I miss the no nonsense approach you brought to answering questions on the other website (Bass Fishing Home Page) awhile back. I'm hoping you can bring me a little wisdom on a couple of questions.
- What style spinnerbait do you like the best for slow rolling?
Remember that 'slow-rolling' means you re fishing the lure in a finesse manner, letting it gently bump the bottom or whatever cover may be down there. That means you need some drag from the blades to provide the control and 'feel' you need. One might think that fishing deep with a spinnerbait would be best done with a willowleaf blade arrangement (i.e., as little blade resistance/drag as possible). But, you really must have some lure resistance to the retrieve. What I find best is a short arm spinnerbait with a #4 to #5 blade (beware that the short arm bait gets hung more than a long arm). The actual weight of the bait depends on the depth to be fished. In general, a one-ounce bait will cover a lot of ranges. But, with all this said, each angler must select his own styles and sizes that feel the best to him/her. Always remember that slow-rolling is a finesse approach and the object is to stay very lightly in contact with whatever is on the bottom.
- I'm using the zoom super flukes to great success this year, but I'm still missing fish frequently. Can you help me increase the hookup ratio? I get lots of fish that will come up for the bait, but won't actually grab it for a hookset. What can I do to entice them into actually taking the bait?
The key to 'catching' is all in the hookset. Or, should I maybe say 'the lack of a hookset'. When the strike comes, it is extremely important that you NOT set the hook! You MUST wait approximately a count of '3', or until the fish has started to swim with the soft bait. Then, take up the slack and cross his old eyes. It is very similar to waiting and setting the hook hen shiner fishing. You will experience nearly a 100% hook-up rate, if you adhere to this technique.
If the fishing rolling on your fluke and not taking it are actually bass, change sizes and change colors until you possibly find one that will work. You might also try stopping the bait and letting it fall after the missed strike. Let it go for 10 seconds, or more. That often does the trick. At times, I have found that speeding the fluke or STIK-O type lure up with a fast, erratic retrieve will get the fish to get the 'chase-and-catch' attitude. Of these three possible solutions, I would probably try speeding up the retrieve first. You might also consider changing to a STIK-O (Bass Pro Shops item) or Randy Sanders' new 'Martian' bait. Both a made of a more dense material than the fluke and will sink faster. They have a very erratic, injured action when sinking on a slack line.
- When using braided line for crankbaiting, how will that effect running depth?
Braided line (as well as the fused types -Fireline, for example) have much higher coefficient of friction than monofilaments. That additional friction equates to drag on the water and that makes lure run shallower. BUT, the diameter of the line (whether braid or mono) also has a significant impact on the drag on the water and, hence, the depth the lure will run. Since the physical diameters of braids are so much smaller per line strength than monos, it just about becomes a draw on depths they allow a crank plug to run. I use 20-pound Fireline for baitcasting and I think a crank plug actually runs a bit deeper with it than with 20-pound mono.
By the way, my personal opinion is that Fireline has it way over any braid. But, we all make our own choices.
- I use swimming worms, as well. Can you give me any tips on retrieves?
Slow, slow and slow are the three retrieves to use. The depth you let it sink before starting the retrieve, coupled with the size of the split shot used, is the manner in which you basically control the operating depth of the lure. The actual retrieve speed should be as slow as you can do it, while still imparting the swimming action and maintaining depth control.
I get a LOT of strikes on the 'drop' with the Swimming Worm. It is a really effective lure to toss along the edges of thick weed lines and right up against rock bluffs. When using this approach, I usually go to a larger split shot. The extra weight causes the Swimming Worm to spiral down and it really looks like a live creature.
- I'm growing to love the Slider system, based on a tip you gave me awhile back. How do you discipline yourself to present the lure at the 1-2-3-4 count system as Charlie Brewer describes in his book? Is there a low speed spinning reel that would assist the process?
Charlie Brewer, the inventor of the Slider 'method' of fishing was a dear friend and a great fisherman. He understood what made fish strike, something very few anglers ever manage to learn. Because of this, his Slider was not just a lure - it was an entire approach (i.e., 'method') to the sport. If you look at his Slider lure, that should be very apparent. The Slider lure, itself, is bout as simple as a lure can get - just a jig head and a 4-inch straight plastic worm. Even Charlie said it was a 'do nothing' lure. But, Brewer knew the fish and, therefore, he knew where and when to find them. The angler options then became basically 'action' and 'speed' applications. Charlie knew that action was not too important. The real key was to present the lure at the proper depth and in front of the fish. To do that, he used sink time before starting the retrieve to get it down. Then, he used the weight of the jig head to keep it there. Charlie Brewer also used nearly the exact SAME retrieve speed at all times, regardless of depth being fished.
[DO YOU SEE THE SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE SLIDER RIGGING AND PRESENTATION AND THOSE OF THE SWIMMING WORM?!!? Scary, isn't it? But, it should tell you something about the real truths of catching fish.]
Probably the most common way to fish the Slider effectively is to 'swim' it down the slope of a steep bank or point. In doing this properly, the angler allows the Slider to execute a 'controlled drop' to the bottom, while he keeps the lure just above the surface of the slope. No action is imparted to the lure; just a slow, steady decent. One variation used on hard, clean sloping bottoms is the 'lift and drop' retrieve. This is particularly effective for smallmouths on chunk rock points that drop quickly. The angler simply holds a tight line and allows the lure to fall until it contacts the bottom. Then, he/she lifts it a foot or so off the bottom and allows it to fall to the next level. Taking or giving line during this retrieve method is determined by the steepness of the slope.
- Any tips for fishing deep weed lines?
Depth, depth and depth. Deep weed lines are edges. Fish LIKE edges to relate to. We will never know exactly why until we get to talk to one of the critters and ask. But, it is fact. The key to deep weed lines is to keep the lure at the proper depth and front of the fish. But, do note that alongside the deep weed mass is NOT necessarily the proper positioning of the lure. Most times, the best place to present a lure in relation to a SUBMERGED weed bed is right across the top, staying as close to the weed mass as you can.
Chris, I hope these help. There are a LOT of things about fishing we really don't know and/or do not fully understand.
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