Bassmaster Elite Series pro Keith Poche is banking on bedding bass at the 2011 kickoff event on the Harris Chain of Lakes out of Tavares, Fla. The Alabama pro is using a white Netbait Baby Paca Craw to trigger his bites.
"The white bait really shows up well, especially in areas where the bottom is dark," Poche explains.
The Elite pro is Texas rigging his craw behind a 1-ounce tungsten slip sinker that's pegged to the head of his bait. He fishes the rig on 65-pound-test Spiderwire Stealth braid, a Big Bear 7-foot, 6-inch rod and Abu Garcia Revo XS reel. The full ounce sinker might seem like overkill for most bedding bass applications — most anglers would go much lighter — but Poche has method behind the seeming madness.
"With an ounce, I can get a lot of action out of the bait without actually moving it out of the bed," he says. "If you use a lighter sinker, any sort of movement is going to pull the lure out of the nest and away from the bass. But with the heavy sinker, I can shake it in place without pulling it out of the sweet spot."
The "sweet spot" is that softball-sized area in the nest that the bass is most closely protecting. Put a bait there, and you'll have the fish's attention.
Poche's system for bedding bass allows him to make a quick assessment of "catchability" before he commits time to fishing.
"You want to find aggressive fish," he says. "If you pull into a spawning area, you're going to spook the fish, but if they come back in 10 to 15 minutes and will stay around the nest even while you're watching them and casting to them, you have a chance to catch them.
"Once you establish your presence in the area and they become accustomed to you, they need to hang around even after you put a lure in the nest. If they leave the area after each presentation, they're probably unworkable, and you should move on."
Poche says he's on "a couple of good ones" following the practice period. If he can catch them, he'll be a serious factor at the season opener.