CATCHING MONSTER BASS – February 2020

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(Photo: John N. Felsher)

Hone Your Casting Skills & Pick the Right Spots

CATCHING MONSTER BASS is not an accident.

Sure, some newbies are blessed to somehow hook into a 10-pounder while they’re pulling out a backlash at the back of the boat. But those anglers who consistently bring in the big ones, do many things right.

Let’s start with perhaps the most basic tenet of all that involves catching trophy-sized bass by casting.

While interviewing professional bass anglers, I noticed that most of them, if pressed, said that once on the water the most important thing an angler can do to catch big bass is to “cast far and cast softly.”

Big bass are elusive fish, so the farther from the boat the better. However, being able to make those long shots and do it with grace, requires the right reel.

If you want to catch big fish, you have to fish where big fish live. (Photo: Daiwa USA)

The Daiwa Tatula Elite was designed and engineered with distance casting as a focus, with features to complement that objective. A redesigned A7075 aluminum spool is extremely lightweight, allowing for increased casting distance with minimal effort.

According to Daiwa officials, “the highly-tuned, magnetic-based braking system has been tweaked from our industry-leading Magforce system to maximize casting distance. The combination of the newly designed spool and the fine-tuned braking system allows for an effortless cast, as the startup inertia of the spool is much lower.”

“When I first had the chance to fish this reel, I decided I was going to call their bluff on casting distance, and I can say you will get more range out of this reel,” said Daiwa pro angler Cody Meyer.

Don’t expect to catch big bass on the type of lure you would throw just to make a catch in a stock pond. Focus on proven big-bass-catching lures such as large crankbaits and spinners, jigs, topwaters and super-sized Carolina-rigged worms.

Anglers can have incredible casting skills and the best lures, but if they don’t choose the right location, it will not matter.

A water body with a history of producing big fish of the variety you prefer is obvious for what you are looking to accomplish. If you find an area with a consistent history of producing monster fish, with a recent history trending toward big fish, you are in good shape.

An area not managed for big fish will not consistently produce big fish. There is simply too much intelligent angling pressure out there to make this possible in most of the continental United States.

“You have to fish where big fish live,” said avid angler and writer Brian Johnson. “If you are fishing in an overstocked pond that only has small bass, it stands to reason that you will catch only small bass.

“The same is typically true for some of our rivers and bayous. Although there is an exception to every rule, if you want to catch big bass, go fishing where they are known to live.”

Pressure is another issue anglers should consider.

This ties in with two types of location: water body and specific spots on a water body. Nowadays, it is rare to find a water body that produces lots of big fish, but is lightly pressured. In the information age, people find out about big catches in real time and respond accordingly.

Sam Rayburn gets a lot of pressure, but the open water areas of the main lake cover get very little. The shorelines get beat up, but quite often the areas where the biggest bass dwell don’t.

A dream scenario is a water body that gets very little angling pressure, and you fish a location on it that gets even less.

Anglers should also consider seasonality.

Fish are driven by a variety of seasonal urges and timing in particular areas. This can literally enhance the chance of catching monster fish tenfold.

The best chance at catching the bass of a lifetime is during the pre-spawn or spawn. That might seem like rudimentary information, but you should remember that spawns happen at different times. On a power plant lake once, some bass were on the beds in December.

Talk with local fisheries biologists and guides. Keep up with water temperatures on your chosen lakes to pick the right time to be on the water.

The wild card of catching big bass is what I call “the phenomenon factor.” Natural phenomena occur that can be extremely valuable in your quest. They are not common, but when they happen, you need to be on the water.

Savvy bass anglers know that when reservoirs have a prolonged drought and then go back up to the pool level, the so-called “new lake effect” occurs.

For several years, the system becomes super rich in habitat and nutrients from the vegetation that grew on the lake bed during the drought. The lake becomes red hot for a season or two for producing monster bass.

A decade ago, Lake O.H. Ivie near San Angelo, Texas was going through one of these production spikes and produced more Sharelunkers than any other lake in Texas during 2010. In fact, one angler caught two on the same day. Then after the season closed he caught another that was more than 13 pounds.

Before this, few anglers would consider traveling to Ivie, but once word got out, many anglers went there. Conditions at Ivie are radically different now, but there are other lakes where things are aligning for similar catches.

Find out what’s happening across the state and be ready to be at the right place at the right time with the right lure and the right reel. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll catch that dream bass you’ve been looking for since childhood.

 

Daiwa’s Tatula Elite Baitcast Reel

(Photo: Daiwa)

THE TATULA ELITE has a highly-tuned, magnetic-based braking system tweaked from Daiwa’s industry-leading Magforce system to maximize casting distance. The combination of the newly designed spool and the fine tuned braking system allows for an effortless cast, as the startup inertia of the spool is much lower.

FEATURES:

Lightweight A7075 aluminum spool

T-Wing system (TWS)

Aluminum frame and aluminum side plate (gear side)

Zero adjuster

Laser Engraved D-Vec logo

90mm swept handle

100-sized frame

Reengineered Magforce system to cater directly to distance casting.

The Tatula Elite allows for maximum distance with minimum effort. The reel is also equipped with Daiwa’s well known T-Wing System, zero adjustor, a 100-sized aluminum frame and side plate, and a 90mm swept handle.

The combination of the newly designed spool, the fine-tuned braking system, the T-Wing system and our redesigned lightweight spool truly make the Tatula Elite the race car of casting reels. It’s a valuable long casting tool for the arsenal of any skilled angler.

 

—story by CHESTER MOORE

 

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