It’s time to break out your plastics

Depending upon where you live in our fine nation, it’s the postspawn, the spawn or the prespawn. It doesn’t really matter because your best bait for the next month or so is a simple weightless plastic.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I can tie two of them on – one Texas rigged and one wacky rigged – and be competitive in any tournament, held on any lake, in any part of the country for the next month.

I’m well aware that what I just said is strong, and that some may disagree with me. I stand by it, though. In my experience there’s nothing you can throw at bass right now that’s as effective as one of these simple rigs. They’ll catch high numbers of smaller bass and they’ll catch them as big as they grow.  

Early on – that’s the early prespawn and sometimes into the early spawn itself – I go with a Texas rigged bait. Even with no weight it’ll act a lot like a traditional Texas Rig except that it’ll have a little more float to it. Later in the cycle, however, you’ll probably do a lot better with something that’s wacky rigged.

When you hook a bait in the center, instead of the nose, it has a death quiver on the initial fall that a Texas rigged plastic doesn’t. And, when you pick up a Texas rig it’ll mostly go straight back down whereas the same bait rigged wacky style will repeat the death quiver.

Years ago about all I ever used at this time of the year was a 6-inch lizard. It had the advantage of looking like what they see in the spring, but it also had a disadvantage. It didn’t have much action beyond maybe the legs and tail rippling as it moved. That was good enough at the time but now we have better plastics in our boats.

My primary baits now are all made by Strike King. I like the Shim E Stick, the Ocho, the Caffeine Shad and their Finesse Worms.

Those are my choices. But let me say right up front that there are about a million plastic lures available. At some time or another they’ve all caught fish. The deal with the plastics I use is that they look natural and they have a natural feel to them. So, if you don’t throw what I throw make sure yours have those two qualities.  

I like a standard type worm hook for my Texas rig and something with a short shank for my wacky rig. And, I always use fluorocarbon line when I’m fishing weightless plastics. My size range is from 6-pound test to 20-pound test depending upon what I’m throwing.

There’s not as much detail in what I’ve said this week as there has been in some of my other columns. That’s on purpose. You want to combine your bait, hook and line in a way that’ll work on your water the day you’re fishing.  

It’s as much an art as it is a science. The idea is to make everything look natural. The bass we’re targeting right now are actively feeding. Take advantage of that. Give them something that’s easy to catch and eat.