By daVId a. Brown
Story & Photos
ease off the gas pedal to entice lethargic bass
e love those green fish, but let’s face it – largemouth bass can be frus- trating little prima donnas that just don’t want to put forth much effort to fill their bellies. no sense arguing against the un- changeable, so when extreme heat, extreme cold or a high level of fishing pressure has the fish turning their backs to reaction baits, your most productive strategy is slow and steady. Winter is the natural thought here, as lower metabolism keeps the fish in slow mode for several months. By contrast, summer months also need a slow down, as lower dissolved oxygen in the water puts fish in a sluggish mood. during summer’s swelter, bass simply don’t chase as much. not that they can’t; they just don’t want to, so the bottom line is declined aggression. notwithstanding the brief flurries of activity you’ll often find at dawn and dusk, plan on slowing down in most bass habitat your fish during the day. laydowns – especially those in areas lacking aquatic vegetation – are prime targets for slow presentations. The cover offers the shade that bass need on hot days, but without vegetation expelling oxygen, the fish will be profoundly inactive.
For starters, “slow” is not necessarily synonymous with a heavy object pegged to the bottom. no doubt, creeping that 10-inch texas-rigged worm across wood and rock will produce, but so will a tiny worm, lizard or creature bait on these rigs. Dropshot – adjust your leader length to hold the bait at the right depth, relative to cover and/or fish positioning.
Shaky Head – a great choice for probing docks, bridges and rocks, this specialized jig head works best with slender worms that will stand up and wiggle with minimal rod work. extremely limber hand-poured worms really dance enticingly. Finesse Football head – Same basic concept as the shaky head, but a football head (no skirt or weed guard). it excels over uneven bottom like riprap. Wacky worms – With a hook impaled through the worm’s midsection (or under an o ring), both ends of the bait wiggle like the real thing as the rig slowly falls through the water. This is a great way to coax bites along the outer edge of a weed mat. in deeper areas, add a peg weight or replace the standard hook with a weighted flick shake hook. Light Texas-Rigs – try a 4-inch Senko or V&M Chop Stick texas-rigged with a 1/16-ounce weight. Such light rigs like this probably won’t cut it in 20-plus feet, where current and line drift will pull your bait off target. However, for shallow flipping or dragging, such diminutive packages look like the kind of meals bass are likely to favor on these low-speed days. one of the more innovative tactics to come out of the finesse-heavy bass scene of Calif. is the scaled- down Carolina rig . a tactic fit for any situation requiring small and slow, the little C allows you to present a light rig without the bold, intrusive principle of a traditional setup.
in his northern Calif. home waters of Shasta lake, Jason Milligan has perfected a rig that serves bass anglers in tough scenarios requiring diminutive tackle and snail-pace presentations. Milligan’s specialized C-rig starts with 8-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon that serves as main line and leader, thanks to a stiff rubber stopper called a Carolina Keeper, which eliminates a