By Darren Jacobson - There’s something going on with our sport that we need to talk about. Mike Iaconelli wrote a column about it this year, but I’d like to give you my take on things. It’s close to what Mike had to say but, at the same time, a little different. When I’m done saying what I have to say about that I’m going to give you some unsolicited — but free and useful — advice.
I struggled at Mille Lacs. That’s on me. At the same time though I didn’t get any help from some of the fans. I’m not saying that anyone was targeting me as an individual. They weren’t. Other anglers complained about the same thing. Here’s how it all went down.
My plan was to flip and pitch reeds. The water was gin clear, and they were really shallow. Two feet was the deepest. Most of the time I was fishing shallower than that. The strips of reeds were between 50 and 150 yards long. These were one or two fish spots. I fished them two or three times a day.
Much of the time I’d start at one end and work my way towards the other end. But, within a few minutes a recreational angler would start fishing the other end and work towards me. Obviously, much of my spot was ruined. Just as bad, some anglers would bump the reeds. That not only ruined their chances of catching a quality bass, but it also ruined mine.
I know this was tournament specific. I stayed a couple of extra days. After we left there was never more than three trailers at any ramp. Full Article
In the springtime, when the water is just starting to warm, bass can be easy to catch. But once the heat of the summer starts to set in, that’s when things get complicated.
While there are often big schools of fish out deep, Ish Monroe contests the conventional wisdom that they’re all out on offshore structure. He “firmly believes that only a certain percentage of the fish move out there.”
It’s not that he can’t fish deep – he has three Lowrance Gen 3 HDS 12s on his Ranger and he’s well versed in their operation, but the big-bass guru would rather stay shallow, particularly if he can have that zone largely to himself. That’s why you’ll never find him without a topwater ready to go when the mercury climbs.
He fishes all of his topwaters on 7-foot to 7-foot-7 medium-action composite rods, which allow the fish to inhale the lure, yet are still lightweight and sensitive. His current favorite topwater, like that of much of the bass fishing fraternity, is the River2Sea Whopper Plopper. It produces vicious strikes, he said, because “the fish get angry at it.”
When the grass is too thick for the Plopper’s trebles, he’ll turn to a buzzbait for the same reasons. While he might move to a 7.3:1 gear ratio Daiwa baitcasting reels for his poppers, walking baits and frogs, with the Whopper Plopper and the buzzbait he sticks with 6.3:1, so as not to overwork the lures.
When the water is just starting to warm, he’ll go with a popper, like the River2Sea Bubble Pop or the original Pop-R, and when it comes to walking baits, the River2Sea Rover is his choice. He called it “the evolution of what a Zara Spook has become” thanks to its easy walking action, its three trebles and updated ultra-realistic color choices. Of course the hollow-bodied frogs, particularly those of his own design, never leave the boat.
With the topwater bite, he encourages anglers to seek out shade – whether it comes in the form of trees, sea walls, bridge pilings or even buildings. Most importantly, it’s critical to understand how the shade pattern changes over the course of the day, and which places will provide windows of opportunity. If you’re fishing a relatively cover-free body of water, it makes sense to look for other sources of shade, which may include placing your own “cages” under the surface to achieve the same affect.
While topwater is an exciting and effective way to target big fish when it’s warm, Ish notes that fish are lazy when it’s hot and they don’t want to move any more than they have to. Accordingly, you have to be prepared to change and slow down. Often, that means finesse.
It’s not an easy switch for Monroe, who admits that he’d “rather go to the dentist…than fish a spinning rod.” Nevertheless, he’s not too proud to pick up a Carolina rig, a shaky-head, or even “old faithful, the splitshot rig.”
As with his casting gear, he doesn’t go under 7-foot with his spinning rods, and prefers a carefully-spooled 2500-size Daiwa spinning reel for most finesse applications. While you can use straight 6- to 8-pound fluorocarbon, increasingly he uses a braid main line attached to a fluoro leader with an Albright knot.
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