Tricking bass to bite on heavily pressured lakes often requires a break from traditional tactics. Pros say it all the time: “When following other anglers down a productive bank, show the fish something different.” A different lure might be the answer, but a different presentation with a proven lure might work even better. Not that everyday or traditional presentations aren’t worthy, but there are some lesser-known rigging tricks that are pretty cool when you need a subtle, strategic change. Here are some we found to be worthy.
Want a unique, free-falling action on your soft stickbaits, swimbaits or stickworms? Try Lee Sisson’s Dangle Berry rig (www.sissonsdesigns.com). The former Elite Series pro and lure designer says his creation is what helped him get into the Elite Series before he retired from professional tournament fishing a couple years ago. “I was making it for myself and a few friends, but it caught on and I took it to full production,” says Sisson. “It’s a great way to catch a nice limit.”
The rig consists of a 4/0 offset Mustad hook with a free sliding weight on the hook shank. The uniquely molded weight has a hole in which the sinker can slide up and down the shank, and the hook has a spring-like bait keeper on the eyelet for securing plastics.
“One advantage this has over weighted hooks is it doesn’t dampen the action,” explains Sisson. “The free swinging weight allows the bait to roll side-to-side during the retrieve.”
Perhaps a bigger advantage is the action it imparts in a lure when it falls. The weight moves to the center/bottom of the hook and keeps the bait horizontal while the lure exhibits a flutter-like swimming action.
Because it’s a visible presentation, Dangle Berry rigs work best in clear water 6 feet deep or less “The secret is to fish it slow and let it settle to the bottom,” he says. “It fishes great over grass because the weight doesn’t dig in like other weighted rigs.” When twitching it with a Fluke-style bait, the lure darts erratically because the weight slides to the end of the hook and enhances the pivoting action. “Sometimes I’ll just pull it and let it dart a few times, then kill it to let it flutter down,” Sisson describes. The Dangle Berry is only offered in one weight size. “When I was experimenting, I discovered getting the precise weight is critical,” Sisson says. “I have no idea what it weighs; I just know the weight and hook are perfectly matched to achieve the action I desired.”