Hay bales and two lures for Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the hard working dads out there – and that certainly includes my dad, Shannon. He works for the Missouri Department of Transportation doing everything from patching potholes to building guardrails, and then late in the afternoon he heads over to my uncle’s farm and works there until pretty much dark every evening. 

Right now, farmers in the Ozarks are getting their first cut of hay for the season, so that means we're all working long hours baling hay – which has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s hot and dusty hard work, but it’s rewarding too – and honestly it’s just what we do around here near Bull Shoals Lake. We fish, and we farm – so I’ve never known any different.

Speaking of Bull Shoals, not only is it our home lake, but it’s also where dad got me hooked on fishing tournaments. He’d take me to the Friday night tournaments down at Pontiac Marina when I was about 7 or 8 years old. 

That’s when I first started to catch the competitive fire for tournaments that lead to me fishing in organized high school fishing events, and eventually competing in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series for Bethel University, five hours east of Bull Shoals near Kentucky Lake.

So no doubt dad has had a huge influence on my love of the sport and my understanding of the need to work hard. He works so much he doesn’t fish near as much as he used to. I’m gonna do my best to convince him to take a break and go fishing on Father’s Day. 

For you dads who are planning to fish on Father’s Day – I picked out two lures that are super effective no matter how avid or skilled you are. 

First a 5-inch soft stick bait like a Senko or Big Bite Trick Stick rigged "wacky style" with a hook in the middle of the lure. Few would debate me when I tell you it may be the easiest lure in the world to catch a bass on.

I rig it on a #1 VMC Neko hook. Whether you cast it to a fallen tree on the shoreline, along the grassy edges of a farm pond, or into the shade around a boat dock – get ready – because there’s a real good chance you’ll get a bite.

You can add a black O-ring like you see in the photo, and run your hook through the O-ring to save the hook from tearing the soft stick bait so easy, but it’s not critical.

Secondly, I’m recommending a simple 3- or 4-inch swimbait, on a 1/4-ounce jig head. This is a lure you can catch just about any species of fish that swims on – and it’s effective from 5 to 50 feet of water. One of the keys is to tie it on light line – such as 8-pound test to give it maximum swimming action – and also to let it fall to deeper depths more easily. 

Don’t make Father’s Day complicated – stick to these two lures – and most of all, take a break from work, don’t bail hay that day. Make Sunday, June 21 a day about fathers and their kids going fishing together.