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More Bass With Stickbaits

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><> ><>       BASS MATTERS - February 15, 2006       ><> ><> 

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Comment The Post Below...

Hello Anglers,

Shallow bass can be taken with horizontal casting lures such 
as topwater and shallow-running plugs, weedless baits, buzz-
baits, spinnerbaits, Carolina rigs, flippin' and pitchin' 
jigs, split-shot finesse plastics and live bait under a float.
Mid-depth bass are most often caught with diving crankbaits, 
lipless sinking crankbaits, neutrally buoyant plugs, Texas-
rigged plastics and unweighted "whacky worm" rigs. 

Deep bass can be hooked casting deep diving plugs and slow-
rolling big spinnerbaits, or by vertically fishing heavy 
jigs, weighted plastics, jigging spoons and blade baits.

Remember you can comment on any story or read comments   
by visiting: 
Bass Matters Blog

Enjoy a week of fishing!
email Brock

More Bass With Stickbaits
From Extreme Bass Lures

Stickbaits first became popular about 40 years ago, when the 
Normark Corporation first brought a Finnish lure to the 
United States. It was the Rapala Minnow, a slender, wooden 
lure that had a foil finish and a seductive wiggle. Because 
of the popularity of this minnow shaped lure, other tackle 
companies brought out their own, and so today we have Storm 
Thundersticks, Rebel Minnows, Smithwick Rogues, Rip'N 
Minnows, AC Shiners, Bomber Long As, Frenzy Minnows, Viva 
Flight Minnows, Pin's Minnows, Lindy Baitfishes and the list 
goes on and on. 

While the deep diving stickbaits have their place, especial-
ly for trolling, and the sinking versions will catch bass as 
well, most of the time the majority of bass fishermen settle 
for a floating or suspending bait. With those two types of 
stickbaits, a bass fisherman can catch bass most of the year 
in a wide variety of depths. Floating stickbaits or minnows 
work well in cold water and early spring for a couple of 
reasons. First, minnow baits in general don't have a lot of 
action; they're subtle. Lures with a lot of action can turn 
bass off when conditions are not optimum, such as in cold 

The second reason is that many of the floating models don't 
have a rattle, another turn off when fish are picky. Also, 
you can fish the baits fairly slowly, and that is another 
good reason for using them. However, it should be pointed 
out that bass will fool you. Just when you think you have 
them figured out, they will turn around and do the opposite 
of what you expect. For instance, in early spring, bass can 
go nuts for a floating stickbait fished as a jerkbait with 
a rapid, quick cadence. This is a classic Southern technique 
for fishing a stickbait. This is especially true in the case 
of smallmouth. 

Smallies will chase crankbaits when the water is in the 
upper 30's, and a quick moving jerkbait, especially a big 
one, often will light up the smallmouth like nothing else. 
A stickbait is best fished like the minnow it portrays, 
darting in and out of cover, moving cautiously as it explores 
the slowly warming shallows. One method worth a try is to 
weight a stickbait with several large split shot about 6 
inches to a foot up the line. Fish this with a slow drag and 
lots of pauses on banks with limited cover, much like you 
would a split shot rig. But, many times, the best way to 
fish a floating stickbait, especially the smaller ones, is 
as a topwater.

Occasionally, when water warms quickly in the spring, you'll 
find bass willing to take a topwater. That's the time to 
take the floating minnow you're using and pitch it into the 
warm shallows near to cover or  in areas where you've seen 
bass. Twitch the bait a little bit, then let it set  until 
the ripples have disappeared. Then twitch it again. Pause. 
Twitch. Then pull it under and let it pop back to the 
surface and sit there. 


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You get the idea, work the bait with a finesse approach and 
don't overpower it. If there's a bass around, you'll likely 
get a pleasant surprise. When the water warms later in the 
spring, you can be more active with your floating minnow. In 
warmer water, you can be about as active with a stickbait as 
a topwater. However, bass still find it hard to resist that 
twitch/pause routine. But they're also suckers for a hard 
popping motion. The key is to let it sit, then pop it again. 

Subsurface Presentations: Under many circumstances, a 
suspending jerkbait is the better choice if you plan on 
working the bait under the surface. Suspending baits do 
just that, once they're pulled down to their working level, 
they'll hang in place indefinitely assuming their buoyancy 
is correct for the water density. The long pause often is 
necessary to get a bass to bite. Sometimes a pause can be 
as long as a full minute between one twitch and the next. 
A minute can seem like forever when your fishing, but some-
times that's what it takes. More often though, the pauses 
will be just a matter of seconds. 

Part of what determines the pause is the water temperature 
and the mood of the bass. During the winter, it's common to 
have to wait longer for fish to hit. Suspending jerkbaits 
are a fairly new phenomenon, having been manufactured only 
for the past 10 years or so. Prior to that, fishermen did 
what they needed to do to make their Rogues or Thundersticks 
or Rapalas suspend in the water. In the case of the balsa 
baits, fishermen drilled holes in the bait and inserted 
split shot or lead slugs into it until the bait would 
suspend when pushed under water. Then, they sealed the 
holes with epoxy or other waterproof coating. For plastic 
baits, fishermen inserted lead shot into the hollow body. 

There were problems with both approaches because it was not 
all that difficult to ruin a 5 dollar bait. So fishermen 
experimented with adding weight to the hooks, ether with 
split shot or lead wire. On smaller stickbaits, this worked 
pretty well, but on larger baits it was difficult to get 
them to suspend. Finally, manufactures offered suspending 
stickbaits to fishermen. And, of course, all those 
experimenters continued to fine tune their new suspending 
baits to get them to dive deeper or to pull shallower or 
wiggle differently. Storm helped that effort by producing 
its line of SuspenDots and SuspenStrips, adhesive backed 
lead tape that sticks to a lure and lets you adjust its 
weight to suspend or dive better. 

But still, many fishermen continue to modify their lures to 
fish the way they want them to. One trick to use during the 
spawn is to take a Storm Thunderstick Jr. and weight the 
bill with SuspenDots until the bait will stand on its nose.
Pick a natural color like perch or bluegill, and throw that 
bait into a bed. Let it sink, give it a little twitch and 
hang on. There is no bass alive that will stand for that 
kind of behavior from something it sees as a nest robber. 
And perhaps that is why stickbaits are so effective much of 
the year in so many situations. Bass see these minnow look 
alikes as something natural and alive and edible. So the next 
time the bite is tough, tie on a stickbait and load the boat 
with cold weather bass.

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        GopherCentral's Question of the Week

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Muhammad should have been printed and reprinted?
Question of the Week

                  FISHING JOKES CORNER

The other day I came home and was greeted by my wife, 
dressed only in very sexy underwear and holding a couple of 
short velvet ropes.

"Tie me up," she purred, "and you can do anything you want."

So, I tied her up and went fishing.

Questions? Comments? email: Email brock
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