FISHING WITH KENNY: TIPS, TRICKS AND TWEAKS
article by Kenny Covington
Fishermen are a different breed of people. No matter if you are a bass fisherman, perch jerker, bream enthusiast or whatever the case may be, fishermen think differently. There are secret spots, secret lures,and secret techniques. The only problem is nothing is secret anymore and nothing is sacred. Because of this thing we call technology, everything is a click of a button away from being common knowledge.
Technology is not a cure-all however. There are still simple things we can do to make ourselves more productive on the water. There are tweaks that can be done to make a lure work differently, thus giving us the opportunity to catch more fish. Fishing is all about making adjustments, but sometimes the best adjustments are made before the first cast.
The lures that are produced today are light years ahead of what was produced in years past. That still doesn’t mean we can’t doctor them up just a bit. I would like to share with you a few things I have found that have made me more productive while on the water. To some this may seem to be overkill, but if it will catch a few more fish, what’s the harm.
On every hard bait I purchase, before I use the lure in a tournament, I will change the hooks. Most of the manufactured lures these days have very good hooks already on them, but I have seen too many times in tournaments where the factory hooks cost my competitors dearly. I prefer to take nothing to chance and will make sure I have the right hooks on the lure being used.
If I purchase a crankbait that has #4 treble hooks on it, I will match the front hook with the factory size; however, I will upgrade the back hook to a #2 just to allow myself a bigger bite. Simply put, use as big a hook as the lure and the presentation will allow. This is also true when Texas rigging soft plastics.
On topwater lures, I tie my own feather hooks to be attached on the rear of the lure. I try to match the color of my feathers with the base colors of the lure. It’s a nice complement to the action of the lure and can make finicky fish more aggressive when they strike.
While most lures are pretty much safe from my own experimentations, at times I do like to tweak them for better performance. Walking topwater baits such as a Spook or a Lucky Craft Gunfish will have a 50 lb. snap added for a better walking action when used with braided line. Popper style topwaters will have a small O-ring applied to the line tie for better action during the retrieve. Topwater color is overrated, it’s the retrieve that catches the fish.
Spinnerbaits and jigs receive the most tinkering in my quest to find the right lure for the fishing process. I have found the skirts that come on spinnerbaits are too big and have too many strands to be fished effectively, especially on the smaller 3/8 and ¼ ounce versions. The newer perfect skirts make adjusting skirt size more difficult due to the umbrella style of their appearance.
I have been creating my own spinnerbaits and jigs for several years now, and the one thing I have noticed is that the more realistic I can make the skirt appear, not just in color schemes but also in strand count, the better fish tend to bite the lure. On smaller spinnerbaits and jigs, such as a ¼ ounce version, the skirt needs to match the size of the lure and not overwhelm the eye appeal of it. Whereas a ¾ ounce jig may require a big 40 strand skirt, allowing for more water displacement, a smaller offering may only require 20 to 25 strands, giving the lure a more finesse presentation. The more natural you can make your lure appear to the fish, the better your chances are of catching them.
As fishing goes people are always looking for new, exciting ways to catch fish. Sometimes it is better to go with the tried and true, because chances are the fish haven’t seen it in a while. Since the inception of the drop shot and the shakey head, the Carolina Rig has gone largely unnoticed. The Carolina Rig still catches numbers of fish and can get you a bite no matter how tough the conditions, but only if you throw it.
Small 6 to 8 foot crankbaits, such as the 200 series Bandit or the Model 6A bomber, have slowly faded from popularity as well. Fishermen are starting to lean on the more expensive flashier models while these two old standbys are gathering dust in angler’s tackle boxes. It would be hard to argue that there has been a crankbait that has caught more fish than these two choices over the past several decades in our area. Dust them off, I am sure they will prove their value once again.
Once again it is time to wrap up another month! Please be careful while on the water or in the woods enjoying the great outdoors. There is still no better way to spend the day! See you next month!