Zona smallmouth wisdom, Pipkens tube wisdom, New topwater

Looks like I can now direct-link the AMart charity derby so here ’tis: — hope you can fish it!

Btw you looked into this whole Q deal yet? WHOA man wow. Gotta say I was bummin’ out a little but that’s given me a lot of hope. Feel like I’m 4 years behind tho — lmk if you got anything good! Now to bassin’ness….

>> If you’re getting the BassBlaster for the first time it’s cuz a bud signed you up!

Today’s Top 4

5 smallmouth Qs with Zona.

Zona KNOWS smallmouths. Some of his best friends are smallmouths — one, strangely, is named Seth Feider. Let that sink in for a sec…. He had a couple smallies in his wedding, and a few live right outside his house. So he’s a bona fide (Feid?) smallie expert, and I had some Qs about fishin’ for ’em in big water so here you go.

1. Is a dropshot really the best rig for smallmouths or are tubes and Neds just as good?

> “I would say conditionally yes — dropshots right now, this time of year, are better. The other really nice thing about a dropshot is it’s very high-percentage. When you hook ’em, you got ’em.

> “It’s really a time of year deal too. When the fish group back up after spawning all the way until fall, I think the dropshot is the most efficient and effective. …1/2-oz dropshot you can cover a massive amount of water effectively, but you can’t do that with a Ned rig. You can in a way with a tube….

> “I don’t use anything under a 3/8 for smallmouths — no reason to. A smallmouth predominantly bites the bait within 4 seconds of it hitting bottom [so with a heavier weight falling faster, you get more bit more times than with a lighter weight].”

2. Do smallmouths ever get sick of a dropshot?

> “Yeah I absolutely think that especially in a condensed, confined area, they totally can get conditioned to it [especially] after a day or 2 or 4 of being bludgeoned. You can go to a more subtle technique — a tube, bitsy tube, Ned Rig…. A lot of times you can also get them unconditioned by line size — going from 8-lb to 6-lb [Z likes Seaguar Tatsu fluoro], and possibly downscaling the [dropshot] bait you’re using.

> “I think it’s very critical to use a very long leader, like 15-20′. It makes my bait look much more natural. The closer my braid is to my bait, I think my bait gets obnoxious…has too much action.

> “…when you move away and find fresh fish 100 yards or a 1/4-mile away [they are] still dumb to [the dropshot].”

3. Since smallmouth tourneys usually are tight, is there a way to find and catch better-quality fish?

> “Yes. Absolutely. If you’re catching 3-3.5 lbers, no matter how much fun it is, leave. Bigger smallmouth — 4-5 lb smallmouth bass — tend to group up. Whether in packs of a dozen, packs of 4, packs of 50…they come into an area and disintegrate it of bait, like wolves will on fawns or killer whales on seals.

> “…a 4-5 lb smallmouth bass, his #1 job is to be a killing machine with his buddies. When they deplete the area of food, they’ll move…til they find the next forage base to do that to.

> “That’s what all of us up here call ‘sliding.’ They’re not gonna swim 10 miles — they’ll go another 100-200 yards and find the next food source. You can follow them….

> “This time of year…find the spot within the spot, but you better find what they’re putting in their mouth…they’re very choosy and very pelagic. Their structure is what they’re eating.”

4. Does the HydroWave ever play with smallmouths?

> “Absolutely, especially when they’re on some sort of baitfish bite. When they’re on an emerald shiner bite or a perch bite, I’ve seen a HydroWave work more on St Clair than any other smallmouth lake I’ve ever been on because that’s their predominant forage.

> “What I’ve noticed on St Clair…when you’re on a 50-100 fish school and they’re eating bait, that’s when the HydroWave is at its peak. I feel like I can keep a school going a lot longer than not having it. I’ve caught them with boats around me not catching them…keeps the bite going longer. A lot of times I’ll turn it on after a school dulls.”

5. What’s the greatest piece of smallmouth advice you ever got?

> “Make a big lake, whether an inland lake or a Great Lake, a small lake. Generally the best smallmouth lakes are large lakes. They are very overwhelming.

> “Learn where the biggest flats are on that lake. Smallmouth are a lot like a deer — they’ll relate their entire lives and existence around the biggest flat on those big lakes. …dissect the biggest flat on a lake…they breed there, they eat there, they seek refuge there.

> “…just like a herd of deer, they want a food source and they want safety, and don’t want those 2 things to be far from each other. Generally you find that near the biggest flat on a lake. It sounds very simplistic but it’s not. …find the irregularities of a flat….”

Bonus Q: Are you going to get one of those sick new Ram 1500 TRXs?

> “I called Ram when they had the release last week, and the president of marketing — Michelle — said, ‘Wow it took you 3 hours! I thought you’d call and ask for one in an hour!]’ [Z lols.] I would say I’m a little down on the list, but I have my fingers crossed — I’m really hopeful.”

I bet — I’m a ‘Yota man but wow this looks cool:

Btw, Z and Hack missed this — looks like 2 ‘foots?

“I never thought I’d see a day when 4 units would be the norm on pro anglers’ boats.”

KVD talkin’ BUT he also said:

> In the mid-1980s the first Liquid Crystal Display or Liquid Crystal Readout (LCD or LCR) units came out. And for a short period of time, you could literally run 2 flashers, a paper graph and an LCR unit. So this is not the first time in history pro anglers have run multiple electronic units in their boats.

I guess the main point he’s makin’ is it’s now “the norm:”

Lol! For anyone who doesn’t like how fishing ‘lectronics are progressing, Kevin says:

> “Being on the front lines of the sport, constantly learning how this ever-evolving technology improves the efficiency of fish-finding on the water, is one of the things I truly enjoy about my job.”

2nd-5th St Clair Elite baits.

2nd: Cory Johnston

> “I was fishing 16-21′ of water, looking for clean spots on the bottom.”

3rd: John Cox

> Dropshot: Berkley MaxScent Flat Worm (cinnamon blue fleck and brown back) and Berkley MaxScent Flat Nose Minnow (baby bass and brown back), #1 Berkley Fusion19 Drop Shot Hook, 3/8-oz Drop Shot Weight, 8-lb Berkley FireLine Crystal braid, 8-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon XL, Abu REVO MGXtreme Spinning Reel (30), 7′ M Abu Fantasista Premier Rod.

> 18-25′ with “a little bit of rocks.”

4th: Clark Wendlandt

> Crankbait: Strike King 5XD (chart sexy shad), 18-lb Sunline Sniper fluoro, Bass Pro Shops cranking stick with Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Series Reel (8.3).
> Dropshot: Green pumpkin bait, #2 Owner Mosquito Hook, 3/8-oz Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight, 12-lb Sunline Sniper fluoro, 7′ 1″ M BPS Johnny Morris Platinum Rod, BPS Johnny Morris Spinning Reel.

> Scattered rock and grass in 10-14′.

5th: Jake Whitaker

> “Fished in the river dragging a 1/4-oz Truesouth Ned Head with a Bizz Baits Ned Dizzy (gp) as well as a Z-Man Hula Stickz (gp). Nothing fancy, just dragging in 20-30′ on isolated hard spots with grass nearby.
> “Threw the Ned Rig on a 7′ L ALX Zolo Trickster Rod and Abu Garcia REVO MGX 30 Spinning Reel with 15-lb P-Line X Braid to an 8-lb P-Line Tactical Fluoro leader.”

Here’s another new topwater!

Check it — believe it’s called a “Zackers:”

Posted by amazing B.A.S.S. shooter Seigo Saito — who in my opinion is part of the first Japanese invasion (in a good way!) of the US. No idea if the bait’s legit but…a bass will bite anything!


1. Worldwide “Watson” James was out after a drum assault.

For a time, anyhow — his finger ‘n hand blew up like one of those balloon animals:

2. Ott DeFoe is now fishing for only yellow largemouths.So far he’s doing pretty good but hasn’t gotten a limit:

3. Bill Weidler, Takahiro Omori, Taku Ito on Stray Casts.

Haven’t watched it yet but stoked to!

4. Dean Rojas walks you thru his new Blazer 650 Pro Tour (IG vid).

5. Yep Ish Monroe won the Delta ‘Yota.

Hope to have his baits/story next week, he’s been hitting the salt hard….

6. What the pros were dealing with.

A lot — pointed out by Bernie Schultz:

> Imagine yourself traveling a great distance to compete in a tournament, then discovering you’ve contracted Covid and being told you can’t fish, and that you can’t leave the state either — that you’re to remain in solitude for 14 days or until you eventually test negative for the virus. Those thoughts weighed heavily on the minds of the competitors.

From one bass-head, big thanks to the pros and organizations for making some events happen. It’s been great!

7. New Ducks Unlimited Wade Bourne tribute video.

Wade was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a tremendous, tremendous person. I loved him and miss him when I think of him. I haven’t watched the movie yet but can’t wait.

8. Mystery Tackle Box boomed during Covid.

> …ecommerce sales in Mar were up 115% year over year, and its Apr sales were up nearly 200%.

CatchCo owns MTB. Post says they sent baits to NBAers fishing in Orlando — smart!

9. Molix and Duckett partnering on baits.

> “…will produce several exclusive bait products for…Duckett Fishing….”

10. AR: Bunch of new bass regs being proposed (pdf).

Too many to list here.

11. AL: Folks getting ticked about how lower AL River is managed.

Apparently the Corps management doesn’t think about fishing in what it does….

12. TN: How Bass Pro Shops got the Memphis pyramid.

Joe Sills wrote it — Joe’s got a thing for strange stuff, and this 100% qualifies. Sounds like Billy Dance got Johnny Morris interested in the deal but…a pyramid with a crystal skull on top doesn’t sound like a good place to be man. Just my 2c — and I’ve always wondered why there’s pyramids and obelisks in cities in the US and around the world. Weird….

13. VA/MD/DC: Rusty crayfish is spreading.

Crowding out native species. Luckily they’re all green pumpkin….

14. NE: Zebras found in Lake Kampeska.

15. NY: Jumping earthworms now in western NY.

Invasive species — wonder if they have more action on the hook?

16. AL/TN: 3M will clean up bad chemicals in TN River system?

17. Europe: No tackle companies are protesting possible lead ban?



Headline of the Day

Weather plays a major role in fishing

If that’s true, it could — COULD — change fishing forever…heehee!



Make sure your lifejackets fit everyone right

On right now…
Note: The TackleWarehouse links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase I might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in the BB.

Tip of the Day

Good Chad Pipkens smallie tube tips.

Good ones from a David “5 clones and counting” Brown/Bassin’masters collab:

> “I feel like a 60-degree [line tie on the jighead] comes through stuff better — especially if you’re dragging it. I feel like the 90 catches more (on cover).

> “When you’re setting the hook with the 60-degree tie, it’s more direct — you’re pulling through the hook. By comparison, when the 90-degree is pointing up, it doesn’t pull the same way. It doesn’t pull up into the fish’s mouth.

> “…if I’m in deep water with rocky bottom, that’s the head [a fat head] I want to use. Also any time I’m dragging current seams in any of the rivers where I need to keep it down, that fat head makes your tube fall straight vertically. It doesn’t flutter in the current.

> “If you have a lighter tube with a slender head, it’s going to get (caught) in the current, it’s going to float under things and you’re going to get hung up more. Whereas if you can keep bottom contact with that fat head tube, you’re going to lose fewer jigs, and you’re going to keep your bait in the strike zone more.”

More good stuff at that link.

Quote of the Day

“The only sport I have ever been involved with is tournament bass fishing.”

– Wow! That’s 16-yr-old West Coast bass-head Westly Gritts talkin’. Not only is that an amazin’ statement — meaning there’s that much competitive bassin’ now, and because of it some kids ain’t innerested in ball sports — I’m predicting lots o’ bassin’ success for that young man purely cuz of his 100% bassin’ name. Go get’ em Westly! Ya heard it here first peeps….

Shot of the Day

Could lipless baits play on the Great Lakes? I really don’t know, but Hiroshi Nishine thinks so and he knows stuff man:

His new lipless ain’t out yet….


I could feel hungry seeing this, but not sure if it’s the B word or the B word on the pig that’s trippin’ me up. Maybe it’s a little too…suggestive? lol

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, 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’!

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