Not where, how

Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

Internet forums are full of posts from people asking for your spots. I have the same tools to find spots as anyone else; I’m curious about the methods employed.

I don’t want to know about your “secret lure.” Personally, I find the concept of secret lures amusing. Unless you are making something in your own workshop that you have never shared with anyone else, I am sorry to break it to you, but you ain’t got a secret lure. You might have a rare lure, you might be the only person in the area fishing a particular bait (and good for you if you are!) but you do yourself a disservice if you rely too heavily on a particular bait anyway. There are no silver bullets or magic beans in fishing.

And I’ll be candid, I also don’t care about Senkos. Yep, Senkos are great. I use them too. But Senkos have a way of being relied upon by people who lack confidence to branch out. I know plenty of folks who would be hard-pressed to catch bass if Gary ever stopped making those things.

I will go first, since it only seems fair.

I tend to use fairly heavy line and fairly light line, and not a lot in between. I feel like doing things that are a bit different can help when you are on public water. I don’t use 3/8th oz white spinnerbaits, for example. I like single Colorado or Indiana blades better than tandem willows. They fish on the drop better and I find they get bigger bites. You can’t burn them very well, so willow blades have a place, but if I had to pick I’d take the thumpers. I don’t catch many big fish burning anyway, that’s a one-off when it happens.

I use straight tail worms almost exclusively, with the exception of big Power Worms, the 10” and 12” kind. I love Roboworms, and not just to drop shot. I still Texas rig, split-shot, all the old stuff plays well for me. I haven’t been Carolina rigging much in recent years but I plan on getting back in touch with the technique. I use creatures with C-rigs, and sometimes Fluke type baits.

I love to crank, but I haven’t got into the oversized cranks that have been around the last eight or ten years. I would like to play with them eventually. My favorite cranks are DD22s, Fat Free Shads, and Risto Raps. Old Bandits and Wiggle Warts play, obviously, and I love Wee-Rs for smallies.

I’m not super technical on lipless baits, I like Rat-L-Traps and Super Spots and Rattlin’ Raps. I do modify some to be silent. I am extremely impressed by the Duo Realis vibration baits and want to get some more of those, but you snag a lot of lipless baits, and even with plug knockers a sixteen dollar lipless is hard for me to pull the trigger on.

I fish blade baits a lot, probably more than most people. They play for me year round. I treat them like lipless cranks a lot, and cover a lot of water with them. Ditto tailspinners. Any time the bass are on small bait, the tailspinners are a possibility. Same with underspins. I wish people would forget about them, but some kid had to go and win the Classic on one, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.

I love swimbaits. I don’t use many different ones, just Hudds and Slammer type baits, Mattlures Hardgills and some that I make. I will admit I haven’t been using swimbaits as much the last few years as I’ve been learning about local lakes and there are better options if you don’t know a lake very well, IMO. But I love them, and there are a few places I plan to bring them back into my rotation more regularly. I do also fish Keitechs, but I conceptualize of them as grubs more than “swimbaits.”

I fish a lot of jigs. If you forced me to pic one lure, it would be a jig. I cast them, pitch them, skip them, and drag them in a range of sizes and styles. I’ve really loved swingheads the last few years.

My topwaters are your basics; buzzbaits, Super Spooks, Sammys, poppers, and the odd frog. I do the Zell thing with my
Pop-Rs, and I only use clear colors, bone, and chrome. I do use a Buzz Jet here and there, and a few other Japanese baits.

I have been doing strange things with plastic lures for 25 years. I was Ned rigging in 1998. Same with Neko, wacky, free-rigs, etc. I didn’t call them by those names, but I have probably chopped up, mangled, and otherwise destroyed a ton of plastic lures playing with them, and I have not yet come across a “new” way to rig them that I haven’t already tried at some point. I use a lot of small plastics on four pound test. Sometimes you even catch decent fish with bitty plastics. I love Tiny Brush Hogs and Huddlebugs. If you haven’t Neko rigged a Huddlebug, for the love of God go out and try it.

I guess jigs, swimbaits, blades, cranks, and plastics are at the center of my bass fishing universe. Pretty normal stuff I suppose. I need to spend more time with a bladed jig in my hands, and expand on my glide bait fishing. I still haven’t lit up the world with a Spy Bait, but that’s on me. David Swendseid gave me a nice starter pack of them and I just seem to snag them. The best time to learn new methods isn’t when the bite is dead, and it’s hard to put down a confidence bait when they are eating it but I need to do it more often. There is always something new to learn.
 
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S

Snopro

Flies, Inu rig, Tokyo rig, A rig, Damiki rig?
 
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C_Run

C_Run

Shaun, I go bass fishing twice a year to score points in the little online tournament I participate in on the NWKA site. Once for smallmouth and once for largemouth so I need to be successful since I don't want to spend a lot of time at it. I have found the Senko to be effective for both and also always have a second rod along with a second offering such as a rebel crawdad, popper, or Rapala minnow. I actually got my largemouth on a tiny white mister twister when I was bluegill fishing last year. I always go to the same three or four places.

I recall that a couple of years ago you were going to get into making soft plastics. How did that go?
 
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

C_Run, I have a bench with negative air pressure and three Presto Pots with spigots JB Welded onto them, and it is covered with detritus 🤪 I got all set up with a shop and my materials and then got a regular job and never poured a drop. I needed the insurance, and I guess I didn’t want a full time job and a full time job, which is what it would need to be if I was going to be successful with the enterprise. I might pour myself some swimbaits for personal consumption (see my earlier comments about baits you make yourself 😆) but I don’t think I’m gonna try to do anything beyond that. I’m positive I’ll make the odd crankbait here and there because I absolutely love doing that.

It’s impressive you remember that, and thanks for the response. I guess I’m a touch snobbish about Senkos, but only due to their ubiquity, and they would never have become ubiquitous without being highly effective.
 
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

Flies, Inu rig, Tokyo rig, A rig, Damiki rig?
Not sure if you are saying that you like those or asking if I like them. If the latter, I’ll go through the list sequentially.

I don’t fly fish for bass, at all. I might one day, but I started fly fishing as a way to make trout fishing more enjoyable, and fly fishing = trout for me. I DO like the “float n fly” method of bass fishing with balanced jigs, and drop-shotted streamers are $$$, but I don’t properly fly fish for bass.

I had to look up what an Inu rig was. That one is creative. I’ve sure done variations on it with worm threaders (worm threaders as used by bait anglers for night crawler fishing enable a host of unusual rigging options) but the vids I saw used pieces of thin tubing glued into the worm in three places and I’ve never done that. I’ve tied worms into overhand knots and jiggled them to let them unfurl a few times on fish I could see in clear water, and caught a handful of bass doing that. Ive also done what I was calling a “pulley rig” by threading a piece of mono with a hook at both ends into a worm (with a threader) and using a small snap in the middle of the mono, or tying the mono back to itself in various places. It was inspired by the old Creme pre-rigged worms. I like the tubing idea though and I can see a lot of potential variations there.

A Tokyo rig, to me, is extremely similar to a drop shot. I get that it is fixed, but I’d rather use a Jika rig for open water in that situation. I do like Jika rigs a lot. I’ve never dropped a Tokyo rig into hydrilla, and it looks like it was more or less made for punching to me. I think that is the best application for the rig.

A-rigs… yeah, uh… Umbrella rigs? I’ll always call them umbrella rigs because they ARE umbrella rigs. I was using umbrella rigs (with my dad) when I was a small child in the 80s. We were fishing for strippers in reservoirs, but guys on the east coast were doing it in the 70s for “rockfish” as they call strippers and maybe earlier, I don’t know. Yes, they (and we) were dragging them, not casting them, but a small pizza is still a pizza. Calling them Alabama rigs kills me, it would be like a guy in New Jersey making tacos and calling them “Jersey pockets” or something. I don’t have anything against them, and I use them now and then. We don’t have proper schooling baitfish out here like shad or alewives or herring or smelt or whatever, so I use very small umbrellas with small baits (only three hot baits, nobody get excited 😆) but I’m not gonna bust it out too often. Somebody please let me know if I’m missing something there.

A Damiki rig is a balanced swimming plastic. I don’t subscribe to the idea that it requires the exact gear they want you to buy, you can get the same effect any number of ways. It is a great option for certain situations, I think it would be very good in a shad kill for example, and it is a great tactic for video game fishing. I have strongly considered getting the Do-It mold to pour those heads because they are handy/easy for balanced rigs and it would work well for certain baits for dragging etc.
 
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Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

C_Run, here’s a picture of my bait I was getting set up to pour. I have enough for a few years of personal use but I’ll need to make some more at some point. Still have my molds and the master so I can make more molds.

There are a few similar options available now, but when I made them they were unique. I was fishing Optimum swimbaits at the time, and those are notorious for fish just bouncing off of them. I was at a lake in East Texas and saw a legit teener bounce three times off my Optimum and it just about killed me. It wanted the bait so bad and it just never stuck to it. The lake is full of wood and you couldn’t run a stinger. So I came back to Colorado and carved up the little bait. If you look at the face it is similar to the Optimum bait, but this one is so skinny a two pound smallie can choke it. Right at 7” and can be fished on a normal heavy action casting rod. It’s a sweet little bait, even if I do say so myself. 🤓
 
S

Snopro

Not sure what you were looking for in your first post. Sharing your favs and inviting others to do the same? I threw out a few ideas I didn't think you had listed, not necessarily my favorites.

Rethink the flyfishing=trout box. Tons of fun to be had in the PNW on fly gear and trout are just a small part.
 
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

Yeah no that’s totally what I was after, it’s awesome you are doing that stuff. I thought you were asking me if I did any of that.

Do you fly fish for bass a lot then?
 
S

Snopro

Flies are just another tool in the box. Bass are cool because of all the different ways to catch them. Some of the bites I enjoy most...

Square bill after it bumps off cover, you kill the retrieve and it gets destroyed as it floats back up.

Glide baits. When you can see a big one suddenly attack from cover and Tbone the bait.

Chatterbait, yep I only fish Zman. Getting them hung in weeds and having the bass pounce as you rip it free.

Swimbaits. Hudds, and all sizes of Keitech swing impact fats. I do like xzone swammers on my swimjigs.

Flies. Topwater for the explosion. The sub surface bite is equally cool but in a different way. It's tactile. You retrieve fly line by hand and when a bass hits it's a direct connection to your fingers. There is no deadening of the sensation you get in most methods of bass fishing where the strike gets telegraphed through the line to the rod and into your hand.
 
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

Rad! Yeah that’s the stuff.

I have totally dropped the ball on Chatterbaits. I super extra need to spend time with those.

I imagine the Umpqua would be an ideal place to get into fly fishing for bass. I don’t know why, but the wires haven’t connected in my brain between “fly rod” and “bass.” I’ve caught pike, carp, salmon and various saltwater fish on the wiggle stick, but very few bass. I even have a buddy back in Colorado who got all gonzo about it, but I just never did. Maybe I will one day.

And three cheers for squarebills for sure, that is a super fun way to fish.

Sorry if my post came off as weird, I just wasn’t sure if you were making a statement about your tactics or asking after mine. Damned lack of prosody in text communication causes problems again. 😵‍💫

Cheers man.
 
NKlamerus

NKlamerus

Lots of lots of similarities, some differences, good discussion

I'm about the same on line, it's either 10/15 or 50+, every single rod is braid regardless of use. Flouro leader when needed. Im limited to 3-4 rods so they all need to be a little universal, all 7' or 7'6

Oregon has really opened up my bait usage, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits (although I do prefer double willow lol, I find the imitate perch better) and Ned rigs in particular.

Your jig is my frog. I will/would throw a Spro frog 24/7/365 in Florida. It's a definite confidence bait for me, even though I have to limit myself here

Never had confidence in a jig at all, prefer a worm, partly because we didn't have craws in a lot of the waters down south, so I never threw them growing up.

I have no experience with blade baits but I'm seeing them more and more, do they vibrate before a rattletrap would speed wise? Fish deeper better?

I love the original rattletraps, not a big fan of the newer shorter versions like rapalas or strike king red eye shads, they seem to swim sideways a lot when bank fishing and don't rip through cover as easily.
 
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

I'm surprised to hear that there are waters in Florida without crawfish. That's very interesting.

As far as the jig thing goes... I know that people conceptualize of jigs as craw imitations, but I think of them as being more vaguely defined, like wooly buggers. They sorta look like a lot of things without exactly looking like anything. I think they have different effects on bass brains depending on how they are fished and in what color schemes, but that is just me. I have got on many a good post spawn bite swimming bluegill patterned jigs, for example. I would heartily encourage anyone who has not explored the potential of a jig to do so. Northern strain bass in particular are all about jigs. I know Floridas are big on worms, but even a Florida will eat jigs.

I for sure need to spend more time with frogs. I don't fish topwater nearly as much as I could, or probably should.

Blade baits are far from ideal if you have any cover to speak of. You can snap them out of grass if the vegetation is not too thick, especially hard grass like hydrilla or something less fibrous like that. You don't want to try them in milfoil or coontail or anything of that kind, they just bog down too much and as you tend to fish them on somewhat lighter line, successfully clearing them is a constant problem.

They sink faster for a given weight than a lipless, due to less water resistance. They are thin and made completely of metal, and just sink like no other. You can absolutely BOMB them too, and that's what I do a lot with them, make super long casts and swim them through various zones. You can also scrape bluffs and walk them down super effectively. The traditional thing to do with blades is let them sink completely to the bottom and either snap jig them or "burp" them, which is basically just lifting the tip of your rod until you feel the vibration start, then immediately dropping the rod, picking up your slack, and repeating. I have also had great success with them by hovering them in place just above the bottom on a drift, or just above suspended fish. I've hung them under slip-floats and that is a wicked thing to do on suspended fish. They are an ideal tool for video game fishing. I've just gradually increased my use of them beyond the textbook situations, and it has payed off for me. Mostly they are favored by walleye anglers, and I will tell you what, walleye do love them. I catch a LOT of trout on them as well, although I never target trout with anything having treble hooks. I love the BPS Laser Blade in 3/8th and 1/2oz, chrome or gold. I pull off the holographic tape they come with to expose the metal beneath, which is much more subtle and natural looking IMO. You absolutely must replace the stock hooks on those things. I also like the old Heddon Sonar and the Cotton Cordell Gay Blade, and the Damiki Vault, which is pretty tiny. You have to pay extra close attention to the hooks on blades as they hit bottom a lot and dull up pretty quick. There are usually multiple holes for the snap on blades, and it pays to try different actions. I like them in the forward position for colder or clearer water and in the center or rear position in warmer or dirtier water. They thump harder if the snap is in the spots toward the back of the bait.

The best development in lipless baits in recent years has been the silent and one knocker models which have proliferated. I always had a few silent or one knocker converted Traps, but it is kinda a pain making them, you have to get them perfect or like you said they will tend to roll. You just drill a little hole, tilt them forward, and super-glue the weights into a solid mass. But I like buying them better.

Cheers man.

-SS
 
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

NK, how long you been running straight braid? I have been straight nylon since the dawn of time, but recently started running braid (Sunline Sigulon PE X8) on a few sticks.
 
NKlamerus

NKlamerus

NK, how long you been running straight braid? I have been straight nylon since the dawn of time, but recently started running braid (Sunline Sigulon PE X8) on a few sticks.
I have been running suffix 832 since 2010(?) when it was released, and it is still 100% my go-to. Before that it was trilene xl casting, and suffux siege.

I have some reels with Suffix 131, newer but double the price, seems thinner, maybe stiffer.

Braid itself casts much better, cuts through the slop I fish through, lasts almost forever, and added sensitivity is nice.

I'll use a 2-6' peice of segaur red label with a double uni for everything unless there's a major difference in line diameters (usually saltwater rigs). Only time I break out mono is for a top water leader or in saltwater, but I don't even have any with me most trips.

Junior year of highschool I wrote a 3 page essay on the different types of fishing line, teacher passed me about a page in, she couldn't even finish it lol

Thanks for the info on bladed baits above, I will check out the availability at Cabela's and pick some up.

I do have some jigs, I'll need to tie some on and force myself to use them, I almost did Saturday but chose a beaver style bait on a swinging jighead.
 
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

It totally tracks a Florida dude would run braid. That’s always been the one time I would go with it; slop.
 
NKlamerus

NKlamerus

It totally tracks a Florida dude would run braid. That’s always been the one time I would go with it; slop.
Works great on vibrating baits, you can see anytime something is caught up on the line or bait. I'll definitely try it with a blade bait
 
S

Snopro

I'm cheap and like you enjoy fishing different methods so I won't spend big money on any of the super special glides.

S-Wavers for me. Great bang for the buck. If it a day when they won't bite, I don't think they would bite a $200 glide either.

Picked up a couple Storm Arashi Glides but haven't fished them.
 
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

Good call. I will probably pick up a Deps 250 at some point if I get serious about glides. I couldn’t make one with the rubber shell. I painted a few Negotiators for people and I could totally make one of those. I like the S-Wavers too, that’s about the only glide I have spent any time with. Some follows and a few insignificant fish. I’m curious about the Arashi myself, hideous paint but whatever. That young fella that helped them out with the bait seems like he was pretty particular about the swim, which is the important thing anyway. I like the looks of the Gan Craft baits too, might give one of those a crack.
 
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