Northland Tackle Series
The next best venue is an established outside weedline, but only one
that materializes off a large weed flat. Additionally, my
top weedlines setup next to major drop-offs and
incorporate a few weeded fingers. And as far as weed
composition goes, nothing outshines deep coontail. Unlike
cabbage and milfoil, coontail holds its characteristics Ė
baitfish sanctuary, oxygen, shade, etc. Ė throughout the
With spots established, out comes the heavy artillery.
Humongous spinnerbaits were introduced in the opening
narrative. These bladed wonders are bass slayers and see
plenty of time on the field, but before spinnerbaits come
In autumn, nothing pinpoints bass faster than a bulky
crankbait. And besides its ability to locate fish, a
crankbait will frequently return with weeds, providing
samplings of weed types and physical conditions. With any
luck, itíll sport dark green coontail, and if it does,
toss out a marker.
My preferred crankbaits are DT Series Rapalas and Down
Deep Rattliní Fat Raps. Both models dive deeply and are
appealing to bass. For example, fished with 10 pound test
monofilament, a #7 Down Deep will dive to 18 feet, and do
so in a hurry. As far as colors go, consider shad in clear
water; parrot when itís a little stained and hot mustard
in sullied conditions.
Now, suppose youíve encountered a scrumptious weededge.
Position the boat beyond the vegetation and cast back past
the weedline, onto the flat. The plan is to make the
crankbait tickle the weed tops and afterward cut through
the outer verge. Reel slowly. The crankbait should be
wobbling not burning. Baitcast reels with low gear ratios,
like 4:3, execute best. And match the reel with a 6 Ĺ to 7
foot, medium action rod for maximum performance.
If you should get snagged, shake the rod tip, donít rip
it. Oftentimes the crankbait will come unglued and float
slowly toward the surface. Most hits befall at the
weededge to about 30 feet beyond the greenery. And when a
bass does take, donít stick it hard. Instead, make a sweep
with the rod and continue reeling; setting too hard
results in more misses than catches.
Not much changes when the blades come out; same spots,
similar casts. Crankbaits are effective at finding bass;
spinnerbaits are superior at hooking and holding, as well
persuading less aggressive fish.
Typically, I fling ĺ to 1 ounce spinnerbaits Ė big
offerings Ė with white and blue skirts, sometimes white
with black. It needs flying saucer sized blades too,
usually tandems, and a combination of styles as well, such
as a willow blade with a Colorado. The Northland Tackle
Bionic Bucktail Spinnerbait is a fine example. The
oversized creature was built for muskies and pike, but I
like what it does to autumn bass.
Mimicking earlier crankbait casts, hurl the bait beyond
the weedline. Allow it to settle and pull it back over and
through the weeds, but at a lesser clip yet. Basically,
youíre rolling it through the greenery, letting the
spinnerbait flutter and fall occasionally. A modest snap
should free the bait if it gets hung up.
Trite but true, fall is short. Birds are up and flocking.
Rutís just around the corner too. Trigger fingers are
getting itching across our great nation. Iím a hunter too,
but after all the hours I banked this summer sweating for
big bass, thereís no way Iím passing on cherry picking
season. Ready the cranks and bladesÖ
Editorís note: Scott Bonnema is a touring
professional who fishes bass tournaments and offers
instructional seminars throughout the Midwest. Heís a
member of the Rapala Team, and Pro Staffs of Fuji Film,
Northland Tackle, Ranger Boats and Mercury Outboards.