Contrary to Zona’s incessant and frequent praise of my fishing abilities, I’m not the best bass fisherman around. I know that might be hard to believe….
Anyhow, I’ve written more articles about fishin’ than I can count (more than five), and I’ll be honest: The same ones are still being written. Meaning there’s a lot of repetition. So when I read something new – new to me – I’m focused, man. I want to learn!
Here’s some info I learned from recently, again from the good folks at Yamaha – I’m digging these tips. This one is James Niggemeyer talking about choosing to fish for spawners he can’t see. I thought it was pretty cool, since in my skull, at least, spawners means sight-fishing means seeing ‘em. Heeeeeeeeeeeere’s James:
“It takes years of experience to learn how to ‘read’ a bass you can see and determine if it is even going to bite. So instead of spending a lot of time trying to coax one fish I can see, I look for dingy, off-colored water that holds bass I can’t see.
“That sounds a little strange, perhaps, but it allows me to fish in a totally different style with different lures. Remember, most of the time we don’t see the bass we’re casting to the rest of the year, so I’m not doing anything unusual. And although the bass may be on beds and spawning, they’re not nearly as spooky in dirty water as they are in clear water.”
Niggemeyer normally uses three different lures under these conditions: a spinnerbait, a swim jig and a stickworm. He concentrates on water depths of 3 feet or less, and the common denominator in using all three lures is fishing them very slowly.
“I like to use the spinnerbait on days that are windy or rainy, when the surface has a ripple so bass react more to noise and vibration. I slow-roll it just above the bottom and parallel to the shoreline, barely pumping my rod tip to create different vibrations.
“I usually use a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce with a chartreuse/white skirt, and with Colorado and willowleaf blades. That gives me a fairly small-profile lure, but with both flash and vibration.
He uses a swim jig – which has a small blade in front of the jighead that causes the lure to wobble – when days are calm and brighter. “I cast as shallow as I can get the lure, then reel back steadily so the jig is just barely wobbling. It vibrates totally differently than a spinnerbait, and I like to fish it close to anything that creates an edge, be it a grassline, a log, some rocks, even a boat ramp.
“Bass seem to feel an edge provides some security since nothing can come from that side to rob their nests and they don’t have to watch it as closely. That means the fish will see my swim jig coming in front of that edge and hopefully they’ll be more likely to strike it.” [Interesting.]
He likes a small 1/4- or 3/8-ounce swim jig on 25- to 30-pound braid to be able to control a larger bass and move it away from cover quickly.
His third option is a stick worm, usually rigged weightless and fished on 16- to 20-pound fluorocarbon. If he’s fishing fairly open water, he may rig the lure wacky-style. But if he’s working in and around cover, he uses a Texas rig.
“These worms shimmy and vibrate as they fall,” notes Niggemeyer, “so I when I use them, I let them fall to the bottom, then just let them sit there motionless. After 5 to 10 seconds, I raise my rod tip and then drop it so the lure falls and shimmies down again. When I raise my rod and the worm starts vibrating on its way back down, the bass just can’t resist it.”
What’s cool about this is that it forces you – or someone like me – to be patient. If I’m seeing fish, I’m likely to get impatient and think I’ve left a bait in front of a fish for 30 seconds when it’s really more like 5, if you know what I mean.