This time of year can produce big bass, and i’m constantly distracted by the thoughts of how to maximise my chances of encountering one. There are so many different ways to fish for bass. The array of equipment available to us is enormous (and every increasing). Metals flung at distance, big shads fished sink & draw, topwater, shallow minnows, weedless, weightless, silent, rattling, it’s endless.
Personally, I don’t fish weightless much (find it a bit boring tbh), and I don’t like fishing weedless (probably unwarranted fear of losing a fish). I love a big soft plastic worked ‘slow & low’ though, especially when I think there might be big girls around. I like a big single hook exposed (not really into barbless either), and a slow steady retrieve, sticking as close to the bottom as I can.
In my mind, I can imagine the bass moving between the boulders, maybe sitting in some cover, spotting the inviting soft plastic ambling it’s way close to the bottom. Maybe they are thinking ‘Giant Goby’ as I am, or small Pollock perhaps. That 7″ slow-moving target can sometimes be too tempting to resist.
I tend to favour a paddletail, but do vary it. Something like a ‘One Up Shad’ is perfect. Using sensitive 8-strand braid, and a sensitive rod (which most are these days), the pulsing of the tail can be felt right through the rod. Snags and boulders are felt early, and with the rod tip at around 45 degrees, a quick flick and the lure can be up and over the snag, and safely away again. Of course sometimes I am not so lucky, and the lure is lost to the bottom, but I consider that fair game.
The feel of the ‘hit’ is the drug we all crave. Thump …. and it’s game on ! Often, the more subtle hits can be from the bigger bass. Maybe their cavernous mouths cushion the ‘take’, or perhaps they are just more accurate and subtle.
I don’t consider myself a highly technical angler. I don’t consider this method highly technical. I like this method though. It’s simple, honest, and satisfying. It ‘makes sense’ to me. On it’s day it can pick out the bigger girls. Give it a go. Fish a big soft plastic ‘slow & low’ over some rough ground. Be ready for gear losses, but be ready for ‘her’ too.