Gear

Reaction baits tacklebox

Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Jonathan Kelley of Old Forge, Pa., cut his teeth in tournament fishing at Coastal Carolina University, where he competed on the school’s bass fishing team for five years. During that time, he qualified for four Bassmaster College Championships.
Kelley believes it’s possible for new college anglers, or anyone fishing on a budget, to assemble a tray of baits that’ll cover just about any reaction strike scenario. Kelley’s suggested tackle tray includes a selection of SPRO baits that will cover the water column in all but extreme depths.
First up is a SPRO Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog 60, which Kelley prefers over the walking style due to its versatility. He can walk this bait or make it pop and spit, as needed.
Kelley dusts the legs of his frogs with baby powder to dry up any residual moisture and to keep the legs from sticking together on hot days.
The SPRO Little John DD 70 serves Kelley’s needs in 14-plus feet of water.
This could be a summer or winter bait, as temperature extremes make this deep diver one shine.
While the SPRO Rock Crawler 55 is a popular cold-water bait, Kelley uses this bait “month in and month out.”
If the situation finds the fish near the bottom in 6-15 feet, this bait, or its smaller size 50 will deliver. Kelley said this dependability has made the Rock Crawler one of his staples.
Another versatile bait, the SPRO McStick 110 pairs well with modern electronics — particularly forward-facing sonar.
Kelley said the jerkbait game is changing so rapidly that this bait gives him a true year-round tool that can accommodate heavy-duty hooks to handle the giants.
When Kelley needs the tight wiggle of a flat-sided bait, he turns to the SPRO Little John MD.
This bait features a durable chisel tip bill that allows a quick descent for more time in the strike zone. 
When spring finds the fish in 5 feet or less, Kelley’s keen to pick up the SPRO Little John. The sensitive computer chip board lip ensures quick deflections off cover.
Red pattern and other bright, vibrant colors are his call for the Little John, as it’s all about getting noticed by fish that are usually ready to eat.
SPRO’s Aruku Shad 75 is Kelley’s grass fishing bait. Over submerged vegetation, he’s confident with a long-cast bait that he’ll snag and rip through grass for aggressive reaction bites.
Kelley prefers this bait in a blue chrome and delta craw colors, as these patterns allow him to mimic finfish and crustacean forage anywhere he goes.