At blueback time, postspawn and again in early fall, he who casts longest catches most. Get too close, and the bait dives, taking the bass with it. Ashley, noted for his success on this pattern, has this advice.
“You want a long cast, but you can’t use a really long rod because you’ve got to work the lure with it, and the longer the rod, the harder it is to work a topwater. So I usually go with a 6-6 Quantum rod, and I put 50-pound-test Stren Sonic braid on the Exo reel. That gives me good distance with a big [Lucky Craft] Sammy or Gunfish 115, and I can still work the rod all day without wearing out my wrists.”
The braid, says Ashley, gives better lure action and far better hook sets because there’s no stretch. The fact that it floats is a plus, he says, for this application. He doesn’t go lighter than 50 because thinner braid tends to dig into the line layers under it and causes backlash problems.
Long casts also come in handy anytime schoolers pop up on top. The farther back you can keep the boat, the more of these guys you can catch before they go down.
Goldbeck says spybaiting is becoming his go-to tactic when the bite is tough, and success usually requires long casts with light spinning tackle.
“I find the fish on sonar, back way off and make the longest cast I can, then count the bait down to where the fish are and make a very slow retrieve,” the Texas pro says. “I’m using a Duo Realis Spinbait 80 and reeling it just fast enough to make the props turn and the body wobble.”
Goldbeck uses a Shimano SA2500FG reel loaded with Sunline 6-pound-test fluorocarbon on a 7-foot Dobyns rod for this duty.
“Fill the spool completely, stick with the thinnest lines and remember that tip speed is [the] key to distance,” Goldbeck advises.
Large swimbaits fished in clear water lakes, such as those in Southern California, account for some huge bass, but again, it often takes a long throw to fool the fish — and we’re talking lures here that may weigh up to a half-pound! Umbrella rigs, though not legal in major tournaments, are a productive way to put big fish in the boat when nothing else works, and they also require big casts and powerful tackle to achieve the necessary distance for retrieves down where the lunkers live.
Abu Garcia’s Veritas rod, which measures 7 feet, 9 inches, is specifically designed for this duty, notes Davis. “It’s got a lot of power, a slower tip so that it really loads up with these heavy baits and rigs, and an extended, 17 1/2-inch handle to increase leverage and casting distance.”
This year’s ICAST Best of Show baitcasting rod, the G.Loomis NRX Umbrella Rig rod, was also aimed at umbrella rigs and other mega-lures. It’s a 7-foot, 7-inch rod with an extended full cork grip.
“The combination of exceptionally light weight, a soft tip and a power grip makes this a great rod for throwing heavy baits,” says company spokesman Bruce Holt, “and it’s got the strength to handle braid up to 80-pound test.”