Downsizing for hard to get bass

Most lures are designed in the deep South, which creates some difficulties for Western bass anglers who don’t face the murky waters found in Georgia and Alabama. Here the waters are clear and deep, and many of the baitfish are smaller than what is found in the South.

Eastern-designed lures are great and perform very well, but at times can be out of touch for Western waters. For this reason, we have to understand the concept of downsizing.

Lures are used to imitate some type of food source for bass. As an example; jigs are designed to imitate crawfish or bluegill. Even though these baits are considered BIG fish baits, downsizing your jigs can be beneficial when fishing Western waters.

Consider the fact that bass, being ambush predators, are not unlike a cat in the way they think – small, or injured prey quickly become the primary focus because they are easier to catch. It’s the same with bass; a small crawfish is an easier target. If you watch bass in a tank with crawfish, many times you will find the biggest crawfish live the longest.

Let this influence your purchasing decision when you’re looking at jigs. You may want to take a closer look at smaller jigs rather than the biggest ones you can find. It’s also good to trim the skirt to make a smaller presentation. I would also suggest putting a small plastic crawdad trailer on the jig or a grub.

You can enhance your fish catching ability with a spinnerbait by downsizing. Spinnerbaits imitate threadfin shad, but remember, shad in the South are generally larger than you will find in the lakes of California. The South has Gizzard shad, which can weigh up to a pound.

The problems we face in the West are downsizing our spinnerbaits without giving up weight. We have to get the lures down deeper in order to slow-roll or other similar techniques. You can reduce the lure’s presence by making sure the blades are smaller. I like to use a #4 double willow blade, but keep the weight about _-ounce.

One of the most effective baits to downsize are crankbaits. While many anglers look for the biggest crankbaits they can find, I tend to look for small, more compact baits. The smaller baits work exceptionally well on the highly pressured lakes found throughout the West.

If you go to small crankbaits, you must downsize your line. I have found that 8-pound test allows the lure to run deeper.

Crankbaits are wonderfully versatile lures, imitating everything from shad to crawfish and should be a constant part of any angler’s arsenal. Remember, it’s vital that you make certain the hooks on all your crankbaits are razor sharp and use good quality hooks.

Lakes throughout the West are being pressured more and more each day. The more pressure, the harder the fishing will become. We need to take a hint from our friends in Japan who fish the most pressured lakes in the world. Downsize your lures and increase your catch rate.