Summer has been a whirlwind of fishing adventures with a primary focus on bass. Largemouth or smallmouth, I have no preference and love catching both equally as much! What I appreciate most about bass fishing is the variety of techniques which can be used and of course the battle these fish put forth! Although summer isn’t quite over yet, I want to share the techniques I have found effective over the past few weeks.
A beautifully coloured smallmouth bass caught on a deep, thick weed line on a punch rig.
My favourite techniques this summer have included:
You guessed it, a punch rig! For this technique I use my 8′ medium heavy Rapala Concept rod, an R-Type baitcast reel spooled with 65lb Sufix 832 braided line, a 1oz or 1.5oz Ultra Tungsten bullet weight with a bobber stop to prevent the weight from slipping. Below the weight I use a skirt, a 5/0 Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook and a TriggerX Goo Bug. This may sound like a lot of gibberish so I will break it down with this next photo.
My punch-rig set up.
From top to bottom:
- I typically use 3 bobber stops to prevent the weight from slipping up the line and as back up when they get beat up or torn off from busting through mats or from battles with fish. This saves from re-tying in the middle of a good day.
- I go with a 1oz-1.5oz bullet weight depending on the thickness of the cover I am busting this rig through. I am fairly impatient so I usually go with a heavier weight to be sure it’s getting down quickly.
- The skirt adds to the profile of the bait and gives it a fuller look and more action. I try to match the colours when I can.
- I really like the Gamakatsu Super Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hooks for how tough they are (I have yet to straighten or bend one) and the bait keeper helps immensely when throwing baits in heavy cover by keeping the plastic intact and in place upon landing. I attach the hook to the line using a snell knot.
- My choice on bait has been the TriggerX Goo Bug in various colours (Blue Sapphire, Muck, Carolina Bug and Black Blue Sapphire). I usually split the claws for more action on the bait.
How I do it:
- I use this presentation in slop by throwing it up into the air allowing it to plummet downwards and ‘punch’ it’s way through even the thickest of cover. I also use it in thick deep weed lines, lily pads and grass. When the bait hits the bottom, I pick up my slack line and yo-yo it 3-5 times or so until moving on. At times fish will hit it on the drop, after a couple of lifts or even after 5 lifts. It’s so much fun ripping these swamp donkeys out of thick cover! Using the right rod, reel and line makes it possible to keep these fish pinned and pull them out quickly.
During one of the hottest days of summer fishing exclusively heavy cover with mats, pads and slop, I successfully pulled this 5-pound largemouth topside! It wasn’t until pealing the weeds off this fish that I saw just how big it was!
With cooler temperatures in the forecast, I’ll step away from reminiscing about the hot sunny days and talk about my presentations during the rainy, cloudy and gloomy days. Days with unfavourable weather have had some of the best action!
A nice largemouth caught on the new Storm Arashi Waking Crank.
A warm summer rain doesn’t seem to last very long, and with it occasionally comes a drop in the wind. Flat calm with a light mist has been the perfect recipe for one of my favourites when targeting active summer bass: TOP WATER! A new lure that is now a top choice for me has been the Storm Arashi Waking Crank. This bait has some serious wobble and rattle, and gets the fish fired up! One evening after the wind laid down and it was still misting, the smallmouth and largemouth were hammering this crank. With my rod tip high, I reel this crankbait in very slowly. When I get a hit or see a splash, I wait until I feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook. The pause is so important as sometimes they blow up and miss entirely, but often times they will come back for another smack at it.
Drop shot action has been great!
Regardless of the weather, a drop shot rig has consistently produced fish for me and it’s been a favourite for several years. The majority of the time I am using X-Zone Slammers (as seen in the photo above), or I use TriggerX Flutter Worms as the baits of choice. For this technique I use a 7’2″ medlight x-fast Concept rod, Shift spinning reel spooled with 15lb Sufix 832 braided line, a 10lb Sufix Castable Invisiline Fluorocarbon leader down to a micro swivel to prevent line twist, the VMC 7356 Sureset Drop Shot Hook and a 1/4oz round weight. I’ve used heavier weights in the past but I have found the 1/4oz great at this time of year when I am going for subtle action, fishing shallower or just want it to sink slowly. Here is a basic diagram of a drop shot which I found in Google Search:
Drop shot diagram
A drop shot is a versatile presentation which can be used in a variety of conditions. I use it on and around humps, weed lines, steep drops, under docks, around stumps and more. This year upon noticing so many fish on various bodies of water gorging on crawfish, I have had success on similar-colours such as the XZone Road Kill Perch Slammer.
I fish a drop shot various ways such as: twitching, dragging, hopping and dead-sticking it. When fish follow up on other presentations but don’t commit (for example: a jerkbait), I will follow up with a drop shot while I have them close to the boat. When I am cruising an area and notice fish on my Humminbird unit, I immediately drop down. It’s fun watching these fish react to my drop shot and it often results in hook-ups!
A nice post-storm drop shot smallmouth!
There have been many memorable days on the water this summer and with the upcoming forecasts below 20 degrees, I am sad to see it go. Before I go, I want to mention a couple of stories that made it into my fishing column in the Kingston Whig Standard Newspaper in the past few weeks:
Hot smallie action and ripping a treble hook out of my finger in order to keep on fishing!
A great day on the water with my parents and my mom’s biggest fish EVER!
I had the opportunity to be part of a video by Rockhouse Motion! Check it out below:
And lastly, I have started a new trend within various forms of social media called #ThrowEmBackThursday – showcasing awesome release shots! It’s been great seeing all the photos posted by anglers from around the world with fish being put back to live on and be caught again!
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Thank you for reading!