Targeting Early-summer Bass


As you begin your pursuit for bass this season, you’ll want to make sure you have these three lures rigged up on your rods. Regardless of the body of water you are fishing, these lure presentations will put largemouth or smallmouth in the boat for you.

From pitching to visible shallow-water targets like laydowns or boat docks, to making casts to isolated weed clumps or fishing a weedline, a Texas-rigged soft0plastic bait is so versatile that it’s a must for any bass angler any time of year, but especially when the bass are transitioning from their spawning areas to their summer locations.

These fish will be moving quickly and holding on a variety of cover. By being able to change up the size of your tungsten weight and the soft-plastic bait you rig on the hook, you can alter the lure profile and presentation to the bass below.

For my Texas-rig, I’ll vary my tungsten weight size from 1/4- to 1/2-ounce, pending the cover, water depth and current I’m fishing. Some of the soft plastics I’ll rig up include the Zoom Z Craw, Super Speed Craw or a Super Hog—all of which is dependent on the amount of action the bass want on any given day. Using a strong, sharp hook is key when Texas-rigging, as is a hook that keeps your bait in place as you bring the rig through heavy cover. I like to use the Eagle Claw Lazer TroKar TK133 Pro V Ben Flippin’ Hook. I feel it delivers increased hook up’s and the TroKar Barb near the hook eye secures my plastic.

Gear Choice 1

Witch Doctor Tackle Voodoo II 7-foot, 2-inch Heavy Rod, paired with a Wright & McGill Victory II Reel and spooled up with 15 to 20-pound Fluorocarbon line. If I’m targeting more abrasive shallow cover like wood, rocks or docks, I’ll use 17-pound Seaguar Abraz X or 20-pound TATSU. If I’m making casts to offshore emergent vegetation, I’ll go with 15 or 17-pound Seaguar Inviz X.

When bass are still in the shallows or in the mid-depth range, they may either still be on their beds, guarding fry balls, or just cruising around looking for an easy meal. This is when casting around a wacky rig soft-plastic stickbait is absolutely dynamite. This presentation is very versatile as you can throw it around shallow cover targets or fan cast it to an inside weedline that bass may be using as a highway to their deeper-water summer locations.

Pending the lure profile that the bass want, the water depth I’m fishing and how far of a cast I’m needing to make, I’ll either rig a Zoom Fluke Stick, Fluke Stick Jr, or Senko. The bigger bait allows me to cast farther and it has a quicker fall in the water. The Jr size offers a more finesse profile to tight-lipped bass.

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To increase your ability to cast a wacky rigged soft-plastic stickbait. To get it to the bottom quicker, you can insert a nail weight into the end of the worm. I like to rig my soft-plastic stickbaits on an Eagle Claw TroKar 1/0 Pro V Bend Finesse Hook as the gap of the hook gives me the ability to get a solid hookup on the bass, while still being small in size as to not affect the action of the bait.

Gear Choice 2

Witch Doctor Tackle Shaman 7-foot, 2-inch MH Spinning Rod, paired with a Wright & McGill Victory II Reel. For line, I’ll spool up with the new Seaguar Flash Green Smackdown Braided line as my main line in 20-pound test and connect it to a three to four-foot 10-pound-test TATSU Fluorocarbon leader. This setup allows me to make long casts to weary, cruising bass, but yet is super sensitive to feel every bite and tough enough to battle a bass out of the cover.

Covering a transition bank, weedline or point is very easy to do with a swing-head jig. By using a heavy enough head, like 1/2- or 3/4-ounce, your bait can stay in contact with the bottom and while you slowly bring line in with your reel, the plastic bait will just have enough action in the water to coax a bass into biting.

What is great about fishing this technique, with a bait such as the All-Terrain Tackle Swing Head Rock jig, is I can select the weight head I want and then select and rig up the exact hook I want—both style and size depending on the plastic bait I want to fish.

Baits such as craws and creature baits shine when bass are looking down to feed on crawfish, but a soft-plastic swimbait can also be rigged on a swing head if they are feeding more on baitfish or perch.

Gear Choice 3

Witch Doctor Tackle 7-foot, 6-inch Shaman MH Rod, paired with a Wright & McGill Victory II Reel and spooled up 15 or 17-pound Seaguar Abraz X Fluorocarbon line, as the line is very easy casting, yet is very abrasion resistant for when I’m bringing my Swing Head Rock Jig over rock or hard-bottom areas.

When you are eyeing up all those lures in your tackle boxes, be sure to search out these three lures. You don’t want to miss out on opportunities by not having them rigged up and ready to go.