Cover All Depths: Breaking down water columns to locate Bass.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, patience is not the key to success during any outing on the water. Sitting and waiting for Bass to “turn on” will be a waste of your time and abilities.
So, what do you do when you show up at the lake? Does it have to be so random? Should you be aimlessly searching, hoping to find active fish? Or should you essentially find the key depth that Bass are relating to and simply appeal to their instincts? The latter is the obvious answer, so let’s break it down.
I believe your success is predicated on good preparation and clear, well thought out game planning that begins the night before you hit the water. Let’s say your plan at first light is to hit a shallow rocky point adjacent a steep break line that drops into a main lake channel or basin, and for arguments sake, your theory of the Bass being up on this shallower structure is correct. Then what? What happens when the Bass pull off this structure and begin the next phase of their day? Are you prepared to follow these predictable daily movements?
Start by getting your arsenal in order. Hitting a good morning spot brings to mind one obvious presentation – topwaters such as poppers are high on my priority list. If poppers aren’t cutting the mustard, walk the dog style baits can be very effective. Storm Chug Bugs and the Lake Fork Magic Popper(1oz) can be strait retrieved in a pop and stop cadence or can serve as a very erratic walk the dog meets popper presentation. A 6-6’6” medium fast baitcasting rod, coupled with a 6.3-1 reel spooled with 17lb mono is a great choice for this job. I find the 17lb mono allows more action and makes it easier to walk the bait than 20lb mono. Also, the mono floats and tends to keep the bait from being pulled underwater as with thinner diameter braided line.
LFT “Premium Series” Magic Poppers. For all types of game fish attraction, water clarity and sunlight conditions.
Next, as Bass begin to pull off a bit deeper as the sun comes up, having sub-surface baits like wakebaits and shallow running crankbaits tied on will pay dividends. This will allow you to cover water yet still target Bass that are transitioning off their morning spots. Looking for pods of bait dimpling the surface can still be a clue, but as the sun gets higher and the surface of the water breaks up with the wind, this clue disappears. This is where the shallow crankbaits can help you deduce where the Bass are set up. Now, Late morning brings high sun and light penetration pushing fish that much deeper, so pull out the medium diving crankbaits or 1/2oz willow leaf spinnerbaits. Line choice is important here. Fluorocarbon is the deal for both, so I like 10lb fluorocarbon for cranks and 17lb, or as light as 15lb test for spinnerbaits. Keep in mind that fluorocarbon sinks, and the thinner diameter the line, the deeper the bait will run. When weeds are present, braided line can be beneficial in snapping free a crankbait from snags but make sure to have a true medium speed, soft crankbait rod as braid can cause lighter trebles to be ripped out of a light biting Bass’ mouth. I prefer medium action Crankin’ Sticks by Bass Pro Shops in a 7’2” length for open water/long casts and the 6’6” for more precise casting around cover/structure. For spinnerbaits I prefer Bass Pro Shops 6’6”-7’ heavy action/med-high speed (6.1-1 to 7.1-1) Rick Clun signature series baitcasting combos.
LFT Premium Series 1.5 finesse Square Bill
During the mid-day/afternoon period, in open water, Bass are cruising below suspended pods of baitfish so pull out the deep diving cranks. If you are seeing clouds of baitfish with small arcs mixed in, you are not seeing Bass. Look deeper, along bottom as Bass will be following these schools around in a non-threatening way until they can corral them into a point of ambush such as weedlines, large rocks, steep banks etc. Match the depth of the area with a corresponding crankbait. Many companies manufacture crankbaits that can dive down to as deep as 22ft, long casts being obviously important here. Lipless cranks can be dropped down to a given depth which is where I favor the weight forward Kamooki Smartfish. If you contact Bass but you are getting short strikes, that’s a great time to throw a vertical presentation like a jig or tube in the same location around the fringe of the school. Also, one of my go-to baits for this game is again, the Kamooki Smartfish which has a unique spiraling action when ripped/jigged vertically mimicking an injured or fleeing baitfish.
Kamooki’s patented technology is what really separates the SmartFish® from all other lures. The secret of the SmartFish® is in harnessing the intricate relationship between the buoyant and non-buoyant properties. This is best demonstrated when the lure is resting on structure, where remarkably, the SmartFish® maintains its upright profile on a single contact point. It is in this position, that the SmartFish® achieves mechanical equilibrium. Through the harmony of its precisely crafted zinc keel and bottom-heavy design, integrated with a beautiful, uniquely shaped body, the SmartFish® comes alive!
The next order of business can be targeting Bass relating to, and keying on a narrow strike zone a couple feet off bottom. My favorite presentation for this situation is drifting or strolling a drop shot. That fact that this rig can be suspended and held in this strike zone for longer periods than other presentations is what sets it apart. If you are seeing large arcs holding 2ft off bottom, you can literally put a drop shot right on their noses and keep it there for as long as needed. If Bass are keying on baitfish feeding on bottom or crustaceans, dragging tubes, swimbaits or creature bait rigged on a 3/4oz football jig is a great option. My latest favorites for these are Craw Tubes, Live Magic Shad(swimbait) and The Flipper(creature) by Lake Fork trophy Lures. Another great option for bottom bouncing is the Kamooki Smartcraw which is a lipless crankbait with a neutrally buoyant tail up position at rest which mimics a crawfish in a defensive position, Bass candy indeed. For these choices I like 7’ medium heavy spinning rods/2500-3000 series reels spooled with 20lb braid/18-24” 12-15lb fluorocarbon leader. For tubes and Kamooki Smartcraws, a swivel for the mainline/leader connection(tubes) and the split ring(Smartcraw) is a must as both will spiral on the lift and drop, causing line twist. As late afternoon transitions to dusk, just simply follow the fish back to the spots they were found at dawn, ending off with the first technique we discussed today.
SmartCraw® uses patented Kamooki SmartFish® precision-balancing technology to deliver the most crawfish-like presentation available. Power and control are at your fingertips.
There you go. We just covered all the water columns in your favorite lake. Obviously, every lake is different so make the appropriate adjustments to match depth, cover etc. One thing to note is to not get lazy and caught up in steady straight retrieves. Fish erratically, fish fast, fish hard! Don’t wait for something to happen, get out there and make it so! See you out there.
ALL OF THE FISH IN THE IMAGES ATTACHED WERE CAUGHT AND RELEASED IN THE KAWARTHA’S NORTHUMBERLAND REGION. COME SEE FOR YOURSELF!!
Jamie WIlson- Exist To Fish Lead Writer Editor
Well it’s that time of the year again. The boats are put away for the winter as the ice starts to form.
With Christmas around the corner, many of us are starting to think about what we would like for Christmas or are looking for gift ideas for friends or family.
If you are anything like the Exist To Fish Staff, you probably lost a few baits this year.
We are all excited about new and existing fishing product’s that we have not had an opportunity to purchase or test out. They just were not in your budget at the time or perhaps you are thinking about trying a new lure this winter or in 2016!!
I asked the Staff at Exist to Fish what they where going to ask Santa for this year.
Here are the top picks on their wish list!
: “On my Xmas wish list would be a pair of Smith Backdrop
sunglasses to protect my eyes when on the water and ice”.
A perfect medium-sized complement to the Touchstone, the Backdrop incorporates the same great features like stainless steel spring hinges and megol contact surfaces at the nose and temple tips. ChromaPop™ polarized lenses provide the highest level of enhanced color and clarity, or choose Techlite glass lenses for unparalleled optics and scratch resistance.
“Also a tube of liquid mayhem
walleye attractant in my stocking as I use it on the hard water all winter”.
- Made with real minnows in a super concentrated form. Contains natural baitfish enzymes infused with powerful amino acids and other bite stimulants
- formulated to target a fishes olfactory glands and trigger big strikes. Fish hold on to artificial bait longer meaning more hooks ups and more fish in the boat
- No mess formula stays on the bait, not in the boat. Super concentrated. A tiny amount goes a long way.
: “I would like the EzCam post
. I would love to have the EzCam mounted to my boat to give me the extra camera angle for my fishing videos with my Go Pro!”
The EzCam Post is the worlds PREMIER universal camera mount. It will work with any camera, smartphone, and/or camera accessory. It will secure to any object up to 3” in diameter and telescopes from 27” to 6’ in height. Not only will you be able to capture stunning pictures and videos, it will protect your camera from falling over. Perfect for use in boats by attaching to seat pedestals, simple and quick to set-up and use. The mounting plate has a reversible thread, 1/4″-20 and 3/8″-16 like any good tripod or monopod, so you can be sure any camera or accessory can be mounted to it.
: “I would like a underwater fishing camera!! I can think of a million different situations where I would use this! Having the ability to mark fish on my graph and drop a camera down to identify the species would be a huge benefit! This Camera, from Pyle,
looks incredible! And is very reasonably priced in comparison to other models out there.”
- Take Pictures and Record Videos Underwater in Color
- Drop the Camera in the Water and See Where the Fish are Hiding
- Waterproof Marine Grade Camera
- 3.5” inch Digital LCD Display
- Instantly Preview your Videos and Picture on the LCD Monitor
- Durable, Reinforced & Submergible Wired Camera
- Infrared LED Night Vision Sensors Illuminate Dark Environments
- Camera Cable Sinks up to 15 Meters Deep
- Micro SD Memory Card Slot
- Easily Save Files and Transfer to PC or Mac
- System Includes Wired Camera, LCD Display, Display Holder, Pole Mounting Brackets and Charging Cable
- Conveniently Mounts to Your Fishing Rod
- Brightness, Contrast & Color Display Adjustments
- Built-in Rechargeable Battery: 3000mAh (3.7V Lithium)
- Up to 8 Hour Battery Life
- Observe Underwater Fish Behavior and Environments
- 30 Mega Pixel Wide Angle Lens
- Built-in IR LED Night Vision Illumination
- Resolution: 640 x 380
- Image Sensor: ¼” inch
- Size: 0.8” x 1.0” inches
- Weight: 0.35 g
- Operating Temperature: -10 to 40 Celsius
- Screen Size: 3.5 inches
- 4X Digital Zoom Function
- Resolution: 960 x 240
- Backlight Brightness: 300cd
- Protective Flip-Open Cover
- Universal Threaded Mounting Insert
- Easy Operation Touch Button Controls
- Display Housing (L x W x H): 4.2” x 3.0” x 1.9” inches
- Weight: 150 g
- Sold as: 1 set
- Weight: 1.26 lbs.
Jamie Wilson : “One item I truly want from Santa this year is, without a doubt, several packs of Lake Fork Trophy Lures’ “Live Magic Shads” This segmented plastic swimbait has an amazing and very unique action, along with exceptional durability and a great line of colors. With the ice fishing season just around the corner I have to start gearing up so I’m ready for big, hungry Lake Trout. Then when summer comes, there’s nothing better than a swimbait to fire up big Bass. So come on Santa I’ve been a good boy this year, a couple in every color in both 3.5″ and 4″, regular and boot tail please! P.S- come down from the North Pole anytime and I’ll put you on some big fish!”
live magic shad
Our New Boot Tail Magic Shad Swimbaits feature a “Boot Tail” design that utilizes an innovative tail combined with the patented swim slots of our “Live” Magic Shad Lure. The slots in the tail enhance the lure’s realistic swimming action-especially at slower speeds used for umbrella rigs, jigheads, Carolina rigs, or swimbait hook rigging. Hook slots on top and bottom aid in weedless hook rigging.
||Quantity per Package
: “I would absolutely like my go to bait weather it be trolling or casting for both muskies and pike. The Shallow Invader from Musky Innovations
They provide a color chart, so any pattern is possible. Why I want these is because I know they catch fish in all conditions and are a reliable and durable bait.”
|LURE DESCRIPTION: The Shallow Invader is one of the most innovative shallow crankbaits on the market today. This “hybrid” lure combines a hard plastic crankbait head with a hand-poured, soft plastic action body and tail. This knockout combination creates incredible serpentine action that drives large gamefish crazy. The tail is replaceable. If it gets chewed up or you want to change colors, changing it is a snap. Pull the tail straight back until it pulls off the tail post. Push your new tail on the post until the rib on the back of the head is seated on the ridge in the tail. You can add some super glue for an even stronger hold.
|LURE SPECIFICATIONS: The Shallow Invader is 9″ long and is about 2 oz. It has extra strong 3/0 wide gap hooks for best hook-ups. It comes in many different fish catching colors for all your angling needs. The Shallow Invader runs 2-4 feet and is a lethal twitch bait.
|HOW TO FISH THE INVADER: Use the Shallow Invader in all shallow crankbait/twitchbait situations. Cast or troll on shallow flats, rocky points, mid lake reefs, and over the tops of weedbeds. The Shallow Invader can be used as a very effective twitch bait. A good technique is to pause several times in mid retrieve. Because the lure floats when stopped, it is very effective in the weeds. It imitates an injured bait fish often drawing strikes from even fickle gamefish.
: “I would love to add a Deeper Sonar
to my arsenal this coming season.”
Deeper – smart sonar is a first of its kind, portable, wireless fish finder that utilizes technology on your smart phone or tablet. Specially designed for amateur and professional fishermen.
||2.6″/ 6.5 cm diameter
||From iOS 5.0 and Android 2.3 to the latest iOS and Android devices
||0.22 lb/ 100 grams
||Wireless Bluetooth connection
||Up to ~140 ft – 160 ft/ ~40-50 meters. Depends on the OS and smartphone model.
|Depth Range Max/Min:
||130 ft (40 m) / wide angle – 4.3 ft (1.3 m); narrow angle – 2 ft (0.5 m)
||Water temperature Sensor
||Celsius / Fahrenheit
||-4F to 104F/ -20C to 40C
||Lithium Polymer, 3.7V Rechargeable; lasts for 6 hours of non stop usage; takes 2 hours to fully charge.
||Compatible with 110V / 240V. Micro USB.
||290 kHz (15°) / 90 kHz (55°)
|Models and logistic
||GLOBAL version: SKU: FLDP09; EAN: 4779032950213; 32pcs/master carton;ASIA version: SKU: FLDP10; EAN: 4779032950206; 32pcs/master carton
: “The best and most functional item under her Christmas tree would be an Eclipse UPF 50+ shirt
to protect my skin from the sun while fishing.”
Keep an eye on Eclipse for an exciting new product launch coming soon.
Eclipse is a Canadian company offering UPF 50+ clothing to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. After being cleared of skin cancer back in January of 2014, I decided to protect myself against further damage by creating a line of apparel that offers UPF 50+ with high quality fabric. Eclipse products are Made in Canada and offer protection through the fabric and not a chemical coating. The current product line is a generous size that accommodates both men and women that want protection from the sun while outdoors. More products including long sleeves will be available soon.
: “I have had my eye on Eco Pro Tungsten
for some time now and would love to add some of their products to my arsenal. I love to flip plastics so their tungsten bullet weights are an easy pick for me!”
Eco Pro Tungsten Flippin Weights
Eco Pro Tungsten weights are 97% pure eco friendly tungsten. Fray Free, insert free and lead free, Eco Pro Tungsten weights offer serious advantages over lead. Eco Pro Tungsten cast farther and more accurately than lead. Actually feel what you have been missing! Smaller, dense tungsten is super sensitive, allowing you to detect more strikes and catch’s more fish while greatly reducing hang ups! Special “seal coat” painting resist chips and scratches.
“Nobody makes all the cool colors than Eco Pro Tungsten does. They allow me to match my weights with my favorite plastics!”
: “I would like nothing more than some more Rod Sox
. With their proprietary unique feature, a snag proof, hook resistant rubber type mouth makes loading and unloading my rods quick and easy.”
Breathable – Rod Sox can go on wet or dry equipment. The breathable mesh allows air to easily pass through allowing any moisture out and drying your rod and line.
Safety Tip – The hardened tip of our Rod Sox protects the last guide/tip of rod from the wear and tear of placing or removing rods from rod lockers or any type of storage.
Durable Tag – With the addition of a hang hole in the new, durable, rubber tag, rods can now be “hung up” for storage, a great and safe way to save room and keep your rod out of harm’s way laying or leaning elsewhere. After the Rod Sox is completely seated on the rod, a gently tug on the rubber “mouth” will “Lock” the Rod Sox in place, and it won’t slip off. When it’s time to go fishing, a simple push of the mouth upwards releases the “lock” and the Rod Sox will just slide right off.
– The hard tip is wrapped with a color tape indicating the length of the rod it fits so that you can easily tell your rods apart and know which Rod Sox go on what rod when ready for storage. (For Example: green tip tape is for a 6’6″ rod, while red tip = 7′ rod, etc…)
Tangle Free – Avoid the tangling of rods and line when carrying gear to and from the water.
Mesh Density – The Original Rod Sox have the densest mesh of any rod protector on the market. This makes them more durable over time, improves the protection of your rod, and allows a tighter weave for added safety of rod guides, especially microguides.
Improved Mouth – The new and improved pliable, rubber-type “mouth” on the bottom end of the Rod Sox seals the mesh from fraying or unrolling, as well as protects the rod paint from any scratching from open mesh. In addition, the rubber mouth provides about a 1 3’4″ protective barrier between the hook and the mesh to prevent lure hang-ups.
Since I only asked the Team for a couple of products that they would like to have, as I know their wish list would have been too long for this article longer, Please visit http://existtofish.com/
and check out our Product Reviews and Articles for more ideas.
From all of us at Exist To Fish Canada, Merry Christmas and may your Holiday season be joyous and safe.
Exist To Fish Canada Writer David Reid
||Lake Fork Trophy Lures
Lake Fork Magic Popper
Jamie Wilson. Exist To Fish Canada Lead Writer/Editor
I have always been a huge fan of topwater baits, specifically poppers and I have counted on a few baits throughout my time as an angler. I will say whole heartedly that the Premium Series “Magic Popper” by Lake Fork Trophy Lures is the very finest popper for both smallmouth and largemouth Bass. The action that this bait’s body style creates is amazingly effective and has put so many big fish into my boat it’s absolutely astounding. It can be walked with ease, erratically popped in a strait motion and really, there is no ceiling to what this bait can do. The finish on these baits is nothing short of premium quality, with some versions being airbrushed giving a very natural baitfish appearance as well. High end nickel trebles dressed with feather rounds out these attractive, fish catching poppers.
|(Magic Popper) Specifications
||2 ¼ oz-2 3/4”
||Dual black nickel trebles
||Various (11 colors)
||Texas, United States
||$10.99 (American funds)
Quality was obviously job one when it came to the Premium Series “Magic Popper”. I’ll put it to you this way. I used one single version of this bait every weekend from Bass opener until the fall without worrying about bent hooks, scratches/damage to the body or any loss in action. It performs the same today as it did out of the package, and believe me, this bait was put through its paces and out-performed all of my previous “go-to” topwaters. To me, enough said, the proof is in the pudding.
|Quality Ratings for (Magic Popper)
||Level of Detail(1-5)
||Rating (10 being highest )
Castability is of no concern as the “Magic Popper” is compact and very aerodynamic. Trust me, is casts a country mile. Imparting action is easy as pie. A subtle twitch on slack line or more aggressive rips sends this bait into a walk the dog action or erratic forward popping motion, which is very useful when trying to figure out a topwater pattern. Some of the biggest fish/strikes have actually come at rest/on the pause as this bait sits slightly tail down while the premium feathers dance in the face of curious or hungry bass.
|Performance Ratings (Magic Popper)
||Ease of Use(1-5)
||Quality of Action (1-5)
||Position at Rest (1-5)
||Rating (10 being highest )
The “Magic Popper” has a fabulous realistic color selection to mimic a wide range of baitfish/forage. The weight and sizes are ideal for casting and retrieving and enticing big Bass day in, day out.
|Feature /Design Ratings (Magic Popper)
||Range of sizes (1-3)
||Rating (10 being highest )
Anytime the waters are calm enough, the “Magic Popper” comes out to play. At dusk or dawn, I throw this bait wherever bait fish are busting the surface. From shallow rocky points and banks to weedlines adjacent to deep water early morning/evening, the “Magic Popper” has rarely let me down. In fact, this fall I pulled up to a steep contour on a 14ft channel edge, perpendicular to a river mouth and the “Magic Popper” put the largest bag of smallmouth bass I’ve ever caught/witnessed in the boat. A monster 30lb, 5 bass limit hit the deck due to the subtle action of this incredible bait! It was dumbfounding to say the least. This bait called them up, sending this particular school of smallmouth into an absolute frenzy.
|(Magic Popper) Collective Final Rating
|Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = MUST HAVE
I can’t illustrate my point anymore really. The Premium Series “Magic Popper” is one of Lake Fork Trophy Lures masterpieces. I count on this bait day-in day-out. It’s truly a “don’t leave home without it” type of bait. If I had to guess, 8 of my top ten biggest smallmouth this season were caught on this very bait. Action, flash, realism and top quality construction makes this bait a true monster producer on the water. Every season for me has a sort of theme to it, and this has truly been the “Magic Popper” season. Bravo Lake Fork Trophy Lures, bravo.
Biggest Bag of the season, courtesy of the “Magic Popper”, truly amazing! 5 fat 21” monster smallmouth! Check out www.lftlures.com/catalog/magic-poppers and get some!
Review Written By Jamie Wilson. Exist To Fish Canada Lead Writer/Editor
Jamie Wilson- Lead Writer/Editor