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How To Catch A Bass


Sam

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I thought that title would get your attention. :)

I'm just killing time on another cold day, and I got to thinking about something.

A week or so ago, in one of these threads, guys were talking drifting a fly with a 3-way swivel and a bobber for bass. Someone wondered how a slip bobber would work with that rig. I don't know about that, but I've been catching bass for years on a slip bobber rig.

Now, I'm a panfisherman - I fish to bring something home for the freezer. I bass-fish for entertainment sometimes, but I throw bass back, for various good reasons that have been thrashed to death here many times. When conditions are right, though, and when I want to have some fun catching bass, or when bass are mixed in with another species I'm targeting, I've got a method that'd be illegal in most tournaments but works real, real well.

Conditions have to be calm, with very little or no wind. I have to find fish on the scope first, and likely places are on the drop-offs from flats to channels, off points where the point finally drops into the channel, and sometimes out in the main channel where Kentuckies are cruising around, suspended. Most important, I have to find a place with no perch.

I use 10-lb. PowerPro braid (3-lb. diameter) on a spinning rig, a #1 Kahle-style circle hook, a 1/16 oz. split shot, a slip bobber, and a whole, big, live nightcrawler. For goodness sake, don't do this with anything but a circle hook, or you'll gut-hook every fish!

Start about 2" from the end of the nightcrawler, and "worm" the nightcrawler onto the hook - covering the hook completely and leaving a couple of inches free and wiggling on each end. The 1/16 oz. split shot goes about 5-6 feet above the hook. Set the slip bobber to the depth you're fishing - if I'm off a flat that drops from 12' to a 45' channel, and if I'm scoping fish on the bottom at 25' on the slope of that drop-off, then I'll keep the boat in 25' and set the slip bobber 25' above the hook. Like I said, you can't do this if it's windy.

Cast out, upwind, and give it slack while the rig sinks. When the slip bobber stands up, there's still another 5-6 feet for the worm to drop so leave it still for another couple of minutes. Strikes will come on the drop - they like the slow drop of a worm with no weight, and it's important that the nightcrawler be alive with the ends wiggling. Also, I'm pretty sure fish can sense electric fields and tell whether something is really alive or just looks like it is. This rig will outfish lures, lots of times.

If there's no bite 2 minutes after the slip bobber stands up, twitch the line a time or two and leave it another minute. Then reel in and cast again - they like to take it on the drop, not sitting still. When the bobber goes under, don't "cross their eyes". Use a big, sideways, sweeping hookset. A bass will swallow the whole worm, and by the time you know you've got a bite the bass is heading away with its' mouth closed. With a Kahle circle hook, a long sweeping hookset will produce a solid hookup in the jaw, every time - and the fish can be released unharmed.

If you get bites you can't hook and an end is bitten off the worm, that's perch. I keep a lighter spinning outfit rigged up the same way but with a small gold hook. When I get perch bites in a spot, I'll throw the lighter rig and fish it the same way for a couple of casts. Sometimes it's big bluegills that are worth keeping and I'll have a ball with them. If the perch are small, it's time to move on - you can't fish this way around perch.

I catch mostly bass with this method, including some big ones. Also catfish, big goggleyes, and occasionally walleyes - all of which are of more interest to my freezer and dinner plate. I don't think there's any harm in C/R bass this way if you use a circle hook.

I don't cheat at anything and I don't fish bass tournaments. If that should ever change (it won't), they better search my boat for nightcrawlers and disqualify me, or I'm liable to win the thing! I don't think anyone reading this would use nightcrawlers in a tournament that doesn't allow them, but this a good way to have fun and catch some bass.

Comments?

:)

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I thought that title would get your attention. :)

I'm just killing time on another cold day, and I got to thinking about something.

A week or so ago, in one of these threads, guys were talking drifting a fly with a 3-way swivel and a bobber for bass. Someone wondered how a slip bobber would work with that rig. I don't know about that, but I've been catching bass for years on a slip bobber rig.

Now, I'm a panfisherman - I fish to bring something home for the freezer. I bass-fish for entertainment sometimes, but I throw bass back, for various good reasons that have been thrashed to death here many times. When conditions are right, though, and when I want to have some fun catching bass, or when bass are mixed in with another species I'm targeting, I've got a method that'd be illegal in most tournaments but works real, real well.

Conditions have to be calm, with very little or no wind. I have to find fish on the scope first, and likely places are on the drop-offs from flats to channels, off points where the point finally drops into the channel, and sometimes out in the main channel where Kentuckies are cruising around, suspended. Most important, I have to find a place with no perch.

I use 10-lb. PowerPro braid (3-lb. diameter) on a spinning rig, a #1 Kahle-style circle hook, a 1/16 oz. split shot, a slip bobber, and a whole, big, live nightcrawler. For goodness sake, don't do this with anything but a circle hook, or you'll gut-hook every fish!

Start about 2" from the end of the nightcrawler, and "worm" the nightcrawler onto the hook - covering the hook completely and leaving a couple of inches free and wiggling on each end. The 1/16 oz. split shot goes about 5-6 feet above the hook. Set the slip bobber to the depth you're fishing - if I'm off a flat that drops from 12' to a 45' channel, and if I'm scoping fish on the bottom at 25' on the slope of that drop-off, then I'll keep the boat in 25' and set the slip bobber 25' above the hook. Like I said, you can't do this if it's windy.

Cast out, upwind, and give it slack while the rig sinks. When the slip bobber stands up, there's still another 5-6 feet for the worm to drop so leave it still for another couple of minutes. Strikes will come on the drop - they like the slow drop of a worm with no weight, and it's important that the nightcrawler be alive with the ends wiggling. Also, I'm pretty sure fish can sense electric fields and tell whether something is really alive or just looks like it is. This rig will outfish lures, lots of times.

If there's no bite 2 minutes after the slip bobber stands up, twitch the line a time or two and leave it another minute. Then reel in and cast again - they like to take it on the drop, not sitting still. When the bobber goes under, don't "cross their eyes". Use a big, sideways, sweeping hookset. A bass will swallow the whole worm, and by the time you know you've got a bite the bass is heading away with its' mouth closed. With a Kahle circle hook, a long sweeping hookset will produce a solid hookup in the jaw, every time - and the fish can be released unharmed.

If you get bites you can't hook and an end is bitten off the worm, that's perch. I keep a lighter spinning outfit rigged up the same way but with a small gold hook. When I get perch bites in a spot, I'll throw the lighter rig and fish it the same way for a couple of casts. Sometimes it's big bluegills that are worth keeping and I'll have a ball with them. If the perch are small, it's time to move on - you can't fish this way around perch.

I catch mostly bass with this method, including some big ones. Also catfish, big goggleyes, and occasionally walleyes - all of which are of more interest to my freezer and dinner plate. I don't think there's any harm in C/R bass this way if you use a circle hook.

I don't cheat at anything and I don't fish bass tournaments. If that should ever change (it won't), they better search my boat for nightcrawlers and disqualify me, or I'm liable to win the thing! I don't think anyone reading this would use nightcrawlers in a tournament that doesn't allow them, but this a good way to have fun and catch some bass.

Comments?

:)

I think it's safe to say that several of us on here have caught bass with a live nightcrawler.

Tough to beat it in the Summer months over deep points, near bridge piers, etc.

Not sure I see the value in the bobber, though?

We've always gone straight down on 4-6 lb line on light spinnng outfits.

Some guys like injecting the worm with a shot of air to keep the tail up.

Certainly, calm water makes this method easier, but I've caught them bouncin around with the waves, too.

And, yes, a lot of times they will take it on the fall. But if you're at the right depth, sometimes just letting it sit or jigging it every so often works great!

Brings back memories!

Many hours catchin em off Pt 7.

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Not sure I see the value in the bobber, though?

I sure do.

Without a slip bobber and with no sinker or a light sinker, you've got no control of the depth you're fishing at. If the boat's moving around, your bait may be drifting at 8' or laying on the bottom at 30' - you can't tell.

If you put on a heavier sinker so the line stays straight and you can feel the bottom, then you sacrifice the slow natural drop of a nightcrawler with little or no weight - and that's where the bass bites come from.

Sometimes I fish with a nightcrawler, a split shot, and no bobber, too - catfishing.

:)

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I sure do.

Without a slip bobber and with no sinker or a light sinker, you've got no control of the depth you're fishing at. If the boat's moving around, your bait may be drifting at 8' or laying on the bottom at 30' - you can't tell.

If you put on a heavier sinker so the line stays straight and you can feel the bottom, then you sacrifice the slow natural drop of a nightcrawler with little or no weight - and that's where the bass bites come from.

Sometimes I fish with a nightcrawler, a split shot, and no bobber, too - catfishing.

:)

With a split shot or drop shot, I do have complete control of the depth I'm fishing.

At the time of year I'm fishing the crawler, I already know the fish are at least in that 22-30' range, if not deeper.

I'm certain you have had success with your method, but in my experience over the past 40 years on this lake, getting it down to the right depth with a healthy, fresh crawler is more critical than how, or how far it falls.

Hopefully, others will chime in on this topic.

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gitnby - That's fine. I'm just sharing a method that's worked well for me. If you don't think it helps for a nightcrawler to drop real slow, then don't fish that way!

:D

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I have on my boat an 8' Float rig rod year-round. I use 4/10 Fireline as the main line with the slip bobber on it, then a small swivel, and then fluoro tippet as leader. Yes, a small circle hook is on the business end - but I use Gulp or Powerbait leeches, minnows, heck I even use finesse worms wacky rigged. I'll use small hair jigs in cold weather (float 'n' fly) and the scented plastics more in warm weather. I like some wave action to give motion to the lure, but that's just me.

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In re-reading your original post, I think I see some other differences in our approaches.

First, would be how we hook the worm.

I usually just run the hook through the worm once, right around the 'collar', Some guys just hook them once through the 'nose'.

Ideally, this makes for a more natural-looking presentation.

Secondly, since your worm is free-falling, there may be times that the bass suck it in, spit it out and the bobber never moves since there is no 'connection'.

On a tight line, I can feel that 'tap-tap' that indicates the fish has flared his gills and sucked it in.

Third, while I agree that the 'fall' of the bait can be enticing, I've caught tons of fish after the bait just sat there for several minutes. The wriggling of the worm and the natural underwater currents can keep that thing moving and exciting the bass.

Keep in mind that if I place my split shot 18"-24" above the hook, theoretically I will get a 'fall' of nearly twice that distance once the split shot reaches it's final depth. (can't show a pic, but I think it can be visualized)

Nice chattin with ya on this!

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gitnby - Our thinking's about the same on this, some of it.

Yes, there are a couple of drawbacks to the method I described. Since I'm using a slip bobber and there's several feet between the sinker and the hook, I don't have a direct connection - and I'm sure bass sometimes suck the bait in and spit it out and I never know. I like to feel everything that's going on in most of the ways I fish, and that's why I favor PowerPro superbraid for a lot of things.

Also, I don't much like worming the center of a nightcrawler onto a hook, because that leaves the worm in a "U" shape with two ends wiggling rather than in a more natural shape. I wish I could wacky-rig it like a Senko or finesse worm (another way I fish), but a nightcrawler's too soft for that and I do want the tip of the hook covered. I've got to use a circle hook, of course, because I'm fishing with a slack line and can't feel the "taps". I'd gut-hook every fish otherwise.

Drop shot rigs and tight lines are great, but I think I'm more of a believer than you are in a nightcrawler falling slow and weightless to get a bite. Sometimes I'll just bait a circle hook with a big gob of nightcrawler with wiggling ends, on a lighter spinning outfit with mono line (because I can see it and it kind of floats). Staying away from the little bank perch, I'll cast that with no weight or bobber beside stick-ups, give it slack, and watch the loops of line floating as the 'crawler slowly sinks. When that line twitches and starts to get pulled down I'll reel up the slack and set the hook. Sometimes it's just little perch that bite, but a lot of times it's not - and it's surprising the variety of fish that will swallow a slowly-sinking worm that way. Once in awhile, even crappie - though when that happens I switch over to a crappie jig or swimmin' minnow real quick.

However we like to fish, it's all fun.

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