Before I tell everyone about what I have learned, I would like to give you some information about myself and the areas I fish. First, I have been fishing for bass over 25 years, fishing tournaments for over 20 years. I have fished most all states in the South, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and of course Mississippi, my home state. The waters I fish are a spread of deep, shallow, rivers, backwaters, from crystal clear to pure mud. With all this experience, when Rodney Long introduced me to the recoil rig, I found out that I knew oh so little about the new techniques of bass fishing. Below is what I have learned in the past three years with this rig.
When introduced to the recoil rig, I was an avid jig fisherman, that pitched and flipped some of the worst trash in the South and picked up many checks doing it. You couldn’t even talk to me about fishing much of anything else other than the occasional spinner bait or carolina rigged huge worm. Rodney finally talked me into trying his new invention, took allot of his valuable time explaining to me the basics of how to fish the rig and even set me up with a couple of sets to learn with because I lost my first set fast! Real fast and I imagine others out there will do the same. I am breaking this down into water characteristics and of course every person using this rig will have to adapt to there area, bait and water. What I have learned:
Clear grass filled lakes
Less is more! The videos of the Recoil Rig are great to show you the action that can be achieved using this rig. But, I have found that in clear water situations, working the rig fast and with allot of action turns the bite off. Not to say this want work, because during peek times this is the best way to work the bait in any water. When the bite is tough and you can’t find any “shallow” fish, look for deep weed beds, or the ends of points with grass, make long cast with a heavy 1 oz. weight or more and the cord doubled. Let the rig set for a few seconds (I know, this is against all we learn) then slowly just give the rod tip a minimal 1 to 2 inch twitch on semi-slack line. If the entry of the bait brought in bass to see what was going on, the minimal twitch will be all that is needed to let him know it’s alive and is a easy free meal. After that, make small “twitches” then let the lure set, the vibrations in the water WILL bring the bass to you! Move the rig up to 6 or 7 feet and with a fast rake upward of the rod and start over. In clear water there is no need to work every couple of feet, the bass will find this rig. Generally I use a very light colored minnow style lure or a straight “trick” worm for this technique, use your judgment according to the bait fish in the area.
Dingy mixed lakes
Don’t be afraid to use this lure in log jams and such, in this area we pitch the Recoil Rig into the worst stuff you have seen and it works great. You need a little change in the normal rigging, in that the leader needs to be 17# or greater and use 50# braid as a main line, Deep wood is easily worked with the rig, use a short, 1′ leader and work through the wood, pulling the weight up until it catches and work the bait with medium twitches, semi-fast until the weight bounces over and catch on to the next limb or trunk. Beware, the strikes on this rig in wood are very hard and you will have to react fast to get the rig back. When fishing the grass in dingy water just upgrade the presentation too a more aggressive and use lures that are brighter in the minnow and dark or sparkly in the straight tail worms.
Semi Muddy waters
Now you can do the dance you’ve been wanting to do with the Recoil Rig, Use the rig in all areas, shallow, deep, grass, brush, you name it. I really enjoy working the edges of drop offs and creek banks with this rig. Work it hard and fast getting the most out of the action with brief pauses between sets. The max rod tip movement during this technique is 4 to 5 inches, but with aggression. I use bigger lures in this presentation, stick worms up to 8 inches or large plastic “swim baits”, color is definitely important, match the hatch as close as you can. Once the bass has found the lure, it must look real to seal the deal.
Nothing on the market pulls the fish in like the Recoil Rig in muddy water, Nothing! Double up the cord, use heavy baits and heavy leaders, be aggressive with the rod tip, move the lure regularly up to 2′ at a time and work it through any and every piece of grass and trash you can find. Keep a finger on your main line while working in muddy water so you can feel the slightest strike. I have found that in muddy water the strikes are usually light, other than at peek times. Be fast on the hook set to keep from loosening the rig and use dark baits, purple, brown, black and my favorite scuppernong.
I have a few tips I have learned to add to the basic techniques above and to make the Recoil Rig a specialty rig in certain areas. Here are some that I use, try these and you will fall in love with the rig all over again!
When fishing river ledges going from very shallow to very deep with a sharp drop off, try using a triple cord and a 2 to 3 oz weight, work the rig to the drop off, then easily pull the rig out to where you believe the weight is still in the shallows and the lure is over the deep water. Work the lure easily and steady as long as possible making the “injured minnow” presentation. When the weights goes over the edge, feed line for a straight fall, give it one set of action at the bottom of the drop, then reel in and start over. This is an awesome presentation for bass that are feeding on these shallow ledges along river systems.
Matted Grass and Lilly Pads
Punch it! Yep, I said Punch it! Use a heavy leader, braided main line, double or triple your cord and Texas Rig the lure onto a heavy wire off set hook with the tip buried into the lure. DO NOT “Texpose” the lure in this presentation. Hold on to the weight and pitch the rig as high as you can, with descent length, and punch through the mat or pads. Let it set, then according to the water clarity work the lure as you desire. My biggest bass caught on the Recoil Rig was caught next to a 2′ ditch that wondered through a Lilly pad patch, It will take you a few tries to get the presentation down with this technique but will be well worth it during the hot summer months when the rest of the guys are frogging or pitch jigs.
Stump Flats and the Recoil Rig
My team partner came up with this idea during a tournament on large reservoir here in Mississippi and we have been using it for 2 years now with great success. Use the rig as a variation to the Carolina rig. Double the cord up and use a heavy sinker that is cylinder in shape, the shorter, stronger cord will come in handy while working through the stumps. Feed one glass bead on the main line, then the line lock swivel supplied in the pack with the cord and weight attached. Add two more beads then rig normally using a barrel swivel and leader for your favorite bait. As you drag the lure through the area, during the stops, just twitch the rod tip a few times before the next pull, you will soon find out what we have, there is no other way to work a Carolina Rig.
The Dancing Jig
This is by far my favorite technique to use on flats and clean or rocky points. It’s very easy, just add a 3/8 oz weight attached to the cord and line lock swivel, feed it onto your main line before tying on your favorite jig. I use very light jigs with this technique since you have the extra weight of the recoil rig attached. Work it just as you would with the jig, just add a few twitches here and there to keep it moving. At times the weight will hang up for a short period and you can use this to really work the jig in this area. In semi-muddy and muddy water I use a rattle with the jig, but let the rig make the noise in clear and dingy water applications.
After three years I have enjoyed learning new techniques with the Recoil Rig and I continue to learn those little “different” ways to improve my technique while using the rig. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this rig, don’t get discouraged if one technique doesn’t work in the certain water you are fishing. Stick with it, learn and you as I, will find this to be the biggest “Secret Weapon” in your arsenal.
Cya on the water,