Written by Andrew Schadegg
This scenario has happened to all of us. We’re out fishing with a buddy and they’re biting a certain lure. You’re both throwing the same thing, in the same areas, but he’s catching way more fish than you. Come to find out, there was one modification he had made to his bait or presentation that you didn’t have and it turned out to make a huge difference.
Bass can be picky. Sometimes the little things really do matter.
Here are 4 tips that you can use to spice up your baits and catch more fish:
1. ADD SOME FLASH – Almost everyone on the planet has got fish on a Senko or stick bait, small swimbaits or any of the tons of other plastics on the market. Fish see a lot of these baits go by their head on a daily basis.
If you want to make your bait stand out, add a blade to your bait. You can get small screw lock blades that will twist right into the end of your Senko or other plastic. Most of these have small willow leaf blades, but you can find brands that have multiple options. Same with your swimbaits. Add a small blade to the underside or throw it on an underspin. You’ll be amazed how big of a difference this little addition can make.
2. BRING THE NOISE – Understanding how fish sense their prey, is a key to unlocking the mystery of how to catch them on a given day. They use a combination or sight, smell, taste, hearing and vibration (or their lateral line).
Some days, certain combinations of these factors are more important than others. For example, if the water clarity is 20 feet, chances are sight is going to be the primary factor for getting a fish to bite. However, if you’re working in heavy vegetation, dingy water or down in the rocks or other structure, hearing can be extremely important. Just a normal jig might not work. Try one with a rattle built in. Maybe you’re throwing a craw-style plastic. Get some small rattles that you can insert into the bait. It may not seem like much, but it can really effect a bass’ decision to bite or just swim on by.
3. DRESS UP YOUR TREBLES – In the September LTB Bass Box, everyone received a Mustad Feathered Treble Hook. It may seem like a small, insignificant item, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a fantastic addition to your topwater baits. Add a feathered treble to the back of a popper or a walking bait, for that additional flare.
Many times bass will come up under a bait and watch it, sometimes even for the whole length of the cast without biting. We’ve all seen a bass swim away at the last second. He didn’t just come up on that bait, he’s been watching it. When that is happening, try adding a feathered treble as the back hook and get ready for those fish to start slamming your bait.
4. DOWNSIZE YOUR LINE – Does using 8 pound test over 10 pound test REALLY make a difference? The answer is an unequivocal YES! This really has less to do with fish “seeing your line” than it does the way the bait moves in the water. The lighter the line, the more natural that small finesse bait will look to a bass.
In fact, try going even lighter than you think you ever could. 6 pound or even 4 pound test can up your chances of getting bit and make for some really fun, challenging fishing in the process. Make sure you use a quality line, like Seaguar’s InvisX or Tatsu brand fluorocarbon and you’ll be amazed at how your catch-rate will increase.