One of the most important factors in bass fishing whether you are a beginner, novice, or even a tournament contender is using the right application of equipment to coincide with your bait patterns. This is very important because you can "over work" your baits thus causing the fish not to strike. Over working ones bait can be a contagious disease especially for a male angler. (Okay ladies! this one's for you...) because a woman has more patience at working baits than a man does, (sorry guys, but it's a proven fact.) I have noticed this many times in the past from either the husbands with their wives, girlfriends/boyfriends, brothers/sisters, and even the male/female "tournament team" anglers while they were attending my 3-day bass fishing school.
Overworking ones bait can be caused by several different reasons. Probably the biggest reason for overworking baits is caused by using the wrong retrieve speeds with your reel. Let's take a crankbait for example; a crankbait is designed to work a certain way at various speeds. That's one of the reasons why they manufacture crankbaits with different shapes and sizes. For instance, a crankbait with a narrow body is designed to work much faster than one made with a fat body (which is usually designed to work at a much slower speed.) Now, if your reel has a 6:2 retrieve speed, at a normal wind your reel would cause the crankbait to work way too fast. On the other side of the coin, if you had a 5:1 or a 4:3 retrieve speed, a normal retrieve would allow the crankbait to work properly. Even though there are many different presentations you can work a crankbait, you should experiment with your speeds and let the fish dictate on any given day how they want the bait.
Let's talk about reels for a moment. Baitcasters, Spinning, and Spincast (or closed faced) reels can be considered tools of the trade. A personal preference from each individual will pretty much decide what type of reel one would use for their own comfort. I use all three of the different types of reels for different applications when I fish. Daily conditions, size and weight of the bait, and the areas to be fished will always tell me which type of reel I would use under different circumstance.
Let's say that we are facing into the wind (always for the best boat control) and we are fishing around and under docks with a finesse (or light bait) and we have to cast into the wind, which reel should we use? If I used a baitcaster and it is windy, well, I really don't think that I would cast a little bait into the wind because of getting that "professional over-ride" (or BACKLASH! Oohh, that's such a nasty word.) What about using a spinning reel? Some anglers may use one for this type of casting, but every time I cast a little bait into the wind with a spinning reel I usually wind up with that darn ole "line twist." So, what is the best application to use for this scenario? The survey says! A "Spincast Reel." Now stop and think about it for a moment, all you have to do is push the button on the reel and make your cast into the wind. The line freely unwinds off of the reel with no tangles allowing you to put your bait where you make your cast.
There are many different types of bait, presentations and techniques used today in the sport of bass fishing, and the reel selection mostly depends on what is the most comfortable for the angler. Now, please don't take this the wrong way because I am not going to say that you have to use a certain reel for certain applications, but I will tell you what works the best for me. I personally use a baitcasting reel about eighty percent of the time because I feel that I have much more control at casting, hook setting, and comfort than the others mentioned. I like the thumb control on the spool with a baitcasting reel because it allows me to stop the bait on a dime when it comes to accuracy. I also like the power in the retrieve, especially when it comes to horsing big bass out of vegetation and different structured areas. However, I like the spinning reel for vertical fishing and making casts with lighter baits. Here are the reel applications I mostly use for the following:
Flippin' & Pitchin' - Baitcaster.
Texas Rigged Plastics - Baitcaster or Spinning.
Carolina Rigs - Baitcaster.
Crankbaits - Baitcaster or Spinning.
Top Water - Baitcaster.
Spinnerbaits - Baitcaster.
Soft Jerk baits - Baitcaster or Spinning.
Drop Shot - Spinning.
Next, let's talk about rods. Using the proper length, strength and action of a rod is extremely important when it comes to fishing various types of artificial baits. This is the reason why the rod manufacturing companies make so many rods in so many different sizes, lengths, and strengths. For example, if I were to fish a crankbait I would definitely use a softer tip rod with a medium or lighter action. Using this type of application will allow me to catch more fish than if I were to use a stiffer action rod. The reason is because most of the crankbaits manufactured are made with treble hooks, and if you were to look at the treble hooks verses the single wide gap worm hooks, you would see that the points of a treble hook are very close together and the shank of the hooks are very short. If you go to set these types of hooks with a strong hook set, you would more than likely pull it right out of the bass's mouth. You just don't get the penetration into the bass as you would a single worm hook. So, by using a soft tip rod, it bends (or flexes) to where you won't have a sudden stop as if using a stiff rod. And a steady pressure while retrieving the bass back to the boat will usually land the fish.
The lengths of fishing rods can also be a key factor while fishing different types of baits. If you were to fish a Carolina rig, a longer rod would be much more helpful than a shorter one. This is because of the sweeping action one needs to pick up slack quickly to keep pressure on the fish. A longer rod is also helpful when it comes to flippin' and pitchin' like a Jig & Pig combo or the new Creature Bait (made by Gary Yamamoto's Custom Baits) because one would get more distance fishing pockets or pitchin' for distance. On the other hand, a shorter length rod would be helpful if an angler was fishing around fall-downs, dock areas, and close structured areas. Again, lengths of rods can be ones preference with the various bait applications but the ones mentioned seem to work the best for me.
Next, believe it or not! The weight of a rod can be a very big help for an angler that fishes all day long. In the past years I have had several different rod sponsorships with companies that make quality rods, and it seems that each rod with the same size and action from each of the different companies would be of a different weight. The weight of a rod can make a big difference when you spend a whole day on the water literally making hundreds of casts or pitches. There has been many times when I thought my arms were about to fall off from casting so much. Here's one you'll like!.. I found a new type of rod on the market that is approximately a third lighter than all other rods in its class. It's called the "Helium LTA" series rod made by Kistler Rods. Now, these rods are by far the lightest I have ever used and my arm doesn't get near as tired (during the course of a day) as it used to while using others. Don't take my word for it! Try it and compare and you'll see the difference.
These are just a few of the applications that seem to work the best for me after years of trial, frustration, and countless hours of experimenting. I hope this article can help you, at least get a better understanding of equipment and bait applications. If you would like to inquire about my 3-day bass fishing school, or just wish to book a bass fishing charter, please contact me at: Phone (518) 597-4240, or you can email me at: [email protected] or visit my web sites at: www.capital.net/~rlbrown and fishing-boating.com/basscoach .
Until next time!.. Take care & God bless... "Always"
The Bass Coach / Roger Lee Brown