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Largemouth bass fishing bar

Bass Fishing Fundamentals by Ken Schultz

Chapter 8: LURES, Pg 88-90,


So, you're just putting together your bass fishing equipment; you've got that new tackle box, and you want to fill it up with a bunch of the best bass-catching baits you can find. Trouble is, where do you start, and with what! This chapter will help you with those choices, but first some general comments about bass lures and their attributes and applications are in order.

All lures are designed to perform a specific function. In most cases, their success or failure is primarily due to the way the angler uses them. The fisherman who knows his quarry and matches his lure selection to the habits of the bass and the prevailing conditions is the one who is the most consistently productive. The angler who is completely familiar with the characteristics of each lure and can make the lure work to its maximum designed ability is the angler who will score when the chips are down. Therefore, the more you know about your lures and the fish you seek and the better you understand the conditions in which you seek them, the better prepared you will be to make a knowledgeable lure selection.

There is a host of lure types available to fishermen. Many of these overlap in application and technique, but others are suitable only to particular conditions and require specialized usage. In general terms, lure choices shape up for bass fishing as follows.

For shallow-water fishing, where everybody most likes to chase bass, floating/diving plugs and spinnerbaits get the call. In the plug category, minnow-imitating balsa or plastic lures that float at rest and dive only a foot or two on retrieve are traditional, proven baits.

Spinnerbaits are excellent lures, particularly in the spring when fish are shallow and also when fishing vegetation. They can also be used quite effectively in deeper water, crawled slowly across the bottom, or jigged.

For medium-depth angling (4 to 12 feet) you'll generally want to fish with a straight-running, dive-to-the-bottom-on-retrieve lure. Bottom-hugging bass plugs such as these have come to be called crankbaits, and they are manufactured in shallow, medium, and deep-diving versions, all of which are determined by the size and shape of the lip protruding from each one. Medium and deep divers are usually the most useful to bass fishermen, and these come into play in spring, parts of summer, and fall, in many locales. Worms and jigs are also highly effective bass baits in this depth range.

For deep-water fishing (from 10 feet on, though often in shallower water as well), the bass angler without a plastic worm or who doesn't know how to use it, is in for a rough time. Bass seek the comfort of cooler, deep water in late spring, summer, and early fall, and plastic worms are probably more effective than all other lures combined, at these times. Another bottom scrounger, particularly effective on smallmouths, is the jig. This can be fished extremely effectively in very deep water (and at any depth) as well as along rocky, sharp-sloping bluffs and shorelines, and on underwater mounds.

Surface fishing, a favorite technique of bass anglers, is generally less productive than below-surface methods at most times. Because of the habits and habitat of the quarry, there are generally fewer times when surface techniques have merit. Surface lures run the gamut from soft plastic floating baits to wood or plastic plugs that twitch, wobble, chug, and sputter.

There is a time and a place for all lures. Remember above all else that each lure is designed to do a certain function and that such function must be coordinated with the current fishing conditions. A lure won't catch fish merely because it is supposed to. There are good lures and bad lures, good times to use them and poor ones, good usage of the lures and bad usage. A lure also won't catch bass merely because it "looks good." The bottom line in the lure business is that the product must catch fishermen. Most anglers, in turn, expect the lure to catch fish. But these expectations are misguided. Cars don't drive; they are driven. Guns don't shoot; they are shot. And lures don't catch fish; fishermen do. Lures are just a means by which an angler can accomplish his goal.

Not that the lure isn't important to this success. Obviously it is. But there's a lot more to productive bass fishing than possessing a well-stocked tackle box. Recognizing the abilities of a lure, using it to its full potential, and injecting a dose of angling savvy are all vital factors in the game. With this in mind, let's analyze each category of bass lure in depth.

Larry Larsen On Bass Tactics: How you can Catch More and Bigger Bass.


How to check out urban bass opportunities

The 12-foot alligator that swam in the 1/2-mile long canal looked menacing, but we usually shared the water with no incident. The waterway was surrounded by residential development, manicured lawns and a concrete bulkhead, but it was still where the alligator called home. I called it one of the state's best bass holes.

That favorite warm-weather spot of mine was in a home development where I lived for three years back in the '70s. I've since visited (and lived on) several small suburb lakes and canals around the country, and most hold bass. The alligator that called those waters "home" was a common sight along the canal and was more partial to duck dinner. He left me to chasing largemouth of impressive numbers and size.

On many summer afternoons, I would grab a handful of worms after work and drag my lightweight polystyrene boat a quarter of a block to the water. The 10-fish limit (existing at that time) of two to four-pound bass from the home-rimmed canal took around four hours, and all were released. Big fish existed, but I never caught one to beat out the canal's top bass which was taken by a young boy. It was just a couple of ounces shy of the 14-pound mark. Several largemouth exceeding eight pounds were caught, however.

Many of the best basswaters in the country are not those large reservoirs that attract big-money tournaments and publicity. They are the small, suburb waters that are sprinkled around golf courses, country clubs and housing developments. While some of the lakes and canals are off-limits to the public, many are open to all. The vast majority are overlooked by the bass boat crowd, so that leaves the bass bounty to just a few.

Larry Larsen On Bass Tactics:

How To Gain Access To These Overlooked Waters, pg. 75

Access to these tiny waters from a bank or small boat is possible Manicured waterways with largemouth bass can be found around many residential and business developments They provide small esthetic lakes that contain superb angling opportunities. Residential developments often offer the amenities of nicely landscaped waterways, many of which are loaded with bass that have little exposure to man.

Golf courses in many urban areas have great bass waters hiding under the guise of water hazards. In the old days, that's all they were, but today, many country club managers and golf course architects are giving careful consideration to the bass fishery in the water hazards. There are two reasons for the improved bass fishing in such places.

1. Fishery management techniques, such as forage enhancement, stocking programs and water level manipulation, are often in place on country club waters.

2. Often, club managers fertilize their waters each year, and that generates good plankton growth in the lakes, which is essential for high bass productivity.

Suburb waterways often have sand bottoms, adequate aquatic vegetation and are stocked with a good staple of sport fish, including largemouth bass. Such waters may be in a variety of configurations:

  • natural ponds
  • sloughs and marshes
  • man-made lakes
  • spring-fed canals
  • sand pit lakes
  • creeks and rivers
  • oxbow lakes and bayous

Developments spring up around such places, and public access maybe possible at their shoreline.

Permission to fish can often be obtained from a homeowner, apartment manager or caretaker. Golf courses are sometimes closed down for a day each week, offering a chance for anglers to obtain approval to fish the water hazards. Cooler months in the north can be slow and, again, permission can be obtained.

Roland Martin's 101 Bass-Catching Secrets;

Behavioral Reasons Why Bass Strike, Pg. 5-7

2 Reflex Action

Reflex action is the second most important reason fish strike, particularly why bass strike, and it accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the bass I catch in a year's time. A bass's reflex action is like the behavior of any predator-like a cat pouncing on a mouse.

A lurking bass is seeking two things. He's seeking shade for his non-cyelidded eyes. He can't stand direct sunlight, at least not for very long, so he's going to try to shade his ryes in the shadow of a boulder or a bush or a boat dock. Second, and probably more important, is that, being a predator, he is seeking concealment to hide or camouflage his body from the wary eyes of small baitfish of some description. So the bass is in the shadows of an object, in this case an ambush point.

To get a reflex strike you need one of two types of lures: either a crank bait or a spinnerbait. If you don't know what these are, you'll find sections in Part II on both They are fast-moving lures which come whipping through there. The concept of reflex-action fishing is to try to throw the lure right on the fish instead of just throwing past the bush, past the stump, or past the ambush point and quickly cranking the spinnerbait or crank bait right down to where you think he is. I think about which way the sun's shining so I can fish on the shady side. I think about which way the wind is blowing, because the wind will automatically position the fish on these shallow cover areas. If the wind is blowing from the north, the fish will be facing the wind because of the current it creates. They can't swim backward, and they face the current. I conjure up a mental image of exactly where that bass is positioned. Then I theoretically try to snag the fish-I'm trying to get right to his eyes. And really the lure is coming right at the fish, right at his eyes, and at the last second he can do one of two things. He can either move out of the way or he can strike it in self defense, and quite often, since bass are fairly bold and pugnacious,they will strike at that lure simply out of reflex action. Taking advantage of the reflex action requires a very experienced fisherman with an eye or feel for the right kind of spot, and a little bit of analytical thought concerning the sun and which way the wind is blowing.

Another condition which is better for reflex-action fishing is a cool water temperature, because that means the lure can get just a little bit closer to the: bass before he knows it's there. This is kind of an advantage. Water between 45 and 65 degrees is probably best for the spinnerbait and crank bait, because the fish does not detect the presence of the lure until it is pretty much right on top of him. Then he can see it and strike it.

When the water is muddy, it is the hotter water temperatures that are better For reflex-action strikes. When the water is below 50 degrees and muddy, you hardly ever get strikes on these kinds of lures. If the water temperature is from 60 to 90, and the water is real muddy, you'll get a lot of good reflex strikes. Here the fish doesn't see the lure well, but his lateral sensitivity is such that he detects its presence at the last second and he strikes it.

The pattern most representative of reflex-action strikes is bumping the stump with a crank bait. This is simply a great pattern because that's just a natural feeding spot. The best cover might be a stump on an exposed point, where the wave action has eroded under the roots so that there are some areas beneath that stump which the fish can use as his lair.

The best depth probably is less than 6 feel, because, remember, you need to make visual contact with these ambush points. You need to be able to identify where they are, and the best way is to spot them with Polaroid sunglasses. So look for stumps in about two to six feet of water.

Larry Larsen's Guide to South Florida Bass Waters


TO BASS IN THE Everglades, spillway runoffs provide an endless food supply. Moving water is a natural attraction, but not all anglers realize the advantages of the now. Food washing into a canal, creek or river area is the draw, and the advantages of locating a concentrated group of feeding fish are obvious.

The often fat and healthy specimens are uniformly positioned for grabbing the forage morsels, and then they are generally shallower than at other times. While moving water in the'glades is generally rich in nutrients, it is also usually cooler and more oxygenated. With the abundant food supply, the fish won't have to spend much energy chasing after smaller members of the food chain. The result is Larger fish in such locations. When they have first shot at the supply, why wouldn't they grow faster and bigger.

Catch Bass by Doug Hannon and Don Wirth

Chapter 1: Understanding Bass - as a living thing. Pg. 12


"The northwest area of a lake in the northern hemisphere is the center of fish life and spawning activity."

A. The location is protected from seasonal northwest cold winds.

B. The southern angle of the sun provides more sun and less shade on the northern shore, thus increasing the water temperature by 3 degrees F. or more.

C. The added sun and warmth enriches plant life which provides food, oxygen, and shelter.

D.Increased plant life provides a dark-bottom condition which absorbs more of the sun's energy.

Follow the Forage for Better Bass Angling Vol. 1 by Larry Larsen

Chapter 1: The Predator/Forage Relationship, Pg. 21-23

Forage Activity

The most important key to catching several good bass in any water is finding them in a feeding mood. Knowing the whereabouts of the major bass forage in specific waters is the beginning to successful angling. The activity of the forage can be correlated with the behavior of the bass and a relationship can be formulated. With an awareness of the forage and its environment and the response of their predator, the bass, the angler has a better chance to turn this knowledge into actual stringer weight.

As you take a look at the forage of the bass, try to develop an understanding or realization that to catch the most bass, the bait or lures should be, or closely resemble, the most prominent forage in the particular body of water that is being fished.

We should form a basis for lure selection methodology from that premise. Match the artificial lure (or bait, for that matter) to the forage in all aspects. Not only consider action as most anglers have in the past, but also key the size and finish to the species of forage that inhabits the areas that are being fished.

As one specie of forage moves in to inhabit a particular area, such as crappie moving shallow to spawn, then concentrate angling in that location with a small crappie-painted plug. It makes better sense to rely on a more realistic lure than one that does not resemble any of the area's major inhabitants. Although water fowlers have fooled their wary targets at times with crude decoys, most now realize that it takes an authentic replica to entice most ducks. Good bass anglers aren't far behind.

Trolling a deep running plug which resembles the threadfin shad through deep water harboring that forage, would probably take the most bass in such an area. Other lures which come closest to imitating the action and the look of a prevalent forage in a particular area should produce best in that place. Selecting an appropriate lure and following that forage fish is the easiest way to better bass fishing.

Big Bass Magic by Doug Hannon with W. Horace Carter

The Shallow Water Wonder, Pg. 190-192


I named this rig because of its swimming action which represents a live eel or water snake more closely than any lure I have seen. I hate to admit it for fear of being perceived as a specialist, but I have caught more bass on this lure than on others combined. In fact, while many people think that it takes big lures to catch big fish, I caught 12 bass in excess of 10 pounds on this lure one summer. I feel a little strange talking about a product that is marketed by Burke Lures under my name, but I guess that also qualifies me to tell you how to fish it-from the "horse's mouth", so to speak.

The key to this lure is action. Years ago I noticed that the swimming motions of eels, snakes - and even most fish, for that matter - involved the body behind the head. The head actually tracks in a fairly straight line, while the body undulates to propel the animal through the water. All lures seemed to have an unnatural, side-to-side head action caused by the forward mounting of the bill or lip.

I decided that a lure which employed a truly natural swimming action might be deadly for big fish and chose the flexible-bodied plastic worm as the easiest to work with. By bending and handshaping long-shanked hooks, I was able to create one that, when threaded into a worm, would form it into a natural swimming shape. The body, not the head, produced the swimming action. Enough history. Here's a description of the rig and the way I fish it.

The "swimmin' worm" consists of a four-ball, black chain swivel with an approximately 12-inch camouflaged leader attached to the hook, and a straight-tailed, 6-inch plastic worm. Less than 4-feet of water requires that no weight be used. Sometimes I add a worm weight, starting with 1/8 ounce and going heavier, as the water gets deeper.

The key to fishing this lure most effectively is to force yourself not to ham up your retrieve with a lot of twitches and other induced moves which only spoil the natural swimming action of the worm. The fisherman who settles on a simple, slow and steady retrieve will enjoy the greatest success.

I hold my rod tip low and off to one side, watch the worm, and slow the retrieve to a minimum speed which induces a good swimming action. When I feel a tap or see a big fish rush over and eat the lure (and, in shallow water, you often do), I continue a slow retrieve until the line gets slightly tight. Then I reach forward to get some slack line and hammer her.

Be careful not to let the bass have too much time with this lure. With the minimal weight and rigging, fish think it is real and quickly swallow it, resulting in deeply-hooked fish.

Really, as with all shallow water presentation, the objects you should fish are fairly obvious. Most visible structure is a potential fish-holder, and you should retrieve the lure as close to it as possible.

While this rig has an exposed hook point and is not totally weedless, the hook swims nestled in the natural bend of the lure body. This allows you to work the worm in and around most light cover and very close to heavy cover. Another real plus with this lure is that it can be electric-trolled or drifted over shallow flats, covering a lot of water very effectively.

Roland Martin's 101 Bass-Catching Secrets

14 Jigs: Big Bass Lure for All Seasons, Pg. 58-60

It was during a five-month period in 1980-81 that I was fortunate enough to accomplish something that has been called one of the most phenomenal feats in all of sports.

It was during that time that I won an unprecedented three consecutive Bass Anglers Sportsman Society tournaments, an accomplishment that the outdoor press has ranked with Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and the Miami Dolphins' perfect 17-0 season in 1971.I don't know about that, but I believe it is a record that won't soon be equaled.

The thought of being able to outdistance the nation's top pros in three consecutive contests was unimaginable to many-until it occurred. The streak started with 48 pounds of Lake Okeechobee bass. I followed that with a whopping 84 pounds of Toledo Bend largemouths and 43 pounds from Lake Eufala.

I was definitely on a roll and extremely efficient during that stretch. But if you ask me to cite a common denominator between the three victories, I would single out my skill as a jig fisherman.

Jigs are my favorite bait for most lakes in this country and I'll tell you why. I've probably had more success with that lure as anything I've ever fished. It played a significant role in my three straight wins. The last four tournaments I've won came on a combination of baits and the jig-and-pig played a big role in each.

That's quite a statement of confidence in a specific lure, particularly considering that I have collected almost $300,000 in B.A.S.S. winnings and won sixteen tournaments and nine Angler of the Year awards in the process.

From my experience with the rubber-skirted lead-headed lures in lakes and rivers all over America, 1 have come to consider the Jig-particularly the jig-and-pig combination-to be the best big-bass bait of all in a wide variety of conditions. I believe the ability of the jig to produce large bass can be attributed to the fact that it resembles one of the bass' favorite food sources-crawfish. And a major reason why jigs are effective in radically different waters in all parts of the country stems from the fact that crawfish are a prevalent food source throughout America.

It is such a great big-bass lure because it simulates a crawfish better than any lure known to man. There's no question that the basic size and shape of a jig and the way it moves and hops emulates a crawfish more than anything else. The addition of a pork chunk makes it look even more like a crawfish.

Crawfish are a big source of protein for bass everywhere. Some southern lakes, particularly the rocky lakes, like Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks, and others like Toledo Bend have a lot of crawfish and, therefore, they are better jig lakes than others. For example, Florida has some lakes that aren't as good for jigs as they are for plastic worms because the basic make-up of the lakes are different from the rocky southern reservoirs and they have fewer crawfish. But Okeechobee sure fooled me.

Despite living on massive Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida for the past six years, I rarely tied on a jig. That all changed when Kentuckian Corbin Dyer used a jig-and-pig to catch 31 pounds (one of the largest seven-fish stringers in B.A.S.S. history) on the final round of the 1985 BASS Master Florida Invitational to come from nowhere to finish third. That opened the minds of many Floridians and others to the productivity of the lure in these shallow, weed-laden lakes.

I should have realized the power of a jig on Okeechobee bass long before Dyer's heroics. Years earlier, Californian Dave Gliebe introduced Floridians to the art of flipping by winning a national tournament on Okeechobee with an amazing 96 pounds-on a jig-and-worm combination. The second-place finisher had more than 60 pounds, a guy named Roland Martin.

The value of fishing a jig on Okeechobee doesn't escape me anymore. I've come to the conclusion that if you want to catch a big fish, use a big jig--anywhere.

Follow the Forage for Better Bass Angling Vol. 1 by Larry Larsen

Chapter 4: FORAGE PREFERENCES, Pg. 55-57

Interaction Beyond "Thin Is In"

BASS HAVE A TREMENDOUS appetite, but studies have shown that they tend to have a preference for a particular forage type. They like a long, thin prey better than they do a short, fat one. They're basically efficiency oriented as is any predator, and that's just a natural course of evolution.

If they can catch something that's long, they can swallow something bigger than they can if it's short. In other words, a fish that has a 4-inch girth and is 8 inches long would obviously have more meat than a fish that is 4 inches long with a 4-inch girth.

"The bass tend to prefer the long thin forage," says big bass specialist, Doug Hannon. "I think that's why the injured minnow plugs are such successful lures. I can hold lures up to the window of my tank, different sized lures and different shapes, and watch the fish come to them. In a lot of cases, they'll come right up to the glass if they're interested and wait for it to move. If it is moved in a certain way, they'll hammer the glass after it."

"They'll come right to a thin, minnow-type lure just held in your hand," he says. "When you put the shorter lures, or fat lures up there, the bass will hold their position if they're interested. They'll wait there a while before slowly backing away. When you replace it with a long lure, they come right back to you."

Doug has learned much about bass forage and the behavior of bass through studying "specimens" in his tank. Several years ago, he constructed a large, circular "study" tank in his backyard some twenty feet from Lake Keystone, near Tampa. The brick and cement structure is aerated and has glass "panels" around the perimeter for viewing bass behavior. He observes lunker bass foraging as though they are not in captivity.

Through personal observations, Doug has discovered various facts pertaining to the feeding motivation and Preferences of bass over 10pounds. His "lab" specimens are personally caught for introduction into the study facility. He has watched and studied them night and day for several years. His analysis of the results contribute important facts for potential lunker bass fishermen around the country and should be noted.

Big Bass Magic by Doug Hannon with W. Horace Carter

Bass Love Wood, Pg. 247

I found the old, tattered issue of the outdoor magazine in a musty stack of books in the farthest reaches of the library. I guess I was 12 years old when I leafed through the pages, finally coming upon the article I was after. It was a first-person account of that fateful June day in 1932 when George W. Perry hooked and landed the world record largemouth black bass. I remember my heart pounding as Perry relived the moment in his own words.

Funny how you forget more important things, like the capitol of South Dakota or the name of Truman's vice president; to this day, the details of Perry's account seem fresh in my mind. I remember, for example, that it was a dime-store rod and reel he used for that single most important cast in bass fishing history. I also remember Perry's description of "an interesting disturbance next to a large tree lying in the water." Interesting? Possibly the understatement of the century.

The world record bass was taken from a fallen tree. That ought to give you some indication of the importance of wood to bass fishing?

It's true, wood and water make for classic bassin. The cliched painting of the old fisherman in his wooden rowboat, casting a top water plug at cypress stumps while his faithful dog sits attentively at the bow, is testimony to the fact that bass fishing somehow becomes more magic when you toss in a few trees, stumps or blowdowns.

Bass Fishing Fundamentals by Ken Schultz

Chapter 11: Practical boat and Sonar Use, Pg. 204-207


Most of the articles I've seen on bass fishing and bass boating and that give constructive fishing advice seem to imply that every angler is necessarily up in the bow of the boat. Obviously, however, many bass anglers fish from the back of the boat. I've got a few comments that might be helpful to anyone who has occasion to be behind another angler.

In my experience and observation, a fair to moderately skilled bass angler, fishing behind a good angler, will do poorer during the course of a day than his companion. Yet a good angler fishing behind a fair or moderately skilled angler, will do as well as, if not better than, his companion. A good angler who fishes at a moderate pace will generally get first crack at most of the better bass cover. I believe the first cast to a likely bass hole is the most important one. That's why I emphasize the importance of accurate casting and good presentation. A good easter can conceivably hit every prime spot along a particular section of cover or shoreline. Where you are positioned in the boat is less important than your skill in casting and presentation.

There are two attitudes to consider in this subject-that of the boat operator and that of his guest. If the operator, or forward angler, is incapable of precision boar handling and positioning, he can unintentionally make fishing more difficult for his companion. If his attitude is not one of fairness and fellowship, then he is likely to try to hog every fish-catching opportunity. When I have friends in the boat with me, I try to take into consideration their general fishing skill and their casting abilities. It's not necessary to tell good anglers what to do. When we work a shoreline, for instance, I'11 cast to every other good spot, leaving my friend good fishing opportunities, which he recognizes. With some anglers, I may deliberately not cast first to a good spot, but point it out to them and give them first opportunity. If you're friends and you're interested in a good time, fun fishing, and success for both of you, I think this is the way things should be.

If you're the guy in the back and you're not satisfied with the opportunities you're getting, say so. Simply ask to have the boat positioned the way you need it (e.g., closer or further from shore). I've been in this situation many times, and sometimes it's not a bad idea to give the guy in the bow a subtle message by casting up ahead of him or by going right up to the bow and casting shoulder·to· shoulder. Sometimes, in fact, such as when flipping in close quarters, it is best for both anglers to be in the bow, or the stem angler will never get a chance at the right spots. In my opinion, two anglers in a boat should be working with, not against, each other. In addition to getting equal opportunities, they can be using different tactics and different lures, trying to figure out where the fish are and what they'll take. This complementary approach can mean better fishing for both anglers.

In the end, this matter boils down to individual attitudes, skills, and a sense of fairness. Many times I'll invite someone to fish in the bow of my bass boat when conditions warrant it. Or I'll work the boat so they can have the proper angle for a cast at a particular spot. I expect they'd do the same for me. If someone wants to hog everything or complain all the time, then I won't fish with him.

One last important point, regarding shoreline fishing from the back of the boat, concerns how you work a shoreline, or weedline edge, or in general follow a straight path along some type of cover. The angler in the back should not fish parallel to or behind a moving boat. Let's say you're working parallel to the bank, bow on the left and stem on the right. You're in the stem and the boat is moving slowly down the shore in the direction the bow is facing. As you face the shore, you have a casting range that arcs roughly 180 degrees. Your best fishing chances, best presentation efforts, and best lure working occur in the first half of that are. A lure cast up ahead will cover more ground than will one cast perpendicular to the boat or behind an imaginary perpendicular line. It will work more naturally; a lure cast behind a moving boat leans sideways and runs erratically. And you will generally cast it more precisely. This fact applies equally to anglers fishing in the front or the back, but for some reason back-of-the-boat anglers seem to ignore it more.

Roland Martin's 101 Bass-Catching Secrets

55 Poppers: Attention Getters, Pg. 278

Popping bugs are one of my favorite patterns for catching largemouths. While the Peck's Popper with a No. 2 hook and a concave mouth has been my old standby, this past year I found an excellent bug made in Norfork, Va. It looks like the Peck's bug, but it has epoxy rather than paint and it's the strongest, finest bug I've ever seen. I bounced it off numerous cypress trees along the North River near Currituck Sound, N.C., and I caught twenty to thirty bass per day on it, and yet it still looks brand new. Most popping bugs are fragile; the paint gets knocked off the head and the hook works loose from the cork. But this bug is super-strong.

One advantage with a popping bug is that even with 6- or 8-pound leader, when you set the hook with that limber rod you hardly ever lose a bass. The bug hook is light wire and sharp, and I sharpen them even more. Once you hook a fish, you very seldom lose it. Lots of times a largemouth will inhale that bug and you'll hook him in his tongue area. This is really a super place to hook one. About the only way you'll lose a bass on a bug is if he breaks your leader. When he jumps, he doesn't get the leverage from the light bug to throw the hook that he does if you hook him on a 5/8-ounce topwater plug.

All you have to do is nurse him along. Hold your rod high in the air and put some pressure on him-not too much-by holding the line. In lakes with lots of cover, they easily can dive into the brush or pads and break your leader. This is a problem at Okeechobee and Kissimmee and on the east shore of Lake George in Florida. But in an open lake like Lac LaCroix, you never have to worry about even a 5pounder wrapping up and breaking your leader.



End of expert fishing tips

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