In the last few columns we’ve talked a lot about the benefits of versatility and how it’ll help put more bass in your livewell. Like a lot of things, however, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.
It’s great to have a dozen rods with different baits on the deck of your boat. Actually, it looks pretty cool. The thing is, though, it doesn’t always help us catch bass. That many combinations will only work if we know how and when to use them. Most of us would be better off with three or four combinations that will catch bass under a wide array of conditions and that we really know how to use.
With that in mind I’m going to give you two setups that I think every angler should carry. I’ll let you pick one or two more from the ones I’ve described in previous columns or from your previous experience on the lake or river you’re fishing.
The shaky head
This is a presentation that’s easy to use, inexpensive and it’ll catch fish almost anywhere and at any time of the year. Set it up correctly and you’ll fall in love with it.
I like to start with a 1/8-ounce weight and a 4-inch worm, although I’ll go up to a 1/4-ounce weight if it’s windy or if I’m fishing a little deeper. Generally I’d say you should use the heaviest weight you can get away with. I know that sometimes a slow fall will trigger bites but I really try to stay heavier if I can get the head through the cover. The heavier weight bouncing and scratching on the bottom will trigger a lot of bites, too.
Color choices for your worm are basically limitless. My starting point is green pumpkin or a natural green hue of some sort. Green pumpkin is a term of art. Every manufacturer has a slightly different version of it. Pick the one you like the best. Obviously, the version I like the best is the one I use with Missile Baits.
Rig your worm Texas style to avoid constant hang-ups. Getting a good hookset shouldn’t be a problem with a small, thin worm.
Rod, reel and line are largely a matter of personal choice. I will say, however, that most of the time you’ll do better with the lightest line you can get away with given the conditions you’re in and the size of the fish you expect to catch.
A beaver-style creature bait
This design has proven to be one of the most effective, and versatile, plastic lures of all time. My choice is a Missile Baits D Bomb.
You can rig a beaver-style creature bait on a Carolina rig, use it as a jig trailer, add it to a wobble head jig or hang it on the end of your flippin’ stick. Pick the presentation that best fits your immediate situation then go fishing. It won’t be long until you’re catching.
Most of these baits come in at least two sizes. The smaller sizes are perfect for finesse presentations or for use on a shaky head. The standard sizes are good for those times when you want serious bulk.
Black and blue along with green pumpkin are my most productive colors. When you’re in doubt about color, go with one of them.
Be versatile. You’ll catch more fish. Just don’t get carried away with it.