Keith Carson on Fishing the Berkley Nessie

Glide baits have become one of the hottest lures over the past few years. Their large size and drawing power have resulted in plenty of giant bass and new personal bests, and many anglers now reach them when they need to get a big bite. Glides are available everywhere, from mainstream brands to garages across the country. Most are hard baits, but there are a few soft versions, like the Berkley Nessie, that are gaining in popularity.

Major League Fishing pro Keith Carson has been a quick study with the Nessie, and he's found they have many of the same characteristics as hard glide baits but with some added benefits that help them work in more situations. He shared his insight on the baits, the gear he uses for them, and some tricks to get fish to commit.

Choosing a Nessie Size

The bait comes in three sizes: 5, 7, and 9 inches long, with varying weights and realistic color patterns. Carson likes to go big and says he's had the best success with the biggest bait, which weighs 2 ounces.

"I've used the 9-inch version the most because it has great drawing power that calls up big ones from the depths," he said. "The larger version also feels a little softer and has a nice, lifelike feel and plenty of tail action. It has a similar gliding action to a hard glide bait, but the main difference is that the fish will bite it and hold it. Most fish eat it head first and will hold on, almost like a plastic worm."

For the biggest Nessie, Carson likes a 7-foot, 8-inch medium-heavy Fenwick World Class swimbait rod and an 8.3:1 Abu Garcia Zenon MGX reel. He will use either 20-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon.

"I still use Berkley Big Game a lot for big baits," he said. "Monofilament is still a great option for many situations and since it floats, it keeps the bait up higher, which has been the best for me with the Nessie. The little stretch also helps when one chases it and gets it beside the boat; you can set hard and not break your line at such a close distance."

Where and How to Fish Nessie

Carson fishes the Nessie in many typical places but says the drawing power makes it so effective, especially while watching his forward-facing sonar.

"One of the best times to fish is when bass are usually not catchable when suspended and not relating to anything," he said. They don't have to be around cover and could be suspended by themselves, in groups, or around baitfish. Throwing past the fish and working the bait, you can see how far they will come to get it. Sometimes, they will come 10-, 12-, or even 15 feet up in clear water to get it."

Once he sees fish on his screen, he casts well beyond them and starts working the bait very fast before slowing it down. "I reel it almost as fast as I can to get them to react," he began. "As soon as I see them coming up, I pause and start twitching the rod, usually while reeling as you do with most glide baits."

Another go-to place to throw it is around visible cover like logs, laydowns, and docks. "The great thing about fishing this around docks is that you can skip it a mile under there," he said. "I did well doing this on Lake Lanier in Georgia by skipping it way under docks and giving it little twitches on the way back in. I like to give it two or three twitches and then one larger reel turn to get the bait to glide hard one way. This is great under docks because they aren't used to seeing a bait like this under them."

Most of the time, Carson is fishing the Nessie quickly as he's found it to be the best way to trigger a reaction bite. "Most of the time, it's that straight and fast retrieve that's been the best, surprisingly," he said. "It has a great gliding action even if you aren't doing anything with your rod. You can get it to glide four to six inches one way, but give the rod a big twitch, and you can get it to move a foot or more. That's been great for me for spotted bass but has also worked well for largemouth."

As the glide bait has continued to evolve and enter the mainstream, there are now more baits to choose from. One of them is the soft Berkley Nessie that has been catching fish from the moment it hit the market.