Frog Fishing Report from Kelsey Bass Ranch where Mark and Angelo were fishing from the Bait Barn boat, thanks to Manny Basi. Bass Angler Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Mark Lassagne and River2Sea pro staff Angelo Alorro set out to find the bite at Kelsey Bass Ranch. Each with a River2Sea Bully Wa in hand the fishing team racked up over 50 bites in five hours on the private lake. “It was a great day of fishing; anytime you can get ten bites an hour is a great day fishing,” Lassagne noted in his on the water interview.
They broke down the day with the following details:
They reeled in about a dozen and a half of the bites. They lost five after the hookup on the way to the boat. Everything they caught came in at 2 to 4-lbs. “Most of what we got in was in the 3-lb range; but we saw a couple that were at least fives blow up on the frog,” explained Lassagne. One of their largest of the day, a four plus, was caught punchin’. “I got it on my second cast but I didn’t punch that long and went back to the frog after a few casts,” said Lassagne.
“The bass were aggressive, today,” remarked the BAM fishermen. “They came up and hit the line, they blew up hard on the Bully Wa and some even jumped over it in the water,” he continued. Lassagne attributed the blow-ups on the line to the large amount of dragonflies they saw on the water.
Lassagne continued describing the difference in their choice of frogs. He threw the Dirty White Bully Wa with 65# McCoy braid, most of the day and Alorro gave it a go with a Mud Bird. “There was really no difference in the number of bites, how hard they hit or the hook up ratio between the dark and light colors of each of our baits,” noted Lassagne.
The Bully Wa 65 was BAM’s bait this week. The Bully Wa comes in four sizes that start with the Baby Bully at 3/16-oz and go up to the Bully Wa 75 at 3/4-oz. The 65 is 2 1/2-inches long and weighs 5/8-oz with EWG #4/0 hooks.
In addition to the BAM anglers, Kelsey Bass Ranch has been visited by a number of notable bass anglers in its 70-year history. For information on testing the bass ranch bite for yourself, visit their website.
By Mark Lassagne
Is there ever enough time, what if I had another 30 minutes I would have had a limit. “We’ve all been there.” Or “They were just starting to bite and I had to leave” What if you could have another 30 minutes or more, each and every time you’re on the water? It’s easier than you might think and “THINK YOU MUST”. Bass fishing is a thinking man’s (or Women’s) game, it’s a puzzle and the first one who puts the pieces together first wins.
Here’s the time crunchier for most anglers, “CHANGING LURES”, you say “yea so” everybody has to change lures. On the average you will change lures 10 to 30 times a day. Three times each hour times 8 hours, is 24 lure changes and that is every 20 minutes. Ten times is a little more than one per hour. Do you see where were going if you can cut down the number if times you change baits or speed up the time it takes to change baits we have gained time.
We may not be able to change the number of times we change baits but we can speed up the process. I have invented “kinda” this new state of the art lure changer that will change your lure in less than half time. Can you imagine how much time this is in an average day? During several Bass Master Events I have literally watched an angler take five or more minutes to find and replace a lure not just once but several times throughout the day.
If they used my lure changer method they could have had an extra 10, 20, 50 minutes more, during an event. During those Bass master days I wasn’t sharing my secret; they were competitors and beside it amazed me how much time they wasted. Not that I’m bad guy but…. picture this, Were fishing pro on pro in a BASS event, the other guy in the boat is looking up from their tackle box asking “hey Mark how about this one”? I would reply do you have a chartreuse one or one with different blades or anything to keep them digging and me fishing. Sometimes I would laugh..ok maybe it wasn’t nice but if you were there watching you’d think it was funny too.
Imagine this…. You’re fishing, going down the bank and not getting bit, thinking you want to change lures. But wait, before you sit down in your boat and rifle thorough your hundreds of lures “STOP”. Not for very long because we are saving time. Now just think what lure you want to change to and then where that lure is in your boat. This will save you tons of time read on…….. Now change the bait but only in your mind, pretend you’re fishing it; see how it feels work it along the bank and see if it’s the one you want. Say your cranking Jackal CR60 down a rock wall and you want to switch up to a Pepper Clear Water Elite Spinner bait see the bait in your boat pull it out tie it on (in your mind), try it for a few casts an see if you like it. Sounds sort of freaky but it really works. If that one doesn’t work try another bait all the while your crankbait is still working and you didn’t burn up valuable time scrounging through your tackle. Once you find the bait you want remember where it is got there and tie it on for real. Give it a try, save some time and catch more fish!
See more and learn more with articles like this in the BASS ANGLER Magazine, order a copy or subscribe today at www.bassanglermag.com
Mark Lassagne free lance writer, pro bass angler and the publisher of Bass Angler Magazine.
NEWS From BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at http://www.BoatUS.com/pressroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
Photo Available at: http://www.BoatUS.com/pressroom/previewImg/hiRes/558.jpg
Photo Caption: Does your boat have E-10 gas in the tank? To avoid any problems over the long winter lay-up period, BoatUS says the tank should be filled to near its capacity.
Putting a Boat Away for the Winter? What You Need to Know About E-10 Gas
ALEXANDRIA, Va., September 9, 2010 – Boaters and anglers will soon be putting away their boats for the season. But before they do, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has some tips learned from fuel industry insiders on how to store a boat with E-10 gasoline (containing 10% ethanol) over the winter.
The Octane issue:
Over long winter storage periods, E-10 gasoline loses octane at about the same rate as non-ethanol gasoline. So leaving the gas tank mostly empty – and then refilling in the spring in the hopes of “refreshing” the fuel to regain any octane loss – is not necessary. However, a nearly empty gas tank introduces another problem: the strong possibility of phase separation.
Ethanol (an alcohol) attracts water. It also absorbs water – about 10 times more than regular gasoline. When ethanol can no longer absorb the water, it will “phase separate” from the gasoline. Should phase separation occur, the (water soaked) ethanol will settle to the bottom of the tank, which is where the engine’s fuel system pick-up is located.
The problem with leaving a tank mostly empty is that it increases the tank’s “lung capacity” to breath in moist air (water) through the vent. If the tank is mostly empty over the winter, there will also be less E-10 gas in the tank to absorb the moisture. This combination of more water and less absorption greatly increases the chances of phase separation. Adding fresh gasoline in the spring would not remedy the problem – the phase-separated ethanol would remain separated at the bottom of the tank.
The Water Separator issue:
Any moisture in a tank will be readily absorbed by the ethanol. E-10 can hold up to 1/2 percent of water by volume and up to that concentration the water molecules will dissolve in the gasoline forming a soluble mixture that will pass through a water separator and burn harmlessly in your engine.
The only time water will collect in a tank and not be absorbed is if phase separation has occurred, and by then it will be too late. A water separator is not a solution to the phase separation problem.
The Fuel Additive issue:
Fuel additives are good for many reasons and should be used when laying up a boat for winter, but no additive will stand up to a good-sized slug of water. And once too much water has entered the tank and the gas has begun to phase separate, no additive will return the fuel to its original state. The only solution to phase-separated gas is to have a professional drain the tank and start anew.
The best advice for storing E-10 in your boat’s gas tank over winter:
Keep the tank nearly full. This greatly reduces the volume of moist air that can enter the tank via the fuel tank vent when temperatures fluctuate in the fall and spring. With any fuel, an antioxidant will help keep it fresh during lay-up. Finally, never plug up a fuel tank vent – it creates pressure that could cause dangerous leaks in the fuel system.
For more information including free downloadable winterizing checklists, go to www.BoatUS.com/winter. To watch a short video on ethanol and winterization, go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/BoatUSvideos#p/u/44/QWgLHTkDhYU.
West Coast Bass Delta Pro Am results & big bass brag board: Soakin’ Senkos is secret to success
Brought to you on May 22, 6:10 AMStockton Fishing Examiner by Jody Only
The sunny days and warmer ways of this past weekend’s Delta forecast wasn’t enough to sway the big bass in the way of the anglers fishing the final stop in the West Coast Bass Pro Am on the California Delta.
Only one boat bagged over twenty pounds both days of the tournament. With 25 plus on Saturday and over 21 on Sunday, pro boater Charlie Dillard boasted 47.60 for his total tournament weight and first place pro prize and plaque.
The first day of the event ended with only 3 boats bringin’ in bags with over twenty pounds.
Most anglers told tales of missed opportunities, botched blow ups, flubbed frogs and spooky bed fish. Few fishermen spoke of filling the livewell with ease without mentioning a Senko.
That first day of weigh in wound down with pro Dave Erwin and Am Chris Ricci partnering a pair of bookend bass that saw the scale score at nearly 16 lbs for the two big fish of the day. Erwin’s 8.10 and Ricci’s 7.86 were the foundation of their limit and both brought aboard on a Senko. Ricci giving credit to the Rev Rig on his.
Sunday’s sun slipped behind the clouds, and the anglers raced out of Russo’s to run the river in search of the secret to success.
Again seemingly seeking the Senko, the big bass bit for those that dropped one in the right place.
Zack MacDonald, the youngest WCB angler at 16 years old and 2nd day Am draw of first place pro Charlie Dillard found that right place to put a green pumpkin on a plate and serve his Senko to a hungry 7.44. Zack’s big bass helped beef up that 2nd day sack to 21.82 and keep Charlie in first.
Zack’s big one wasn’t enough to hold for Mega Big Fish on Day 2, as JR Taylor had a sack of Senko’s at his side and after seeing his scale tipper on the same spot both days, he set his Senko in sight of a 7.98 that couldn’t resist.
JR’s Senko was enough to earn him a 2nd in the big fish payday, but that’s not the end of the Senko saga.
Loading the limit of Sal Herrera was the 8.11 that sought out the Senko at the end his line on the final fishing day. That 8.11 was just enough to edge out Erwin, the Air Force Angler by one single ounce in the chase for the check of the Mega Big Fish Pool.
Lots of fish were weighed, lots of baits were thrown, some were bit … some were even bit often, but if you wanted to cash a big fish check this weekend in the West Coast Bass Pro Am on the California Delta, you had better have had a sack of Senkos somewhere on the boat.
Rounding out the Top of the Tournament:
- 47.60 Charlie Dillard
- 37.38 Rob Wenning
- 34.60 Jim Novotny
- 32.90 Dave Erwin
- 32.77 Mark Shelly
Charlie Dillard – First Place Pro Jim Novotny – Third Place Pro
- 45.12 Jodie White
- 39.54 Bill Vick
- 28.43 Tami Curtis
- 37.47 Zack MacDonald
- 36.58 Chris Ricci
Jodie White – First Place Am Bill Vick – Second Place Am Tami Curtis – Third Place Am
More winners on the Delta in the Contest Within the Contest
Both boasting enough weight to “beat the pro staff”, Ed Ackerman, Boater bagged a new baitcaster and Jon Bradford, Non Boater had a prize pick-up of a new spinning reel compliments of U.S. Reel for finishing one place ahead of U.S. Reel Pro Staff, Mark Lassagne.
Big Bass Brag Board Below:
Pro Boater, Rick Rudd followed his 2nd place finish in February from the first Delta tournament with a 6th place spot in this one.
Jiggs Benn brought in only a little over 8 lbs on Day 1, but more than doubled it up on Day 2 with this 7 plus in the bottom of his 17.34 bag.
Jim Novotny and Tami Curtis touted twenty plus on Day 1. Tami and her Day 2 draw Dan Castellano proudly paired up another picture worthy bag.
Bret Leber shows off the big fish of his 31 pound tournament.
Mike Folkestad found fish on the first day with partner Steve Adams.
Steve’s second day with Joey Letsinger also proved productive and set Steve in 8th overall on the Co side, with his nearly 34 pound tournament total.
Even after weighing in only 10 lbs on Day1, Rich Smith’s persistance paid off, returning to his water on Day. His weight more than doubled and placed him at 9th on the Pro side, with over 32 lbs.
Nick Welton came off a catch that earned him Mega Big Fish prize at the last Delta stop and followed that up with 8th in the Pros, for the return to the Delta.
This May event on the California Delta concludes the 2010 West Coast Bass Pro Am tournament series. The circuit will return to Lake Shasta in October for the West Coast Bass Classic-Tournament of Champions. Angler and Co Angler Year to Date Standings and Classic Qualifiers are available at the WCB website.
The West Coast Bass crew welcomes new apparel sponsor … Bassaholics.
The Delta tournament coverage will air on Angler West TV on Sunday morning on Comcast Sportsnet California. Check local listings. This event is also available on DVD from the Angler West TV website.
A Super Teams tournament will be held on Clear Lake August 27. Partners sign up together and fish together. There are still spots available contact Larry Viviano for sign ups.
Results available for the February 2010 West Coast Bass Pro Am season opener held on Clearlake.
Results available for the March 2010 Pro Am Circuit 2nd stop on the California Delta.
Results available for the April 2010 Pro Am road trip to Shasta.
Look for full coverage of the West Coast Bass events in the Bass Angler’s Guide.
Visit the West Coast Bass website for more info.
By Mark Lassagne
The right fishing rod will you catch more fish. Gary Dobyns the all money winner on the west coast has used a special rod made only for ripping a jerk bait, he says it is the key to catching more and better quality fish. Gary says if you not using the right rod you won’t get these fish to bite. Over a million dollars later, how can you argue with his success?
Most anglers are unaware
that the fishing rod is one of the most important tools to catching and landing bass. It’s true that you can use most any rod and catch fish. Just like you can play golf with any club, right? Standing in the Tee Box 395 yards to the pin and you can use your wedge for this shot; however, wouldn’t driver better? This may be a little extreme, but what about the guy tossing a buzz bait with a spinning rod? And Oh Yes, as a pro angler and guide I’ve almost seen it all. Each fishing technique has a rod that will work ok and one that works perfectly. I’m not saying you need a special rod for every technique, because then you would have as many rods as I do. But you should have a variety that will work for every technique you wish to employ.
Think about how many times have you gone out fishing to only land half of the fish that bit? What about? I thought that was a bite but “I’m not quite sure”. Do you know many bites do you miss on each outing? I will tell you this it is a lot more than you think. Do you have any idea what’s going on with your bait? Did your crank get bit, or go through the grass, a rock, wood, mud bottom? Can you make that cast? The one under the brush with the Frog like Rojas does on TV? Are you struggling with each cast? Missing bites, not knowing what’s going with your bait? These are only a few things that having the right rod will help you with.
I am often asked how do you know what rod to use each technique. It is similar to golf where different shot need different clubs. And like golf everyone is a little different. Some guys can hit 200 yards with a 6 iron and some can only make 100. We all have preferences and there is not an exact to either one, fishing or golf but we there rules. I like seven to eight foot rods when other guys use six or six and half foot rods. I cast hard and fast with a side arm and I use two hands and you may be totally different. We all have our own style that with time can see which rod will work best for us.
Most all fishing rods are made from either fiberglass or graphite. Both types of material look similar. The material looks like a piece of cloth picture a bed sheet, only black and much stiffer. The finer the weave the faster the action and this weave is measured in modulus. (Kind of like thread count) Fiberglass rods have a modulus of 6-13 million and graphite rods are from 33-70 million modulus. (IE: IM6 + 33,000,000 & IM7 42,000,000) A high modulus rod would be stiffer, faster, lighter and more sensitive but will also be more brittle, similar to the difference between Plexiglas and Glass. All rod blanks are not created equal a quality blank will be lightweight and engineered for a specific action. Rod designers spend many hours to achieve this right action.
The rod components are equally as important as the rod blank itself. The rod handle can be made of many different types of material such as wood, cork or foam. The handle should fit your hand comfortably and still firm enough to carry sensitivity. The reel seat should be made of a sturdy composite material and fit all major brands of reel firmly. A reel seat with a cut out for the blank allows for more sensitivity to your hand because you can touch the blank directly. The foregrip is mostly for look
s and a rod without a foregrip allows you touch the blank during the retrieve adding a little more sensitivity. Last we have the guides; the guides are one of the most important parts of the rod and also can be the costliest adding over a $110 to the manufacturing cost. A low quality guide will ruin even the best rod blank. A quality low profile lightweight guide will increase sensitivity and casting distance and is essential to a good rod. Quality guides will not wear out using braided line. There are a few manufactures the make quality guides with Fuji being one of the top ones. Fuji also employs a specialized technique for guide placement and the number of guides called the Fuji now guide concept. A complete description of the new guide concept can be found at www.fujitackle.com
Another important factor that is not visible by looking, you need to know if the rod builder or manufactures use the spline to line up the guides. The spline is like a seam in the rod blank which makes one side of the rod stiffer than the other. If the manufacture did not use the spline to line up the guides each rod even though it has the same part number will have a different action. Ask the manufacture if the use the spline to align the guides?
Sensitivity is one of the most important factors when choosing a rod. With a sensitive rod you will “with time” be able to decipher what is going on with your bait.
I love to fish shallow crank baits and when I first started I couldn’t tell the difference between a rock or fish, but using the right rod and a lot of practice I can now tell you everything that is happening. I can tell if a fish inhaled my bait and then didn’t get hooked. “Sure” You Say! But there have been many times when I missed a crankbait fish and then caught that fish on Senko. Isn’t that’s what fishing all about catching a few more fish.
Buzzbait and Spinnerbaits: With buzzbaits and spinnerbaits you will be casting continuously so a lightweight rod is important. Sensitivity is also something needed for spinnerbait because many times the fish will bump the blades before the actual strike. A six foot rod will give you a little more casting accuracy but a seven / seven and half foot rod will give your more hook setting power, leverage and casting distance. A rod with a slower tip will give the fish a little more time to inhale the bait before you set the hook. These baits use a single hook allowing you to put more pressure on the fish during the fight so a medium action to medium heavy rod would allow enough power to land the fish. The tip needs to be flexible enough to cast the lure accurately.
Best Rod: Lightweight, Sensitive, 6 ½ to a 7 ½ foot rod with a Medium action and a Medium soft tip. Dobyns and Powell part numbers (664) (704) (754) First two numbers are the length and the third is the power or stiffness.
Crankbaits and Top Water Plugs:
Crankbaits and top water plugs you will continuously casting so like spinnerbaits weight is an important factor. Sensitivity is also important not so much for top water but for cranking it is more important that you might think. A seven-foot rod is good for long casts and large baits and a six to six and a half-rod would be more accurate, adjust the rod length to your type of fishing. Like with a spinnerbait rod a crankbait / top water rod should also have light tip allowing the fish time to inhale the bait before you set the hook. With cranks and top water they have treble hook which can pull out if you put too much pressure on the fish so a fiberglass rod will give the extra flex to keep those hooks from coming out. I personally like graphite rods; however, many anglers believe in fiberglass. A medium light to medium action is usually best with as long as it has enough backbone to get a good hook set and flexible enough to fight the fish. The tip on a crank/top water rod needs to be light and flexible but sturdy enough to cast the weight plug you are fishing. A 1/8 -oz plug would need a light tip when a 3/4-oz plug would need a medium tip.
Best Rod: A lightweight, sensitive 6 foot rood for fishing close targets and a 7 to 7 ½ foot rod for open water, medium action and a light tip.
Part Numbers (602) Light weight target fishing, (703) Open water and larger cranks (704) or (764) Deep diving cranks
Worms & Jigs: As worm fishing varies greatly from East to West. Out west we use 3 to 4 inch worms all the time in water from 5 to 60 feet deep. When fishing deep water the two most important factors are sensitivity and weight. Sensitivity because if you don’t your getting a bite you won’t catch the fish and weight because you will be holding the rod up in the 9 to 10 o’clock position for a long period time. Use a 6 1/2 to a 7 1/2 foot rod depending on your preference and the type of structure your fishing. I prefer a 7 foot rod when fishing deep 20-60ft and a 7 1/2 when fishing 5-20ft deep. Graphite rods are lighter, more sensitive and faster by nature than fiberglass. Even though you want to give the fish time to inhale the bait, you want a fast rod with a medium backbone to get a good fast hook set. Also enough back bone to get the fish out of any structure it may be in. The tip is also an important factor; you want a soft enough tip so you can maintain tension on the fish at all times. Ma
ny times when you are fishing deep only the point of the hook is in the fish and if you let any slack in the line the fish is gone. We’ve all done it…..she wasn’t hooked good….no you let her go. Without enough tip tension you can get slack in the line and loose that fish when it gets close to the boat.
Best Rod: A lightweight, very sensitive rod 6 1/2 to 7 ½ foot graphite rod with a medium action and a medium light tip. One exception is drop shotting using an open hook this method does not require a hook set and a limber rod makes it easier to land the fish.
(664) Deep worming (704) for lighter baits and (705) for heavier baits and football jigs
Flippin & Pitchin: When flippin you will be holding the rod near the nine o’clock position, making a pendulum motion on a continuous motion. Weight is an important factor when holding the rod up for long periods of time. Flippin rods are designed for removing fish from heavy cover in shallow water. The recommend size would be from seven to eight foot long; many tournament circuits do not allow a rod longer than eight foot.(be sure and check the rules) A good choice may be a 7 1/2 half because it is a little easier to pitch the bait. Pitching and flippin go together. Another thing to look at is the tip, make sure the tip has some flexibility this will make
it easier to make a quite entry and allow you to pitch the bait when necessary. The flippin stick should be made from light weight graphite and have a stiff backbone to pull those fish form the heavy cover. Bigger jigs and heavy baits may require a heavier rod. If you’re using an 1 ½ oz weight and punching through the junk your rod will need to be heavier than the standard flipping stick. Sensitivity is important but most of the time you will see you line move before you feel the strike. Many of these rods are telescopic too allowing for easier storage in your boat locker.
Best Rod: A lightweight 7 ½ to 8 foot graphite rod with a stiff backbone and a medium fast tip. The heavier the bait / weight the stiffer the rod.
(765) (766) (805)
Swimbaits: And now we all have to a get a new rod to toss that g
iant hunk of plastic or do we need a new set of rod? Swimbaits come in so many shapes and sizes it is a category it’s self. Hopefully I can take a little of the mystery out of the rod selection. You may want to go back and read my story on a Big Hunk of Plastic (May / June). Here is what I use for my swimbaits. For the smaller style swimbaits in the 6 inch range I use my spinnerbait rod 7 ½ (754)
Swimbaits in the 7 to 9 inch range are usually heavier and require a heavy rod in the 7 to 7 ¾ foot inch range for these type baits I use a (765) or a (766)
Swimbaits larger than 8 inches are very heavy and can be a work out to say the least. These types of baits require a special rod designed for swimbaits only. Many manufactures sell these specialty rods are 8 feet or longer, have a longer handle, sturdy reel seat and are an extra heavy action. (806) or (866)
Powell has also has a listing for specific techniques: www.powellco.com/index.html
I hope I gave you some guidelines to finding the right rod for yourself. Finding the right club is not an exact science, like golf were are different and have different styles. My experience has come from years of trial and error, tournaments, missing fish, losing fish and the desire to do it right. In addition, to0 my own fishing experience I worked as a product manufacture overseeing the design and manufacturing process of a line of rods.
See more and learn more with articles like this in the Bass Angler’s Guide Magazine, order a copy or subscribe today at www.bassanglersguide.com
Mark Lassagne free lance writer, pro bass angler, publisher, and bass guide would like to give a special thanks to his sponsors:
This article was printed in the 2005 Northern Edition of the Bass Angler’s Guide..get it here
By: Charlie Weyer
Spring time brings about confusion for a lot of anglers and rightfully so – it’s a time of year where a lot of variables are working against an angler. Weather, moon phase and even cold runoff generated hundreds of miles away can create havoc on a bite that’s been going on for weeks. Fish that are on beds can be forced off in mere hours or pre-spawn fish you located just two days ago could storm the bank. It’s a tough time of year.
Over the years, though, I have developed a set of methods that help me determine what stage the fish are in no matter what time of year it is. But, since we are approaching spring and the spawn, I want to concentrate on the methods I use during this time of year. Hopefully they’ll help you figure your fish out.
There are three stages to the spawn; pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn. The first two stages are dictated by water temperature and these stages can waver back and forth depending upon weather systems. Post spawn is doesn’t have as much to do with weather but the stage when most or al the fish in your body of water have completed the spawning process.
In any event, all three of these stages play a major role in an angler’s success and knowing which stage the fish are in can be a feather in your cap.
As I stated above, water temperature plays the biggest role in knowing what stage your fish are in. For example, if your body of water is colder than 48 degree you can pretty much assume your fish are still in their winter stage. But, as soon as the water reaches 50 degrees, fish will move from their winter haunts and onto staging areas.
These areas differ depending on what type of lake you’re fishing. In shallow natural lakes, which warm faster than deeper reservoirs, the fish will move from the deeper holes and into shallow vegetation in wait for warmer water.
On the other hand, in deeper reservoirs, the fish will move onto secondary points or ledges and stage anywhere from 20 to 35 feet deep. These areas are also close to shallow spawning grounds such as flats or shallow shorelines.
In the event that a cold front hits during this period and the water temperature drops significantly, the fish will then move back out to their wintering areas and wait for the next warming period. Because of this, it is very important to pay attention to the weather.
Pre-spawn to spawn is dictated by yet another increase in water temperature and the type of lake will determine what that magical temperature is. Again, because the shallower natural lakes, as found in Florida, warm faster, the fish seem to commit to the spawn at a lower temperature – generally the 55-degree mark. In deeper reservoirs, though, the magic temperature that moves fish from their pre-spawn staging areas to the spawn areas is around 60 degrees.
But weather can have an affect on these fish and move them back out of the shallows.
In the reservoir situation, the fish during a cold snap will tend to move back out to their pre-spawn staging areas. The difference now is they won’t move as deep – unless the weather stays cold for a long period of time.
Fish in shallow lakes will do much the same, moving back into the thickest weeds they can find. This is because the thick weeds hold temperature.
Again, I can’t stress too much how important it is to pay attention to the weather during this period. A temperature increase or decrease of only two degrees can move fish up or send them packing for deeper water.
There are a number of signs that can lead you to understand which stage of the spawn the fish are in too. Pre-spawn fish, for example, are fat and healthy looking whereas fish that are either in the spawn or post-spawn will have rub marks on them or their tails will be well worn and bloody. Spawning fish are easy to pick out as they’re mostly caught in shallow water but deep caught fish need to be looked at to determine if they’re pre- or post-spawn.
Another way to determine what stage a fish is in is to see what it’s been feeding on. Pre-spawn fish have a penchant for protein-rich crawdads. Fish that are feeding on crawdads generally have banged up noses and their tongues are red. If you see any of these traits, you can be sure the fish are pre-spawn.
Post-spawn fish, on the other hand, will now start feeding on baitfish. This also brings up an important point – fish during the pre-spawn and spawn (at least in the west) are less apt to eat a surface lure whereas fish that are post-spawn will willingly eat a surface lure.
Other visual signs are visible beds (the fish are spawning) or shallow cruisers (bucks looking to make beds or guarding fry). In the last example, if it’s early in the season you can be sure these fish are up scouting for beds. In this case, I would target the deeper water adjacent to these areas and try for the bigger females that haven’t moved up.
In the case it’s late in the season, it’s harder to tell if the bucks are searching or protecting fry. This is when you have to make a concerted effort to look for fry balls. Again, I would look to deeper water to try and catch the post-spawn fish that have moved back to the secondary drops and points.
Other fish can also lead you to conclude what stage the fish are in and bluegills are a great indicator fish. Bluegills are always present shallow during these times but will spawn after the bass have left the shallows. If you see the bluegills are spawning, you can rest assured that the bas are in post-spawn.
One thing about this time of year is every lake can have two or even all three stages of the spawn happening at the same time. This has to do with how long the weather has been conducive to the spawn but also has to do with lake layout.
Northwestern shorelines, for example will warm first at this time of year and will host the first spawn of the year. As the weather continues to warm, the fish in the rest of the lake will follow with those fish at the southeast end finishing last.
Theoretically, this means on any given lake at nearly anytime during the spawn an angler can pick the stage that suits him or her better. Personally, I try to stick with pre-spawn fish as long as I can because they weigh more and then transition to spawning fish until they run out.
Moon stages also play a role in what stage the fish are in. Generally speaking, four days prior to and after both a new and full moon you can be sure there’s a spawn going on once the water reaches a temperature that promotes egg survival. This is normally in that 58- to 68-degree range for the first flight of spawners. But, as the water temperature gets warmer, a spawn can happen anytime between new and full moon phases.
As I have said, there are many factors and variables that can dictate what stage of the spawn your fish can be in. Water temperature is the most important indicator and will initially lead you to the right water depth and areas of the lake. After that, rely on visual clues from the environment and the fish to tell you where they’re at. And, don’t get caught in the rut of fishing yesterday’s fish – especially if the weather has changed.
These methods have helped me a lot over the course of my career and I hope they help you boat more fish and maybe even win your first tournament this season.
Accomplishments: FLW Series,2007 1st Place Columbia River, Kennewick, WA, B.A.S.S. Bassmaster Tour, 2004 1st Place Smith Lake, Jasper, AL, along with several top ten finishes between Bassmaster Elites and FLW Series with over $400,000 in career earnings.
Charlie is sponsored by: Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Yamamoto Custom Baits, Logisseal, Lowrance Electronics, Seaguar, Tackle Warehouse, Powell Rods, Robo Worms and EZEE Jigs
Learn more about Charlie at www.charlieweyer.com
By Charlie Weyer
Bass Angler’s Guide Cover 2009 issue #3
Shallow waters, emergent and submerged weeds and wood and big Florida-strain largemouths all go hand in hand with the word flipping. And, while the California Delta is known as the birthplace of flipping, there’s another technique that doesn’t play second fiddle to the short-line tactic and that technique is throwing shallow-running crankbaits.
Anyone who heads to the Delta knows they better have a good supply of shallow-running crankbaits in their boat before placing the troll-motor in the water. The vast amounts of wood, vegetation and rock coupled with the Delta’s shallow waters beckon the bait be thrown and those anglers dedicated to the crank, more times than not, are rewarded with big bags of big green Delta bass.
But not only does the cover make for perfect shallow cranking, so do the tides, which act to create funnels that position fish or pull fish out from the shore or into the shore. In other words, the Delta is one of those rare places tailor made for throwing the shallow runner.
In the next few sections, I want to give you all a rundown on what I look for on the Delta to increase my odds of connecting with a Delta pig.
One of the most difficult factors that the Delta possesses is its tidal movement. Where time of day is more important on most waters, it’s the Delta’s tides that tend to dictate when and where fish are going to become active.
Water movement is key to active fish and active fish are key to success here. The only places on the Delta where water movement doesn’t play as large a role is on the big lakes – but I’ll talk about that more in a while.
The one thing I want to stress here, though, is you need water movement and depending on when you’re fishing with respect to the tide will dictate where to place your casts.
With respect to fishing the main sloughs and canals that get a lot of water movement, my experience has shown I do better on an outgoing tide. The reason for this, I feel, is as the water subsides, it positions the fish on the outside weedline – making it perfect for placing a shallow crank in their path. It seems that the fish move to the outside weedline faster than they move in to the inside on an incoming tide. Therefore, as the tide switches to outgoing, you have more time knowing where those fish are and more time to put your bait in front of them.
Incoming tides can also be good, especially within 2 hours of the high, but the areas are different than with the outgoing tides. Opposite of the outgoing tides, where the fish position on the outside weedline, the incoming tides move the fish from the outside weedline to the inside weedline and then between the shore and inside weedline once the tide has reached is maximum.
During the transition stages, between low and high tide, I fish the between the outside and inside weedlines and then, as the water builds towards high tide, I’ll move my boat into a position that I can throw down the bank between the shoreline and the inside weedline.
The Big Waters
When it comes to fishing the big lakes like Frank’s Tract, Mildred’s or Little Mandeville, it’s all about finding cover. Because these lakes don’t have much water movement, you’re always looking for cover that you can bounce the bait off of. In these lakes, the fish have a tendency to position themselves so they don’t have to move far from one area to another as the tide moves up or down.
The key here is to find areas that have cover in both deep water and shallow water along with some transitional cover in between. A good example would be a rock pile near shore that has weeds extending out deep with a tree or some other feature at the deep end of the weedbed. A spot like this is golden on the Delta as it provides cover for the fish no matter what the tide is.
Inlets and outlets to the big waters are also magnets for bass on the Delta. Where the main parts of the lakes don’t have any current, these openings provide harder than normal current as water is either entering or leaving the lakes. This current acts as a funnel that provides food and nutrients and the bass use them as a means to get an easy meal.
In the case of an outgoing tide, it’s best to be on the outside of the inlet, cast upstream and bring the bait back with the current. Try to hit wood, rock or the deep edges of the opening with your bait. With an incoming tide, position your boat inside the opening and do the same thing. Remember, fish your bait with the current.
Eddies also play a major role in these areas. Eddies are those areas where the current runs back on itself and creates a swirling area with little to no current. It’s these areas that generally hold the bigger fish. On an incoming tide, the eddies will be in the inside of the opening and on an outgoing tide they’ll be on the outside.
Now that I’ve given you an idea on what areas I like to throw shallow crank, let me get to the meat of what I like to throw.
Shallow crankbait gear varies depending on a number of factors. The basic rods and reels don’t deviate from any crank rod you’re accustomed to using but the line does. When I know the fish are eating the crank, I like to have a couple rods rigged with different sized lines – from 12-pound to 20-pound test – in order to have more control over the depth the crank runs.
During the times where the water’s high I use lighter lines, like 12-pound test, in order to get the bait down to the fish. This light line cuts through the water with less resistance thus allowing the bait to dive deeper. On the other hand, when the water is shallow, I throw up to 20-pound test to keep the bait closer to the surface.
As far as baits go, it’s a well-known fact that the Luhr Jensen Speed Trap is money when fished on the Delta. It’s a traditional square-billed bait that not only runs shallow but comes through the weeds and timber well. It also makes a good bit of noise which can be good in the Delta’s dirty waters.
Another bait that I’ve been fishing a lot is a hand-carved wood bait out of North Carolina called the IKON made by Custom Lure Unlimited. This bait, unlike the Speed Trap, is made of wood, has no rattles and has been outperforming the Speed Trap recently. The original IKON is a big bait – 3 inches in length – that moves a lot of water and has a maximum dive depth of 4 feet on 15-pound test. It’s little brother, the IKON m2 is 2-1/2 inches in length.
The unique thing about the IKON is its rolling action. The bait has a wide side-to-side wobble but also rolls as it’s brought back on the retrieve. Also, the fact that this bait has no rattles – something the fish aren’t used to on the Delta with everyone throwing the Speed Trap, makes it a very good bait. Couple those traits with its natural buoyancy and I know this bait will become as popular as the Speed Trap in short order.
Colors for cranks on the Delta are pretty standard. Bright reds like Delta craw and crystal craw are mainstays as is chartreuse and blue or citrus shad. But don’t over look shad patterns like Tennessee shad or chartreuse shad.
Most everyone knows the shallow crank bite on the Delta is always a good bet to catch fish. It’s always been good to me and I hope some of these tips I’ve given help you with your days on the river. Good luck and see you next issue.
Learn more about Charlie at www.charlieweyer.com
Charlie’s accomplishments include: FLW Series,2007 1st Place Columbia River, Kennewick, WA, B.A.S.S. Bassmaster Tour, 2004 1st Place Smith Lake, Jasper, AL, along with several top ten finishes between Bassmaster Elites and FLW Series with over $400,000 in career earnings. He is sponsored by: Triton boats, Mercury outboards, Yamamoto custom baits, Segar, Web Villian.com, EZEE Jigs and Custom lures unlimited.