It won’t be long before the baitfish start moving into the creeks and shallows, if they haven’t already. The problem is that there are millions and millions of them for the bass to chase. If you expect to be successful, you need to show them something different.
Here are my four top choices for that:
A 10-inch worm
I prefer a plumb Strike King Rage Thumper. It has a ribbed, segmented body with a fairly short curly tail on the end. I use it mostly in hot water, anywhere between 80 and 85 degrees depending on where I am in the country. The thicker body and the swimming action of the tail gets their attention when their metabolism is high and they need to eat.
I flip or pitch it with a 3/16-ounce tungsten worm weight into whatever cover around running water I can find in the back of the creeks. Work it slow and easy. Let the water give it a natural action.
You won’t get a lot of bites with this worm but the ones you do get will turn heads at the dock.
A 3/8-ounce buzzbait
I like to go with a Strike King Tour Grade Buzzbait and a Strike King 3X ElazTech Baby Z Too Soft Jerkbait trailer.
The idea here is to fish it real slow around cover. That’ll keep the bait in the strike zone. Occasionally, as it’s entering the strike zone, I’ll make a quick turn of the reel handle. That’ll put the trailer on its side and make it look like a distressed baitfish. The strikes with this retrieve will be massive.
A walking stick
My favorite walking stick is a Strike King Sexy Dog. There are several models. The silent ones come in a 3 3/4-inch length and a 4 1/2-inch length. The one with a rattle only comes in one length, 4 1/2-inches. Use whichever one you want. The idea is to attract the fish with the walking stick so it really doesn’t matter.
What I do with my Sexy Dog, though, that’s different is tie a drop line from one prong on the back treble down to a crappie jig. I want the drop line to be around 12 inches long, and I want it to be made with 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line.
Almost any crappie jig will work but I always use the Strike King Mr. Crappie Joker. It’s a Wally Marshall bait so you know it’ll catch ‘em.
They usually grab the jig first but be ready for a double. The followers sometimes like the Sexy Dog when another fish has the jig. And, don’t be surprised if you have a little trouble walking your bait with the jig trailing behind. Don’t worry about that. Just keep fishing.
If the bass are schooling or chasing baitfish, I throw them a small grub. I’m a big fan of the 4-inch Strike King Rage Grub — hot chartreuse. I rig it with a Strike King Tour Grade Jig Head in either 1/8-ounce or 1/4-ounce weight. You can throw those things a mile with casting or spinning tackle.
Sometimes they’ll take it if you swim it up a little in the water column, but sometimes it’s better to let it fall and then pump it up and down.
I’ve referenced Strike King products in this piece because they’re who I’m with, and I’m more than satisfied with the quality of their products. If you’re using something different, make sure it has the characteristics of what I’m throwing. That is important.
And don’t show them something they’ve seen a million times. Get their attention with something different, something unusual. You’ll catch more fish if you do that.