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Oneida Elite Fishin’ Sitch: WWYD?

Brent Chapman firing a swimbait on day 3 (Bassmaster.com photo).

Was in the Z-train boat at Oneida watching Brent Chapman and Randy Howell fish, and also spoke to the rest of the Top 12 at the day 4 launch. All were experiencing the same thing when fishing reaction baits for smallies: lots of follows.

The smallmouths were swimming around and nailing the abundant shad (shad-like bait?), and would follow topwaters (Spooks), swimbaits and crankbaits (all of which were white) but more often than not would pass them up. These guys were getting only about 7 keeper bites a day, so you know at least 2x that many fish were zipping up behind their baits.

What to do about that? Jason Quinn told me at the launch, you “just have to reel faster.” I get it, and that may have been one recipe for success. But the Elites I watched just kept casting. Looked for all the world like they were just randomly chucking while getting blown along, though they definitely had waypoints.

As a fisherman – a nowhere-near-Elite fisherman – I’m just naturally sitting there thinking about how I might solve that problem. What would I try? We talked about this a bit in the Bassmaster.com War Room (now presented by Triton Boats – thanks Triton!) webcast. Said I’d try a Fluke-type bait. Slow it down, a feeding smallie might think it’s a baitfish it bumped, easy meal.

(Hey – what happened to Flukes? Are they old news now, or are they not efficient enough for the Elites, or…?)

And here’s my out-of-the-box approach for the fishing situation I saw there: A lot of grass in the water (which to me would argue for a Texas-rigged Fluke but whatever), wind, and the smallies were keying in on a particular size and type of baitfish. In northern natural rivers and lakes in those kind of conditions, I’ve had success throwing – wait for it – an old-school in-line spinner.

Looks like a little minnow, easy to keep at whatever depth, and pretty easy hookups. But have to say it’s been a desperation bait for me. Not one I tie on regularly.

Anyhow, given that fishin’ situation, WWYD?

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Chris

    August 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

    How about a float ‘n fly? Hair jig or small tube under a white bobber, just hanging there. Or instead of a bobber you could take the hooks off a topwater and just use it as a bobber but with some action to it to draw fish in.

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      August 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      I like that, like a saltwater trout rig….

  2. TOm

    August 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    My top two options would be either dragging a tube through the fish or a wacky worm. Those are great baits when fish follow but won’t strike.

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      August 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      hmmmm

  3. Jamie

    August 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I am not sure, but i would find out if the gobies haveade it into Onieda yet. And go with a goby looking bait. Or i would crawl a plastic crawdaddy across the bottom.

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      August 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Because? Looking for how this relates to following fish. Big lazy ones hanging near the bottom or…?

  4. Jim Kelley

    August 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    also another tactic on topwater for followers is to go smaller, a pop-x, or 65 size sammy, also going from opaque baits to ghost or clear sometimes makes a huge difference, that popx can be walked as fast as you twitch your rod. As for the fluke, you don’t hear much about it anymore, but I still use them like crazy, I’m always burning through a bag or 2 every couple weeks, even when that bite is not on, you can still get them to take it, just about anywhere, a fluke on a jighead is deadly when ripped up out of the grass, I’m sure the tour guys know every trick in the book, the float n’ fly works, but really my success has come when its cold, very cold, an original fluke small solid body) on the float n’ fly works good once the water gets warmer.

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      August 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Good stuff Jim!

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The best, worst and funniest in bassin'! Jay Kumar is the guy who created BassFan.com, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a whole lot more in bassin™. Make sure you sign up for the BassBlaster email!

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