Bass NERD: Cali swim jiggin, Just good trout swimbaits, Cold water bankin’

Welcome to no longer the Bass Geek, but now the Bass NERD. Turns out a dude was already using the Bass Geek name so figured it was the right deal to change it to NERD…which is sorta same thing. Anyhow, here you go — enjoy yo!

[If you’re gettin’ this for the first time, it’s probably cuz a bassin’ bud signed you up for the BassBlaster!]

Today’s NERDin’ Out

1 Lunker Lore

Josh Alwine, writin’ man o’ the books Lunker Lore and High Percentage Fishing, throwin’ some wind data at ya:

Data based on 40,000 freshwater catches.

> A review of wind’s impact on catch rates was completed by comparing catch percentages during particular wind conditions with the overall frequency of that condition during the time period….

> As an example, if wind did not impact catch rates, we would expect that catch percentages for a particular wind condition would match the percentage of time that condition existed. This would be our base case.

> If the percentage of catches were higher than the percentage of time the condition existed, that would be an indication of a positive causal factor. Conversely, if catch rates were significantly lower, it would be an indication of a negative impact.

> As can be seen in the graph below, the data tells us the wind is your friend.

> How does wind improve fishing?

– Wind creates waves which can oxygenate the water, which in turn can increase fish activity.
– Wave action scatters light, which helps disguise the fact a lure is a lure.
– Wave action helps conceal fishermen and their boats both visually and acoustically.

> All these factors combine to improve overall catch rates in the presence of wind as opposed to the calm condition.

2 Swimbaitin’

Wayne Campbell of Swimbait Universe comin’ at ya:

> The water has begun to warm all over the country finally and the results are improving daily. As pre-spawn goes into full swing across the northern half of the country and many waters receive fresh trout stocking, now is the time to catch fish at their peak weight in the colder regions.

> Trout imitations such as the 8″ Huddleston and the Deps 250 continue to produce big fish throughout the swimbait world. You’ll find these baits in the boxes of seasoned anglers as well as newcomers. They’re realistic, effective, available and relatively affordable.

> Fishing these baits excels for me when the water warms above 50 degrees and the fish first start to emerge from their wintering locations, often moving shallower to actively search for food, up until the final wave of pre-spawn fish have bedded.

> We’ve seen some really great fish coming from CA this spring as well. One of the most memorable giants so far was caught by @nolan_b123 using a Mattlures Surface Glide Trout. This fish was featured on the BassBlaster page as well as Swimbait Universe — a truly impressive fish, released to fight another day.

> This time of year, regardless of your location in the country, the best thing to do is get on the water and throw what you have confidence in. Be it a trout, bluegill, shad or other imitation, pick something that instills confidence and gives you the sense that the next bite could be The One.

3 Bankin’ it

IN bank hammer Brian Waldman talks gettin’ goin’:

> It’s a great time for bank anglers to learn a little about their waters. With cold water, the traditional guideline of northern or northwest shorelines warming first is a good start, but that’s not the case in every lake. Some places have springs that will show up as clear holes in the same place every time the ice starts melting. Others might have incoming drains or runoff areas that let warm surface water accumulate. Watching your local waters will give you a good idea of the first places you might expect shallow activity from the bank.

> This is also a good time to shoot down another oft repeated myth, that riprap banks hold heat and warm the water first. The simple fact is that usually isn’t the case. Most riprap is placed as a way to protect shorelines from wind or waves. It also makes for an easily accessible bank fishing spot. However, water is a great temperature exchange medium, and so most any “heat” generated by riprap is immediately passed from near-the-surface rocks to adjacent colder water, and quickly gets whisked away and mixed, taking on that same cooler temperature often just inches from the rocks.

> What likely does happen, though, is the little critters living down in the warm crevices of that riprap — or the algae clinging to a rocks surface — likely benefit from the heat, and so the foodchain fires up quicker in that area and the bass in the area just happen to figure this out.

> Only in cases of literally no water movement — away from the deeper cooler water and likely secluded in some back bay or man-made cuts or lagoons — would you find any appreciable water heating from the riprap. In those cases, such areas can be good early-spring starting spots, usually good for a fish or 2.

> While baits like lipless vibrators and jigs are still considered cold water staples, the bank anglers in my area have found a new go-to — the Ned Rig. This little bait has now become the preferred cold water bait…and has been accounting for a majority of the catches through the winter, and not just “dinks” like some people will have you believe.

> Fished on a lightweight jighead, a spinning rod and 6-10 lb line, often dead-sticked in icy cold water, the bass just seem to really bite this down-sized morsel, often sucking it up off the bottom and slowly moving off when traditional cast-and-retrieve baits draw a blank. Darker colors have been producing best.

4 YouTubers

OH high school bass-head Zach Stacy’s take on the latest vids:

> In this video, Matt Allen from TacticalBassin discusses a technique that is largely overlooked for catching spring time bass: using a tail-spinner.

> The tail-spinner, as Matt points out, is a great bait for catching fish in deeper water. This brings up the question: When bass move shallow in the spring, how are you going to catch fish with this bait? Very similar to fishing the bait the traditional way of stroking it and letting it fall.

> Matt likes to fish the bait like a lipless crankbait, with a yo-yo motion in the 3-4′ range. This is essentially quickly pulling the bait up and letting it fall back down.

> Traditional tail-spinners are small and very heavy. So if they’re falling on a slack line, they hit the bottom very quickly. In order to let the bait have a more natural appearance, you should continue hold your rod up once you pull it, and let it fall towards you. This slows down the bait and gives it a more natural appearance.

> My favorite thing about TacticalBassin tip videos is the amount of detail about the topic. They cover all aspects of the technique and discuss many different variations. Matt says he likes to fish tail-spinners around dock pilings and on ledges when he’s not fishing them shallow.

Here’s some tail-spinners Matt says he likes:

Blade Runner Line Through Tail Spin (blue shad, iris shad)

Damiki Axe Blade (ayu, real shad, crystal)

Revenge Tail Spin (blue shad, purple met shad, shad)

Duo Realis Spin (black smokey shad, tanago 2)

[GREAT to see Matt back doing his thing after that amazingly serious car wreck last year.]

5 Proving Grounds: Cali


Cali Swim-Jiggin’

> I’m sure many of us have caught our fair share of big fish on swim-jigs — I have one tied on 9 months of the year.

> Lots of us do the typical shake-and-wind techniques as we pitch our swim-jigs into the thick stuff like buck brush or grass. But there’s so many ways to fish swim-jigs, one of which was developed here in CA. Lots of the big swimbait guys use this technique if they can’t get bit throwing their big baits and they need something smaller.

> The Dirty Jigs California Swim Jig was developed for this specific technique. Instead of putting a craw trailer on and fluttering your jig over cover to elicit a reaction strike, you use a swimbait trailer (I prefer Keitechs) and fish your jig over points, humps, flats and laydowns — ALMOST like fishing a big swimbait.

> When fishing with this presentation, I really try to think of it as a swimbait. You can cast a lot of these swim-jigs a mile, so I like to get as far away from my target areas as possible. I’ll cast about 10-20 yds past my target and I’ll let the swim-jig sink. Then I’ll just creep it on the bottom. I like to keep contact with bottom at all times so I can feel what’s down there.

> Sometimes I like to give that bait 3-4 quick winds and kill it ,and that’s when I get a lot of my bigger bites. Sometimes I bump a stump, kill it, and shake it on the stump to get bites. It’s all about experimenting and doing what you like.

> I’ve also done well fishing deeper docks with this presentation, when the fish are ganging up on shad, and catching open water spots that are suspended.

> My favorite technique is still to fish this offshore on tapering points, or offshore ledges and humps. I’ve caught some absolute giants doing this.

> It’s extremely versatile, and I suggest you fish your strengths with it until you get the hang of it. I started out by straight retrieving it over grass flats — because that’s what I was comfortable doing — and quickly realized I could catch big fish with it offshore too.

> Depending on the depth, I’ll use anywhere from a 3/8- to 3/4-oz swim-jig. I use lots of brands, but Dirty Jigs, Strike King (Hack Attack Swim Jig only) and Bass Art Creations are the main ones I use. They have stout hooks which is important because you never know if you’ll hang a PB (or a stump!) using this presentation.

> I’m usually spooled up with 17-20 lb Tactical fluoro, or Seaguar InvizX or AbrazX. For rods, I like the Powell 734 models, the Powell endurance 724, and the Powell Inferno 765sbr (my favorite). It’s so important to have a sensitive rod when doing this so you can tell what you’re bumping into down there.

> I don’t have a huge reel preference, but I like my Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spool in the 6.8:1 gear ratio, sometimes the 7.5:1 gear ratio depending on what I’m doing with my swim-jigs.

6 Proving Grounds: Japan

Couple that jumped out:

1. Ever hear of the “cat” version of the wacky rig? Me neither — check how this is rigged:

That’s a Jackall Flick Shake worm btw.

And how ’bout this thing:

7 ‘Lectronics

Here’s Ike with a good basic rundown of how he uses his ‘lectronics. Love the green $ sign for marking grass:

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