5 Lures You Should Never Be Without

It is very easy to go inside a Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas and blow a couple hundred dollars on fishing tackle. Unless you’re a Tournament Pro and have a reason to carry 57 different variations of the plastic worm, let’s look at 5 lure variations that should help you to locate bass, and reel in more fish!

1: Spinnerbait– One of the most versatile lures on the market, and one of my favorite        lures is the Spinnerbait! Every time I get on the water I have two goals: Cover as much water as possible without sacrificing presentation, and locating bass. bass-fishing-spinnerbaitsYou can rip a spinnerbait through a laydown, or run it along a dock, to get post and pre-spawn females and bucks to bite. I most always throw a craw chunk or some type of trailer on all spinnerbaits. Traditional retrieve not bringing them in? Switch to the stop and go technique. Cast your lure past your target and let it settle for a couple seconds with your rod tip parallel with the water line. After a couple seconds, raise your rod tip while simultaneously starting your retrieve. Reel your line in so your lure covers 4-6ft of water. Then drop your rod tip, stop your retrieve, and let your lure fall for a couple seconds. Repeat. Not an avid angler? Buy the cheaper spinnerbaits until you get more accurate with your casts so you’re not losing lures and money. After you’re comfortable with your casting, start exploring some alternate blades for your spinnerbaits to give it better presentation. Experiment with the Willow, Colorado, Indiana, and Oklahoma blades. There is also the deep cup, thumper, ripple, and chopper blades that I have had great success with.

2: Soft Plastics (Senko, Plastic Worm, Creature Baits)- Easily some of the most important and widely used lures. There are many soft plastic variations out there that can help you land a trophy bass! In fact, my personal best bass was caught off a Senko. What makes soft plactics so versatile is their wide range of uses! original-worm-green-pumpkin1You can go with the classic Texas rigged plastic worm. You can tie on a Carolina rigged paddle-tail or twist-tail worm and throw towards dropoffs and ledges. Throw a creature bait of some sort during the spawn or pre-spawn. You can even go with a more unconventional approach like the drop-shot! The best thing is, any one of these methods have the potential to get you YUUUUUUGE fish! (article coming soon on how to tie all the proper knots and how to rig these 3 setups)

3: Topwater (Buzzbaits, Frogs, Poppers, Etc) One of my favorite categories! There is nothing more satisfying than watching a bass breach the water line with your Buzzbait in its lip. Just like soft plastics, there are many different variations of the top water lure. Like mentioned before, the buzzbait is a very good lure to use from the pre-spawn moving forward. The blades create a chugging on top of the water that irritate bass to no end! booyah-buzzbaitjpg-ed63a63a07f50849Prepare for aggressive strikes! You can also drill holes in your blades to give your lure more presentation. Do not start drilling into your blades unless you are aware of what you’re doing. You can go from an $8 bass lure to an $8 rearview mirror ornament very fast. Not only are buzzbaits good top water lures, but poppers, frogs, mice, and spooks will also provide you with great fishing! I have a rod and reel combo dedicated for top water fishing. I use a 6.5′ heavy action rod with 50 lb braided line. The heavy tensile strength gives me the confidence to throw in heavy cover, and the braided line helps me to pull the big bass from the heavy cover! Braided line has no stretch to it, unlike monofilament. If you don’t have the resources to dedicate a rod and reel for top water then try 20-25 lb monofilament line. Monofilament sinks slower than fluorocarbon. This means you can use it for top water and your soft plastics!

4: Crankbaits- Available in many different variations such as lipless crankbait, stick bait, suspending jerk bait, and shallow to deep diving lipped crankbaits. I enjoy throwing a crankbait during my first visit to a lake or pond. Of course when I throw a lure into the water, I have every intention of catching a fish, but I use the first few casts to locate the bottom and determine what kind of structures are around. Bouncing your lure off tree limbs and rocks are excellent ways to trigger a strike! When you get more experienced, you will even be able to tell what the floor of your body of water is made of. 1-Rattling-Arashis-BSand, rocks, clay they all have a distinct feeling when your lures run along them! Remember, you don’t always have to keep your crankbait moving! Change up your retrieve. Slow it down, speed it up, throw a 3-5 second pause in after every other rotation of your reel. Using the stop and go technique gives your lure the appearance of a struggling baitfish. You can also use my Heartbeat technique! Think of watching a heartbeat on a hospital monitor. Now simply imitate that with your lure! Change up the speed of your retrieval until you find out how active the fish are.

5: Jig ‘n Pig- The #1 way to catching YUUUUUGE bass is to be versed in the art of jig fishing. They are such an excellent way to reel in the big ones year around! Personally, Spring/Summer is my favorite time for using jigs! My first piece of advice is to keep it simple. Just like any other category, there are tons of different jigs and retrievals. Each one serves a certain purpose. Until you become more comfortable with using a jig, stick with a bullet style jig. Adding a soft plastic trailer of some kind is a no brainer. Adding fins, pinchers, or tentacles to your jig will increase water displacement and add to your presentation. You can also control the descent of your jig. jig-n-pigWhether you want it to drop nose first or you want it to drop flat, your trailer will do nothing but improve your chances of catching bass! Fish your lure along heavy cover such as submerged trees and overhanging branches. Flip, pitch, or cast your lure starting on the outside of the cover and slowly working your way towards the head of the structure. A lot of times you will get solid bites while your lure falls. Be ready to set the hook! A lot like using soft plastics, you have to be patient when using a jig. Don’t be afraid to let it sit in one spot and twitch back and forth for a couple minutes. Not only are jigs good for using around structures, but there are also good to use in transitions! Try casting where clay meets sand, pea gravel meets chunk rock, or on a steep bank. This will allow you to pop, twitch, and swim your jig along a natural break in the water and current, which is a natural ambush point for big bass!

Remember, there are THOUSANDS of different lures out there. There are also thousands of different colors. Don’t get too caught up in the selection. Keep your tackle box less cluttered with these simple tips for keeping quality lures at your fingertips!

-Zach Poelma

 

 

 

 

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Truman Lake Magical Day

First let me say that this is going to be a long post.  I am still freaking out at how awesome this day truly was.  Bear with me.  I have to get this out!  I had the opportunity to fish a tournament with my Dad (John Bennett) this past Sunday (April 24th) and what a magical day it was.  We fished the Joe Bass Team Trail on Truman Lake where there were about 50 boats or so.  The tournament was out of Sterett Creek and it was a beautiful morning.  I hadn’t fished a tournament in a long time so I was definitely excited.  I was even more excited to fish with my Dad who is one heck of a fisherman and is a blast to fish with.  We had a pretty solid idea of what we were going to do throughout the day so we were both fairly confident that we were going to catch some fish.

However, if you have ever fished tournaments you know that it is a totally different animal than just going out and fishing.  Why?  I believe that one of the major differences is that when you are fishing a tournament a lot of people have the tendency to over-think.  It’s easy when you are just out fishing for fun because there is nothing to worry about.  If you want to try a certain spot; you just try it.  You’re loose, you’re just fishin’.  In a tournament it’s different.  You have money on the line.  You’ve paid an entry fee.  Now, in my opinion what makes the best tournament fisherman successful is the fact that they mesh their “free” fishing mentality with their tournament mentality.  Most of the good tournament fisherman I know are just out fishing and if they catch em that’s fine.  If they don’t, well that’s fine too.  Sure they are competing, but in the end they just love to fish.  You can’t be too analytical and over-think in tournaments.  It can cause you to leave biting fish, make a run and waste time that  you didn’t need to waste.  All of these things that you don’t even worry about when you’re just fishing can creep into your mind when money is on the line.

Back to the day, we took off and headed to our first spot. It was a spawning pocket that had a nice pea gravel bottom and lots of laydowns and stumps.  I was flippin’ a jig most of the day and my Dad was throwing a spinnerbait and crankbait.  Dad caught our first keeper early.  A solid 2.5 pounder to start the day.  Not long after that, Dad threw his squarebill towards a stump and a fish ate it but Dad did not get a hook in it.  During this time of the year when the fish are spawning you can actually catch these fish that missed the previous thing thrown at them.  They may be on a bed, protecting fry or cruising around waiting to spawn.  I flipped my jig in there right after and caught a 5 pounder!  We were feeling good.  Anytime you catch a fish like that early it can keep you going for the rest of the day. IMG_7548 The water was warming up and the fish were up on the bank trying to do their thing.  Not long after that we had to deal with some adversity for the first time in the day.  I flipped next to a stump and felt the fish pick it up and swim off with my jig.  I reeled up the slack and set the hook just as hard as I normally do.  Snap.  Line broke.  Did I really check my knot well enough?  Did I miss a nick in my line?  Either way, something like that could be costly in a tournament.  That could have been another big fish that we could use.  I had that in my mind for the rest of the morning.  Would that cost us the tournament?  I kept asking myself that question.

Dad was putting on a clinic with the spinnerbait.  It was a joy watching him have so much fun just casting and nailing every spot perfect.  He filled our limit up and we began culling by about 9:00 and had about 16 pounds or so.   This is what makes Dad so successful.  He literally thinks he is going to get a bite every cast and that intensity and that drive keeps him casting with precision like accuracy.  Not to mention, it keeps him strong mentally throughout the tournament.  Dad also has always taught me that tournaments are a team event.  He was out-catching me 2-1 with the spinnerbait while I continued to flip a jig and creature bait with minimal bites to show for it.  In my younger days I would have wanted to pick up a spinnerbait so I could start catching some more fish too.  This is a fairly common mistake among tournament anglers that can really deter teams from winning tournaments.  I kept grindin’ because I knew that I had to figure out another way to catch a big fish or two.  I had already caught a 5 pounder which was the biggest fish in our bag at the time so that kept me going.

With about 16 pounds or so in our bag we decided we had fished the pocket long enough and went to our next spot.  It’s spring fishing and this was the time of the year when people brought in big bags.  The previous week it took 22 lbs to win.  We needed some big “kicker” fish and we were confident we would get them to bite.  We arrived at our next spot which was another spawning pocket.  When getting there we fished one bank where we had some success while prefishing.  Dad caught a couple of keepers but they weren’t big enough to cull out any of the fish we already had in the livewell.  We moved on to another bank in that same pocket and had no bites at all.  I’m not going to lie I was starting to get a little nervous because this was a spot we really thought we would get some big fish to bite.  We had 16 pounds or so but would that be enough?  Not long after that dad threw a great cast right down a laydown like I have seen him do millions of times.  BAM!  He stuck this fish and I knew it was big but we both thought it looked like a rough fish like a drum or a catfish.  Then it came up to the surface and I made a mad dash for the net!  It was another 5 pound bass!  A true stud.  It culled out one of our 2 1/2 pounders we had and we estimated it put us at around 18-19 lbs.  We were creeping closer to that 20 lb bag that we wanted.  We were already having a great day just because we got to go fishing but now with a potential 20 pound bag on our hands.  Wow!  After a minute or two of fist bumping and hollering we decided to fish again.IMG_7554  I am not kidding you it couldn’t have been 20 minutes later Dad sticks another 5 pounder or so.  Another 2 1/2 pounder was culled out.  Now it was getting interesting, now we had around 21 pounds or so.  We knew we had a great chance at possibly winning the tournament but we kept our heads down and kept fishing.  We wanted to get that other 2 1/2 pounder out of the livewell.  We fished back through a bank that we had not had a bite on previously.  I flipped my jig right on the bank next t0 a stump and right when it hit the water this fish swirled on it!  I stuck him and said “big one”.  Dad got the net and we landed him.  Another 4 1/2-5 pound fish!  I remember Dad saying “get that dink out of that livewell”.  We had 4 bass in the livewell that were studs.  We knew they were in the 4 1/2-5 1/2 pound range at least.  I looked in the livewell and said Dad a 3.1 pounder is our smallest fish!

We fished for another hour or so and decided we needed to start making our way back to the marina.  We knew we had a big bag.  It was the biggest bag I had ever been a part of in a tournament and was probably a top 5 day for my Dad.  Putting the boat on the trailer I couldn’t help but smile.  It was an incredible day, and I got to spend it with my Dad fishing!  How awesome is that?  We got some pictures of the 4 biggest before we weighed them in.  As I walked to the weighing scales with Dad he asked me how much our bag was going to weigh.  I said I think we have 23.80 or something like that.  As Dad dumped our fish in the basket we had to decide which one we wanted to weigh for big fish.  I could tell he was struggling to choose one because we had 4 studs.  I walked up there and looked in the basket and we both immediately pointed at the same one.  We weighed it and it was 5.46 pounds.  Good for 2nd big bass on the day.  As the director of the tournament yelled into the microphone “We’ve got ourselves a big bag here folks” I couldn’t wait to see what we had.  The scale showed 23.26 pounds!  IMG_7549A huge bag of fish on any lake!  As we walked back to the boat we began celebrating.  I don’t even believe we were celebrating the fact that we could win the tournament it was more of a celebration of just how awesome the day of fishing was.  We ended up getting 1st place and winning by 6 pounds or so.

I’ve had a lot of good days fishing but getting to have a day like this with my father is something that I will never ever forget.  Even as I am writing this now, I can’t believe we won that thing and had a day of fishing like that.  It was the first tournament I had fished with Dad in quite some time.  I loved it everything about it: the preparation, the chats on the water, Grandma’s home cooked meals before the tournament and after.  It was all awesome.  I am truly blessed to be able to fish and I owe it all to my Dad who taught me very well.  I’m completely humbled that I have the ability to go out and enjoy something that is a passion of mine.  It is because you taught me Dad, and I will continue to learn and grow as a person and as a fisherman.

 

-Lester

Keep Grindin’

Keep Grindin’ guys.  As a fisherman, we have all had those days where it’s just a grind.  Bites are hard to come by, and in your mind you’re wondering why you aren’t catching fish.  I like the challenge of figuring the fish out, that’s part of fishing but we’ve all had those days where you just have to buckle down and keep casting.  I had one of those days a couple days ago.  I was out with Stinger Stringer and an insane cold front had went through.  We had three days in a row of warm temperatures and high winds.  The day we went fishing the temperature had dropped to 50 with partly cloudy conditions and high winds.  Combine all that with a pressure change and you have yourself some tough conditions.  I still wanted to go though.  We were going to be fishing some very, very clear.  Sometimes with clear water, high winds and cloud cover can help.  At least that was working for us.  We started out the day throwing spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and chatterbaits.  Pretty much anything moving on shallow flats where the water had warmed up over the previous couple days.  We caught some fish but it wasn’t anything special.  A couple keepers, nothing #YUUGE.  IMG_7179

This next part is absolutely why you have to keep grindin’ and keep casting.  We had caught a couple nice crappie earlier in the day and I told Stinger and his son to take some pictures of them if they wanted to.  I decided I was going to throw a few more casts as they were doing this.  I was throwing a finesse spinnerbait and actually the wind had died quite a bit and the sun was out.  It was about 4:00 PM and the conditions were not good for cold, clear water pits.  We were better off with the cloud cover and the wind on paper….but I threw “one more cast” as they were taking pictures and hooked a stud.  I yelled at Stinger to get the net because this was a day changer!  It jumped twice and then I really realized how big this fish was!  Stinger got it in the net and it was absolutely #YUUUGE!  Just YUUUGE.  We weighed it and it was 8 lbs and was 23 inches long.  A total stud.  Moral of the story is…keep castin’, keep grindin’, and keep doing what you love.  I was always taught fishin’ is a blast, catchin’ is just a bonus.  Get out there and enjoy being in the outdoors this year!

-Lester

 

 

#YUUGE T-Shirts!

Hey guys we have a new t-shirt coming out that is pretty sweet!  In no way do we endorse Donald Trump but we are taking his #Yuuge phrase because we all know we have caught some #Yuuuge fish in our day!  If interested in purchasing one of these shirts please go to our Facebook and Direct Message us!

 

Smallmouth Bass @ Melvern

Our newest episode of our show is now live on Youtube!  We had a great two days of fishing with Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service guide Brian Ondrejka on Melvern Lake.  This episodes features some awesome “brown” fish action as well as some helpful information on what you can do when the “fishin’ gets tough”.  The scenery and beautiful sunrises in this episode will make you want to take a trip to Melvern I hope!

 

During this trip we had the opportunity to learn about a new rig that we had no prior knowledge of.  It’s called the “Ned Rig”.  The Ned Rig is a very simple rig using a mushroom style jighead with a Z-Man Finesse Worm or T.R.D (the real deal) worm.  This rig is dynamite because the mushroom style jighead combined with the elaztech style of the Z-Man worms causes the bait to stand completely vertical and move with the water naturally.  We caught most of our big Smallmouth on this bait and it is definitely something that needs to be in your tackle box!

As with all our episodes we try and keep our show as real as possible.  What I mean by that is, when anyone goes fishing.  Things happen.  We all know that.  So in our episodes we show you the stuff that every fisherman has dealt with at some point in time.  We’ve all been hit in the head with a bait, we’ve all broke our line on a big fish, and yes we have all caught that big nasty drum.  This is an episode I think you will truly enjoy!

-Lester

Cold Water Tricks

Hey guys, winter is here and the water is getting chilly!  A lot of fisherman out there tend to put all their rods and tackle away once that water starts getting below 50 degrees.  I’m here to tell you that there is a lot of good fishing to be had in the winter.  In fact, some of the biggest fish of the year are caught in the winter.  In the winter, bass will move deeper (especially in clear water) to isolated brush piles, ledges or humps.  Bass will also stack up off points and secondary points on the main lake along the channel.  winter bass

One of the keys to fishing in the winter is to SLOW DOWN.  Bass are lethargic in the winter and are not feeding as regularly as other seasons.  However, the bass are still feeding and sometimes they are looking for big schools of bait, bigger shad, or even trout depending on what part of country you are in.  This gives bass fisherman a great chance at landing a personal best bass.  Sound good?

A couple of my favorite rigs/techniques for wintertime bass fishing are:

 

a-rig

  1. Suspending Jerkbait
    • This is one of the best tactics for getting those big lethargic bass to bite.  Work the jerkbait in a slow but rhythmic motion and pause frequently and let the bait suspend.  Often times, this is when the bass will strike.  Once again, if you’re not getting bites; work the bait SLOWER.
  2. Alabama Rig
    • Over the last 2-3 years this rig has really picked up some steam.  It is a really fun bait to throw because when they hit it, they absolutely annihilate it.  The A-Rig imitates a ball of shad better than any bait/rig you will find on the market.  Check your state regulations on how many hooks are allowed to be used.  This rig is simple to use, just throw it, let it sink and real it back slowly around points, bluffs, channel bends, anything really.
  3. Jig
    • Another long time favorite of the wintertime bass fisherman.  The jig is really good in all times of the year; but in the winter time it is an easy bait to work really slow on the bottom.  Imitating a crawdad most of the time; this bait is a must have for the tackle box in the cold, cold months.

So yes, the water is getting cold.  That doesn’t mean it’s time to stop fishing!  Grab your gear, get out on the lake and catch your personal best largemouth!  Or….just go trout fishing.

-Lester Whiteside

Friday Rhyme (Spawning Crappie)

It’s Friday folks, which means it’s time for our Friday Rhyme.  This one is about spawning crappie and I know all of us can’t wait till that time comes in the Spring.  Have a great Friday!  This one was written by Lester Whiteside.

Old men try to get me on the stringer,

I’ll stay out deep. I’ll wait. I’ll linger.bam

I want up on the bank

Where it’s nice and warm.

He makes a nice orange patch so perfectly formed.

Who am I kidding? My man did it, it’s pretty sloppy.

I’ll cut him some slack, the water was choppy.

I guess I’ll take what I can get because I’m a spawning female crappie.

-Lester Whiteside

Friday Rhyme (Tasty Trout)

I had a decent idea today that may be funny, may be lame, or it may be so bad that people just tell me to stop.  At the end of every work week (Friday) I will dish out a poem that has to do with fishing in some way.  I have done this on a few of our episodes such as: “Trout & Menopausal Women” as well as “Spawning Crappie”.  So today I will post my trout poem.  Here it goes, let me know what you think! Whether it sucks, or is awesome…..let me know….BAAAAAMMM!

Guide my jig through the water,

The rod is my clay and I’m the potter,   trout

Don’t be afraid tiny trout,

You will be the main course meal,

At our cook out,

Nibble my jig and be the one,

Who is so tasty when I’m done.

-Lester Whiteside

*This poem is kind of contradictory because I’m not a huge fan of eating Trout, especially Browns.  Although there is something about going up into a little mountain stream; catching and eating some beautiful brook trout right on the side of the stream.

Melvern Madness!

Well we filmed Sunday the 27th with Brian Ondrejka and Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service on Lake Melvern.  What a trip it was!  I came in thinking that we would be catching them on swimbaits, crankbaits, and maybe even some topwater. 12072578_10153613094475782_2680171434277764266_n Boy was I wrong!  Frank Snagger and I stayed at the Wyatt Earp Inn in Lebo, KS and what a pleasant stay that was.  We woke up about 5:45 AM and met our cameraman Caleb Spangler at the truck stop and headed for Melvern State Park.  We met Brian
and DJ and got on the water around 6:30 to a beautiful sunrise.  We started out fishing a point early in the morning with schools of shad everywhere.  Seems like a perfect topwater or swimbait opportunity right?  That’s what I thought.  Nothing really happened.

As the day went on it became clear that it was going to be a bluebird sky day with little to no wind at all.  That meant it was time to start finesse fishing for these bronzebacks.  I picked up my “Ned Rig” and began throwing it along the gravel and chunk rock points.  I hadn’t heard of the “Ned Rig” and when I saw it I thought it was kind of a joke.  It is basically a jighead with half a senko on it.  hqdefaultHowever with the 10x material that Z-Man makes the bait is more buoyant and stands completely vertical in the water.  I became a believer fast!  I started getting a lot of bites on this rig and didn’t put it down the rest of the day.  I caught one smallmouth that was around 3 lbs and the other over 2 lbs.  Frank caught one over 2 lbs on the Ned Rig as well.

We had a great day learning about a new lake and a new finesse tactic.  Make sure you give Brian Ondrejka (913) 484-9055 to set up a guide trip with him!
It is going to be a blast going through this footage and turning it into an awesome episode! Lester signing off. Thanks!

12042895_10153613094500782_1085840085399050424_n

Smallmouth Fishing with Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service

Hey guys, I know it’s been awhile since our last action!  We are back and pumped to announce that we will be filming September 27th with Brian Ondrejka on Lake 10511150_10100645883896115_8043304203158074587_nMelvern in Melvern, KS.  This is going to be an awesome show because we are going to be catching Smallmouth Bass.  Known as one of the most prolific fighting fish that you can catch; it is really going to be a great time catching these fish.
Myself (Lester) & Frank Snagger will be the main cast for this episode with the cameraman being Caleb Spangler.  Caleb is a friend of mine from high school and I’m pumped to have his knowledge of film and video on board with our show.

For this episode we may be catching these Smallmouth in a variety of ways.  There may be a topwater bite early in the morning or even all day if there is cloud cover. There will probably be a finesse bite where we use lighter line and catch them on a tube!  Either way, it is going to be a blast filming with Brian and his crew and 10649540_10100441574264255_4379824385283564795_ncatching these awesome Smallmouth!  If you are ever looking for a great guide service to go fish with in the Kansas Area then check out Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service!  Tell them That’s A Good Fish sent you!

http://www.facebook.com/kansasanglingexperience

-Lester