Outside Chance


Bass Fishing Preview 2019

Opening day brought in fog and limited visibility. We were fishing a lake well known to us and fishing the shoreline that had brush, logs, a sandy section and then a nice patch of cabbage weeds.

My friend Donny had just introduced me to his favorite bass bait and I was skeptical. Knowing full well the success that Donny enjoyed, I tied on the same bait. I never looked back from that date and the Bass Stopper Worm became my go-to bait.

Opening weekend bass fishing is normally a shallow water sport. The fish will be spawning or feeding and the best forage will be in the warmer waters of the shallows. Shorelines with a mixture of pea stone or gravel often hold the largest number of spawning fish.

How you fish this lure will determine your success rate. When the opening day bell rings the best method is without any weight. Only under windy conditions would I consider a small split shot.

The weightless technique allows the worm to flutter downward to the bottom in an enticing and erratic manner. The free falling movement is easy for a bass to inhale without feeling any pressure.

You want the worm to crawl over items, lift up slightly, free fall a few inches and move with the current or with gravity. A weighted worm will not do this.

It is very important to become a line watcher. Allow the worm to sink on a loose line, not a tight line. Most strikes will be a movement of the line to your side. The bass slides in quickly, sucks in the worm and continues moving.

Grape, motor oil and natural are my first choices. I love a fire tiger tail. There are times when the bluegills will drive you nuts but the action is worth this grief. Hook-ups are nearly 100% because one of the two small hooks will find the corner of a bass’ mouth.

Doug Hannon was always one of the bass anglers that I loved to study over the years. Many call Doug the professor of bass fishing and this is due to the 800 plus bass over ten pounds that he has caught.

In addition he has spent thousands of hours studying and documenting bass. His research should help any bass angler land more fish. Part of the following information was graciously provided during an interview with Doug.

Doug’s goal in simplest terms was to understand how bass reacted under a wide range of conditions. This could only be done by fishing exactly the same bait in exactly the same manner.

One of the first things that he learned was that bass feed up much quicker and easier than down. The eyes and mouth are up on a bass and anglers will hook more bass if they can keep their bait at least three inches off of the bottom. This is one reason that the drop-shot rig or Whacky Worm rigs are so popular.

Many anglers spend countless hours and money trying to determine where a bass might be located. As a general starting point anglers can use this tip. Start on the north shorelines.

Throughout much of the year the temperature will average about four degrees warmer on the north shoreline. The use of a topographic map can eliminate a lot of water before you even leave your house.

In many instances the bass will be found on the smooth water or the areas of calm water.  Consider the angle of the sun as well. Fish the structure that offers the most shade.

Doug liked plastic worms, floating crankbaits/minnow baits and bucktail jigs. Seasoned anglers know this bait but many of the newer anglers fail to understand how productive it is.

In the past many anglers tipped the bucktail jig with a piece of Uncle Josh Pork. Nowadays salted plastic tails rule.

Doug also provided me with some advice that I’ve heard and used over the years that is well worth repeating. Learn a few basic lures as described well. Master these before going on and pick out one or two lakes and learn them well. Confidence, practice and master are the three keys. Stop in at Bob’s Gun and Tackle for your sporting products.