Fishing The Spawn (Do Stages Really Matter)
9:30 AM | Author: Tech Tactical

Spring is here and we’re all thinking about the spawn. What an exciting time of year! No other season brings more excitement, more enthusiasm and bigger hopes and dreams than spring time and the spawn. The big females start moving up, feeding heavily and getting in shape for the spawn and we’ve all got our eyes on them.

Depending on your location, the spawn can occur anywhere from late January through mid June. Breaking the spawn down into stages will make your springtime fishing more successful. The mistake many of us make is thinking that we should be able to go into any cove or shallow water flat, get on any bank or point and catch fish simply because it’s spring.

That may sometimes be true but you need to look for the “right” points, coves, flats and banks to increase your odds of catching that spawn hawg. We’ll break the spawn down into three phases and look closely at each one.

Pre-spawn coincides with lengthening daylight and the first short warming trends. Once the water temp reaches the high 40- to low 50-degree mark, the big females start making short ventures into the shallows to feed and cruise. This almost always happens on the north end of the lake first – it’s usually shallower and the water has more color to it, causing it to warm quicker. The northwestern parts and feeder creeks of the lake will warm up first because they’re exposed to the sun longer during the day and they’re also protected from the north wind that is predominate that time of year. The northern part of your lake is a good place to start early in the season.

With the water temps still fairly low, the fish’ metabolism is still slow – this means our presentation should also be slow. A logical bait of choice is a crawfish imitator and it’s effective throughout the different pre-spawn stages. A jig with a craw trailer extremely effective, but don’t overlook a Texas-rigged tube or craw worm either. Lipless crankbaits in varying shades of reds and yellows are really popular here in Texas, and my favorites are the Lucky Craft LVR-D7 and LVR-D10’s in Tomato Craw and Winter Craw.These are the baits I’ll start throwing all the way through the pre-spawn stage right on into the post spawn. Everyone has a confidence bait, so use yours, but don’t overlook the ones I’ve mentioned here.

I fish anywhere from two to eighteen feet early in the spawn. Isolated clumps of grass (hydrilla or milfoil), stumps and standing timber along creek channel bends with shallow flats nearby are good places to target.

When the water temp starts staying in the low to mid fifties, we’ve reached the second “phase” of pre-spawn. The fish become more active and begin aggressively feeding. This is a good time to tie on your favorite lipless crankbait , spinner baits, shallow diving crankbaits and the ever popular Senko and Kut Tail worms. Keep in mind, “big” girls like big meals but they don’t want to expend a lot of energy feeding. Would you get up and walk across the street for half a peanut-butter sandwich? You might for a 16-oz ribeye!

The third and final phase of the pre-spawn is when the water temp moves into the high fifties to low sixties. The fish have moved up, they’re actively feeding and they’re looking for a place to spawn. Now is a great time to throw Senkos and Kut Tails in shallow cover, flip and pitch jigs in cover, throw lipless cranks and spinner baits on flats, in the backs of coves and on points leading into these areas. Don’t forget about those northwest banks and coves – fish like to spawn in the warmest areas that are protected from the north wind.

The actual spawn can be tricky so let’s break it down into phases to make things a little easier. Watching for fish you can see will pretty much tell you what you need to know and how much time to spend trying to catch a fish off her bed. The male will move up first to get things ready, then find a female and bring her to the bed. Males will be the easiest caught during this time but they’re usually smaller than the females and probably aren’t what you’re looking for. Not that they’re not fun to catch – it’s their job to protect the nest and they take their jobs seriously, so they can be quite aggressive.

When you locate a pair on the bed you should immediately notice one of three moods. Early in the bedding process, fish will spook easy and act timid. If they’re spooked off the bed they might cruise nearby and not come back to the bed very readily. These fish are hard to catch and I usually won’t spend much time on them.

The second scenario will consist of the fish staying on the bed when you cruise near them, but they’ll usually take off, swim around and come back to the bed when you cast to them. This mood holds my interest a little longer. When they take off and come back to the bed, each time they’ll come back a little faster, more agitated and aggravated until they’ll finally bite. Sometimes it can take as little as five or ten minutes, but I have actually spent several hours with no bite! Because you can actually see the fish, it can be very exciting and very frustrating at the same time. Experience bed fishing will tell you if you’re going to get them to bite.

Finally, you’ll locate a fish and it stays put. You cast to the bed and it stays put, but as soon as you work your lure onto the bed it flares its gills and noses down on the bait. These are the easiest spawning fish to catch because they’re locked on the bed. They’re committed to spawn and they aren’t leaving. The most common problem you’ll usually encounter here is getting your bait past the male. I have at times had to put the male in the live well long enough for me to catch the female, then turn them both loose to get back to doing what Mother Nature intended.

I may have made this sound a lot easier than it really is, but, in a nutshell, this is how it works. There is always the exception to the rule, but this is what I’ve found during the spawn.

Post Spawn
This can be the best time or the worst time to catch a fish. The fish have just gone through a very tiring, labor intensive process and a lot of times they’ll just suspend. They’ve gone a week or two without eating so you’d think they’d be hungry, right? Wrong. They need to rest before they’ll start feeding and getting ready for the summer pattern.

These fish are normally the hardest to catch. They’re worn out and only interested in one thing: rest! They’ll usually move out to the nearest deep water and suspend. Dropshotting, crankbaits and spoons such as the Lake Fork Tackle Flutter Spoon work well on these suspended fish, but it requires a lot of patience. I normally go on looking for more cooperative fish.

Toward the end of this resting period they’ll start on a feeding binge and this is again a much easier time to catch them. From here on out they start moving back into their summer pattern. I love top water baits early and late in the day and reaction baits throughout the day. I’ll actually throw top water such as the Sugoi Splash off and on all day and get lots of good fish on clear, blue, sun shiny days with fast moving top water baits. This is a good time for frog fishing as well.

Keep in mind is that all three spawning phases can overlap and might be occurring at the same time. The north end of the lake may be in post spawn while the south end is in pre-spawn and mid-lake is full blown spawn. The overlap can become a bit crazier when you find them in spawning and post spawn stages in the same cove!

I try to fish the stage I like to best until the fish tell me I’m wrong. Don’t let them beat you! It’s just fishing and they will be on one pattern or the other – it’s your job to figure it out.

With the spawn nothing is carved in stone. Try different lures and tactics and please remember to practice catch and release. Weigh them, measure them, take their picture and turn ‘em loose for another battle another day!

Tip Via - Gary Yamamoto Inside Line

Other Spawning Bass Articles:

Field and Stream

Bama Bass Fishing

Google Earth powerful data for bass fishermen!
2:56 PM | Author: Tech Tactical

Recent advancements with Virtual Globe software and geospatial mapping are having a profound effect on the bass fishing world. Never before have anglers had access to the depth of information provided by the tools we outline in this production video. You'll learn the latest techniques for lake and river analysis, as well as the many hidden features that offer powerful data for bass fishermen.

I heard someone ask a touring pro one time, you know, what do you do before you get out on the lake.. how do you prepare? How are you able to go out onto a body of water that is thousands of acres, and be able to find those few spots that hold heavy concentrations of fish? Well the Pro was pretty quick with his answer, he told the guy.... I study maps.. He said, "if there are 3 different maps for that lake, I want all 3".

There's a saying in the bass fishing world, when it comes to dissecting a bass fishery, it's not about finding the good water, it's about eliminating the bad. Standard map study can help you do just that by giving you a detailed overview of the entire lake. But for this video, I'm going to assume that most every one of you has done map study to prepare for a day's fishing. What I'm going to show you is a unique set of tools, not papers, that will give you an unparalleled look at your body of water. I feel confident that many of the tools and hidden features within these tools will be completely new to you, and I'm excited to share with you what I've learned about them and how they've impacted my success. So... let's get started.

All the tools I'm going to share with you are either software applications you will need to have installed or web applications you can view online through your browser. They are completely free, and along the way I will provide the URL's to the websites where you can download and/or access the tools and features.

We've also created a page at that provides all the downloads and links to what we show, so feel free to watch this video without interruption then afterwards visit that page for an overview of this video with all the related links.

The first thing I want to talk about is Virtual Globe software. Many of you are already very familiar with this category of software, having used the most notable virtual globe application, Google Earth. If you are familiar with Google Earth and have used it many times, GOOD... because I don't want to spend time giving a tutorial on what it is and how to navigate within it. That's not what this video is. I want to get right to the good stuff that's relevant to anglers using this software.

But don't worry if all this stuff is brand new to you, you will be able to quickly pickup on how it works and at the end, we'll provide some resources for learning more about using these applications. And shortly in this video, we're going to also be covering some very interesting features in other applications provided by NASA, GeoGarage, Microsoft and more. You will quickly realize that no one program gives you what you want, but by combining all the available tools and being able to make sense of them, you have access to powerful information that will allow you to become a better fisherman.
Let's kick things off by diving into Google Earth.

First things first, if you don't have Google earth, simply go to Google and type in "Google Earth". Click on the first listing and see this blue button here, just click that and download Earth to your desktop. Close your browsers and run the installer. After installation you can launch directly into Google earth.

And here we are at the, what's commonly termed, blue marble. At this point we can venture to any part of the globe through either keyboard or mouse. The navigation functions within Google Earth are outstanding, but like I said, I'm not going to cover navigation, I want to get right to the stuff that's related to bass fishing. We'll provide some resources at the end that do a great job explaining how to use the mouse and keyboard to navigate quickly inside this software.

Before we begin, I'm going to want you to do a couple things so that both you and I are in sync. Google earth by default has a lot of stuff turned on that isn't relevant to us at this moment and it's only going to clutter the screen and slow things down. So for now, I want you to just collapse the search panel, and turn off or uncheck a couple things in the layers panel. You want to uncheck pretty much everything except for borders and labels, which I pretty much leave on all the time, and terrain, which I leave on most of the time as well. Everything else you can turn off for now.

So just to give you an example of how you can perform some basic fishing reconnaissance, let's zoom into a spot on the Potomac River in Maryland named Piscataway Creek. I already have this spot cued up here in my Places panel.

Okay... so here we are at Piscataway Creek on the Potomac River. You'll notice that there is a marina right here, that is Fort Washington Marina, a place I have been launching from for many years, so I am very familiar with these waters.

You can see, as I move around the creek here, how detailed the satellite imagery is even at low altitudes. Let's zoom back out so we can see the creek in its entirety again.

Immediately you can see that Google Earth's imagery tells a story about this creek. Because this is a tidal river, current flow is very evident in these pictures.

You can see that some of the water looks very muddy and some of the water is green, which represents clearer water. Now as an example, I know from my experience that Potomac River bass can shut down pretty hard when the river muddies up from recent heavy rains, and when that happens, the key is to search the river to find those areas that still have some clear water that bass can ambush prey in.

Now if I'm going fishing on a day where I know the river just muddied up, I can use Google Earth beforehand to find definitive areas where the water will be clearer because of tidal flow and bottom contours.

Because this is a tidal river, things can be drastically different depending on which tide we're looking at, so first thing I need to do is determine, by looking at this imagery, if the tide is incoming or outgoing at this very moment. At first glance it's difficult to tell, but there are a few giveaways that tell me the tide is outgoing in these satellite images.

Take a look at the eastern end of this cove. You'll see that the outgoing tidal flow is hitting that small secondary point head on and the silt is being swept out and over it, telling me the current is going from right to left... and outgoing tide.

If you take a look at the back of Piscataway Creek, you'll also notice a small feeder creek that is dumping fresh, clear water into the muddy backwaters of the main creek. We can be reasonably confident that this too points to an outgoing tide.

So knowing what we know now about this creek, just from a few quick observations, I now have some clues to where I can find some clearer water in this creek if I'm going to be fishing it in potentially muddy conditions.

So let's say I plan on flipping the pilings and docks at Ft. Washington Marina. Using Google Earth, I can see that there will very likely be clearer water around the middle boat slips on each pier.

I know from experience that another very popular and productive spot in Piscataway Creek is the first small cove at the north mouth. You can see that the back part of the cove is staying clearer than the rest of the creek because of its protection from the outgoing mud by this small secondary point. I can see here that there are numerous laydowns and even an interesting piece of cover that looks manmade. Also because the current is being blocked and a mudline is created, it would be worth checking out this point here.

So as you can see, Google Earth can be a very valuable tool for finding potential fishing spots and analyzing the water in various conditions. Let's now take a look at some other useful features in Google Earth for anglers.

Here we are back at Piscataway Creek on the Potomac. One thing I've noticed is that when looking at the water from a direct overhead view, it's hard to visualize what you see here, with what you'll see when you get out on the water.

One thing that can make it easier for you is to look at the water in Google Earth at a more natural perspective. If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, simply press and hold that scroll wheel down and move your mouse to change your plane of perspective. Looking at the water from a lower vantage point can do wonders for your memory when you're actually on the water trying to match what you are seeing in real life, to what you saw here in Google Earth.

A very helpful feature for anglers inside Google Earth is called "Virtual Touring". If you are going to a explore new bodies of waters or new areas, Virtual Touring will allow you to quickly do a fly-over to get an idea of what things look like, and what visible cover and structure is available. It's the most effective way to explore new areas without having to motor around it for hours on end.

Let's take a Virtual Tour of Piscataway Creek here. You'll need to create what's called a Path by clicking on this button here. Give it a name and one more thing that helps, click the 'Style and Color' Tab and drop the opacity to 30%. Opacity is just another word for transparency.

Now before you click OK, move this window out of the way and start drawing a path around the area you want to tour. With creeks like this, I like to draw the path just inside the shoreline. Just a rough outline will suffice most of the time. Then when you're done, bring that path window back in view and Click OK.

So now we have a path that will allow us to sit back and take a tour of this creek's shoreline. To start the tour, all you do is highlight the Path you just created and click play in the Places panel.

Now here is why this feature is so valuable. First off, it allows you to cover lots of water at a perspective that will make this imagery easy to remember when you're out on the water. Remember, your mind has a hard time matching up imagery that is viewed at totally different perspectives, so you'll find that by looking at the water from a lower vantage point, it will give you a greater level of familiarity with your surroundings when you're out on the water.

Also as we go around, you can see cover and structure quite easily. You can make notes about laydowns and other wood cover, and structure such as points, mudlines, and so one. It's really like doing a fly-over in a plane. To stop the tour simply hit the stop button in your Places panel.

Now I should mention that when you hit play, your altitude and field of perspective may be different than what you are seeing here on mine. In fact, it probably will be.

So what you'll need to do is setup an altitude and a camera angle for your virtual tours that you think gives you the greatest vision. You do that by going to 'Tools'->'Options...', then click on the Touring Tab, and you'll need to set your touring and camera settings in here. You can get the same settings as me by just copying these values into yours.

Before we move on to some of the hidden goodies and add-on features with Google Earth, I really want to stress the importance of being able to look at things from more natural perspectives. You need to get out of the habit of viewing everything from directly overhead, your mind won't be able to sync it up with what you see out on the water.

I'm going to keep using Piscataway Creek as our example because I want you to get a feel for how different things look viewed from different angles.

Real quick, let me just show you what I will do to look at a particular shoreline I want to check out. Let's take this first cove here. Just take a moment to watch how I might look around.

We're going to come back to Google Earth in a bit, but we've covered it enough now to see that it has some major advantages. But, it does have some drawbacks. Google Earth is nothing more really than photos. It's satellite imagery.

As anglers, we're used to topographic charts showing contour lines. Contour maps are pretty simplistic, but it does give us a much more informed look at the lake bottom. So is there a way to get the best of both worlds? Can we get topographic contour maps in addition to the stunning satellite imagery? The answer is yes. Here are the best methods to view contour charts in virtual globe software.

So how can we get all these same features and functionality out of Google Earth, but instead of using satellite imagery, use topographic maps instead. To do this you need to download an add-on, so open up your browser and go to The Global Biodiversity Information Facility offers something called a KML file that overlays USGS topo charts on Google Earth. A KML file is basically just a data file that Google Earth can read.

You need to download the one for the United States, it's the second link here. And it will ask you whether you want to save it or open it, it might say run instead of open. If you have Google Earth, just click run or open.

When you open the KML file, it will open Google Earth and add a new section to your Places Panel under 'Temporary Places'. You need to move that from your 'Temporary Places' to 'My Places'. So drag it up to 'My Places'. This way it saves this KML data so you won't need to redownload it again. It will stay in Google Earth for your use.

Also, expand this new data section and click on the 'Arial Photography' subset. Press Delete on your keyboard and delete it. You don't need that part of it. One more thing, rename the parent file to something more familiar by right clicking on the parent and choosing 'Properties', then give it the name, "USGS Topos".

Now to turn on the topographic map overlay, simply checkmark the data entry in the places panel. As you can see, this overlays an incredibly detailed contour map over the Potomac River, right here in Google Earth. In fact, this contour map is better than any paper map I've ever found for the Potomac, so I'm sure there are a lot of Potomac River anglers right now with open mouths. You can see it is an extremely accurate overlay by clicking turning this layer on and off in the places panel.

I Tested this out myself being a HUGE fan of Google Earth and I was seriously impressed by this article and the links it provides so I had to share it here at Basskicker. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Google Earth Resources

GeoGarage Resources

NASA World Wind Resources

Microsoft Virtual Earth

Tip Via - Bass

Invasive Fish Threatening Bass Habitat!
12:18 PM | Author: Tech Tactical
Bassmaster Mike Iaconelli's Wild-n-Crazy Style!
11:18 AM | Author: Tech Tactical

MIKE IACONELLI won the 2003 Bassmaster Classic. In only five years of professional fishing, he has won four majors and earned close to a million dollars. He’s been fishing regularly since he was two years old. His list of sponsors includes Dick’s Sporting Goods, Yamaha outboards, Ranger Boats, Mann’s Bait Company, Fitovers Eyewear, Stren fishing lines, Daiwa tackle, Tru-Tungsten weights, and Carolina Lunker Sauce. He lives in New Jersey.

With his colorful tattoos and booming hip-hop sound track, Mike Iaconelli has turned the world of big-money competitive bass fishing upside down. In his book Fishing on the Edge, Iaconelli tells his own story–and it’s a whopper: a Philly-born, Jersey-bred Yankee who’s been stealing the spotlight from bass fishing’s traditionally all-Southern anglers, attracting fans and dominating one of the fastest-growing sports in America.

How did Mike Iaconelli, a college-educated kid from New Jersey, come blasting into a sport
dominated by old-school stars like Gary Klein, Kevin VanDam, and Denny Brauer? How did Mike, aka “Ike,” take a secret childhood passion and turn it into a profession, earning million-dollar sponsorships and a storm of media attention, ranging from ESPN’s SportsCenter to profiles in The New York Times and Esquire? While Mike has attracted both fans and foes on the tour, his success speaks for itself, especially his victory at the 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic, the Super Bowl of competitive fishing.

Forty-four million Americans fish, but no one does it quite like Mike Iaconelli. In Fishing on the Edge, he lets you in on the secrets to his extraordinary success–how he developed his “power” fishing style, how he attacks the water, positions the boat, and perseveres through those days when the bass just aren’t biting. With sidebar tips that can be used by any fisherman–from using spinner baits to picking out the right rod to his no-fail “secret weapons”–this is an intensive, informative, and often raucous journey through the life of a brash young man destined to do for fishing what Tony Hawk did for the X Games: take the sport to a whole new level. At the same time, it’s the compelling first-person story of a man who prepared carefully every step of the way, kept notes on every fish he ever caught, and executed the perfect plan to get to the top.

A tale of passion, competition, and extreme personality, Fishing on the Edge is a book for anyone who loves the sport of fishing, wants to turn a hobby into a career, or is simply fascinated by a man’s unstoppable drive to succeed.

Fishing on the Edge book:

World Record Largemouth Bass!
10:11 AM | Author: Tech Tactical

World Record Largemouth Bass Angler: George W. Perry
Caught: June 2, 1932
Weight: 22 pounds, 4 ounces
Location: Telfair County, Ga.
Lure: Creek Chub Fintail Shiner
Disposition: Cleaned and eaten

For 74 years, the persistent ghost of George W. Perry's world record largemouth bass has haunted its detractors. The problem, many have said, is that it's hard to swallow the story of the 22-pound, 4-ounce fish without being able to see it. Ever since the Georgia bass was landed on June 2, 1932, and later certified by Field & Stream magazine as the reigning world record, no photograph had been found to document the feat. Now a photo, salvaged from the personal effects of a distant Perry relative, has been found - taunting naysayers who believe the fish wasn't as big as it was said to be, or perhaps wasn't a largemouth bass at all.

"There is no doubt in my mind it's the world-record bass," said Bill Baab, who retired from The Augusta Chronicle in 2000 after 35 years as its outdoors editor - and who helped authenticate the mysterious snapshot. Baab knows plenty about Perry and his bass. In a recent book, Forbes senior writer Monte Burke refers to Baab as "the world's leading authority on the story of George Perry's fish, and the story's most tenacious guardian." The photo, likely taken near the post office and general store in Helena, Ga., was found by Waycross, Ga., resident Jerry Johnson while going through his late aunt's belongings. "The aunt was a relative of Perry's," Baab said. Johnson sent the photo to a Florida magazine editor, who in turn sent it to the International Game Fish Association, which ran the photo in its magazine, International Angler, last fall.

That's when Lee Howard, an IFGA member and fishing outfitter in Hiawassee, Ga., noticed the photo and launched a more detailed investigation. "Once Lee got involved, he was able to dig up the history," Baab said, noting that Howard used genealogical records to connect the Johnson and Perry families and made several trips to Telfair County, where the fish was caught. "He even showed the picture around in nursing homes to see if they recognized the people in it," he said.

The photo shows a man with a cigarette in his mouth holding the giant fish as a child poses in the foreground. Their identities, Baab said, remain a mystery, although there is a possibility that the "smoking man" could be Jack Page, the older companion Perry often named as his fishing partner that day on Montgomery Lake. Being caught in a small town in the Depression era, a big fish likely caused quite a stir that day, Baab said, theorizing that more than one photo could have been taken. "This one was taken and probably forgotten," he said. "People take pictures and put them in a family album and they're put on a shelf somewhere and nobody thinks about it anymore." Perry, a 20-year-old farmer, went fishing that day only because it was too wet to work in the fields. In a 1969 interview with Sports Afield, Perry recalled the famous strike: "All at once the water splashed everywhere. I do remember striking, then raring back and trying to reel, but nothing budged," he said. "I thought for sure I'd lost the fish, that he'd dived and hung me up.

" When they took the fish into town, someone mentioned Field & Stream's big fish contest, which spurred Perry to have the fish weighed and measured. He not only won the contest, and $75 in sporting equipment but also reeled in a place in history. Although Perry's record still stands, an even larger bass was caught in April 2006 in California, but the angler opted not to submit the fish as a new record because it was foul-hooked, contrary to state law. That fish, caught by Mac Weakley, weighed 25 pounds, 1 ounce and was released. The Perry fish photo is a logical conclusion to the discovery several years ago of correspondence between Perry and the Creek Chub Bait Co. of Garrett, Ind., who manufactured the Fintail Shiner lure used to land the big bass.

One letter in particular, dated June 3, 1935, hinted that there might have been photos taken after all: "You will remember that in 1932 I landed the present worlds (sic) record Large Mouth Black Bass that weighed 221/4 pounds," Perry wrote to Creek Chub. "You will also remember me sending you a photo of the 221/4-pound bass. "The photo was, however, not a real good photo," Perry continued. "I now have a real good picture of myself and the Big Bass together, so if you would like to have a copy, I will be pleased to let you use it in your advertising." All Perry asked for in return was a handful of Creek Chub lures. In a response dated later that month, Creek Chub accepted Perry's offer. "We would like to have a picture of the big bass you mention for our files and will be glad to reimburse you for it," the company wrote.

However, the company's records contain no record of having used or published such a photo. Perry spent his adult years in Brunswick, Ga., where he became a self-taught pilot and businessman. He died in 1974, at the age of 61, when the plane he was flying crashed into a hillside near Birmingham, Ala. With him died the remaining details of his famous catch.

Full Article:
Another George Perry Article: World Record Bass

New potential world-record bass?
9:48 AM | Author: Tech Tactical

CARLSBAD, Calif. — "Chaos has broken out."

Well, what do you expect when you notify the media that you boated a potential world-record bass?

That was the story at the home of Mac Weakley, who early this morning caught a mammoth largemouth on tiny Dixon Lake in southern California that he and his longtime fishing partners Mike Winn and Jed Dickerson weighed out at 25.1 pounds on a hand-held digital scale.

If that weight stands up it would shatter what is considered to be the granddaddy of angling records — the 22¼-pound largemouth bass taken in 1932 at Georgia's Montgomery Lake by George Washington Perry.

"I feel good, awesome, in fact," said Weakley, 32, of Carlsbad, Calif, who used a white jig with a skirt and rattle on 15-pound line to boat the brute. "I'm just stoked to see a fish that big."

Claimed by many to be a mark that could never be eclipsed, the largemouth-bass record has become the thing of legends. It's the Joe DiMaggio 56-game hitting streak of the angling world.

"It's simply because there are people who are out there who didn't think a bass can grow to more than 22.25 pounds," said James Hall, editor of Bassmaster magazine. "It's because of how elusive the record has been for so many years."


Fortunately for the naysayers, the fish was documented by anglers with impressive resumes — Weakley and Dickerson each already are officially recognized for boating top-15 bass of all-time at Dixon Lake — and they claim to have witnesses, photo evidence of the catch and video documentation of today's behemoth on the scale.

"There is no smoke and mirrors," Hall said.

Dickerson believes the 25.1-pounder is the exact same fish that vaulted him to the No. 4 spot on The Bassmaster Top 25 list when he caught her on a swimbait May 31, 2003, at Dixon Lake — a drop-in-the-bucket, 72-acre impoundment in San Diego County. He knows this because she has the same distinguishing black beauty mark under her right gill plate. Back then she weighed 21.7 pounds, and quite clearly she still is a big fish in a small lake.

"It's the same fish I caught three years ago," said Dickerson, 33, a casino-industry employee from Oceanside, Calif. "I knew this was a world record before we even weighed it. It's the biggest, most ferocious bass in that lake, guaranteed."

Obviously Weakley and his crew have elevated the art of catch and release to catch and recycle.

But, like any good fishing story, this one comes with several intriguing sidebars. There's the fact that the fish was foul-hooked. That it wasn't weighed on a certified scale. And, ultimately, that it was released.

All of which will no doubt conspire to make this morning's catch much more difficult to be recognized as a world record.

Weakley, Winn and Dickerson, who fish Dixon Lake as often as five days a week, said they decided to release the spawning fish because they were under the impression it wouldn't qualify as a record since it was foul-hooked.

Only later did they discover that may not be the case.

"It may still qualify," Hall said. "The IGFA (International Game Fish Association) has a pretty vague rule about foul-hooking, which states you cannot intentionally foul-hook a fish."

Weakley now plans to submit his catch — along with photos, video, the line and the scale — for verification by the International Game Fish Association, the most-recognized keeper of angling records.

"We didn't know" about the foul-hooking specifics, he said. "Now we are learning other things about it. If you accidentally foul-hook a fish and you instinctively set the hook, apparently it counts."

We'll certainly learn more about it, also, in the coming weeks as the world-record application is processed.

The International Game Fish Association does not comment on pending records. "It's not official until it's official," said Jason Schratwieser, Conservation director for the Dania Beach, Fla.-based organization and overseer of its World Records Department.

This much Schratwieser was able to share:

  • The IGFA will consider certifying a scale after the fact.
  • It will disqualify any fish determined to have been intentionally foul-hooked.
  • A staff of three to five reviews all applications for record status. "We treat every record the same, whether it's a 1-pound bluegill or the all-tackle largemouth bass," he said.
  • An official decision on record status usually is reached one month after the application is received.

    "It's way too early; this one is really up in the air," Hall said. "Ideally it would have been caught in the mouth and ideally it would not have been released and ideally it would have been weighed on a certified scale.

    "Ultimately, however, the fact that he boated a 25-pound largemouth needs to be recognized."

    No matter the outcome, Weakley can add this fish story to his trove of bass accomplishments. Weakley already has a 19.44-pound bucketmouth — considered No. 15 all-time — to his credit, taken on a swimbait at Dixon Lake on May 20, 2003. (Dixon has yielded one other top-25 bass — Mike Long's 20¾-pounder that was boated on a swimbait April 27, 2001, and that ranks as No. 9.)

    What is it with southern California and big bass? Twenty-one of the top-25 bucketmouths have been caught here. To top it off, largemouth bass aren't even native to the Golden State.

    California imported fast-growing, long-living Florida-strain bucketmouths in the 1950s. Combine these ingredients with a bountiful forage base, including a generous winter stocking of put-and-take, protein-rich, hatchery-reared rainbow trout, and you have a super-size strain of Micropterus salmoides, a k a the largemouth bass.

    And spring is when one can expect to catch the largest of the largemouths. That's when expectant mothers are packed with eggs — sometimes, Hall said, as much as 4 or 5 pounds worth, which represents a possible increase in body weight of up to 25 percent in the case of this morning's bruiser.

    Spring also means sightfishing, when bass are on their beds, and that's a very attractive time for big-bass anglers because they can pick and choose their targets. Since bass can indeed be easy to spot on the spawning grounds they are programmed to safeguard, bedfishing — known in some circles as "robbing the cradle" — is considered controversial by some and downright unethical by others.

    As for today's catch, Dickerson explained that it was raining and dark early this morning when the anglers came across the bedding bass in 12 feet of water. A male — often much smaller than a female in the world of spawning bass — also was on the bed, and it made several stabs at the jig. The fishermen couldn't tell whether the male or female was hitting the jig when Weakley set the hook at about 6:40.

    The fish surged to deeper water, and Winn, who said he was manning the boat, motored toward a nearby dock — where, Weakley explained, three people, including the dock attendant for the city-owned facility in Escondido, Calif., witnessed the action. There Winn fumbled on his initial attempt at netting the fish.

    Yep, Winn swung and missed, which is surprising to anyone who saw him skillfully gaff saltwater fish on the fly when he was a second captain on a charter boat out of Santa Barbara, Calif., in an earlier career.

    "My heart was in my throat," said Winn, 32, of Carlsbad, who now also works in the casino industry. "I was wondering which I would get next — a black eye or a bloody nose."

    In the confusion and excitement that can at times underscore this level of fishing, Winn had picked up a net that wasn't his and was unfamiliar to him.

    "I just grabbed for whatever was closest. I have never, ever missed a fish with my net," Winn explained. " But I got the fish halfway in and it freaked out and kicked out of this other net."

    By this time it was quite apparent that it was the female at line's end, and one extremely large and displeased specimen. It again finned to deeper water, and the pursuers followed in their electric-powered rental boat (all that is permitted for use at this 80-foot-deep reservoir).

    Yet only a few moments later and but five minutes after she was hooked, the big mother was in Winn's net.

    To the anglers' great dismay, however, the fish had been hooked in its side. Soon after that sad discovery — and determining that its own weight might hurt the fish in the handling process — the bassers decided to release it.

    Winn said he hoisted the fish out of the water and did most of the handling, while Dickerson weighed it — on the dock. (The IGFA will only consider for record status a fish weighed on land, Schratwieser said.)

    "This was so big, we thought we were going to break its neck," Weakley said. "But we were confident in the scale. It is without a doubt the world record, so we let it go."

    Hall notes that there is the potential for a lot of cash to be associated with a world-record largemouth bass. It's been fabled by many that such a milestone could be worth $1 million or more to the lucky angler.

    "Had they not released the fish alive — and I think releasing it is the right thing to do — I think they might have made quite a bit of money," Hall said. He surmised that there might be sponsorships from the manufacturers of the gear used to catch the bass and payments for guest appearances with the fish mount on display.

    Hall said they still could get a plastic replica mount made, "But I don't know where in the hell they are going to get a mount that large."

    Whatever happens, Mac Weakley no doubt will become the poster boy for catch and release and, refreshingly, he's all right with that, even if he doesn't break the record or make a dime on his amazing catch.

    "Would I be disappointed? Not at all," said Weakley, who is a supervisor at a casino in Oceanside. "I feel I'm very blessed; everything I care about is family and friends. I really don't care about money.

    "To tell you the truth, I have a good job and I do all right, and I really don't give a (second thought) about it at all. We're more happy just to see that there is a 25-pound bass still living and in this lake."

    Weakley sounded fairly calm at the time of this interview, but Winn said that wasn't exactly the case on the water earlier today. "He was kind of shaken up from the whole thing," Winn said.

    Indeed, Weakley was so out of sorts that he insisted Winn hold up the big bass for the obligatory snapshots. Weakley deferred to his fellow basser for the photo op because of Winn's fish-handling experience as a former charter-boat second captain, Winn said. Weakley obviously had regained confidence in his buddy after Winn's earlier netting troubles.

    "He was afraid he was going to drop the fish," Winn said.

    Weakley was adamant and didn't have to twist Winn's arm too terribly, as Winn explained: "'Grab it,' he said. 'Dude, I can't hold it; I'm afraid I might drop it. Just grab it, dude; I don't care.'"

    Weakley then composed himself long enough to compose the photograph.

    And so Winn gets of a share of the 15 minutes of fame. "People are going to start calling me Mac," he said.

    But in this tight group of fishing friends, it's all in the family, especially when it comes to the pursuit of world-record bass.

  • Apparently I missed this back in 2006, Just thought I'd share it with those who didn't know!

    Original Article:

    Follow up article:

    Interview with Weakley:

    Bass Fishing in rivers!
    7:47 AM | Author: Tech Tactical

    There are many theories as to how to catch bass in moving water. Opinions differ when talking about location, lure type, color selection and tidal charts. In this article I will try to breakdown each component and allow you to decide for yourself what is best for your situation.

    Location. Your first objective will be to eliminate as much water as possible from the location you are fishing. By this I mean that you must carefully study a map of the water and perhaps spend some time on the water without fishing. This is hard to do, but it really will prove "time well spent" for when you do locate your fish.

    I like to draw a grid over a map or use a new item on the market called a MAPTRAP® (see below for information). On the map or the MAPTRAP® cover, I draw lines one inch apart first vertically, then horizontally until my map looks like a chessboard. With a pencil I delete most mid-water areas and locations where the water is flowing at full speed. Now I am looking at both shorelines with all the feeder creeks, possible deltas from other streams, or small rivers that feed into the main waterway and shoreline detail such as docks, piers, stone or wood pilings, bridges, locks and heavy weed growth.

    In a competitive situation, I will now allocate a percentage of my allotted time to each location and fish them in practice as if I was in the tournament. Each square inch usually gets 10 minutes. If it is productive, I mark the area, make a note of the time and move on. I do not over-fish a location that is productive in practice. I might need those fish if a pound or two separates me from picking up a check at the end of the day! Keep moving and give yourself three of four "back-up locations". You never know when you might need them.

    Lure and Color Selection. As I have often said in the past, go to local stores if you are not familiar with the color of baitfish or crawfish in the area. Then search through your tackle and try to "match the hatch".

    Spinnerbaits are an excellent lure fished with the water flow, NOT AGAINST IT! I see so many anglers throw a spinnerbait as if they were on a lake, they seem to forget that smaller fish cannot fight a tide or current and will "go with the flow". Bass are waiting for food in locations where they are facing upstream, so cast upstream and retrieve slowly, allowing the water to "work the lure" while keeping a tight line. Do not be afraid to cast your spinnerbaits into laydowns and overhangs as you perhaps would for a jig and pork combination, as this is the perfect hideout for aggressive bass hiding in cover. Remember that cover slows down the flow of water over their bodies and allows them to position for passing food. They do not want to try a fight the current and will gravitate to these locations. Cover makes their life easier and will give them more strength to attack passing bait and quickly return to their hideout to digest. Bites can be very powerful, so keep a firm grip on the rod or you might see it disappear!

    Crankbaits, both lipped and lipless are excellent choices for moving water. The jig and pork combination will also work well when cast onto the shoreline and slowly pulled into the moving water, the illusion of a crawfish being "swept away" by current is often too much for a bass to resist.

    Worm, gitzit or lizard fishing requires a heavier than usual yet still weightless finesse technique that I would normally use for lake fishing. I will use a spinning outfit with ten-pound test line and change a four-inch offering for one that is eight inches long. Upgrade your hook from a 1/0 to perhaps a 3/0 or 4/0 but remember add no weight.

    Flipping this lure into partially submerged trees, weedlines, laydowns, piers and docks will attract attention very quickly. Allow the bait to fall naturally, watching the line at all times. With the gitzit, I like to add small pieces of Alka Seltzer® or similar product to add a bubbletrail to the bait. Small twitches of the rod tip will give the appearance of something struggling to get out of the flowing water; A deadly technique that has won many tournaments in the Northeast.

    Finally, I have saved the best till last. My favorite way to fish a flowing river or stream is with a topwater lure! Now some of you might think I have lost my mind, but this technique is awesome when you have cloud cover and the water is stained. Casting upstream and twitching the bait occasionally as it returns towards you will get some vicious strikes. Allowing the bait to drift over a likely bass hideout and then twitching the bait just as it gets over the location gives the impression of a baitfish struggling against the flow and that it senses danger from below. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting that strike is! You just have to try it for yourself.

    Tidal Movement and Charts. Tidal waters require you to obtain a tide chart. These can be obtained from local tackle stores or from the local Environmental Conservation departments. There are many anglers who ignore these tables and fish as if they were on a lake. Their thinking is "a bass is a bass is a bass" however, I do believe that river bass are hardier, more aware of their surroundings and three times more aggressive. When the situation changes because of flow, you have to reposition also. Think about where the bass was and where it could have moved since the flow either stopped, or began flowing in the opposite direction. River bass are historically nomadic. Meaning that they will follow bait fish up and down a stretch of river. Your objective is to locate the baitfish shoals and follow or precede them to the next cove, laydown or shoreline contour.

    Bass Tip Via - Charles Stuart - Bassdozer

    Other River Bass articles :

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    This article is dedicated to the hottest hard swimbait to take the big bait world by storm over the last few years: 22nd Century’s Triple Trout. Arguably the most versatile swimbait available, this proven producer can trigger strikes in a variety of ways. We’ll go over Triple Trout variations, some techniques, equipment, upgrades, and other helpful hints to get the most out of your 22nd Century swimbait.

    The Triple Trout is currently available in four standard sizes: 6, 7, 8 & 10 inch. The standard sink rate is “slow sink”, with these baits falling slightly less than a foot per second. There are some limited runs on floating, heavy, cut tail, and 4 piece variations but production on these baits has all but ceased for the time being. Almost all the baits available on store shelves are 3-piece slow sinking models. These are the baits that this article will be focusing on.

    With 4 size options and about 15 available colors, choosing a bait can be a tough decision. Match the size and color to your local forage and fish the combination that you have the most confidence to begin with. These baits push a lot of water and have a profile that fish of all sizes including the trophy’s find appealing. It can be easy to get overly concerned about color, just keep in mind that often times the best baits are the seasoned baits that have a lot of paint missing.

    One of the strengths of the Triple Trout is that many of the patterns available resemble more than one species of baitfish. The “Light Trout” for example really doesn’t resemble most rainbow trout, however that shade of green could possibly resemble sunfish, black bass, hitch, etc. Same goes for the “Dark Trout”, it comes fairly close to matching smallmouth, carp, hitch, suckers, etc. Colors like Chartreuse Shad and Bone are good choices for off colored water. Kokanee and Green Shiner aren’t as flashy and do well in clearer waters. Basically it boils down to picking a color, or colors that you believe will get bit and fishing them.

    The proper equipment is crucial to fishing big baits successfully and effectively. The Triple Trout is basically an oversize lipless crankbait, so a rod that acts like an oversize crankbait rod fits the bill. With the hard body and sharp treble hooks, fish will usually hook themselves and utilizing a sweeping reel set is very effective. The key with these big baits is keeping fish hooked long enough to get them in the net and in the boat. A powerful swimbait rod with a bit of a forgiving top section will cushion those trebles from ripping out of jaw of most fish.

    Okuma designed 2 rods specifically for these hard baits, the Okuma Guide Select Series Swimbait Rods. They offer a 7’6” and 7’11” version in a heavy model that fishes the 22nd Century Triple Trout as well as most other 7-9 inch hard baits very well. These rods represent the most value for the money, as they were designed by a well respected big bait fisherman who is familiar with actually fishing big baits. There are a lot of “swimbait” rods out there that were designed by guys who have never thrown some of the truly BIG baits, let alone tango with some of the brute fish that try to eat them. With a lifetime warranty you can fish these rods hard and not have to second guess at least one aspect of your equipment.

    Mark Higashi of Performance Tackle ( makes a killer custom line of swimbait rods that fishes the Triple Trout extremely well. They feature custom blanks, black hypalon split grip handles, downwrapped guides, collapsible blanks, and that custom touch that you could never find in a production model rod. His “medium” action swimbait rod has put many fish in the boat for us, with a lot of them coming on the 8 & 10 inch Triple Trout.

    These baits are fairly light for their size, but still can cast a long way. Take advantage of that by using high quality reels, either round or low profile that have the capability of making long casts and picking up line fast. Shimano Calcutta’s, Curado 300D/E’s, Daiwa Luna’s, Okuma Induron’s are all great reel choices that have strong drags, casting ability, and line capacity to handle all four sizes of the Triple Trout.

    Monofilament/Copolymer lines are best suited for this style bait. Many great lines are available to the modern swimbait angler. Berkley Big Game, P Line CXX & Evolution, Maxima Ultragreen, Triple Fish, Izorline Platinum & XXX are just some of the quality lines on the market that will work very well with 22nd Century swimbaits. Flourocarbon lines work well for the slow sinking version of the bait when you want to get it down and keep it down deeper. Line shy is not how you would normally describe fish that will eat a swimbait so don’t over think the low visibility issue. Braided lines work well for this bait as well, however you lose those shock absorbing traits of monofilament which can keep an extra lunging fish or two hooked long enough to get it in the net.

    One of the absolute best and most innovative features on the 22nd Century line of baits are the swiveling hooks. Instead of a standard screw eye, the hooks are attached to

    the bait via free swinging swivels which allow the hook to rotate unimpeded a full 360 degrees. This means that once a fish is hooked, you stand an excellent chance that it will be landed. The fish get absolutely no leverage when they try to “spin” off the hooks. No other big bait has this unique feature, and is just one of the things that make this line of baits so special.

    Now we will talk about modifying these baits to enhance their performance. When these baits first appeared in tackle boxes on the west coast, anglers were concerned about maintaining the paint jobs in new condition. Coating the baits with epoxy was a common practice in an attempt to protect the finish on these “expensive” baits. What would happen often times was that the epoxy would trap expanding gases in the resin when the temperature rose. This created bubbles under the epoxy that would eventually flake off, sometimes taking the paint with it. Scott Whitmer paints these baits to endure the punishment swimbait fisherman dish out. They are more than adequately durable, and as mentioned before, it is often the worst “looking” bait that tends to posses that special something that just gets bit. No need to try and protect your 22nd Century Swimbaits, they are one of the more durable paint schemes available on the market.

    Triple Trouts come equipped stock with VMC bronze treble hooks which are quality hooks. They hold a good point and are non flashy, which are both good. However they can have a tendency to straighten under heavy load. This can be combated by taking a pair of pliers and turning the points slightly inwards towards the shank. It is however recommend that they are swapped out with either Owner ST-36 or ST-41 Treble hooks. ST-36’s feature a conical point and are 1X rated and suitable for just about all black bass species. ST-41’s feature the cutting point and are 2X and are recommended for big bruisers like striped bass and musky. Here are the hook sizes for each respectable size Triple Trout:

    6” #2 in the front, #4 in the back

    7” #1 in the front, #2 in the back

    8” #1 in the front, #2 in the back

    10” 2/0 in the front, 1/0 in the back

    The split rings that come with the baits are plenty strong and reliable, but feel free to swap them out for Owner Hyper Wire Split Rings if you so choose. Replacement tails are readily available for quick and easy swapping if they become damaged or lost. They easily screw right into the pigtail on the tail end of the baits, just pick a light or dark shade to match your bait.

    With your equipment matched up and your baits properly upgraded, we can discuss fishing the 22nd Century Triple Trout. The absolute strongest aspect of the Triple Trout is it’s versatility. The slow sinking Triple Trout can literally be fished from the surface down to 30 feet. Plus, these baits will not roll or swim untrue at any speed. You can chuck wind this bait at full speed trying to elicit a reaction strike from aggressive fish and not worry about your bait swimming in tune. At times the fish cannot ignore the wake that these baits put out, especially the 10 inch. Slow it down and fish it like a slow rolled spinnerbait on a slow steady retrieve. Rip and twitch it like an oversize jerkbait to draw fish from cover or turn followers into biters.

    Let’s get away from the old cliché of “thinking outside the box”, and instead just fish the Triple Trout like you would any other reaction type bait. Throw it when and where you would normally throw a jerkbait, crankbait, topwater, spinnerbait, etc. Tie it on, check your knot and start casting. If confidence in fishing a big bait is lacking, start with the 6 inch. It’s overall profile is not much bigger than a ¾ oz. spinnerbait or Rattletrap, but the size of the fish that will eat it are on average bigger than fish caught on standard baits. Even the 10 inch bait will get eaten by 2 pound fish, do not be intimidated by the size of the larger Triple Trouts.

    If making a decision to venture into the realm of big baits There really isn’t a magical bait on the market that only needs water to produce fish, but the 22nd Century Triple Trout comes awfully close!

    Tip Via -

    Bass lure mods are a great way to improve baits you already have in your tacklebox! With a few dollars at your local bait store can buy you several low cost upgrades! Things like extra skirts for you worn out old ones on your favorite spinnerbaits, Jigs and Poppers. Different size snap rings for your crankbaits and other plugs can increase action of the lure and hang your hooks lower for better hookholds. The new mustad truehold hooks work great for replacement trebles.

    Maybe use a red treble hook up front on a rattletrap or crankbait for that bleeding edge. Using glitter and dies to add more colors to beatup older lures you just cant get rid of cause you remember those huge lunkers you caught of that particular lure over the years. A black or red or any other color sharpie will work to put more speckles under your rubber frogs or other lures giving it a more realistic presentation to the fish.

    Trimming up skirts on jigs and spinnerbaits is also a plus for better presentations. You can even trim the weedless hairs on your jigs shorter and angled at the hook for better hooksets. Changing out the blades on spinner baits for different conditions. Colorodo or Indiana style blades for that stained water will cause more vibration. Willow style blades will give you the speed and flash you need in clear water conditions. Rigging trailor hooks on spinnerbaits and using grub style soft plastic trailors rigged curly tail down when you need that extra beef up for stained water.

    Hook sharpeners are cheap and are a must to keep all your bronze hooks razor sharp, although there is no replacement for true needlepoint hooks like Gamakatsu makes for rigging worms and other soft plastic baits. Gamakatsu also makes true needle point treble hooks.

    These are just a few tips off the top of my head. There are many more things you can do to tune and modify your lures for maximum performance. If you know of any great tips feel free to comment on this post and share your knowledge.

    Always remember the best lure in the boat is your own confidence! Being aware and in tune with your own knowledge of the sport. No matter what mother nature throws at you.

    See ya on the water!

    Tip Via - The Basskicker

    Shaky Head Finesse Worm Bass Fishing!
    11:21 PM | Author: Tech Tactical

    There was a time when southern anglers made fun of the finesse tactics that west coast fishermen used for catching bass. Light line, small baits and spinning rods were for sissies, scoffed the boys back east.


    But once western anglers began winning big time bass tournaments on southern impoundments, attitudes changed. Today, you'll find at least one spinning outfit rigged with light line in nearly every Elite Angler's rod box.

    Why? Because anglers have discovered that downsizing tackle can be a necessity on waters that get abundant fishing pressure — and most popular bass lakes do. Fish that have been caught and released frequently get wise and wary quickly when they're being bombarded by an array of big, brash baits fished on heavy line.

    No one knows that better than anglers on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, where one of the hottest finesse techniques employed on last year's circuit accounted for a ton of bass.

    And the technique didn't come from California, but rather the heart of Alabama. It's called shaky head fishing, a tactic originally developed for tricking cantankerous spotted bass into striking, yet one that has proven equally deadly on fussy largemouth and smallmouth bass.

    Shaky Head fishing was a guarded secret among touring pros — that is until Kevin VanDam won the Elite 50 tournament on Lake Lewisville, Tex. and shattered the lake record with a giant 11-pound, 13-ounce largemouth.

    VanDam used the technique in his next three victories, but he wasn't alone. It's become a go-to technique for a number of pros that say it works anywhere, anytime. Guys like Jeremy Starks of West Virginia and Bink Desaro of Idaho are shaky head aficionados who have seen the technique save the day on more than one occasion. Whereas Shaky Head fishing is best suited for rocky bottoms, sandy flats or around sparse grass beds, it can be fished around the edges of thicker cover and in water from 1 to 40 feet deep.

    It's a killer around riprap banks, secondary points and deep boulders. Northern smallmouth anglers, who have always relied on tube jigs for catching numbers of big smallmouth, are discovering the shaky rig is a good alternative when the big ol' brown fish are snubbing tubes.

    And best of all, it's an easy rig to fish.

    Basically, shaky wormin' involves a straight tail finesse worm fashioned weedless on a small, ball head jig. Once rigged, make a long cast and let the bait fall. Be ready — many strikes occur in the first three seconds after the bait contacts the bottom.

    If not, began shaking the rod tip in short, rapid bursts, maintaining some slack in the line while you hold the rod in a 10 o'clock position.

    This movement keeps the worm vertical and the tail quivering seductively. Don't hop the jig — inch it along and keep it dancing like a creature feeding along the lake bottom.

    The gear you use and the manner in which the worm is rigged is important to the proper presentation. Some anglers prefer baitcast tackle, but a 7-foot medium action spinning rod is best because it fishes light line better, and light line imparts more action in the bait. Eight and 10 pound line is preferred and basic monofilament works, but sensitive fluorocarbon line transmits subtle bites better.

    Most strikes feel like a simple tick or tap at the end of the line, or, if the fish are aggressive, they'll gobble the worm and streak off with it.

    While a 4½-inch finesse worm produces more bites, 6- and 7-inch styles, especially the floating variety, attract bigger fish. And if you take a poll of the pros' favorite colors, you'll find shades of green, especially green pumpkin, watermelon or watermelon candy, are high on their lists.

    To rig the shaky worm, enter the hook point into the head, push it out the side, and then roll it over so that the hook point enters the main body and protrudes through the top. You can leave the hook in the belly, but better yet, push it through and skin-hook the barb on the topside of the worm.

    Some anglers prefer to leave a little hump in the worm between the jig head and the barb. This bend provides additional action and can make the worm more attractive to wary bass.

    Choose jig sizes on the basis of water depth, going as light as possible. Sizes 1/8 to ¼ ounce are preferred. And while most spotted bass anglers prefer shorter shank hooks, the pros like ball head jigs with at least a 3/0 size hook when fishing the longer worms. A common problem with the rig is the worm tends to slide down the shank of the hook. To remedy that, bite off the tip of the worm, add a touch of glue, and push it flush against the jig head. Some jig manufacturers have added a tiny barb to the base of the jig that also will help hold the bait in place.

    The pros continue to experiment with other rigging methods as well. For example, Desaro likes to rig his worm wacky style when fishing windy conditions. He inserts a small nail into the head of a Trick Worm, then attaches it to his line with a straight shank hook poked through the middle so that both ends dangle and offer more action during the shaking process. The weighted nose keeps the worm close to the bottom and the spastic action helps call bass to it.

    If there's a best time to fish the Shaky rig, it would be during the post-spawn period when bass are roaming around in a funk, or during summer cold fronts that can shut down the aggressive bite. Some say shaky worms are best in clear water but several pros did well fishing it in stained lakes last season. Anglers also have found it's an excellent rig for duping bedding bass or catching winter bass holding on rocky bluffs.

    In other words, it works just about anytime the bass are playing hard to get.

    Tip Via - By Louie Stout
    Bassmaster magazine senior writer

    The Deadly Fluke Presentation!
    8:00 PM | Author: Tech Tactical

    For a minute let's think about this time of the year. Here it is "summer" again. The "Pre-spawn" "Spawn" and "Post Spawn" over lap periods for the most part have come and gone and the largemouth bass are moving to their summer homes. In river lakes like Old Hickory here in middle Tennessee Many largemouth will migrate to deeper main lake points, deeper channel banks, deeper humps and deeper ledges that provide them adequate oxygen, current, baitfish and cover. Many bass fishermen this time of the year like to fish the deeper "Drops" that are so abundant on this lake and believe me they will catch a lot of good fish off this type of structure. Many times they will use deep running crank baits-jigs-worms-spinner baits and Carolina rigs. I like fishing these deeper areas too! But if everything remains normal when summer arrives you will find me looking for far shallower water and structure that lends it's self to fishing a soft plastic shad look a like jerk bait. I suppose every soft plastic bait manufacturer makes one or maybe even several of these type baits. They are sold under names like Zulu-Shad Assassin-Mad Shad-Fin-S Shad-Power Jerk Shad-Shadee Shad and more. They are also sold in an array of colors and glitters and a variety of sizes. But just to make things simple for everyone let's just call these baits "Flukes".

    Choosing The Right Tackle

    In this section we are going to discuss (1) Rods (2) Reels (3) Line (4) Hooks and (5) Fluke Colors. Everything in this section reflects on what works for me. Everyone has their own comfort zone when it comes to rods and reels and you will have to find yours to be truly efficient.

    Rods: Through the years I have watched many people struggle with tackle that just wasn't suited for the technique they were trying to fish. Many spend more time trying to "Undo" a problem than concentrating on what they came for. Catching Bass! I have also fished with the "One Rod For All Techniques" fisherman-and friends that just won't work. Please just weigh out what you are going to read-move slowly and make good purchase decisions.

    As we have discussed in almost every article that I have written, rod manufacturers design rods for "Special Purposes" or "Specific Techniques". I believe that having the right rod/reel combination for fishing the fluke is critical. At this point I will most likely get some strong disagreement-But here go's. Some people like to use bait casting rods/reels when fishing flukes. But honestly, I haven't seen many fishermen using bait casters skilled enough to put the bait where it needed to be. If you are that skilled great! But if you're not, why miss out on hours of fishing enjoyment. I prefer spinning gear for fishing flukes and recommend the beginner to do the same. I have found that it is much easier to "Skip" a Fluke under docks or in and around heavier cover with spinning tackle. I have also found that you can skip the bait further back under the dock with spinning gear than with a bait caster. You will have less "Line Headaches" from backlashes and the wind will play less of a factor.

    I carry 2 identical rods in my boat that I have set aside for nothing but fishing flukes. The only difference is line which we will discuss later. They are the AllPro APX Series #APX7MSTN which is a 7 foot medium action rod that has a "soft Tip" but a lot of strength to pull bass out of tight situations. These rods are built with either a Tennessee handle or with a deluxe reel seat. I prefer the Tennessee handle solely because I can position my reel exactly where I feel the most comfortable. Some people will opt for the shorter #APX6MSTN 6foot rod to skip or flip flukes and smaller baits under docks; this again is a personal preference. Use the rod length that is the most comfortable for you to use. These new APX rods not only give you strength but sensitivity that you won't believe. This is critical when the Fluke is out of your sight and you are depending entirely on feel. You can view the entire AllPro rod selection on the web at or call and talk with Roger Ray or Billy Campbell at 931-474-4466 they will be happy to help you in your rod selection.

    Reels/Line: There is an abundance of good reels (both casting & spinning) on the market today. Several years ago I settled in with Shimano reels and that is all that I use today. I especially like the Stradic reels that Shimano makes. All the Stradic's are made with 5 ball bearings and have proven over the years to be the smoothest most dependable reels I have ever owned. I use the Stradic 4000 which has a 5.7:1 gear ratio on my fluke rods. I spool one with 10 pound test P-Line and the other with 8/20 Berkley Fireline.

    The reason for 2 different lines is this (1) Fireline: The Stradic 4000 will handle up to 12lb test mono line very easily-over that I believe the performance of the reel drops of rapidly. There are times when I need more line strength and sensitivity. When I'm fishing boat docks and heavier cover many times I can't see the Fluke. I need a line that is super sensitive and has zero stretch, that's the reason for the Fireline. I can spool up with 8 lb diameter line but have 20 lb test strength. I have also found that a fluke will fall much slower on Fireline, and there are times that this is a big plus. (2) P-Line 10 lb mono: First of all let me say that P-Line is limp but very tough and is one of the most abrasion proof mono lines that I have ever used. I use the P-Line when fishing the fluke around bridge pilings-grass beds with little heavy cover and rip rap areas where I can keep good eye contact with the bait. Where the braided line makes the fluke fall slower-the P-line let's it fall faster and once again there are times when this works much better for me.

    Hooks: When it comes to hook selection I keep it very simple. I use a either a #4 or a #5 Owner Wide Gap Plus hook period. These hooks are super strong and you will never have to worry about having one get straightened out by a big fish. For those of you that have other big species of fish like Strippers in your lake these hooks will solve your problem. Your line will break before these will bend. Not only are they strong but they have a 3 sided cutting point that gives you great hook ups with a Fluke. The reason for the 2 sizes is simple-the #4 weighs less than the #5 and is what I use when I'm fishing the fluke in a slower falling presentation. The #5 on the other hand weighs more and I use this when the fall is faster.

    Fluke Colors: Just like plastic worms and lizards Fluke type baits are manufactured in as many colors as the rainbow. Some are solid in color-some are 2 toned-some have glitter-some have scent added. But once again I keep my color selection very simple. 80% of all the fish I catch on a Fluke are caught on a 5 inch Pearl White Zoom Super Fluke. The other 20% are caught on either a Bubblegum, Avocado and Lemon Thread. I have well over 200 White Pearl Flukes in my boat right now and will have to restock several times through the year. Are there other colors that might work just as well? YES!!!!!! I'm sure there are-BUT-these sure work for me!

    Changing Or Adding Color To You Fluke: There are times that I will "ADD COLOR" to a Pearl White Fluke. When this happens it is normally Red or Chartreuse. I use Spike It Dye to color the fluke in 3 different ways. (1) I take a cotton q-tip dipped in the dye and color the slit in the belly of the fluke (2) Dip just the head about ½ down (3) Dip the tail about ½ inch down. I can't always explain it but there are times that red on a fluke will drive largemouth nuts. Occasionally will use Spike It and entirely change the white to solid Chartreuse. You may have a different color combo that will for you ..but once again this sure works for me.

    Adding a Good Quality Snap to the Fluke: Another change that can make a big difference at times, is adding a good snap to your line. I always use a #3 Fast lock Snap. I'm a firm believer that by adding the snap you increase the side to side action of the Fluke. I have also found that the snap will add a little extra weight but will not make the Fluke "Nose Dive" when it falls. But please let me warn you "Don't Get Cheap" buy good snaps, the difference is only a few pennies-but will payoff in bigger dividends.

    Areas To Fish A Fluke

    In this section we will discuss the following areas that pay off for me when fishing a Fluke. (1) Bridge Pilings (2) Shallow Grass Beds (3) Deep Grass Beds (4) Boat Houses/Boat Docks (5) Rip Rap Areas and (6) Lay downs/Timber On Expansive Flats .

    Bridge Pilings: I believe that bridge pilings whether they are a main river channel bridges or a secondary creek bridge are over looked by many fishermen today. Most bridges support a variety of baitfish-crayfish-bluegill-crappie and other game fish as well. A literal smorgasbord for hungry bass. I have had some great trips on different lakes catching bass after bass running from one bridge area to another through the course of the day. To help us understand bridge pilings a little better let's break this explanation down into 2 parts (1) Open Pilings: most of these types of pilings will have a shelf you cannot see that connects the columns that support the bridge. If the bass are in this area most likely they will be on or near this shelf. When fishing a Fluke in current I try to put my boat upstream from the pilings and cast downstream, by doing this you will maintain better lure control. Many times you will find the current to be stronger toward the river channel and less as you progress toward the bank. Be sure to work all 4 sides of each piling and the shelf that connects them. At times the hit on top will be fantastic-other times it may take letting the Fluke "Dead Stick" around the pilings-always watch your line for the bass to hit your bait on the fall. (2) Solid Pilings: Most of the time shorter bridges that cross various creeks that feed the main lake will have this type of pilling only. One attribute that a small bridge has that larger ones don't (because of its height) is that it provides more shade to the structure directly below the bridge. Most of these will have some degree of current and always seem to have baitfish in some quantities around them. When fishing this type of bridge and pilings concentrate on all 4 corner of the bank under the bridge-the corners on the piling and make repeated casts directly parallel down the entire length of the piling. Work the Fluke much the same as we discussed above.

    Shallow Grass Beds: Grass has a way of holding bass. Even some of the shallowest beds when fished early or late in the day can hold big numbers and great quality fish. I'm speaking of depths from 1 foot to 5 feet deep. Some of the grass you can see-some you can't. If you are fortunate enough to be on the lake when it is overcast and dreary the bite can last all day long in these shallow areas. The most important factor is finding out where the bass are holding within the grass. For instance I have noticed if you have a strong wind blowing directly into the grass the fish seem to be more on the deepest outside edges of the grass beds. If it is calm they can be scattered anywhere from the bank in zero feet of water to the far outside edges. Many grass beds will have an open area (no grass) from the bank out several feet before the growth begins. These areas can hold large quantities of fish, early and late in the day and on stormy overcast conditions. When the bass are in this area I like to throw the Fluke all the way up on the bank or sea wall and start from ready the strike can happen very quickly.

    Deeper Grass Beds: Many times grass beds that are adjacent to the main river channels will provide visible surface vegetation on the channel edges or flats. But there may also be an abundance of grass that will extend out further that you will not be able to see visually. The visible grass can provide (as we just discussed in the paragraph above) fantastic action under certain circumstances. But when the day is bright and sunny these areas can die off quickly. This is when you need to keep your boat positioned in the river channel just far enough away where you can make a good long cast to the shallow water. Let your Fluke begin to drop down gradually along the outside edges of the vegetation. At times we will work the Fluke much like a worm probing all depths until we locate fish. Sometimes the bass will strike on the fall-other times it will be when you move or twitch the bait.

    Boat Houses/Boat Docks: First let me say there is a vast difference between a "Boat House" and a "Boat Dock". Normally, boat docks will have a walk way that varies in width, length and configuration. Some times it will have a roof-other times not. A boat house on the other hand is always covered and can be rather large "Garage Looking" structure enclosed on at least 3 sides and many times all four. I have seen boat houses that had as many as 6 slips in them.

    Although these 2 structures look entirely different they do share some things in common. Most of these will have some type of cable or strap that attaches to the sides of the dock and then to the shore. Some will have a "Boat Lift" system in the slip that has runners or straps that are used to left the boat up out of the water. Some will have smaller attached jet ski platforms that will be attached to the side of the dock. Also many of these will have sunken brush piles that the dock owner has placed there to attract fish to his dock. If you're fishing a new area that has docks watch for floodlights-fishing pole holders-rods and chairs-all of these can help you locate brush around docks. Also remember that most of these sunken piles will be within a short cast from the dock. There are other similarities but they all add up to the same thing-potential holding places for bass.

    Let Me Say This Before We Go Any Further. Always Pay Total Respect To Others. Remember The Dock Or Boat House Is Someone Else's Property- Act Accordingly.

    Many people view cables-boat lift systems and jet ski platforms as obstacles to their fishing. So consequently all they fish is both sides and the front and then move on. What has happened at this point is they have fished only 30% or less of the structure leaving 70% totally untouched.

    I try to skip my Fluke in-between every opening-under every boat lifted out of the water. In-between moored boat in the water and the sides of the dock. I work my way around and skip the Fluke on the backside of the dock between the dock and the shore. I like to pull right up to the cables that hold the boat house or dock touching it lightly with my trolling motor and skip the Fluke into every concealed area as possible. If you're working Boat Houses that provide a lot of shade you will need to skip the Fluke as far back into the structure as possible. Always watch your line because your Fluke will be out of your eye sight.

    I remember a trip I had on Lake Bruin in Louisiana a couple years ago with my oldest son Rick Jr. and TBGI's Mike Dial. The bass had moved all the way under boats lifted out of the water. These boat house bass were holding right on the bank. We would have to skip our baits altleast 18 to 20 feet back into the boathouse and the bass would hammer the bait. Time after time we lifted 3lb to 5lb plus largemouth over the rail that was holding on this pattern.

    If you are fishing the brush around the dock and it is sunny and bright you may have to let the Fluke sink down into the brush making contact and work it much like you would a worm. If it is overcast the bass will tend to hold more to the area between the brush and the dock. When this happens many times you can have terrific blow ups on the bait. Just some friendly advice-work these areas slowly-carefully and be ready to set the hook at anytime.

    Rip Rap Areas: Let me say right up-front "I like to Fish these areas! This is one of my favorite types of structure to fish with a variety of baits including a Fluke. These areas will hold a variety of baitfish-sunfish and crayfish all year long. There are times when bass-good bass will hold so close to the rip rap you will wonder why you can't see their fins, but they won't chase a bait. If you stay out away from the bank and throw in you might catch one every now and then. When this happens your best bet is to parallel the rocks so closely that you literally could step out of the boat. Make good long casts and keep your bait within inches of the shore line. Don't get in a hurry-when you catch a fish stop your forward movement and make repeated casts in the same area-chances are there will be another fish there.

    If you are fishing rip rap that has irregular features such as points-big cracks-logs and sunken brush you will want to key on these areas and make repeated casts. BE PATIENT!!! I have spent several hours fishing the same stretch of rip rap when bait fish are active and caught fish after fish. You may have to sort through some smaller fish at times but there are always good fish mixed in.

    Lay Down Timber On Flats: I realize that this might change from lake to lake but here in middle Tennessee we have many lakes that have expansive flats that are located close to deep water. These flats will have a variety of vegetation, rock piles and lay down timber. Some of this timber will float in and out with high water conditions but much of it remains all the time. Most of these flats will have an abundance of logs against the bank and some will have vegetation around it-which is a bonus!

    Last year in the June-July and August when it was so hot that you would have to either pour water on your head or put you hat in the water just to cool off. TBGI's Jon Simmons and I caught several hundred bass with clients on flats much like what I described above. We had to be very careful not to get to close to the logs because we would kick up mud with our trolling motor. We would zero in on our target and make long cast. We keyed on every log-grass bed and weed line we could see. At times you couldn't move the Fluke fast enough and other times it would take a jerk and fall presentation. Like we have all heard before "The Bass Will Tell You What They Want"!

    Something else to keep in mind when fishing flats is to be on the look out for isolated timber. If the concentration of timber is large enough it can hold several bass not just one or two. Don't rush in on these areas be stealthy in your approach and make every cast count.

    Rigging And Fishing The Fluke

    In this section we will talk about 3 different methods to rig a fluke and some basic techniques on fishing it.

    Texas Style Rigging: This method is very easy. Hold the fluke in one hand with the slit in the belly facing you. Insert the point of the hook into the blunt end of the Fluke, bring the point out about half way from the tip of the Fluke and the beginning of the slit. Push the Fluke up the hook and over the bend, when this is done rotate the Fluke 90 degrees until the point of the hook is facing the belly slit. While holding the hook push the Fluke forward slightly then insert the point of the hook into and through the Fluke until the point is barely exposed. This method will keep you from getting hung up in wood and grass. After a few casts and always after every strike you will want to check you rigging out. There is nothing more aggravating than being on fish in a small area and then getting hung up right in the middle of it.

    Exposed Texas Rigging: There maybe times when you can get away with this method. The Fluke is rigged the exact same way with the exception that the hook is left exposed outside of the Fluke. I fish a Fluke in the manner at times along rip rap areas and bridge pilings when there is an absence of logs and grass.

    Wacky Style Rigging: The first time I saw a Fluke fished this way was a couple years ago with a client I had out. When I told him we were going to fish a Fluke I asked him if he knew how to rig it. He replied yes and I didn't think any more about it. When we began fishing at our first stop I watched him catch 5 largemouth in a row using this method. It doesn't take me long to catch on so I rigged mine the same way and began to catch fish as well. There are times this method works well. My only word of caution is, this method IS NOT WEEDLESS in any manner shape or form. It needs to be used in selected situations.

    Fishing A Fluke 101: First take a look at a Fluke. What is it suppose to look like or represent when in the water? A is suppose to look like a shad. I guess in my life time I have spent several thousands of hours on the water. And through the years I have watched shad dart and dive in a frenzy as they were dying. I have also watched them sink ever so slowly straight down until they were completely out of sight.

    This is my 2 basic retrieves that I want to emulate on a normal basis when fishing a Fluke. At times I want the Fluke to dart and dive quickly from side to side as if it was hurt and trying to get away from a bass. There are times that I want the same motion but at a reduced speed. And then there are times that I just "Dead Stick" the bait and let it fall or settle down out of my sight.


    Once again the truth is "The Bass Will Let You Know" what they want. Experiment-go to the lake and stand on a pier at a boat ramp and practice these retrieves. Use your neighbors swimming pool when their not watching. Watch how the bait responds rigged in the different styles that I listed above. Watch what a difference it makes throwing a Fluke on Fireline and then mono. Check out some of the structure on your lake that I described above.

    I hope this helps you to have a better insight into fishing a fun bait..the Fluke. As you fish them be sure to log onto my web site go to the "FISH REPORT TAB" and give us an update on how you did.or if you have questions ask them there and I will respond to them.

    As always our goal is to be "THE" Bass Information Center in middle Tennessee-thanks for taking time to read this article..Rick McFerrin

    I carry 2 identical rods in my boat that I have set aside for nothing but fishing flukes. The only difference is line which we will discuss later. They are the AllPro APX Series #APX7MSTN which is a 7 foot medium action rod that has a “soft Tip” but a lot of strength to pull bass out of tight situations. These rods are built with either a Tennessee handle or with a deluxe reel seat. I prefer the Tennessee handle solely because I can position my reel exactly where I feel the most comfortable. Some people will opt for the shorter #APX6MSTN 6foot rod to skip or flip flukes and smaller baits under docks; this again is a personal preference. Use the rod length that is the most comfortable for you to use. These new APX rods not only give you strength but sensitivity that you won’t believe. This is critical when the Fluke is out of your sight and you are depending entirely on feel.

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