martin
First task on the bassin' agenda is to find a place to punch. Due to the increased warmth of the season, Martin concentrates in on several factors when choosing a mat that he feels the fish will call home. He starts with water depth and water flow. "You can target shallower mats in the wintertime, but in the summer, you want to find mats that are in about 4 to 6 ft of water," said the Florida pro. "I also want a mat that is effected by the wind current or the water current, so that the flow either comes up close to the mat or is in and around the mat. I want a 'main body of water mat' versus a 'back in the swamp' or 'back in the cove' type of mat." He also targets specific varieties of vegetation dependent on their propensity to hold heat. He seeks out mats made up of Florida's pepper grass and Kissimmee grass as well as hyacinth or chunked-up vegetation mats that are around or wedged in to reeds (tules, buggy whips). He chooses these varieties of vegetation, because they do not insulate heat within the mat. "Every different type of grass creates a different heat signature," he explained. "For example, the insulation properties of hydrilla keeps heat in which makes it better for colder water situations, but not a good place for summertime." Water clarity is the last key to Martin's mat picking puzzle. He noted it was a critical factor that trumped all other things. "Clean water is a pretty important key this time of year, especially when you're looking for bass on the outside edges of the lake that are facing wind currents," said Martin. "I make sure that I have at least a foot and a half of visibility. If not, no matter how good everything else is, the fish aren't going to be there."
For summer punchin', Martin wants a creature bait with more action than one he would choose in the winter. "I like the Bruiser Baits Avenger," said Martin. "For colors in the south, you always start with dark ones like June Bug, or Knockout (black/blue with silver flake) or if it is really clear and there is a lot of small bluegill in the area, I will throw a watermelon candy or watermelon seed type color and dip the tails chartreuse." Martin will add a punch skirt in windy or stormy conditions, but does not bulk his bait up in hot, calm conditions. He stated, "For me, skirts are more of a wintertime addition." For his summertime target of mat edges, he adds a 3/4 oz weight or a 1 oz River2Sea Tungsten Trash Bomb. In winter, he may upsize to an 1 1/2 to 2 oz weight to get through the thicker heart of the mats. To determine the size, Martin opts for the lightest weight that will thoroughly penetrate the mat at least 90 percent of his casts." I don't want to have to shake it or have to re pitch to try and get it through," he said. "That is fighting it and I don't want to have to fight it to go through." He adds two Eagle Claw bobber stops above the hook to secure the weight in place. He ties the hook on with Snell knot for the vertical presentation of flippin' mats. "If I am flippin' laydowns or wood, I will use a standard Palomar knot, because the action of the Snell will leverage itself in the wood," he said. "Ninety percent of the grass mats are not over areas where you will bounce into wood, and I always use the Snell for vegetation." His hook choice for punchin' is the Trokar TK 130 Flippin' hook. "Typically, I use the 5/0, but it is dependent on the size of the bait," said Martin. He stressed the importance of strong, yet quiet line. "Seventy percent of the time I am using heavy braided line," he said, "I like a new line that is coming out by P-Line. It is an eight strand braided line, because it is so quiet. If your line is not quiet, it not only makes noise on your guides, it makes noise touching grass. The more quiet you are, the more bites you can get, so quiet braided line is critical."
Allowing the bait to hit the bottom, he then works his punch rig by yo-yoing three to four times or when a slower presentation is desired, he will bring the bait back to the top of the mat and hold it there with a very slight shake. "Seventy percent of the time, the bigger fish will bite it the first time it goes down, because of the reaction," he said. Martin advised that bites could feel very slight and he is looking for a subtle change in the feel to signify the bite. "In my career, I've caught several 40 lb bags flippin', bunches of tens and elevens and you would think with fish that big, you would get a massive strike, but it is the opposite," he said. "Especially the big ones, they seem to just suck it in. There are times when there is a big thump, but not very often." When he is ready to set the hook, he positions himself by pointing his body at the fish, puts one foot back and sets the hook hard by lifting the rod straight up and reeling fast. "You've got to hold pressure and keep the rod tip high," he explained. "After you've got it on, you've got to make the decision to pull all the way out with the rod or if it is tangled up, you have to trolling motor in and get it."
When choosing a punch rod, Martin suggests a long rod that stretches from 7'6" to 7'11" with a good backbone. "You cannot effectively flip mats with the wrong type of rod," warned Martin. "I use my 7'11" Okuma Mat Daddy Signature Series rod." He pairs his Mat Daddy with a Helios 7.3:1 casting reel. "When you're flippin' and pitchin' well, you're in a zone and to keep that rhythm going you need a high speed reel like the Helios," he explained. "While I am flippin' out and yo-yoing it two or three times, I am looking around for that next flip. A lot of times, when I am in the zone, my mind is two flips ahead of my body and that zone is where I'm looking to go." One of his most valued tools for shallow water punchin' are his Power-Poles. "It anchors you in place and allows you to pick a spot a part, so much more thoroughly," said Martin. "I cannot imagine fishing without them."
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Packin' A Southern Punch With Scott Martin Summer 2014 Bass Angler Magazine (Jody Only pg. 6-8)
Summertime Spots With Cody Meyer
LOW LIGHT CONDITIONS:
As long as there is no to minimal wind, in the early mornings, evening time and other low light conditions, Meyer goes for a topwater bait. He likes the Jackall Bowstick. "I am going to start throwing this on main lake points or on bluff walls," said Meyer. "I start the day with this and usually stick with it until the sun comes up. His fishes the Bowstick with a 7'2" medium-heavy, Shimano Cumara rod with a 7.2:1 Shimano Curado. "I like the length of this rod for a getting a little more distance on my cast and because it has a really soft tip with a good backbone to work the bait properly," explained the California pro. "I like a high gear ratio reel, not only because I can get the fish in a little faster, but also because if I miss a bite, I can reel it in really quick and make another cast." Natural, transparent colors are his pick for the Bowstick. He fishes it on 30 lb braided line joined to a 15 lb monofilament leader that stretches about 7 feet. He marries his line with a Double Albright knot. "I think the fish don't see mono as well and I think that gets me a couple more bites, but I still want the braid because it lets me get the distance in my cast and a better hookset," said Meyer. "This line setup also floats better, so it allows me to work the bait better." When working the Bowstick, he casts out and uses a quick retrieve, popping and pausing to invoke a walk the dog action. Letting the fish dictate his cadence, Meyer varies the number and durations of pops between pauses. "You can mix up the pause, twitch action, but generally in the summer, you can work it pretty fast with minimal pauses," he said. "When they hit it, you don't have to set the hook, just keep crankin' 'em in."
A BAIT FOR THE BREEZE:
Meyer's next choice for a summer spotted bass lure is a crankbait. He opts for the Jackall Aska 60. Typically, he uses this square-billed crank in relation to mud lines. "I will fish this, if it is too windy for a topwater or a lot of time in the summer, we've got a lot of recreational boaters, skiers, swimmers and other things that create mud lines on the bank and I will fish it then also," said Meyer. "The mud line isn't usually muddy all the way to the bottom. It is kind of like a shadow to a fish so, I will position myself parallel, right up on the bank to make long casts." Maintaining bottom contact while reeling it in is a Meyer's focus. At times, he will deflect from the bottom and pause the bait with a stop and go motion, but most frequently for summertime, when the fish are active, he will use a faster retrieve, bouncing off the bottom and other cover to attract bites. Like with the Bowstick, when he gets a bite, he uses a reel set. His crankbait color choices will include some red on the belly, to represent a crawdad type bite in the mud lines. He ties his Aska 60 on a 7' Cumara Crankbait Rod with a Curado 5.1:1 gear ratio reel and 10 lb Seaguar fluorocarbon, for added depth. "This rod has a pretty soft tip, but enough backbone for the set," he said. "You can really control the fish while you're fighting it, without pulling the hooks because of how parabolic this rod is."
X MARKS THE SPOT:
Rounding out the trio of Meyer's baits is the Jackall Cross Tail Shad. This soft plastic is his go-to for most all conditions. "It is a big player for me, because I can use it under so many circumstances," he explained "The fish that don't go into a mudline are going to go deep and feed on the baitfish like a shad or a pond smelt and the Cross Tail shad mimics that forage perfectly." Meyer locates the areas he is going to target by idling over the points and looking for bait with his electronics. He puts his Cross Tail Shad on a dropshot rig, adding a teardrop-shaped, 1/4 oz River2Sea tungsten weight that hangs from 18 to 24 inches below his hook. The length depends on the depth of the bait that he has located. For the most part, he chooses shad shades for the color of his Cross Tail. "Purple Weenie and Purple Smoke are two of my favorites, but as a rule the clearer the water, the clearer the color that I will choose," said Meyer. He throws the dropshot rig on a medium light, 7'2" Cumara Dropshot spinning rod with a Shimano 2500 Sustain reel. He uses 10 lb PowerPro braid to a 6 to 8 lb fluorocarbon leader that runs about 10 ft. He revealed that the combination of these two types of line make his dropshot more effective. He explained, "They give a better hookset, reduces line twist and eliminate stretch, when you hook in to 'em." Positioning over fish that he has found on the graph, Meyer "video game" fishes for a catch, by sinking his dropshot rig directly down on them. When working it, he keeps the weight on the bottom and shakes the worm. Meyer advised, "You don't want to bounce the weight, you just want to shake the slack in the line to move the bait."
A SUMMER SECRET:
There are times in the summer, especially later in the day, when Meyer finds the spotted bass less active. To squeeze out an extra bite during this time, he will put on an extra-heavy weight, for a faster fall rate and drop it down through the fish to trigger an aggressive-type reaction strike. "I will tie on a 5/8 or 3/8 oz weight and try it," he revealed. "Normally, I would never throw a dropshot that heavy, but this is something different compared to what I'm usually doing with a dropshot- working it slowly in front of 'em and giving 'em a good look at it. There has been times this has really saved me." Meyer's last piece of advice was to remember the fish aren't everywhere. "You have to find the bait to find the fish," he added. "A lot of times, I won't even make a cast for a long time. I spend my time idling around to find them on the graph."
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Hit The Spot Summer 2014 Bass Angler Magazine (Jody Only pg. 66-68)