One of the most important factors in bass fishing whether you are a beginner, novice, or even a tournament contender is using the right application of equipment to coincide with your bait patterns. This is very important because you can over work your baits thus causing the fish not to strike. Over working a bait can be a contagious disease.
Overworking a bait can be caused by several different reasons. Probably the biggest reason is using the wrong retrieve speeds with your reel. Let’s take a crankbait, for example; a crankbait is designed to work a certain way at various speeds. That’s one of the reasons why they manufacture crankbaits with different shapes and sizes. For instance, a crankbait with a narrow body is designed to work much faster than one made with a fat body (which is usually designed to work at a much slower speed.) Now, if your reel has a 6:2 retrieve speed, at a normal wind your reel would cause the crankbait to work way too fast. On the other side of the coin, if you had a 5:1 or a 4:3 retrieve speed a normal retrieve would allow the crankbait to work properly. Even though, there are many different presentations you can work a crankbait, you should experiment with your speeds and let the fish dictate on any given day how they want the bait.
Let’s talk about reels for a moment. Baitcasters, Spinning, and Spincast (or closed faced) reels can be considered tools of the trade. Personal preference will pretty much decide what type of reel you use, based on comfort. I use all three of the different types of reels for different applications when I fish. Daily conditions, size and weight of the bait, and the areas to be fished will always tell me which type of reel I would use under different circumstance.
Let’s say that we are facing into the wind, and we are fishing around and under docks with a light, finesse baits. Since we’ll have to cast into the wind, which reel should we use? If I used a baitcaster and it is windy, well, I really don’t think that I would cast a little bait into the wind because of getting that professional over-ride(or BACKLASH). What about using a spinning reel? Some anglers may use one for this type of casting, but every time I cast a little bait into the wind with a spinning reel I usually wind up with line twist. So, what is the best application to use for this scenario? The survey says, a Spincast Reel. Now stop and think about it for a moment, all you have to do is push the button on the reel and make your cast into the wind. The line freely unwinds off of the reel with no tangles allowing you to put your bait where you make your cast.
There are many different types of bait, presentations and techniques used today in the sport of bass fishing, and the reel selection mostly depends on what is the most comfortable for the angler. Now, please don’t take this the wrong way because I am not going to say that you have to use a certain reel for certain applications, but I will tell you what works the best for me. I personally use a baitcasting reel about eighty percent of the time because I feel that I have much more control at casting, hook setting, and comfort than the others mentioned. I like the thumb control on the spool with a baitcasting reel because it allows me to stop the bait on a dime when it comes to accuracy. I also like the power in the retrieve, especially when it comes to horsing big bass out of vegetation and different structured areas. However, I like the spinning reel for vertical fishing and making casts with lighter baits. Here are the reel applications I mostly use for the following:
Flipping and Pitching – Baitcaster
Texas Rigged Plastics – Baitcaster or Spinning
Carolina Rigs – Baitcaster
Crankbaits – Baitcaster or Spinning
Top Water – Baitcaster
Spinnerbaits – Baitcaster
Soft Jerk baits – Baitcaster or Spinning
Drop Shot – Spinning
Next, let’s talk about rods. Using the proper length, strength and action rod is extremely important when it comes to fishing various types of artificial baits. This is the reason why the rod manufacturing companies make so many rods in so many different sizes, lengths, and strengths. For example, if I were to fish a crankbait I’d definitely use a softer tip rod with a medium or lighter action. Using this type of application will allow me to catch more fish than if I were to use a stiffer action rod. The reason is most crankbaits are manufactured with treble hooks, and if you were to look at the treble hooks verses the single wide gap worm hooks, you would see that the points of a treble hook are very close together, and the shanks of the hooks are very short. If you go to set these types of hooks with a strong hook set, you would more than likely pull it right out of the bass’s mouth. You just don’t get the penetration into the bass’s jaw as you can with a single worm hook. So, by using a soft tip rod, it bends (or flexes) to where you won’t have a sudden stop as if using a stiff rod. And a steady pressure while retrieving the bass back to the boat will usually land the fish.
The length of fishing rods can also be a key factor while fishing different types of baits. If you were to fish a Carolina rig, a longer rod would be much more helpful than a shorter one. This is because of the sweeping action needed to pick up slack in order to keep pressure on a bass. A longer rod is also helpful when it comes to flipping and pitching baits like a jig and pig combo or the new Creature Bait, made by Gary Yamamoto’s Custom Baits, because one would get more distance fishing pockets or pitching for distance. On the other hand, a shorter length rod can be helpful if an angler is fishing around laydowns, docks, or any close quarter areas. Again, length of rods can be a personal preference with the various bait applications, but the ones I’ve mentioned seem to work the best for me.
Next, the weight of a rod can be a very big help for an angler that fishes all day long. In the past years, I have had several different rod sponsorships with companies that make quality rods, and it seems that each rod with the same size and action from each of the different companies would be a different weight. The weight of a rod can make a big difference when you spend a whole day on the water literally making hundreds of casts or pitches. There have been many times in the past that I thought my arms were about to fall off from casting so much. I found a new type of rod on the market that is approximately a third lighter than all other rods in its class. It’s called the Helium LTA series rod made by Kistler Rods. Now, these rods are by far the lightest I have ever used, and my arm doesn’t get near as tired (during the course of a day) as it used to while using others. Don’t take my word for it! Try it and compare and you’ll see the difference.
These are just a few of the applications that seem to work the best for me after years of trial, frustration, and countless hours of experimenting. I hope this article can help you, at least get a better understanding of equipment and bait applications. If you would like to inquire about my 3-day bass fishing school, or just wish to book a bass fishing charter, please contact me at: Phone (518) 597-4240, or you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my web sites at: www.capital.net/~rlbrown and www.fishing-boating.com/basscoach .
Until next time!.. Take care & God bless… Always
The Bass Coach / Roger Lee Brown