BassWestUSA - March/April, 2011, Page 31

out, Terry was the one who helped Jerry Rago and Scott Whitmer get into the RTV molding and resin style baits. It wasn’t until years later that Terry told me that he got the initial idea of the RTV molding for swimbaits from a post I had made on the Bass Fishing Home Page forum over 10 years ago on how to make a spinnerbait mold using water putty. The three of them were at a Denny’s restaurant after a shing trip and Terry drew out my basic molding idea on the proverbial paper napkin and the rest is swimbait history. That’s my small claim to fame in the history of swimbaits.

FLW pro Matt Peters of Roswell, GA has also been an in uence on me. Matt is from the San Diego area. So he is a transplant to Georgia from California. Matt and I have shared countless amounts of tactical information on swimbaits over the years. Matt has a cool swimbait blog at

My good buddy Arden Hanline of Spring Valley, CA has also been very helpful in sharing info with me over the years as well. Arden is a walking encyclopedia of swimbait knowledge.

Yet even with all that help, a good portion of what I know about swim- baits is from personal experience on the water. It’s a painful process learning about swimbaits and their effectiveness. At times you go hours, weeks, and during the off-season there can be months with few bites or follows but you know what? You are a stronger angler for that experience. Matt Peters once told me that you will learn more about BIG sh and their habits shing big swimbaits for one year than you will in 10 years shing with ordinary everyday lures. You know what? He’s right.

Before I started shing swimbaits I caught very few sh over 5 lbs on Allatoona per year. That’s not just me; no one catches big sh there. Now I catch 10 or more big sh (5 lb plus) on swimbaits each year. Three years ago I landed a 9 lb large- mouth which I am told is the biggest largemouth caught on Allatoona in the past decade.

You may be lucky to live near a lake where you can catch 10 sh over 5 lbs a day. I don’t. Most of my guide clients and swimbait customers don’t, and most anglers in the USA are not that lucky. We get bombarded in the media about ten-pounders for instance. If you believe the hype, you’d think perfect 10’s are everywhere - but it’s not true. Even in California, there was a time not long ago (before swimbaits) when people believed ten-pounders could only be caught on live bait, not lures. Then there are many, many anglers in quite a few states where a ten-pounder has never, ever been caught there. On the majority of waters in the USA, real- ity is that 5 pounders are very hard to come by. Honestly re ect upon how many big bass you catch per season. Now, regardless of whether you catch a lot or a few, you’ll do even better with big bass if you devote more time to swimbaits. It’s that simple and it works.

BWU: Mike, tell us how to help customers get the most out of Bull Shad swimbaits, including rod, reel, line to use, techniques, seasonality, water conditions - pretty much paint a picture for us of the best factors for success using Bull Shad swimbaits. Sum up and give us everything we need to know to out t and equip our- selves to be Bull Shad throwers by being on the water in the best areas at the best times for success.

MIKE: As for the equipment for my baits, I use different Dobyns Rods depending on swimbait size and weight. For the 5 inch bait I use Dobyns 765 glass stick and the 764C is also a great choice. The 795SBMT is a great 6 inch bait rod. For the 7 and 8 inch baits, the 795ML is a great rod especially when feathering these bigger baits between limbs on a laydown. For more open water and long casts, the 806ML is a real rocket launcher. My line choices are 20 and 25 lb test Triple Fish Camo line. I use 20 lb

March/April 2011