BassWestUSA - Spring, 2012, Page 30

absolutely insane at times; the bite will rattle your jaw when they eat it. Swimming them or bottom bouncing around deep cover is another tactic that pays big dividends on any deep clear lake. While many anglers seem to shy away from Swimbaits when fish- ing for smallmouth, this is totally wrong! Smallmouths are highly aggressive and will just unleash on good size Swimbaits; so don’t think like that! When attacking fish with Swimbaits Rod action and weight are very important. I prefer the Dobyns 795 SB MT. This is a 7’9” rod and is perfect for most of your medium to slightly larger baits. Matched with a solid high speed reel, I have a ton of confidence in my ability to cast far and work the baits at a variety of depths. The faster gear ratio helps with landing the fish quickly, and allows me to take up slack even quicker. Line preference is subject, but Swimbait specialist Shaun Bai- ley showed me a trick a few years ago that seemed to really help my landing percentages. Use braided line on your Swimbaits, with about a 4 foot fluorocarbon leader. The braid has no stretch and really allows for good bite detection and solid hook ups.

can tighten the line and ensure that the bait runs true and stay’s deeper on your retrieve at the level you want it to!

By this I mean if your throwing weighted baits and trying to keep them down in the deeper depths you really need to score your line. What typically happens is an angler throws out the bait, sinks it to the appropriate depth, and then starts reeling slowly. The problem is as line follows the trajectory of the bait sinking it actually becomes vertical in the water. By initiating the retrieve the bait goes straight back up before leveling and finally running hori- zontally back to the reel. By scoring your line or giving it a few slow turns of the reel, then stopping and letting it sit for a second, you

sCore your liNe!

One of the greatest tips I can give you is use some kind of gel when throwing Swimbaits. I prefer MegaStrike or Smelly Jelly fishing attractant, but that’s just my choice. The bottom line is scents eliminate human odors, add a natural scent, and most importantly slime the bait so it comes through the fish’s mouth when you set the hook. This one aspect alone will increase your hook up percentage greatly. Big fish have strong jaws and can lock down on the bait; you want to bring the steel to the fish so you want it to slip right through. Once hooked with a sweeping action hook set, keep steady pressure on the fish and bring it to the boat as fast as possible, heavy larger baits can be easier for fish to throw, so keeping the fish down and getting him in quickly is important. One thing about me, if I am throwing smaller baits I usually don’t go to Swimbaits. It’s really a preference, but for me I throw larger Swimbaits for big fish period! If I am throwing smaller baits then I prefer a crankbait, jerkbait, or spinnerbait. But for an ex- tremely natural presentation and a chance at a fish of a lifetime, larger Swimbaits are the ticket. BWU

oNe last tip

Puttin’ You Back on the Water

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Spring 2012