Fishing with Kenny: Big Fish Baits to Catch Big Bass
article by Kenny Covington
One of the more popular type of bass tournament in our area are those which are the “Big Bass” variety. Instead of fishing for a five fish stringer, the winner is determined by who catches the biggest bass of the event. One style of tournament is about locating a number of sizeable bass, hoping to catch five of them, whereas the other the angler is looking for that one big bite.
The month of June hosts two of our areas biggest Big Bass style of bass tournaments. The Ronald McDonald tournament is held on the Ouachita River and the Majestic Big Bass tournament is held on Lake Darbonne. Both events are held around the same time each year so both require similar approaches to be successful.
Big Bass tournaments are about getting one big bite. Often times, I am asked what I would use if I was fishing this particular style tournament, and while all lakes are different, I do have a handful of lures that have proven to be successful for big bass, regardless of the body of water I might be fishing.
Years of fishing and monitoring tournament results have allowed me to compile the following list of lures, which may give you a starting point when fishing these type of events.
I believe more money is won on this particular lure than any other when it comes to big bass tournaments or big bass side pots. I know that the Ronald McDonald tournamenthas been won more often on a buzzbait than any other lure.
Why is it so successful? For one, it is easy to use. It works at all times of the day. It is fairly weedless and snag proof so you can use it in and around heavy cover where bigger bass live. It attracts a larger size bass, and when they commit to it, they don’t miss it.
Color choices are simple. In stained or muddy water, black or chartreuse are good choices, but in clearer water, I would suggest using white. Use a medium/heavy action rod with 20 lb. line or braid and you are set to go.
Big bass simply can’t resist a walking style topwater lure. Some of the biggest fish I have caught in summertime tournaments have been on a Zara Spook. The strikes are usually vicious and the landing ratio is surprisingly good.
While the Spook and Chug Bug have their upsides, one of the downsides is that it can be hard for an inexperienced angler to use. The key to the lure is developing the correct cadence which can require time on the water to perfect.
The biggest keys to this style of topwater is using heavy monofilament line, no less than 17 lb. and choosing the correct rod. A medium action 6 foot or 6’6 rod is ideal for this technique because it allows the lure to work with the added rod action instead of against the stiffness of heavier rods.
Texas Rigged Worm/Jig
No matter if you are flipping/pitching to Cypress trees or if you are probing the channel ledges and brush piles in deeper water of our area lakes, these two lures are excellent choices when targeting big bass.
Fishing both lures requires a bit of patience. However, both have a high reward potential. The key is making sure you are using the correct presentation for the type of water being fished. Fall rate is probably more important than the choice of lure color. The correct size sinker or weight of the jig can determine the success or failure when it comes to catching the larger fish.
Every fisherman has his “go to” color when it comes to soft plastics. Keep in mind that in the summer, shades of purple tend to work better than the watermelon based color schemes of springtime.
No matter if it is a Stanley Ribbit or a Zoom Horny Toad, these amphibian copy cats flat out catch big bass. When it comes to which one to throw, I believe it is strictly a matter of choice. Both have potential to catch the biggest bass in any event you will fish in the summer, no matter where you fish it.
The biggest plus of these lures is they are easy for even a beginning angler to use. It is the perfect bait for a youngster to use if they are going to be your chosen partner in a summer time bass tournament. Simply cast them out and reel them in. They don’t require fancy retrieves and they allow the angler to cover a lot of water in short periods of time.
Always use braid when using this particular technique. The lack of stretch in the line makes hook sets on a long cast much easier. The rod should be at least seven foot and have enough tip to allow the fish to take the bait.
Here are a couple of other useful tips:
• Fish shallow- Big bass in shallower water are usually easier to catch.
• Fish fast, cover water- You are trying to catch one big one, not 25 small ones.
• If there is grass and Cypress trees, it is a good area. This cover combination give a big bass all they need to survive.
• Always remember, big fish aren’t planned, they just happen but do your part to try and make them happen.
Well, it looks like we have run out of space for another month! I do hope we were able to provide you with some useful information that you can apply on your next fishing trip. Please be safe on the water this summer, drink plenty of water and overdose on the sunscreen. Catch one for me and I will see you next month!