Being outspoken and opinionated is something I am known for, but not necessarily when it comes to baits or rods or even equipment. But I have started to grow into my own regarding baits and other fishing equipment. I used to be that person who would make posts online to benefit my sponsors, but not necessarily because I was sold about the product I was pushing. This weighed heavily on me. That is not the angler I feel comfortable being. I want the public to know that if I post something, I mean it; and if they ask what bait, rod or reel I am throwing, the answer they receive is honest.
I may be a bait sponsor’s worst nightmare for setting out to become a transparent angler but I feel it is the path for me. When I decided to no longer be associated with one single lure company last winter, I was scared to death I was committing career suicide. Lucky for me, Hi’s Tackle Box Shop in San Francisco stepped up and has helped me with lure expenses. Hi’s has been a blessing and has allowed me to improve my fishing game and to expand my lure horizons especially in the area of swimbaits and Japanese tackle.
Below are the lure staples and obsessions you would find if you were to sneak a peek into my Skeeter boat or open up my A.R.E. camper shell and rummage through the various tackle bins.
The topwater bite has sucked me in the past two months. Back when Lake Amistad was crazy good, I was introduced to a bait called the Lunker Punker. It is a monster 6- to 8-inch topwater bait that goes in a very wide Z-type walk. The best Punkers are the hand-carved wooden ones that are not sold in the big box stores. To this day, I do not understand how bass track the Punker or why they love it, but it is a bait I like more and more with each cast. I had not thrown a Punker in forever but decided to throw one at Lake Douglas during practice and the bass started moving on it. So I am obsessed with the Punker again! Another bait I cannot seem to put down is the Daiwa D-Frog. The plastic tends to get worn out quickly on this frog, but it excels in the mats and thick vegetation, and the hook-up ratio is the best I have seen. On the frog front, it is hard to find a frog that handles thicker vegetation as well. You can sit and walk it in a very small area back and forth without moving it too far, and it has got enough weight to move a lot of vegetation and water.
When it comes to flipping, I do not really care for an actual jig, except in the 3/8-ounce size which I will explain. Instead, I use a 6th-Sense peg-x to peg a Reins Tungsten Slip Sinker to a Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Worm hook. Most of the time, I am flipping a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver; otherwise, it is probably a Ragetail Craw, Missile Baits Craw or the Yamamoto Pyscho Dad.
The Sweet Beaver comes in some color options that really perform like the color “Juicy.” It has a flat-sided profile, which seems to create a better hook-up ratio than plastics that are round-bodied and tend to roll in a fish’s mouth. The salt content is also high in the Beaver which keeps the fishing holding on a little longer, and its size holds a 4/0 flipping hook well.