What’s all the fuss about ?
Soft plastics are becoming increasingly popular amongst Bass anglers, be it bumped down an estuary, deep spun off the rocks or jigged out from a boat. The variety in makes, shapes, sizes and colours are staggering but one method which still leaves many people baffled is weedless, weightless.
Let’s sort out the terminology first before getting down to business. Fishing a lure ‘weedless’ enables you to fish through heavier cover such as suspended weed or weed beds. This involves either a buried hook point or at least the hook point sitting flush with the lure. Some lures come with an indent to allow the hook point to sit under the surface preventing it from snagging (in theory).
Of course the weightless aspect is fairly self explanatory, there is no weight added to the line, hook or lure to aid in casting or sinking.
The hooks I use are wide-gape, worm hooks and fitted with hitch-hikers (a small coil of wire used to attach the lure to the hook.)
Getting ahead of the game
Still sceptical? I know I was the first time I read about it but bear with me.
Fishing this style of soft plastic bait may at first feel unusual but when you take a step back and start to think about it – it makes perfect sense. For a start the presentation you get is second to none – there is no weight to impede the action of the lure while you impart life and movement into it. The other major advantage is the lure will fall, drift and swing into the natural food holding spots which the Bass utilize to their full advantage.
First off you will need a rod that will cast lighter lures – I can not specify exactly the cast rating or length etc as all rods are different, for example I use three rods for my Bass fishing and all of them (luckily) work for this technique. They vary from 7’3” – 8’6” and all casting from 5 – 28g.
I wouldn’t recommend using anything other than low diameter braid purely and simply because you need the sensitivity to keep in touch with the lure and feel what it is doing in the water. I use 20lb breaking strain but again this is down to personal choice.
The lures I use all fall around a similar size and that is 5 – 7”. The reason I haven’t tried anything smaller than 5” is because I could never find a lure that casts that well of that size but I am sure with research I could find something to suit.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
WaveWorm Bamboo Stick
Hawg Wild Senko
Lunker City Slug Go
Lunker City Fin S
O.S.P Do Live Stick
Keitech Shad Impact
Xorus Rolling Stick
In terms of wide gape hooks, I use 3/0 – 5/0 depending on the size of lure for example for the 5” lure I will use a 3/0 and for the 7” I will use 5/0 but this just requires a little trial and error. I prefer to use hooks fitted with a hitch-hiker because I think the lures last longer under repetitive casting strain.
The key to this style of fishing is to slow everything down, relax, be patient and wait for the smash!
Take for example your stereotypical shallow, rocky, weed strewn reef. The tide is on the push and there are a few feet of water over your favourite gully.
Cast the lure out, close the bail alarm and allow to slowly sink. Start a nice slow retrieve but ensure you keep contact with the lure – slack line may result in a failed hook up. As you retrieve the lure impart some life twitching the rod tip from time to time – allow the lure to dart around (not too violently) just enough to give it life. Do not be afraid to stop, pause allowing the lure to sink (they will work on the drop also) and continue the process.
This whole concept relies on self restraint. It is also worth letting the current do the work – allow it to drift into likely ambush points but make sure you keep in touch with it.
The key is contact, sensitivity and feel!
At first I was rather dismissive about this technique until I witnessed a fine 5lb Bass being landed on the south coast of Ireland by a good friend of mine. After that I was determined to give it a go until I hooked and landed one myself.
I remember the exact spot where it happened – a dropping tide was exposing a reef which I scrambled out onto as the sun started to rise, I had about an hour left of the prime time when I cast out and started to work the lure slowly. On my fourth cast the line tightened, I lifted the rod and I connected with a plump 4lb bar of silver.
My perseverance had paid off and in many ways I hold this Bass as one of my top 3 catches – it is by no means the biggest fish but it is the method employed to catch it which puts it up there with the rest.
Get yourself down to your tackle shop or surf the net and pick up the necessaries before the season starts and give it a go – persist with this and you won’t look back. It will open the door to a whole new style of lure fishing!
Author: Steven Neely