Want To Catch More Late-Summer Bass? Here’s Some Tips!

Tips and Techniques
With the radiating sun beating down, late summer bass fishing can be sluggish, discouraging, and difficult. Many bass tend to slow down and move into cooler, deeper water, under cover, or near structure. Others may suspend mid-water or continue foraging along shallow lines. Confusing right? We know! Deciding what lure to tie on next when the fish aren’t biting can leave anglers scratching their heads wondering what they are doing wrong. While summer seems like a tough time to fish, with a little bit of work, it can also be the most rewarding.

Here’s a couple tips to help YOU catch more bass in late summer:

1) When the surface water is heating up, key in on fishing under cover – like docks, fallen trees, vegetation and more. Docks and submerged trees make for an excellent bass utopia. Vegetation like Hydrilla and Lily Pads are home to baitfish, higher oxygen levels, and mostly importantly, SHADE! Targeting bass in these areas can produce a satisfying summer catch.

2) Take advantage of feeding times! Get on the lake before the summer heat begins or as the evening sun begins to set. Low light and low heat are the perfect conditions for hungry bass. Tie on your favorite topwater, buzz-baits, or trick worms. This small window provides a prime-time experience and increases your chances of nailing your next personal best.

3) When bigger baits, frogs, and crank-baits stop working, go finesse! Use a drop-shot rig. Keep in mind – while we all want to feel the every twitch at the bottom by using heavier weight, lighter weight helps your worm maintain a natural presentation. Slow your crank speed down and stay confident in your technique!

4) Find the current! Whether it be from the wind, water density, or a nearby dam. Finding the current means finding oxygen, higher levels of oxygen means finding forage, finding forage means you find hungry predatory bass! BOOM…

5) Remember, not all bass are deep during the summer months, because this species of game-fish have a higher tolerance for heat, some remain shallow foraging on craws, bugs, frogs, some remain near points in search of ambush prey, and others will migrate to cooler deeper water. Don’t focus your energy in one place, the water is your wonderland!

6) When the hot gets hotter, match the hatch and throw a deep-diving crankbait. Use it as a search bait to cover a big area of deep water. Varying your speeds and technique can entice even the most lethargic fish to bite!

Bass can be finicky in the summer months, but with a little bit of time, effort, and technique you can quickly improve your catch ratio and thus, improve your summer-time fishing experience!

Musky; The Fish of 12,837 Days with Matt Breuer

Nice Musky from Matt Breuer

THE FISH OF 12,837 DAYS

by Matthew Breuer

Written for Angling Buzz

As a fishing guide, a lifetime angler and a fishing promoter, I pride myself in being able to say that I’ve caught this fish or that fish, the one fish was blah-blah pounds, while the other was blah-blah inches long. I caught a limit of that species in 10 minutes once. 6 fish on 6 casts another time. You get the idea — stupid ego stuff that means nothing to anyone, aside from a child. They’re easily impressed, and believe that anything is cool if you tell the story with enough enthusiasm. Well, what if I told you that it took me 12,837 days to catch my first muskie while actually targeting them?

MY SOB STORY

To be fair, I’ve caught quite a few muskies. I’ve also landed more than my fair share for clients, and watched more muskies come off or break lines than I can count while guiding or fishing. They love eating small walleyes or perch that are being skimmed across the top while pulling crankbaits. I’ve caught muskies on small crankbaits, I’ve caught them on jigs and shiners, caught them on bouncers and blades with a crawler, caught one on a perch while ice fishing, 3 on walleyes while reeling them in, 1 on a small largemouth bass, 1 on a spinnerbait used while bass fishing, snagged one, and caught roughly 5-6 on crappies that I had hooked on the lake my parents lived on until their retirement. These fish all had one thing in common. None of them were caught while actually targeting them.

The story isn’t that depressing, as I was able to catch a 51.5” fish on 6lb. test while pitching jigs for walleyes. Very cool moment. But to spend half a lifetime without being able to put a muskie in the boat for myself on muskie gear was beginning to feel like a monkey on my back. I was tired of netting them for other people, and wanted to feel what they felt..
2016 was going to be my year. That was my only goal in fishing for the year.

 

Musky Caught on a Savage Gear Swimbait

MAKING IT HAPPEN

This summer has been like many others here in northern MN. Extremely busy. I’ve hardly had time to hang out with my kids, let alone find time to get out muskie fishing. When a call came in from Okuma/Savage Gear/Waterwolf asking if I’d be willing to take Mads Grosell muskie fishing, a big yes went to the mastermind behind Savage Gear and their ultra-realistic baits. Mads and Mike Bennett from Savage gear, along with Chad Sandstrom from Team Okuma Midwest arrived in Bemidji, and before we knew it every bait they wanted to test was tested, and we had raised 7 muskies, got Mads his first ever muskie, and caught an 8lb. walleye to boot. I decided right then and there that I was going to put in the time, and work the new baits over, and get myself a muskie.

I knew I’d need help and motivation, so I looked to my wife and one of my best friends. My wife; who is always begging to go muskie fishing would provide the motivation, and Brian Jones, owner of First Choice Guide Service in Cass Lake, MN, to provide the location, boat skills, and comradery.
The first trip out yielded a nice fish for Brian, several other follows, and I lost a nice fish that surfaced and shook my bucktail. It was a heartbreaking moment that dug at me for weeks. Our second adventure provided less action, but I was able to connect. I was tossing the new 12” Line-Thru SS Trout from Savage Gear, and was determined to catch a fish on it. About halfway through our evening, I was hooked up. I watched the bait slide away from the fish and the hooks, just like it was meant to. A fun tussle, a pile of adrenaline, and a perfect hoop job and we had my first intentional muskie in the boat. Lots of high fives ensued, hugs were given, and a monkey was peeled from my back. It was a great moment, shared with two of my favorite people.

Musky from North Country Guide Service

BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS

I’m unsure where the fisherman’s tale of muskies being the fish of 10,000 casts came from, but in my research and experience, I think that it’s part fiction, and part science. I’ve never heard of someone actually counting, and actually hooking one on their 10,000th cast. I have, however, watched a client cast once, troll 200 yards, and then hold up his first muskie. I also have a very good friend who is averaging a muskie every 3-4 hours this season. Muskie numbers are on the rise, the number of muskie anglers is on the rise, and technology is helping anglers cut the curve by a long ways. Some baits are so realistic that I want to fillet them and deep fry them. It’s easier now is my point… for some…

After I finally caught my first, I really thought hard about the amount of time I’ve actually spent chasing the elusive esox masquinongy. I figured that I’ve fished for muskies about 37 times. I spent an average of 4.5 hours on the water. If I averaged out burning bucktails and casting pounders or jerk-baits, I figured that I casted roughly 55 times per hour. That accounts for small breaks for water, stretching, whining about my back pain, cussing at muskies that followed and didn’t eat, and moving from spot-to-spot. If you’re any good at math, you’d realize that I was pretty close to being the guy from the age-old tale. A guy who casted 10,000 times… almost. I beat the odds. It took me roughly 9,157 casts to catch my first “on purpose” muskie.
My wife has one muskie trip under her belt, and is next in line to scratch the itch. She was along when I caught my first, and I hope to put her on her first in a much shorter period of time than it took me. I also hope that I don’t have to wait another 9,157 casts until my next fish. If I do, I guess whoever came up with the old tale about muskies being the fish of 10,000 casts will be close once more.
Matthew Breuer
Northcountry Guide Service

Savage Gear Line Thru Musky Bait

Savage Gear TPE Fly Shrimp

The TPE Fly shrimp is based on the 3D scan of a small shrimp and has incredible details even for its small size.  The Shrimp were designed as a saltwater bait, but have quickly taken off as a great go to freshwater bait.  With the incredible micro movement of the legs and antenna, the Fly Shrimp entice even the most finicky of bass around docks.

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The TPE material is very durable and elastic and can even be used on the fly rod. On the offset wide gape hook it can be rigged both forward and backwards and it can also be rigged on a small jig head the same way. The Body itself can be mounted and glued on top of a partial shrimp fly to create even more micro movement and profile.


TPE FLY SHRIMP FEATURES
• Can be rigged forward or backwards.
• TPE construction for ultimate durability. (Do not store with other soft plastics)
• Heavy micro movement on antennae and legs on the fall or on pauses.
• Great for popping cork, fly fishing, or ultra-light fishing.
• Ultra sharp tournament offset hook with weighted egg sack.

For more information on the Savage Gear 3D TPE Fly Shrimp, please visit http://www.savagegear-usa.com/product/view/lures/shrimp-lures/tpe-fly-shrimp
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Savage Gear 3D Line Thru Pike

Pike and Musky fisherman like to throw big baits.  That’s a given.  Sometimes these fish can be absolutely ravenous, and charge after anything they see in the water.  Sometimes they can be very tentative, and shy away from too much flash, or movement.  When you can gain the edge over that super tentative fish, you will trigger more strikes, and up your landed fish totals.

3D Line Thru Pike

3D Line Thru Pike

The new Savage Gear 3D Pike bait might be just the subtle bait that you are looking for.  With its unique 3D scan of an actual Pike, as well as its Line Thru system, and subtle tail kick, these baits get it done.  Coming in two sizes, 12″ and 8″, you have a bait for each of your applications.

Line Thru Pike 1

Here is a video featuring Savage Gear USA Product Manager Mike Bennett talking about the features and rigging of the Savage Gear 3D Line Thru Pike.

Here are some key features of the 3D Line Thru Pike

• Based on 3D scans of real Pike with detailed fin and facial details for clear water application.
• Line thru design lets the bait slide up the line when the fish is hooked for a higher hook to land ratio.
• Innovative new tail design mimics the swimming action of a real Pike.
• Designed for Pike and Musky fishing

For more information on the Savage Gear 3D Line Thru Pike, please visit http://www.savagegear-usa.com/product/view/lures/line-thru-series/line-thru-pike
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Savage Gear Line Thru Tips and Techniques

There has been a lot of buzz around the introduction of the Savage Gear Line Thru trout over the last couple of seasons.  These baits have been a staple for many a fisherman after the first couple of uses.  They have be absolutely wrecking largemouth bass, striped bass, redfish, and many other species.  People often ask us how we rig out baits.  Here is a great little video by Savage Gear USA product manager Mike Bennett on the Line Thru family, as well as some basic rigging techniques.

 

 

The amount of fish that the Line Thru Baits have been getting has been pretty incredible.  We get daily posts with Savage Gear USA being tagged in the photos.  Here are a small selection of them that came through via our Instagram page.  @SavageGearUSA

Line Thru 1 Line Thru 2 LIne Thru 3 Line Thru 4

Here are a few key features of the 3D Line Thru baits.

• Based on 3D Scan of real Trout with detailed fin and facial details for clear water applications.
• Line thru design lets the bait slide up the line when the fish is hooked for a higher hook to land ratio.
• Available in three sink rates: Floating, slow sink, and sinking.
• Tapered tail for micro movement on drift and slow retrieves.
• Nylon mesh throughout the joint sections on the bait so it will not tear.

 

For more information on the Savage Gear Line through, join us at http://www.savagegear-usa.com/product/view/lures/line-thru-series/3d-line-thru-swimbait
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Springtime Bass Bed Fishing Basics

By Tyler Torwick

With Spring time upon us, as a bass fisherman you know what that means – its time for the spawn! Arguably the best fishing of the year, and the best time to catch your personal best, many anglers look forward to March, April and May.

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With water temperatures warming up and fish getting more active, there are several ways to catch these fish. During this time of year water temperature is very important, it is very possible to find fish pre spawn in one part of the lake, and fish on beds in another part of that same lake. The further South you are in the United State the sooner the spawn will begin.

When I am fishing this time of year there are two strategies I keep in the back of my mind when breaking down the lake. Unless I have fished the lake recently and know the fish are on beds, I will keep a few rods rigged up for chasing pre-spawn bass just in case. Pre-spawn bass can be approached several ways. When I know the bass are not on beds yet, the first thing I do is look at my map and locate creek channels, ledges and drop-offs adjacent to shallow spawning flats. These bass will stage in this deeper water before conditions are right for them to make a bed. In addition to the nearby deep water, I also like to look for schools of bait. If you can find bait, near deep water and adjacent spawning flats, you have found the three things necessary for an ideal spot.

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In addition to the deep water, you may sometimes find the bass up shallow, but not yet active on a bed. When I find fish in the backs of creeks I like to begin with a search bait. I love throwing a buzzbait, a spinnerbait such as a Savage Gear Ti-Flex Spinnerbait, and a topwater bait. All of these baits create a lot of movement and commotion in the water that will aggravate the fish and cause a reaction bite.

Long casts are key to success since fish are shallow and easily spooked. An Okuma Helios HS-CM-701MH is an ideal rod for this application. The length of the rod allows for long casts, while the fast taper allows you to work the movement of the baits exactly how you want them. You also want a high-speed reel to work that bait quickly and to take up line once you have worked the bait out of the strike zone. I prefer an Okuma Helios reel due to the smooth drag and super lightweight frame. One tip I also like to recommend is rather than fishing monofilament like most anglers use, I recommend 30# braid for this application. The low stretch, high sensitivity of the line is ideal for making very long casts and getting a solid hook set.

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Now onto what we have all been dreaming of – sight fishing! There is nothing better to get your adrenaline pumping than slowly easing up to a bed, with your trolling motor on the lowest setting, and seeing a massive female largemouth guarding her nest. Once bass have built their nests they become very territorial. During the spawn you will always find bass in pairs, the male will always be the smaller bass, and it is his job to guard the nest. This can pose a problem when trying to catch the bigger female.

Before we discuss ways to catch the female rather than the male, I would like to touch on a couple baits I use when trying to get fish to bite while on a bed. With sight fishing, it is very important to be able to pitch a bait very accurately towards a bed. Due to this, I like to use a shorter 6’6” or 7’ rod. Something with a medium heavy to heavy action is best since getting a hard hitting hook set it important. I personally fish the Helios micro guide HS-SKR-701MH rod.

Bass can be very territorial of their beds, but getting them to bite at the first bait you cast into the bed is not always the case. There are three animals I find bass worry about the most when it comes to protecting their beds: Bluegill, Crawfish and Salamanders. Each of these three creatures love to eat fish eggs and will raid a nest in a heartbeat. To imitate a bluegill I like using a very realistic swimbait, a warmouth, or a bluegill colored jig with a similar-colored trailer. To imitate a crawfish there is absolutely no better bait than a Savage Gear 3D Craw. Paired with a standup jig head, this is a deadly bait. (This bait in white happens to be my go to bed fishing bait). Lastly, to imitate a salamander, a simple soft plastic lizard, Texas rigged with the weight pegged works well.

Once you have these bait all tied on, it is time to experiment with each bed. Keep in mind that each bass is different and not every single fish in that lake is going to hit the same bait. When I find a bed, I like to be as quiet as possible as to not disturb the fish, if you have Power Poles, this is the time to use them! I always begin with the Savage Gear 3D Craw and work my way through my baits from there. If the bass are short biting your bait and only getting the claws in their mouth, this is because they are trying to kill it and not eat it. You can either add a stinger hook to the bait, or just downsize baits.

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If after cycling through all of my baits I still cannot get the fish to bite, I then focus on different areas of the nest. Sometimes you’ll find a bass will get extra agitated when your bait is on a certain side of the nest. When you figure out what angers the fish the most keep working that side until they bite. Sometimes you may have to work a single bed for over half an hour! One tip I like to recommend is when you do find a bed with a big fish on it that you simply cannot get to bite, keep a long wooden dowel in your rod locker. I like to take the wooden dowel and stick it in the mud somewhere outside of the nest. This allows me to leave the fish alone for a long period of time but be able to know where the nest was and be able to cast to it later but from farther away as to not risk spooking the fish. Leave that fish alone and come back to it in a few hours. With that dowel there, you will know right where she is without relying on a GPS waypoint.

More often than not you will catch the male bass first. When this happens I just keep fishing and target the female after I have caught the male. Usually I will let the male bite my lure, but I do not set the hook. Sometimes they hook themselves and you can’t avoid it though. My biggest tip when trying to get past that pesky male and catch the big female is to use two rods. Each state has different laws regarding this, and some tournaments have rules against fishing two rods at once, so please do your own due diligence and familiarize yourself with the local laws. What I like to do is have two rods at the ready. I will pitch one bait into the nest allowing the male to eat it. I will then leave the reel in free spool and quickly set the rod down on the deck of the boat without setting the hook, and pick up the second rod. Fire a second bait into the nest as quickly as you can while the male is still preoccupied with the first bait. If all goes according to plan the female will take charge and protect her nest.

One thing I do want to touch on is the fish’s safety. Those eggs on that nest are the future of our sport. When you take that fish off that bed it leaves those eggs or fry vulnerable to predators. Bed fishing can be a controversial issue. I see no problem with it, but I feel it is important to release that fish as quickly as possible. Practice CPR – catch, photograph and release. The quicker you can take pictures and safely return that fish to it’s nest the better.

Learn to Fish the Jig and Put More Bass in the Well

By Tyler Torwick

There are several lures in bass fishing that are indispensible and that every angler should have tied on. No matter your skill level, where you are fishing, or what time of year you are fishing, this lure can be deadly. From shallow water to deep rockpiles this bait can be fished effectively. The colors they come in, the sizes you can fish, and the trailers you can use are endless. By now you’ve probably guessed it, but the lure we’re talking about is the jig.

While each manufacturer has their own proprietary jig head shapes, there are a few main staples for jig fishing. Football jigs, flipping jigs and swim jigs are the most common shapes and can cover nearly every situation you may find yourself in on the water. Becoming a skilled jig fisherman is no different than any other sport; it takes practice! To keep things simple let’s cover the three types of jigs mentioned above and go over how I like to fish them and how you can be more successful your next time out on the water.

A football jig is one of my favorite baits for covering water and locating fish when the conditions call for something a bit slower than your traditional crankbait or spinnerbait. When water temps drop, or weather fronts create pressure zones that affect the bite, sometimes slowing down and going as natural looking as possible with your bait is what the fish want. A football jig is a great crawfish imitation.

Savage 3D Craw

The possibilities of what color skirt you can chose are endless, but I like to limit myself to a few standard colors until I figure out what the fish are keying in on. Brown with green pumpkin, brown and black with some red in it, and blue and black are my three favorite colors. I have yet to find a body of water that one of these color combinations wouldn’t work on.

Chose a jig heavy enough that you can feel it on the bottom but not so heavy that it gets caught up on the bottom or snagged between rocks. Equally as important as choosing the correct jig color, is choosing the proper jig trailer. Typically a jig trailer will try to resemble the head, body, and claws of a crawfish. My personal favorite is a Savage Gear 3D Crawfish. You can even fish this bait by itself on a jighead. As I mentioned I like to “match the hatch” and go as realistic as possible; there is nothing on the market more realistic than this bait.

Football head jigs are best fished on the bottom around structure, such as rockpiles, submerged bridges, brush piles or stumps. Fishing a jig is very similar to fishing a Texas rig; you don’t need to over do it with too many jumps or twitches of the rod. Drag your jig while maintaining contact with the bottom, every so often twitch the rod tip to make the jig hop, or slow it down and pause the jig. Sometimes pausing can be more effective than an aggressive jerk of the rod, so don’t be afraid to let that jig sit on the bottom for up to 10 seconds or so. During the winter, slow your presentation down – I’m talking dial-up internet speed slow. In cold water fish slow down their metabolism and are less likely to go chasing after a fast moving bait. During the summertime you can speed up your retrieve, but ensuring that you still maintain contact with the bottom is important.

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Next up is the flipping jig. Football jigs are football jigs, not much can change, but flipping jigs are designed to move through cover easier and not get hung up. When selecting a jig I advise looking for one with a strong, high-quality hook. Fishing around heavy cover requires heavy line and the ability to pull a fish out of anything they can tangle themselves in. The last thing you want is a straightened out hook.

With a flipping jig I like to use the same colors and trailers as with my football jigs, but with one exception. Sometimes I will try to imitate some of the native baitfish in the lake I am fishing. For example, I will try to imitate a bluegill or crappie to attempt to mimic a bass’ normal prey. For this I may choose a flipping jig with a skirt with some blue, green, and orange in it. Small details like the red or orange that is on the side of a Bluegill’s face can make a big difference.

When fishing this kind of jig, cover is the name of the game. After a good rain when lake levels are high, I like to fish submerged brush with this jig. Boat docks and submerged trees are also a great place to fish this bait. Look for any abnormalities in the cover you are fishing as well; a different kind of tree, or a different species of plant. Anything that you might think a bass would use as cover is a place to pitch your jig. The benefit of this technique over that of a Texas rig, is that you don’t have a weight sliding up the line getting caught in the cover.

Swim jigs are very different from their bottom-bouncing counterparts. Swim jigs are fished very similar to swimbaits, but have some other benefits. Swim jigs have a weed guard that allows them to be fished through thick cover. When bass are keying in on baitfish and are feeding around heavy cover, this is a technique I love to use. I have seen several tournaments won by anglers fishing swim jigs alongside weedlines and in stump fields. Major lakes such as Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn in Texas are notorious for this pattern.

As you would expect, for this type of jig, I try to imitate baitfish rather than crawfish. With so many skirts available to choose from you can customize your jigs very easily to copy anything from a Threadfin Shad to a Bluegill. The trailer you use is very important, small swimbaits and skinny dippers make very good trailers and add a great swimming action to your jig.

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The last thing you should know before hitting the water is what rod and reel to use. For jig fishing typically you want a casting rod around 7 feet in length. Long enough to allow accurate casts, short enough to get a hard hookset, and a tip sensitive enough to tell the difference between a rock and a bite. I recommend an Okuma Helios HS-CM-701H rod. For the reel you typically want a low profile baitcaster with a strong drag and around a 7:1 gear ratio. My jig rod has an Okuma Helios Air reel on it. What line you spool up with depends on the lake you’re fishing, but a standard set typically has 15-17# fluorocarbon line or 30# braid.

Learning to fish a jig well can be the difference between filling your live well and an empty weigh bag. Next time you are at your local tackle store pick up one of each of these jigs and start experimenting. Good luck out there!

Tyler Torwick is President of the Baylor Bass University Fishing Team.