Special BB Issues

Back to schoolin’ shad – Special fall baits Blaster!

Unlike us — most of us, anyhow — bass like to be fat. They do their utmost to be tub o’ lards. And we’re headin’ into the time of year the basses try their hardest to get their chub on. They’re aggressive but not suicidal (except for smallmouths), so here’s some ways to catch ’em — and some other stuff you need to know this time o’ year. Gitcha schoolin’ on!

Mimic those shad babies: hard baits.

Just cover you some shallow water with this 2 3/8″ bait. Check that color ^, the Yo-Zuri version of “sexy shad”…pretty sweet:

> Hit the backs of creeks. With the cooling temps, the shallower creeks and arms will get cooler quicker than the main lake.
> The fish will be chasing bait, so cast and reel as fast as you can — capitalize on the reaction bite.

> Rig it up with 12-lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon. Other color options: green shad, pearl black splatter.

All you need to know for that bait, but gotta throw this in again — the 1 5/8″ and 3/16-oz Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe Mini in “blue chrome:”

Shazam son!

Do you Bandit 200? Yes you do! Well, that 2″ bait runs 4-8′ while the also-2″ Bandit 300 runs 8-12′. Unfortunately Bandit only has a couple colors tho…bahahaha! Pick from a TON of shad, chrome and pearl colors — that’s ^ the ol’ standby “chrome blue back” which looks really dang good for them sunny days!

Anyhow, here’s why to try the 300 — to fish out a little deeper:

> Small-body deep diver that really excels at catching schooled up bass on points, humps and offshore secret spots…. The smaller profile seems to get bit even more than larger models and can catch every bass out of a school instead of busting them up.

> At 2″ it’s the perfect size for bass feeding on small bait or pressured fish.

Check 2″ of plastic-protected balsa in really good colors like ^ “pearl grey shiner.” Know this: When you see one in real life and then chuck it, you’ll know why it’s perfect for this time of year:

> Built with a V-cut belly and semi-flat sides, the Rapala Balsa Xtreme Brat Squarebill delivers a hard flash and wild-tracking kickouts that call to bass in shallow water. Complete with two razor-sharp VMC black-nickel round bend trebles….

How ’bout 3.75″ of “real” gizzard shad ^ ? That’s the Mike Bucca Baby Bull Shad, and not sure a more lifelike small swimbait exists:

> Throw the Baby Bull Shad on 12-15 lb fluorocarbon line with a M to MH rod, and slowly retrieve it with a few subtle twitches of the rod tip for a side to side swimming and gliding action.

Get a 1/4- or 1/2-oz ‘Trap, pick you any one of a zillion great shad-type colors and start slingin’! Here you go, what to use around the country in the fall:

West Coast/Cali Delta

> Mark Daniels Jr. — With clearer water he starts using more chrome-colored ‘Traps.

Upper Midwest/Mississippi River and WI/MN lakes

> Guide Ted Peck — 1/2-oz chrome/blue back.

Mid-Atlantic Coast/Hartwell, Keowee, Clarks Hill, Russell

> Former FLWer Scott Browning — 1/4-oz in the backs of coves and up creeks. Colors: silverado (^ pictured) and white-ish ‘Traps, always chrome when the sun comes out.
Florida/Kissimmee Chain, Harris Chain, Okeechobee
> Opens angler Cody Detweiler — 1/2-oz in “blue shiner” and “sexy west.”

Southeast/Tennessee River Chain (Guntersville, Pickwick, etc.)

> Boyd Duckett — He has an entire box of shad colors in 1/4- and 1/2-oz sizes. He thinks this is the hardest time of year on the TN River chain to find what exact color they want, but it can make all the difference when you do.

East TX-LA/Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn

> FLWer Andrew Upshaw — Uses a variety of sizes in shad patterns (“gizzard” is his fave) but also has chrome ready.

Gotta mention again one o’ my fave cranks — cooler/colder-water cranks — of all time, the Speed Trap! I ain’t no pro by a long shot, so sprinkle you some salt on this recommendation, but dang I think you’ll love the bait if you give it a shot.

VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble

Get extra bites. Focus fish on a specific hook. Whatever hard baits you got, that’s the word on what this VMC Bladed Treble Hook can do. Not much more to say except it supposedly does not alter the action of a bait. Personally I’m a huge believer in “flash” in the fall, bet you are too.

Here’s a little of how the hook looks on a crank:

And on a topwater:

Full vid starring M.Ike.anelli here. Btw that pic above is a Rapala RipStop jerkbait, which now comes in a Deep version too.

Mimic those shad babies: topwater.
LOTS o’ options this time of year, here’s just a few:

2 advantages of buzzbaits this time of year: aggressive fish, and water color doesn’t really matter.

Aggressive fish will go after a buzzbait and smash it. Guess it could look like flicking shad…on crack! But to bass, the “on crack” part doesn’t matter. And if you see shad in dirty-ish or cloudy water, a buzzbait will still work.

Little more on the Buzz Toad:

> …find cover a normal buzzbait can’t get into, like overhanging trees and docks. The Buzz Toad can skip so well that you can place it in the tightest cover possible and bring it out clean.

> Stick with colors like “grey ghost” and white [pictured].

Here’s a vid on it delivered by BPTer Andy “Goat” Morgan.

Yep the shad are smaller so you might want to throw the 4″ version (100 size), but if you’re truly just going for that 1 giant bite first thing in the morning, maybe chuck the louder-knocking 5″ version (125 size). Either way, the Yo-Zuri shad colors (all colors) are siiiiiiiiiiiick, even the ol’ reliable “bone.” So you can’t really go wrong…that’s ^ “prism shad,” and as good as it looks it looks even better in person….

> In the same places you would throw the squarebill, throw a topwater in the morning.

> “…think of the fish like your high school crush…they don’t want anything boring. Spice up how you play with it and use it. Go fast, go slow, be erratic. Throwing it out there and twitching it back will make anyone [any fish?] yawn to tears. So work it with different cadences and throw in some pauses.”

^ That’s bass-head and Yo-Zuri marketing mgr Theron Asbery crackin’ me up! Btw, says he fishes bone on cloudy days and clear on sunny days…except when they want “prism chartreuse silver” (lol):

Looks like he flattened out that bass with a rolling pin, don’t it?? Anyhow he says:

> “I always throw it on 30-lb Yo-Zuri SuperBraid because it floats on the surface and helps the action of that bait. Be sure to tie a loop knot…allows that bait to swing more freely in the water and have better action on the surface.

> “The rod is also important. Always throw a 7′ MH fast-action rod. The longer length helps you cast further, and there’s still enough tip to work the bait correctly without over-working your wrist all day. It also has enough backbone to keep that fish pinned.”

This is the larger size of the Pop-R + crankbait lip hybrid that Zell Rowland cooked up in his sun-baked brain…hahaha Zell! “Moonphase shad” pictured.

If you’re usin’ your Pop-Rs right, you’re putting ’em around cover…which you can do with this and then instead of wasting the rest of your cast, just crank it back SLOWLY to mimic a wounded baitfish.

Gotta get this in, very cool frog-style bait, check the colors “blue back herring” or “spooky shad.”
5. Berkley Justin Lucas topwater baits

Listen, no matter what you might think, Justin actually knows a few things…and can fish. (HAHAHA J-Lu!) Anyhow, was in his boat last year and he was chucking all these new Berkley topwaters he helped design…and they were legit. Yep, all based on existing topwaters but different and reasonably priced. Here’s a few:

> Drift Walker — A thin Spook-like
> Berkley Highjacker — “Developed for targeting aggressive schooling fish…”
Other shad-type baits
Quick hits:

Possibly the best spinnerbaits ever made, using many (not all!) of Jason Christie’s bassin’ family secrets…plus secret some bar-b-q sauce, spices and stuff. Here’s 1 possibility for clearer, colder fall water:

Find the right Coverts for your conditions at the interactive chart on the BOOYAH website.

2. GameChanger Lures Trashmaster Jig

3/8-oz in “sexy shad” pictured:

> The Trashmaster Jig features a screwlock bait keeper instead of a weedguard allowing you to rig any trailer completely weedless. Grab a Trashmaster in the “sexy shad” color and rig your favorite swimbait on the back for a completely weedless swim-jig that can go in and out of the thickest cover.

BPTer James “Captain Donuts” Elam:

> “I love to use a small Molix spinnerbait when the bass are eating small shad in the fall. I use 12- to 15-lb Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon. As it gets further into fall and they are feeding more for winter, I find myself using 17- and 20-lb more to beef things up.

> “I also use a buzzbait in these situations and like 50-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid.”

If you need an underspin, finesse jighead, bucktail jig, spinnerbait, Chatter-ish bait, casting jig or whatever to mimic a shad, check out their stuff. It’s legit, some of it co-designed by BPTer Greg Vinson, and works great.

Mimic those shad babies: soft baits.

Yep, you CAN mimic small shad even when you’re flippin’! Flip the backs of creeks — or wherever you find shad — with this bait in tinfoil (pictured) because that’s what this color is made for (also available in white):

> Texas-rig it with a wide-gap hook and fish it around shallow cover.

> It’s a smaller compact craw so it doesn’t overpower as a jig trailer either.

Here’s Jason Christie talkin’ at ya about it:

> 4.5″ so it might seem like a little too big, but not to schooling fish: That lazy fall gets ’em. Color-wise, “tinfoil” has tons of silver flake to mimic the shad, but “blue pearl” is good too.

> Texas-rig it with the biggest hook — like a 5/0 EWG hook — you can get away with to add weight so you can cast the bait farther. Use a spinning rod with light line or lighter-action casting gear.
Even more fall stuff dude!
1. Check these Lunkerhunt baitfishisms.

Some KILLER stuff right there. Clockwise from the top: Impact Flatsided Squarebill (silverside), Impact Ignite Double Willow Spinnerbait (ghost), Gambit Swimbait (bluegill), Finesse Swimbait (perfect pumpkin), Finesse Swimbait (white ice).

2. James Elam: Early fall and if all else fails.

Yep, a shakey:

> “It can be pretty tough early in the fall when they haven’t started feeding heavily. Before the fall turnover, I rely on a shakey head just to get some bites. I rig it up with 20-lb Seaguar Smackdown braid and a 10-lb Seaguar Tatsu fluoro leader.”

Give ’em some steak! Crawfish imitations.
Enough with the silver potato chips already! Let’s give the feeshes some meat. Here’s you a few options:

Story behind the jigs was Gayle Julian got inspired at this peewee football game:

He was like, I need a jig that dances like those kids man! So he made one…

…okay, that’s not what happened. More like he wanted to match the size of this year’s new crawfish — you know the ones. Here’s bass-head Scott Pauley talkin ’bout it:

> Every summer and early fall I struggle to match the hatch of this year’s new crawfish population. Every tournament I find bunches of small crawdads spit up in my livewells, but I didn’t have any jigs small enough…and even when I tried to make one up for myself it wouldn’t be heavy enough to fish effectively.

> Well, the new Pee Wee Football Jig is the ticket. It’s a smaller profile that the bass just can’t resist. And for my non-tournament-fishing friends, it doesn’t take much imagination to think what this jig will do on your favorite stream or river.

> I take the Jewel Craw [pictured on the jig above] and shorten it down to where the point of the hook comes out right between the eyes giving you plenty of pincher action but a shortened 2.5″ total body silhouette.

Available in 5 colors — PB&J, basswhacker, touchdown, hail mary, 1st down — and 3 sizes: 3/16-, 5/16- and 7/16-oz.

> Craws are hard to beat when you need to slow down or are targeting rock structure.

> Green-pumpkin craws with blue, black or orange secondary colors/fleck are great — most species of crawfish are a darker color in the fall.

Here’s what you’re lookin at, L to R: Lunkerhunt Finesse Craw (Bama craw), Lunkerhunt Finesse Craw (black blue fleck), Lunkerhunt Finesse Craw (gp), Lunkerhunt Descend Series Craw (cajun, top and bottom).

Have the right sticks!
If you’ve been readin’ the Blaster for a while you know I feel we each need to have the right rod for our own hookset (#1) and then the bait/technique (#2). Way I look at it is this: If you’ve got the right rod for a technique but it doesn’t match your hookset — OR if the rod doesn’t match your hookset technique — then what?

Anyhow, you literally can’t go wrong with rods from these 2 rod companies. Super good. Here’s a few quick c-lections for ya this fall:

> Kistler KLX Feel N Reel Casting Rods — Graphite/glass hybrid that’s great for cranks and for topwaters if your topwater hookset is too fast or crazy (seriously).

> Kistler Magnesium 2 Casting Rods — Some of the best rods I’ve ever used, period. Light, sensitive, great. Pick one, but the 7′ M is all you need for the fall….

> Kistler Helium 3 Casting Rods — Helium = lighter than air, so if rod weight is a big deal for you, check these out. Lot of the same actions as the Mag 2s so pick you one.

Co-designed by Brandon Palaniuk but honestly he doesn’t know as much about rods as Alpha Angler head dude Jake Boomer. Not sure anyone does…. Anyhow, here’s a few incredibly nice sticks:

> Rebound, 7′ MH moderate-action — For cranks: “S2-Glass retains the slow response of fiberglass necessary in cranking applications, but without the sacrifice in sensitivity common in other versions of fiberglass.”

> Slasher, 6′ 10″ M fast-action — For hard topwaters.

> Zilla, 7′ 3″ MH fast-action — Frogging, swim-jigging, even flippin’ if you don’t want to go heavier (like me).

Btw Jake told me he “will not rest” until he catches this fish in real life. I was like, “Dude smallmouths don’t get that big.” He texted, “Yes they do” and re-sent me this shot. I was like, “Okay then.”

Gitcha rigged up!
Alright here we go, stream of consciousness kinda:

If you’re like me — can’t afford fiberglass, not sure which tin rig to get — I encourage you to check out the Vexus AVX. It’s a glass-tin hybrid boat — never been done before — that in my opinion acts, fishes and drives more like glass than aluminum.

Absolutely do NOT take my word for it — go drive one. I AM getting one! Did I mention that they look friggin’ sweet:

Look at that! ^^ Find a dealer here.

What’s the most expensive thing on your boat? The outboard of course. Do you maintain it like you maintain the engine in your truck (I hope)? Bet most of you be sayin’…no. Here’s the deal:

> Current gasoline ain’t the best for your engines — as I understand it, when it gets ultra-hot in a motor it basically turns some portion of the gas into varnish, which will mess up engine performance.
> Ethanol sux — messes up engine operation and fuel stabilization.
> Remember that for most of us our outboard engine sits for way longer than our auto engine does.

So run you some Sea Foam Marine PRO through your gas tank every so often to maintain your outboard: cleans fuel injectors carb jets, cleans/lubes critical upper engine areas, helps reduce long-term engine wear, helps prevent corrosion caused by ethanol and water, and stabilizes tank fuel up to 2 years!!!

If you can’t get Marine PRO yet where you are, Sea Foam Motor Treatment is great too. Here’s one way to use either product (vid) and watch how fast it helps an older outboard in this quick vid.

3. Make your boat yours!

Do you drive a stock truck? Okay, if you do, do you wish you didn’t?? Hahaha you know you do man! So make your boat YOURS! Y’all know the fine folks at T-H Marine make some great safety, practical and coolness factor stuff fer yer rig such like:

Twist Step Emergency Jack Plate Ladder

Tackle Titan bait hangers

LED Boat Lighting Kits — For sure cool but you could overdo it and roll like this:

YOLOtek PowerStick Gen2 and YOLOtek Power Light

Plus a TON more. Here’s the rest of what T-H has on TW, and everything else is on thmarine.com. One time I asked Brian Latimer what up with all the T-H stuff on his boat. Texted me back this:

Look cool and feel warm!
First of all, hope you’re buyin’ bassin’ threads that you WANT TO rock when you’re out with your honey or takin’ the kids to the doc…cuz it’s just about that time hahaha! Seriously tho — why are you gonna buy good (and therefore a little spendy) bassin’ gear if it doesn’t a) work REAL good and 2) look cool too. (Yep #a and then letter 2 heehee!)

So here you go:


Hoodies — Required wearin’ for all bass-heads, even to church! They’re all great, so here’s just a couple (L to R): the Rogue Hoody in “hex camo carbon” and the Katafront Hoody in “anvil:”

Rain gear — Take your pick from any of it, it’s all good. For me and maybe you, “rain” is a little too restrictive a word cuz I wear it to keep the chill and spray off too. If you want a wind-blocking layer that can also keep off light rain, check the Challenger Windbloc Hooded Jacket — which is on stupid-cheap sale at Tackle Warehouse as a type this.

ALL of SIMMS’ stuff rocks, which is why you’re readin’ ’bout it on the BB yo! Check out what Tackle Warehouse carries here.


BUFF ain’t just ’bout sun protection — they make GREAT cool/cold-weather stuff too…which I know cuz I own some! Includes warm BUFFs, arm WARMERS, balaclavas and knit caps: for max head warmin’, pick the ones made outta merino or that have the fleece liners. Stuff I wanna wear when it gets cold:

L to R:
> Heavyweight Merino Wool Hat (black)
> Midweight Merino Wool BUFF (night blue)
> Polar Hoodie (“rugs” color)

Here’s the latest fall releases too….

SUPER bummed they don’t make this in an adult size. I’d pull it over my face when I go trick or treatin’ at the Zonas. Would FREAK Z OUT man hahaha!

But srsly — I’d wear that hat all the time, especially around my kids’ friends…and their parents….

Ya got me
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup

of the best, worst and funniest in bassin’, as curated by me — Jay Kumar. I started BassFan.com, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin’. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass so thanks for readin’!

Gitcha BassBlaster apparel right here!

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