Last week we went over the ins and outs of schooling bass behavior and pursuing them.
Now, we are going to dive head first into my favorite ways to catch them. Some of my methods are very common and others are off the beaten path.
- Lipless Crankbait- This should be a mainstay during the summer months and always be on the deck of your boat. My favorite is a 6th sense Quake. It is a 7/8 oz lure that you can cast a mile and has a faint rattling sound that will flat out catch um. Other great lipless cranks are Strike King red eye shad, Rattle Trap and a Yo Zuri. I typically want these baits to be chrome and blue, or white and chartreuse. I throw these on 15lb floro on a medium action rod.
- Walking Bait- No schooling conversation would be complete without a zara spook style bait. I like a 6th sense dogma crush, super spook jr and a lucky craft Sammy for this application. The key to these baits is to make a long cast, PAST the school and bring it to them. DON’T cast it directly into the fray. I throw these baits on 30lb braid on a medium/fast action rod with the drag set fairly loose on my reel. You have to be careful with braid and treble hook baits as you can easily pull out the hooks or bend them since braid doesn’t stretch.
- Jerkbait- The good ol jerkbait has caught a bazillion bass and will smoke schoolers in every state in the union. Again, cast this bait past the school and use some violent twitches as you near the bait and be ready for action. I want this bait to be chrome or shad colored with a feather hook on the back. Good baits to throw are the Rapala X-rap, Spro Mcstick 95 and the 6th sense provoke. I like to chunk these baits on 12lb floro with a long medium fast action rod.
- Swimbait- Now, there are 2 schools of thought on throwing a swimbait at schooling bass. Do you throw a small bait in the bait ball? Or do you throw a larger swimbait under them? I will opt for the 2nd option since I feel the above mentioned baits will catch the actively feeding bass in the top 5’ of the water column. I will heave out a 4-6” hard style or exposed hook swimbait and use a slow reel or a reel and stop style retrieve in hopes of catching the biggest bass in the school. Good baits to throw are a 5” Bull Shad, 6th sense Speed glide 100 and a Osprey tournament talon with an exposed hook. I throw these baits on 17-20lb floro with a 7’8” heavy action rod like the IROD Jr Swimbait rod.
- Mag Spoon- Now we are really going to try and get to the guts of the school throwing a BIG flutter spoon. These baits are not for the faint of heart. You need to throw this big chunk of shiny steel out past the school, count it down to the desired depth range and give it 2 good rips. I mean rip your rod up from the 3 o’clock position to the 12 o’clock. Then let it flutter back down. Most of your bites will come on the rip and not the fall. I throw these big spoons on 20lb floro with a 7’5” or longer Heavy action rod. Good baits are the Nichols Ben Parker Flutter Spoon, 6th Sense Mag Spoon and the Talon Lake Fork Spoon. Be advised that you will lose some fish you have hooked due to the size of the bait the bass has to leverage against you and the bait only has 1 treble hook.
Well, there you have it. Some of the tactics are as old as bass fishing, while a couple others are outside the box. Give these techniques a try next time you are out on the lake and the water starts to electrify with schooling shad and hungry bass trying to fill their guts with them.
G Luck and Tight Lines Texas Nation
Story by Shane Smith