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bass fishing resource tackle tips

bass fishing resource tackle tips

 

crippled herring

crippled herrings

by Steve Chaisson

There's an old saying, "It takes a genius to be simple." It is a guiding principle that I have tried to use in my teaching career. In other words, the easier it is for people to understand, the more likely it is that they will remember and apply what is being taught. Well, I'm certainly not claiming to be a genius but I have found some things that have simplified my strategies for locating and catching smallmouth bass.

When I'm selecting lures to fish that day, I basically try to imitate a minnow or a crayfish bite. I usually have more success on a minnow bite in the spring and in the fall, although the Great Lakes can have a pretty good summer minnow bite as well. Shiners, perch, and smelts seem to be the predominant baitfish and I have found that Luhr Jensen's Crippled Herring is one of the most effective lures for imitating these baitfish. The chrome colour (0013) closely resembles a shiner, nickel/neon blue back (0306) resembles a smelt, and the metallic perch (0814) is a ringer for a perch. Matching the hatch is a simple way of increasing your chances of being successful on that body of water.

In shallower water of twenty feet or less, a jerkbait is a very effective tool for catching smallmouth bass but if you really think about it, these baits, in most cases, are quite a bit larger than the natural baitfish in the area. Many pros, including myself, rip a jerkbait quite often to trigger reaction strikes and we're moving it along at a pretty rapid pace. What about if you had a lure that more closely resembled the size of the baitfish, could cast it farther, and cover water more quickly? This is an intriguing thought, isn't it? Well, what about using a jigging spoon and twitching it back to the boat? It's a technique that you should definitely try.

Jigging spoons are best known for their deep water (twenty plus feet), vertical jigging ability to trigger strikes from smallies. I've used them successfully for smallies and walleyes as well whenever they are relating to current. I vertical jig or make short casts with the Crippled Herrings in both deep water and current situations. If I had only one size to choose, it would be the 3/4 ounce size. I also use the 1 ounce size on bodies of water, where perch or smelt are present, as these baitfish tend to be a little larger. The 1/2 ounce size on bodies of water with shiners can also be quite effective. The retrieve is actually quite simple, watch the line as it falls keeping as tight a line as possible, then use a lift and drop technique to imitate the baitfish. Remember that smallies are often suspended so a higher lift/drop may trigger more fish. Don't forget about the twitching method mentioned earlier.

If you are one of those anglers who believe that fish get conditioned to certain lures then pick up some Crippled Herrings and throw them as an alternative. You'll be glad you did.

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