Ike: Catch numbers this summer

Ike talks his favorite uses for summer stickbaits.

Sorry this one is late. I’ve been with the family to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. They have a big LEGO exhibit on one side of the museum and a Genghis Kahn exhibit on the other. I guess the idea is to build something on one side and then show you the guy who could tear it down on the other.

Our two little ones liked the LEGOs best. Our two oldest ones were more into Genghis Kahn, I think. If you’re anywhere near Philly I highly recommend a visit. It’s pretty cool.

Now, let’s get down to business.

There’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of anglers just want to catch bass. They aren’t fishing tournaments and, although they’d like a 5 pounder, they’ll settle for a half-dozen 2 pounders. This is a great time of the year for that.

Basically, it’s about plastics in the summertime. Darn near anything will catch them. My favorite, though, is a soft plastic stickbait. There are dozens of them on the market. Most of them are pretty much the same. They’re round, about as long as a pen and do nothing until they start to fall. Then they shake and shimmy from the ends. That action drives bass wild.

If the water’s reasonably shallow and the cover’s not too thick, I rig mine wacky style. I put the hook right in the middle before I toss it out towards my target. I don’t do anything other than let it fall straight down. If I don’t get a bite, I reel it back in and do the same thing over again.

The bait I use is a Havoc Flat Dawg. I like it better than some of the others because we designed it with flatter sides. This gives it a little more action on the fall.

If the cover is a little thicker, I’ll rig it Texas style, weightless. It’ll behave just the same except that you can pull to through and over cover without hanging it up on every other cast. When you go this route don’t forget to set the hook really hard. You won’t get anywhere just pulling back like you will with a wacky rig.

In deeper water, when I want a faster fall I’ll rig it Texas style with a bullet weight in front. Depending on where I’m at and what I want my weight might be as light as 1/16-ounce or as heavy as 1/2-ounce. The weight gives it a gliding type of fall that looks natural. But, when you do this you’ll want to work the bait a little more than with the other types of rigging when it gets to the bottom. It loses some of its natural action with so much weight up front.

The final way I rig mine for summertime numbers is wacky style on a finesse head. I personally prefer the round ball style. Other anglers might differ with me on that. The real thing about this style of fishing is that you can get the bait down faster and hold it in place while you wiggle it around. Sometimes that’ll help generate bites from reluctant or finicky bass.

The great thing about what I’ve just said — other than catching a lot of bass — is that every rig is inexpensive and easy to assemble. You don’t need to break your budget for tackle and lures, nor do you need years of fishing experience to be successful.

Mike Iaconelli’s column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website, mikeiaconelli.com.