2012 Elite Series TroKar Quest Bull Shoals Lake - Bull Shoals, AR, Apr 19 - 22, 2012

Bull Shoals: Spin time

About the author

Brandon Card

Brandon Card

Tennessee’s Brandon Card, who competed for the University of Kentucky, is the first Bassmaster College Series angler to qualify for the Elite Series.

Power fishing with baitcasting tackle and heavy line dominated the first two Elite tournaments in Florida. This week, however, it’s a different ball game. Finesse fishing with spinning tackle will play big at this week’s Bassmaster Elite Series TroKar Quest on Bull Shoals.

These bass could get real finicky in the postspawn. My favorite way of catching those finicky fish is to use a spinning rod. Below are three techniques that I will be utilizing this week.

Wake Bait

I like waking an old school Bomber Long A this time of year on any lake with clear water. Prespawn, spawn, and postspawn fish will all eat wake baits. The older Long As float better than the new ones, and produce a wake on the surface with a slow steady retrieve. I use spinning tackle for this technique because of casting distance. Long casts are critical in clear water, and I can cast the Long A much farther on a spinning outfit. Points, pockets and docks are the primary places that I fish the wake bait.

Tackle: Pinnacle Producer XT reel, 7-foot Pinnacle Perfecta medium/light action rod, 10-pound Spiderwire Ultracast braided line with an 8-pound Trilene XT mono leader, and chrome Bomber Long A.

Trick Worm

I like using a bubblegum or purple trick worm when bass are in a spawn or postspawn phase. I cover a lot of water with a trick worm by casting it to any dock, tree or stump that I come across. By twitching my trick worm, the worm dances side to side just under the surface. Occasionally, I have to fish deeper but never let it get out of my sight. I keep a close eye on my worm, so I know when to set the hook when a big bass inhales it. This brightly colored worm looked silly when I first saw it, but I was a believer after the first time using it.  

Tackle: Pinnacle Producer XT reel, 6-8 Pinnacle Perfecta medium action rod, 15-pound Spiderwire Ultracast braid with a 12-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader and 8-inch trick worm.

Shaky Head

The shaky head is my go-to when it comes to finesse fishing. I fish a shaky head around spawning areas like pockets and flats, as well as staging areas like points or rocky banks. By keeping my boat moving pretty fast, I try to cover as much water as I can with the shaky head. I want my shaky head to fall in the depth zone that I think the fish are because many fish will hit on the fall. Instead on casting it up on the bank, I will let my bait land in the 4- to 12-foot zone. I watch closely for my line to jump when a bass hits as my shaky head is falling. If the bass are really finicky, I will slow down and drag it and shake it on the bottom.

Tackle: Pinnacle Producer XT reel, 7-foot Pinnacle Perfecta medium action rod, 10-pound Spiderwire Ultracast braid with an 8-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon leader, 1/8-ounce Taylor Man’s Custom Lures Shaky Man’s jighead, and green pumpkin Jethro Baits Krazy Karlie worm.

With these three techniques, I am able to cover the water column from top to bottom, which is important because this time of year it changes everyday. Even though these bass can be hard to catch at times and require finesse tactics, Bull Shoals is an awesome lake and this will be a great tournament. I am not sure which of these techniques will pay off so I am ready with all of them, and others.

Remember to chase your dreams!