by Keith Sarasin (c) 2001
A few good places to look for bass include weedbeds gravel shoals with cover, drop-offs near the shoreline, and of course, under piers or docks. Bass will hole up anywhere they have both food and cover, even under moored boats. Just try not to do like my wife and lob your spinnerbait onto the upholstery of a nice vessel!
Other good spots include rocky points, drop-offs, gravel bars, shallow weedy areas and shorelines with weeds or wild rice. Flats, either muddy or covered with weeds, lily pads or cabbage grass.
Soft plastic baits such as scum frogs, water rats, crayfish, leeches, plastic worms, tube jigs.
Soft hollow baits such as plastic frogs or water rats work better in heavy weed cover and the bass just seem to love them. On these baits the hooks are up and weedless. With the soft bodies, a strike will easily squeeze the soft body enough to set the hooks. It is a good idea to stop these baits over any opening in the weeds for a few seconds to activate the bass to strike. Ripping over the weeds in short bursts and stopping, is another way to call attention to the bait.
Plastic crayfish can be used in areas that have gravel or rocks, or rivers as crayfish live in most of these places. Be sure to hook the crayfish at the back end as the do move backwards. If hooked near the front they will not appeal to the bass. Fish these over rocks or through weeds, any place that holds bass.
Leeches can be purchased with vibrating tails, impregnated with scent, or larger than life. They are not expensive and come in different size packs. Always be sure to have assortments of plastics with you on any trip, as one length or size may not always be what the bass are looking for.
Leeches can be used as an added tantalizer to a spinner rig, fished alone using a slow retrieve, or on a jig head bounced slowly off the bottom.
Worms can be used in several different ways. Alone on a hook dangled off a pier by a youngster. Rigged on a jig head, or part of a spinner bait added for bulk, are the most common. They come in lots of sizes from regular to extra long with rippling tails and different colours. Impregnated with various scents or just plain.
Tube jigs are another favorite when used with a jig head and danced lightly across the bottom of a gravel bar or shoal.
Crackle, a little capsule that actually crackles when pierced by the hook and coming in contact with water is added to the tube jig and the sounds imitate a crayfish tapping its claws on a rock as it moves.
From early season and into late fall. Plastic baits will offer up a good chance to hook and land many nice sized bass. They can be easily changed if they get a bit ratty from being chewed up and unlike live bait; they will keep for a long time without worry of spoilage. Zip-lock bags keep the scented one's fresh.
Various scents can be made at little cost and will work as good as the commercial scents.
Always try to release the larger fish. If you gently live release these, they will produce many more large fish for the future. Just imagine; approximately twenty thousand eggs will be produced during each spawning period that they are alive.
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