Common sense clues to fishing feel baits for BIG bass
Too often people seek technology for a common sense problem. There’s an app for that, real world
common sense solutions. I describe it as “separating yourself from your senses”. Shut off your I-Phone,
I-Pad and other electronic devices. Used in conjunction with electronic aids, your natural cognitive
abilities will have you hooking big bass before you can reboot. Rarely do you make a mistake and catch a
big bass. Here are a few tips so you can thumb a few more bass.
Do you feel me? – Keep three point contact with your feel type baits at all times. These include plastic
worms, curly tail grubs, lizards, soft plastic craws, tubes and jigs. Use the rod tip, the handle and the line
resting over the back of your thumb or between your fingers for a third reference point to sense a bite.
Watch the line but trust your sense of feel. Braided line can help you sense more of what is happening
at the other end of the line.
Loosen up – When fishing feel type baits it’s always better to hold the rod loosely in your hands. A death
grip on the rod makes it harder to feel the subtle strikes, relax your hands and fingers and you’ll feel
more of what the bait and the bass are doing. Your tight grip reduces sensitivity and puts a gap in the
time you sense a fish and set the hook.
Go long or go home – The fishing rod; employ a longer rod for casting (or pitching) to get desired
distance, the increased length loads the rod for longer casts. Tip speed loads the tip and sends the bait
out with a higher velocity that translates into increased distance. Another major advantage of the taller
rod is you also can pick up the line faster on the hook set because of the additional length. There is a
limit to length. Match the rod to the angler. If you can handle a seven foot stick by all means use it. Go
up or down in length by the room you have to cast and store the rod. A quality collapsible rod is a big
advantage in both cases.
Go swimming – Swim soft plastics. Regardless of what some folks espouse and communicate I believe
when first starting just cast the bait and lift the rod to create a swimming motion. This is easy; it looks
natural and provides an arc and a falling motion which triggers lots of strikes, other retrieves works but
this, day in and day out produces hits. Swim the bait and take the rod to the ten o’clock position. Lower
the tip and reel line for full contact fishing.
Concentrate / Confidence – Paying attention to what the bait is doing, how it feels and any refusing to
be distracted will position you to identify a “pick up” and prepare you for the BIG bass battle. I trust
my rod, bait, line, knot, knowledge, hook set, drag and ability to hook and land any size fish. I’ve never
made a cast that I didn’t believe I was going to catch a fish.
An Optical Conclusion – Depth finders aside, you can see many objects with quality sunglasses. If you
see a branch sticking up through the surface of the water a little detective work tells you it’s attached to
a tree and maybe even the relative size of the tree below. Bass cover comes in the form of weeds beds
submergent (below) and emergent (above) no electronics required, pull up to the next window please.
Boat docks equal overhead cover and potential food sources, fish them from every direction and pitch
or skip baits under these fish holding structures. Rock piles radiate the suns heat in the winter, early
spring, fall and winter. A degree or two warmer of water temperature will draw and hold fish. Get the
picture? Fish structure.
Keep Your Feel Bait Wet – It’s easy to become disheartened when the bite is slow. It is you remember
called fishing. Catching comes when you do everything correctly. Maintain a positive approach, try
familiar techniques and areas first and then go ahead and experiment with new techniques and seek out
fresh waters. If you cast and retrieve your lure twice per minute you’ll make a 120 casts per hour. If you
fish for eight hours you will make almost 1000 casts. You can expect if you are the average fisherman
to catch one fish about every 90 minutes. (Sorry that’s the average) Keep casting, stay focused and be
ready. If you’re not casting you can’t be catching. Sometimes the biggest bass comes in the last hour of
Be an Accu-caster – Learn to cast accurately. You don’t have to put the bait in a dime but try to keep it
in the same zip code. The strike zone of a bass is greatly exaggerated. In hot water, cold water, muddy
water and other scenarios their strike zone gets smaller. It’s a simple fact that the farther they have
move to catch their prey and eat the more energy they expend. If they move too far to eat too small
a meal it’s a losing proposition. They would actually get smaller. To gain weight or minimally maintain
their size they feed opportunistically. Close, easy to catch and “upsized” is a good proposition for BIG
bass. Put the bait close to the bass, make it look real and hang on.
Simple stuff – just a common sense app for the kayaker looking for a trophy bass.