At that time, there were not a lot of baits in my tackle box. A couple of Lucky 13s, a Hula Popper, a plastic worm, (yes, singular), and an H & H spinner bait.
Now, I have probably over 500 crank baits, 200 spinner baits, thousands of worms of every conceivable color, plus an assortment of hundreds of specialty baits, spread out in over twenty different types of tackle boxes of every size and description, plus duffle bags and tackle pouches crammed full. At one time, I had a surburban in order to be able to take my selected tackle to the tournament lake, in case a certain size, color or type of tackle was working at that particular time on that lake.
Do you need this vast assortment of tackle to catch a large mouth black bass? Yes and No. You buy this tackle because at one time or another, a certain color of bait, a certain size of bait, or some particular bait has produced a winning stringer of bass in a tournament, and in order to win, you need to be fishing with that bait, on that particular lake, at that particular time.
After fishing bass tournaments for over twenty five years, I have discovered that there are certain baits that I do not go to a tournament without. These baits have consistently produced bass for years, and I would be foolish to go bass fishing without them.
In this series of articles, I will tell you my experiences with these different types of baits. SPINNER BAITS (DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM).
If I had to choose only one bait to fish with year round, in all types of weather, under all conditions, it would have to be a 3/8 ounce white spinner bait, with a willow leaf blade. But, I don't have to limit my bass fishing baits to just one, so I don't, any more than an golfer would limit himself to just one club.
For over twenty five years, I have used a spinner bait to catch bass from shallow water to deep, high winds, no wind, snow, rain, hot weather, freezing cold, year round, UNDER ALL CONDITIONS POSSIBLE.
There are litterly hundreds of combinations of spinner baits that you can choose, with some producing better at times than others. The most consistent size year round, is a 3/8 size, but if possible, you should have spinner baits from 1/4 to 1 ounce, in a variety of colors, but always have a white and a chartruese spinner bait available.
In Spring Time, you should use a 3/4 ounce, with two large willow leaf blades. You want a lot of bulk and vibration, and usually a trailer grub will also produce more strikes. Be sure to use a trailer hook, in order to improve your chances of a hook up.
Also, in Spring Time, you will probably encounter murky water conditions, so you should have available colors like chartruese and orange or red. On Lake Fork, Sam Rayburn, and Toledo Bend, these colors are deadly in the spring time.
You should also carry extra skirts with you, so you can change the color in case you see other fishermen catching fish on a different color than what you are throwing. Don't be hard headed, if the fish want a certain color, give it to them.
Put a dab of bright red paint on the head of your spinner baits in the spring. Finger nail polish will work just fine. If it comes off, simply re-apply after the tournament.
Spinner baits are easily fished, just throw them out and wind back in. There are special techniques that sometimes work better than others, under given conditions. If bass are agressive, all you have to do is chunk and wind. If they are not agressive, due to cooler water or other conditions, you may have better luck using a slow, pumping motion. Throw out the spinner bait and let it fall a couple of feet, and then wind a few winds, and then let it fall back. Most of the time, the strike will come on the fall. The fish will simply be there when you take up the slack.
Throw the spinner bait in thick cover. Unless you are using the spinner baits with the double hooks, the baits are usually fairly weedless. If you are fishing laydowns in the spring, throw as close to the base of the fallen tree as possible, and drag through the limbs. A lot of bass will be under the body of the tree, and as you pull over, let the bait fall. If you use trailer hooks, you will tend to get hung up more. If fishing in thick cover, you may do better leaving off the trailer.
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