BassWestUSA - January/February, 2010, Page 44

shore structures, my entire wake bait and swimbait arsenal comes into play. For mid- depth cruisers and for targeting deeper structure oriented fish, Huddleston’s hol- low body Peacock Trout model has been a hot producer for me for bass locating on shallower structures or out on deep humps or ledges in the main lake basin. Over the past four seasons, I’ve rigged the family of hollow bodied baits in a variety of riggings, including the larger sized Money Minnows on a 1 oz Lindy No-Snag sinker with 6 to 8 foot leader for targeting bass locating tight to mid lake structures. These hollow bod- ied baits have produced great numbers of huge bass when presented with versatile riggings. Working the sides of humps and climbing up and over any main lake struc- tures, these baits provide awesome swim- ming action and fall rate during pauses in strolling tactics. For strolling off shore structures and working ledges and main lake points, the hollow bodied family of swim baits feature, in my opinion, is a per- fect fall rate for bass in various modes of activity levels. My back up Rods are rigged with heavy swimming jigs, Football jigs and Chatterbaits for lethargic giants that are

not chasing and are set up on off shore humps. I can slow down and strain the areas with these rigs when needed for fish in a neutral or negative mode. Another rod may be rigged with a 1-oz to 2-oz monster Ledgebuster spinner bait or a smaller 4 to 6 inch slow-sinking swimbait. As far as back up options, were talking 7/8 to 1-oz baits minimum for the hard baits here. Many of my largest bass are taken from off shore structures in depths of 35 to 80 feet. Mark off potentially productive areas with marker buoys and start by letting out 100 to 150 yards of line setting up the baits to target bass at the depth levels they are locating. Some big bass may be grouped up on rock humps and contours, but many of the largest bass in the system will be single fish that are spread out over a fairly large area. Some remain tight to structures, while others may be locating from a few feet off the bottom through various depths throughout the entire water column. I tar- get the [GROUP A] Bass first, which seem to be the most active. These bass can be recognized on your graph locating tight to the top of structures usually 1 to 2 feet from the bottom. Activity levels change


Bobby’s Perfect Frog is now available in the new tour- nament winning Fred’s Frog color. This new addition to our lineup comes painted in an unrivaled “BLUEGILL” color and still gives you that bass-catch- ing action that you’ve come to love. Each frog is out- fitted with a Gamkatsu EWG double hook to ensure a premium hook-set. This frog provokes violent strikes and will attract that “kicker” fish needed for success!



throughout the night and prime feeding windows occur. These bite windows can be short so be ready and able to recognize them quickly. One of the prime times to boat multi- ple giants is during short weather windows in between fronts. Many of my largest bass over the past 5 decades have bit during these exact scenarios. After marking out prime target ar- eas, start about 50 yards before reaching prime strike zones to get a feel for how the bait is working. Bites can be subtle when you’re fishing 35 to 70 feet of water with 100 to 150 yards of line out. Work up to the bass slowly, strolling the bait and paus- ing with your trolling motor. I will rip the bait but not as quick as shallow ripping sticks and Jerk baits. Let the bait fall to the structure, shake it once or twice and stop the bait. Lift and drop the bait on a tight line. Always keep the bait moving just enough to keep the tail swimming and just kicking along. Most of the time giant bass will inhale the bait on the fall. Then with a slight burst of the trolling motor, slowly move the bait from the bottom, working the entire off shore structure, around and over the top, and repeat the process. Working specific pieces of structure requires slight varia- tions and intricate precise presentation. Bass locations on specific areas will vary by season and time of day or night. Using your electronics to pinpoint exact bass po- sitioning on each structural element will aid in covering and zeroing in on the vari- ous precise locations of fish holding tight to humps and ledges or suspending off these areas at variable depths. This tactic has taken hundreds of huge largemouth and smallies for me over the past 4 to 5 decades, and with today’s wide variations in new swimbait options, continues to pro- duce even better today. This tactic works best from the sum- mer peak period once largemouth and smallies set up throughout the entire sys- tem and excels in early to mid fall. The late fall and early winter time frame offers a chance at the largest fish in any system. I’ve taken some of my biggest largemouth and smallmouth to date, even through late fall, with this form of rip-strolling swim baits around deep water structures throughout main lake basins. From targeting the shallow flats through the main lake basins with these two forms of various wake-baiting and rip strolling methods, you can efficiently cover the entire body of water from shallow to deep, top to bottom, and consistently pull multiple Giants. BW



January/February 2010