Before I get started with this article, I want to let it be known that I am not at all an expert when it comes to saltwater fishing. My family and I go down around Gulf Shores, AL every year at the beginning of summer for a week. However, we have been going down there since I can remember, and I have had a pretty decent amount of success fishing in both the ocean and the bay, so I have decided to share some of my information. Also, I want to thank my good friend Justin Sanders for giving me the idea of this topic because everything is frozen here in Illinois, and I was having trouble figuring out what to write about after school got out for the semester.
Now, down to business. Let’s start with surf fishing in the ocean. When I fish in the ocean, I have not had much success throwing lures. Obviously some people do, but I prefer to use live bait. When I’m fishing in the ocean, I’m pretty much targeting any fish that will bite, so I like to use a good all-around bait. I like to test and use different baits, but my all-time favorite is live sand fleas (pictured below). On the first day, I’ll buy frozen sand fleas and use those while I catch my own live sand fleas. The frozen ones are decent, but nothing beats the real thing!
The way I rig these suckers is I buy a pre-made Pompano-rig (pictured below) from the store. These pre-made rigs come with two or three hooks separated by a few inches of line with a heavy weight (3-8 oz.) on the end of the line to hold the bait in place once on the bottom. I usually like to use a 4 oz. weight unless the wind and/or tide are bad. Once I get my rig all tied on, I like to take the sand flea in my left hand and put the hook through the middle of its shell from the back to the front. This will secure the flea in place on the hook until the fish takes the bait.
I use a pretty cheap setup for surf fishing since I only do it one week out of the year, but it’s an effective setup. The rod I use is a 9′ medium-power Daiwa D-Wave spinning rod paired with a 5000-B series Daiwa D-Wave reel. As far as line goes, I use 20 lb. Berkely Big Game monofilament line, but if I were to fish the ocean more often, I think I would try using some heavy braid instead so it would be more sensitive and there would be no stretch on the hookset.
Fishing in the bay is a whole different ball game. Fishing in the bay is a lot more like bass fishing, finding where you think the fish are and targeting specific areas. When I fish in the bay, I am usually either targeting speckled trout or Redfish. Both are great to eat, but Redfish are kind of considered to be the “bass” of saltwater and they are my favorite species to go after. When I target these fish, both Redfish and trout, I like to use two different baits: shrimp and some kind of baitfish. There are many companies who make imitations for each of these baits, but I refer the ‘Gulp!’ brand for shrimp imitations and if I’m going to use a baitfish imitation, I try to catch my own live bait. When using the shrimp imitation, I like to take a 2/0 Trapper Tackle dropshot/live bait hook and put the hook through the tail of the shrimp. Once you have cast out your fake shrimp, I like to let it sink for a bit (depending on how deep you think the fish are) and then kind of twitch it and move it similar to the way you hop/twitch a jig for bass. If I’m using a live baitfish, I like to use a bit bigger hook, like a 2/0-4/0 Trapper Tackle standard wide-gap hook. Then, I will put the hook through the fish about half-an-inch to an inch in front of the tail of the fish so the fish can still swim and attract fish.
Once again, I only do this kind of fishing one week out of the year, so I don’t have a super expensive setup for this either. I use a cheaper spinning reel, no specific brand, that is saltwater approved and a 6’6″ to 7′ either medium or medium-heavy power rod. If I had to pick one, I would just go with the medium-power, so I could be sure I wouldn’t break the dropshot hook. For the line, I like to use either 12 lb. or 15 lb. P-Line Floroclear.
I had a good time writing this article about the saltwater fishing I do! While most lakes and ponds are frozen over here in Illinois, there are some power plant lakes that don’t freeze over throughout the year. My buddy Jacob Wunder and I will be going to Newton Lake in Newton, IL to throw some jerkbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and spinnerbaits for some nice winter bass next weekend, so I should be writing another article in about a week or so about our trip! Thanks for reading and be sure to tune in in a week or so to hear about our trip to the well-known Newton Lake!
First, I want to start this article by sincerely apologizing for the lack of articles lately. I got busy with moving into a house, school, and football, but now I’m back, and we’re going to kick back into gear with an awesome topic: swimbaits.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about your typical swimbait that you either buy from Walmart or the hollow-bodied swimbait that you put on a swimbait jig head; I’m talking about BIG swimbaits, like 6+ inches of a delicious meal fit for a king (or queen) bass.
One thing to mention is that I’m just now starting out. I actually don’t even have the gear yet (that’ll be my Christmas present(s)), but I’ve got a plan, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. My SIUE fishing partner, Jacob Wunder, and I have decided to dive head first into the big swimbait game. He’s already bought some of his stuff, but I’m holding off because I’m super broke, and most people don’t really throw these much except for in the winter and into the spring for goliath bass.
I’m not 100% on the reel I’ll be buying to throw these giant baits, but I’ve got a pretty good idea. Right now, I’m eying the Abu Garcia Revo Toro S50. This reel was born to throw baits like the ones I’ll be throwing. It comes with extended handles (still two reel handles) for extra torque, plus a power handle (just one big reel handle) that will provide even more torque if needed. This reel can also hold 210 yards of 14 lb. test, but I’ll be throwing heavy braid with a 20-25 lb. monofilament leader to the bait. The Toro S50 has a maximum drag weight of a whopping 25 lbs. (which will hopefully be the size of the bass I’ll be catching with it). Granted, I know this reel is expensive, but because I fish for a college team, I get a discount to Abu Garcia (and other companies), and I am extremely grateful.
As far as the rod I’m going to use goes, I have decided. I am going to go with the ‘Big Bear Rods’ (as always and will not change) 7’9” XH power with a fast tip. This rod was basically built to throw baits like this. You need to have a stout rod to both cast these monster lures without snapping the rod in half, and being able to handle the giant bass that go hand-in-hand with throwing big swimbaits. Because of the sensitivity and overall excellent rods I have in my Big Bear Rods, I have no doubt that I will fall in love with this rod as well.
The last thing I will talk about are the swimbaits I plan on throwing. Though I don’t know exactly all the baits I’ll acquire, I do know a few I can’t wait to get my hands on. The top few on my list are a River2Sea S-Waver (size 168 and 200), a Castaic ‘Catch-22’, and, as all ‘swimbaiters’ should have, a Huddleston. It’ll be pretty difficult for me to spend too much money on a lure at first, but if I catch a couple of double digits and catch the swimbait-fever, I may be in trouble.
One last thing I wanted to mention before I end this article is where Jacob and I have learned pretty much everything we know to this point about swimbaits. You HAVE to check out the YouTube page ‘tacticalbassin’ if you’re interested in swimbaits (or bass fishing at all). Those two guys, Matt and Tim, really know their stuff! Swimbaits are what they’re really known for, and for a good reason. These guys are no joke. They have tons of videos about rods and reels for swimbaits, how to rig them, types of swimbaits, and even giant fish stories that they’ve caught on swimbaits (Matt’s story is my favorite)!
So that’s my plan for this winter/spring. I hope you enjoyed learning about my new hobby to come. Go and check out ‘tacticalbassin’ on YouTube, and tell me what you think and what your favorite video of theirs is! Thanks for reading, and welcome back!
I have decided to start a “series” of sorts on this page. In this series, I will talk about some of biggest and most memorable fish to date. While most of the time these stories will be bass stories, I used the word ‘fish’ so I can leave the door open for a few more stories down the road. This one, however, will be a bass story.
I want to start this story with a visual image; it was a brisk, spring day. The water was cool, the geese were mean, and the females were big. My friend Austin Jones, who is now a U.S. Marine, and I decided to go to an undisclosed pond for a couple of hours. We decided to go to this pond, not because of the size of fish necessarily, but because it was pretty much the only spot available to us because neither of us had a boat. After what seemed like a mile-long hike through the woods, we had arrived.
When we got there, I already had a green-pumpkin purple flake Omega jig tied on and decided to just go ahead and fish with it for a bit before I switched to something else, but Austin had decided to make a switch and then he would be ready to fish. Before he even had the chance to re-tie, I had already caught two fish over three pounds! So, as all fisherman do, I was talking trash to him and trying to get him all riled up. After I caught a couple more, he finally switched over to a jig and joined in on the fun.
About an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes went by of just slaying solid bass and then the bite went cold for a while. We hadn’t caught one for thirty or forty minutes when Jones said, “Hey man, I have to leave for work in like fifteen minutes.” So, I told him that was fine, and that we would just say the next person to catch a fish wins because the day had been pretty close up to that point. Side note; I had on rubber boots over my sweatpants while Jones just had tennis shoes on. This will be important to the story later on.
So, as I was walking in the water about four to five inches deep, Jones was up the hill about seven or eight feet because the hill dropped so drastically and there were so many trees. So, as we were walking to a place where we could both fish, I fell into a sudden deep spot on the bank and my left boot went all the way under the water. Keep in mind, this was March so the water was somewhere in the ballpark of fifty degrees. After that, I was pretty much done for the day, but our competition was still going. Finally, I said, “I just really need an eight-pounder to tear my jig a new one. That would make me feel better,” (yes, that is an exact quote).
I can’t make this stuff up; the very next cast, I flipped my jig near the end of dead tree in the water. I had just moved it a few feet when I felt the undeniable thump of a bass choking the jig. I set the hook with my 7’3″ MH power rod and 50 lb. braided line and whacked this fish, but the fish whacked back. It shook its head and to this day, though I’ve caught some bigger fish, this fish is probably the second-hardest fighting fish I’ve ever caught. She thrashed for a few seconds before she got a better idea, and then she headed straight towards a big limb that was in the water right near my feet. She was running and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
I felt her run into the limb and everything stopped. But before I could process what had happened, I saw a flash of white near the end of the limb about seven or eight feet into the water. I could feel the line moving and tugging again at this point, so I asked Jones for help. The thing I had forgotten during this fight was that he had tennis shoes on, had to leave in like two minutes at this point, and, probably most importantly, this was a competition. Once I realized there was virtually nothing he could do to help me, I made a decision. I chose to hold the rod in my right hand (which is opposite for me), and reach down to try and drag the limb towards me. Keep in mind, this was a long limb. It was just out of Jones’s reach up on the hill, and it was about eight feet out into the water. So I picked up the limb with my left hand and began moving it back towards the hill behind me, so I could hopefully get a shot at reaching the fish on the end.
After what seemed like hours pulling on this limb and watching my fish, I decided it was time and quickly dropped my rod and jumped knee-deep into the water to try and grab the fish. It worked. I got my right hand in the bass’s giant mouth and popped the hook out with my left hand. In theory, probably not my best move to unhook the fish while it was still in the water, but things worked out all right. Once I had the fish, I couldn’t stop smiling and squealing like a group of twelve year-old girls. Jones had run over to grab my digital scale from my backpack and returned about fifteen seconds later. The fish weighed 7.8 pounds (very close to the eight-pounder I predicted just minutes earlier). I ended up dropping the scale in the water after weighing the fish, but it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time (I would later regret that mistake big-time, but that’s a story for another time).
Finally, after all that struggle, I had Jones take a picture of my personal best bass (at the time) and me smiling from ear to ear. Fun fact about that picture: I use it for almost every profile picture I have because it is such a high-quality picture. The fish looks absolutely beautiful in the picture, and you can see that I was in the water for it. It is my profile picture on this website, on my Facebook, and just about everything you can think of (blue sweatshirt, black sweatpants).
Though you may think that some of this story was made up for entertainment purposes, I promise you that 100% of this story is true and I will get Jones to testify to that fact because it was a crazy day. Even though I already loved fishing, that day is what really, really got me hooked for life (no pun intended).
I hope you enjoyed one of my favorite fish stories that I have to tell! I look forward to hearing about your stories and experiences in the comments or in e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org! Also, to my friend Jones and all other members of the military, THANK YOU! Have a great day!
Today’s topic is a fun one. We’re talking about topwater frog fishing! Nothing beats the thrill of a giant topwater explosion just at dawn and reeling in a monster bass! Well today, we’re going to discuss which type of frog is right for you depending on your situation.
Just to be clear, we’re talking specifically about soft-bodied topwater frogs. They also make frog-colored poppers, wakebaits, etc., but that topic is for a later date.
Classic Hollow-Body Frogs: These frogs are the original hollow-body frogs. They have, like I said, a hollow body, two hooks on top of their bodies, and a skirt that acts as their legs. These frogs have an “A-shaped” nose to come through the nastiest slop as cleanly as possible (see picture below). These frogs’ main purpose is to be fished on top of the moss, slop, and grass. Because of the hollow-body, they will stay on top of the moss, and, since the hooks are on top of the frog, they will stay virtually weedless! I like to use multiple retrieves throughout the day to see which one the fish prefer. The first one I like to use is a quicker retrieve where I twitch the rod tip rapidly, using very few pauses. I like to use this retrieve until about an hour to an hour and a half after dawn and start using it again about an hour and a half before dusk. But, when the sun is up and temperatures spike, I like to use a slower retrieve, using more pauses between twitches because in the heat of the day, I have better luck fishing slowly with a frog. My favorite brand of hollow-body frogs is Pro-Z Baits frogs. They can be found at http://www.pro-zbaits.com!
Popping Hollow-Body Frog: These frogs are probably the most versatile of all of the hollow-body frogs. They also have a hollow-body, hooks on top of their bodies, skirts for legs. The only difference between the original and the popping frog is the front of the frog. The face of a popping-frog has a concave cup, just like a regular popper (see picture below). The reason I believe these frogs are the most versatile is because, while they aren’t ideal for thick slop because of the popping-cup on their face, they will still work for this application. I love to use these frogs in either open-water or sparse vegetation. I like to have a popping frog in this situation because it has a bit more fish-drawing power than the regular hollow-body frog. I like to use these frogs pretty much like a weedless popper. I will either fish them quickly with almost no pauses, or I will try a pop-pop-pause type retrieve. You really just have to play it by ear and see what the fish prefer.
Soft-Body Frogs: While I don’t use this style of frog as often as the other two, these frogs definitely have their place in you tackle box. These frogs are a bit different. They have legs that make a flapping motion in the water rather than just using a skirt, king of like a soft buzzbait (see picture below). Another thing about these frogs is they don’t come with a hook, so you will have to buy hooks separately (I like the double hook screw-lock type hooks like a Mustad or an Owner). You just screw the head of the bait into the hook, set the hooks on top of the bait, and you’re ready to fish! There is really only one way to work these frogs, and that is to just reel them. You can add slight pauses and twitches, but overall, it’s just one retrieve. These frogs tend to shine for me in really low-light conditions like right at dawn or dusk. I really like the Zoom Horny Toad and the Stanley Ribbit Frog!
Another point I’d like to talk about for a minute is the colors of your frogs. To make things simple, I like to stick to four main colors: black, white, natural frog, and brown. The colors I have listed here refer to the bottom of the frog, not necessarily the top. The fish obviously can’t see the top of the frog, so what the top looks like is completely irrelevant. Here’s how I breakdown which color of frog I use for certain situations. I like to use a white frog when there is a big shad population in the body of water. I use the brown frog in the backs of coves and places like that close to the bank because a brown frog imitates a small beaver, muskrat, groundhog, etc. (check our Pro-Z Baits’ ‘Scooby-Doo’ frog)! I prefer the natural color frog in clear water because the fish are able to get a better look at the lure. And I really like the black frog as an all-purpose frog, though it shines in low-light conditions. The black frog is ideal in many situations because black shows up very well. It creates a big silhouette in the water when the sun hits it. The only other color I will use occasionally is a frog with a chartreuse belly in extra-dirty water.
I hope that these explanations have helped you better understand the different types of frogs on the market today! As always, we love to hear from you so leave us a comment or e-mail us at email@example.com anytime! Once again, check out http://www.pro-zbaits.com for the exact frogs that I like to use every day! Thank you and have a great day!
A shaky-head is a rig that I never had much luck with in the past, until lately. There are many different styles of heads and ways to fish them, so that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
The first thing I’m going to discuss with you is my favorite style of head. To cut straight to the point, my favorite style of head is a round-ball head with a flat-bottom (pictured above). The reason I prefer a flat-bottom head, also called a stand-up head, is simple; when I’m fishing a shaky-head, I’m trying to catch fish that are being finicky. When you fish a shaky-head with a flat-bottom, it makes the bait stand up in the water (like the picture above), making the bait look more vulnerable, thus, luring the fish into thinking they have an easy meal. Almost all shaky-heads I’ve seen have a screw lock (see picture) that helps keep your bait locked in place more efficiently. I really only use the ones with a screw-lock on the head.
Ways I Fish a Shaky-Head:
A shaky-head has become a go-to lure for me when I get frustrated, and I hope these tips can help you in the future too! Be sure to subscribe to our page for more “tips and techniques” articles like this one! Also, we’d love to hear from you so either leave a comment or e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks and have a great day!
I know it can be difficult to make yourself spend a lot of money on something when there is a much cheaper alternative, and that brings us to the point of this article. Are tungsten weights worth the extra chunk of change you have to pay compared to the price of lead weights?
Lead: Lead has been used for years and is a staple in the bass fishing world. People use lead weights for everything from Texas-rigs to drop shots. Lead weights are also very cheap, you can even get them for as cheap as sixteen of them for $1.
Tungsten: The introduction of tungsten weights was revolutionary to the fishing world. The key selling point of tungsten is its density (1.7 times as dense to be exact). Since it is much more dense than lead, you can get away with a much smaller profile for the same amount of weight (see picture at the bottom of the page). For instance, a 1/2 oz lead weight is almost twice the size as a 1/2 oz. tungsten weight. Again, this is an advantage for tungsten because it’s much smaller in profile, but it’s the same weight. Also, because tungsten is harder than lead, it translates the bottom content much better than lead (rocks, soft bottom, etc.). The issue is, tungsten is MUCH more expensive than lead, usually about a dollar or two per weight.
So here’s a list of the pros and cons of each:
Tungsten is a much better alternative to lead if you have the funds for it, but it can be expensive. The good news is, I’ve found a loophole that I’m going to share with you today. Check out http://www.flipsideoutdoors.com! They have the cheapest tungsten weights I’ve ever seen, and it’s all I use now! When you place an order, be sure to send them an e-mail and tell them Midwest Fishing (Nick Scott) sent you!
I hope you learned a lot from this article today because this is a big topic that I hear being discussed a lot. Mae sure to subscribe to our page for more articles like this one. Also, we love to hear from you guys so be sure to send us e-mails or leave us comments with questions or any other inquiries. Thank you and have a great day!
(lead weight on the left, tungsten weight on the right)
Knowing the difference between the different kinds of structure in your lake can help you become a better angler in a hurry. If you fish a patch of grass the same way you would fish a rip-rap bank, you are more than likely going to have some disappointing days on the water.
In this article, I’m going to break down different types of structures and the ways that I like to fish them.
I hope you have learned the difference between certain types of structure and ways to fish them today! As always, feel free to leave us a comment or question and tell us what you think, or you can also e-mail me with other inquiries at email@example.com. Please subscribe and share with your friends if you like our stuff and check out our other articles! Thanks and have a great day!
First of all, I want to start this article by saying how grateful we are to each and every one of you guys. This is the first article we have written since we were on the “Wobbly Arrow” podcast and since we were on that podcast, our visitors, views, and subscribers have spiked dramatically. I want to say thank you to Jimmy Nees and Justin Horn at the “Wobbly Arrow” for having us on the show. Thank you all so much and keep sharing and subscribing!
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about fishing, specifically, jig fishing. Today I’m going to discuss the different types of jigs and when I like to use each type of jig. I’m not going to get into which colors for certain situations because I have already done an article about color selection (linked at the bottom of the page), or you can e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about anything!
I hope this breakdown of jigs helped answer some questions you might have about jigs! If there’s a question you still have about jig selection, I encourage you to either comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com. If you find our page and articles helpful, please subscribe and share our knowledge with your friends so you can all become better anglers. Thank you and have a great day!
A lot of people think if you only use spinning reels, you’re not a real fisherman. And, while I believe that this isn’t completely true, ninety-nine percent of tournament anglers use baitcasters in addition to spinning gear because the features you get with a baitcaster give you some advantages over those using spinning reels.
Advantages of a Baitcaster:
Disadvantages of a Baitcaster:
Advantages of a Spinning Reel:
Disadvantages of a Spinning Reel:
I hope the things I have listed here today will help advance your bass fishing knowledge. Thank you for reading and I encourage you to comment or e-mail me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to subscribe to our page to receive notifications about articles that we post! Thanks again and have a great day!
One of the most important assets in your fishing arsenal is hook-set knowledge because the type of lure you are using determines how you should set the hook when you get a bite.
There are three main hook-set techniques that I use.
Vertical: This technique is my favorite way to set the hook. With this technique, when you are ready to set the hook, you reel up your slack line and absolutely hammer the fish. The baits in which you will use this type of hook-set would be your flipping jigs, Texas-rigs, topwater frogs, and most things where you’re trying to drive one (or two with a frog) thick hook into the fish. You could technically also use this technique for lures like a chatterbait or swim jig, but the issue with these is you have your rod tip at 9:00 and you’re constantly moving the bait, so you need to set the hook quickly (see the sweeping hook-set). Going back to, let’s say a jig, when you feel the bite and think the fish has it, you reel down and set the hook hard vertically over your shoulder. This should drive the hook right into the top of the fish’s mouth. I suggest Trapper Tackle’s wide gap hook. With their innovative design, you will hook, and land, more fish than ever before.
Sweeping: The sweeping hook-set is one of those techniques that has its place, but it’s not something I use very often; however, I ALWAYS use a sweeping hook-set when fishing a Carolina-rig. Once you feel the bite, you want to reel up any slack line between the rod tip and the fish, and once you feel the fish on the other hand, you need to sweep the rod across your body horizontally rather than vertically because the weight is separate from the bait. A sweeping hook-set is also something I do when fishing a chatterbait, spinnerbait, or swim-jig because my rod is already at a lower angle and when you feel the bite you can just sweep into the fish.
“Leaning”: This one is more of a made-up term for me, but it describes the action so well that I thought I would just call it the “leaning” hook-set. This is the technique I use when fishing anything with treble hooks such as crankbaits, poppers, walking baits, etc. Instead of setting the hook hard vertically or setting it with some force while sweeping the rod, all you want to do when you feel a fish hit the crankbait is lean into the fish with the rod. To do this, you will want to sweep, kind of like the sweeping hook-set, but with less force, like a lean (ergo the ‘leaning” hook-set).
Thanks for reading this article, and please check out our other articles on the website for more helpful tips! I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment or e-mail me at email@example.com with any questions or feedback. Also, subscribe to our page for articles like this one and many more. Thanks again and have a great day!