Let’s talk nightmare scenarios. Some will tell you it’s cold, muddy water. I respect that opinion, but I also disagree. I think the toughest conditions facing a bass angler are super clear water and suspended fish. It’s a killer. It gives me shudders just to think about it.
However, there’s a new technique out there that helps to solve the nightmare. It’s called the “no-motion minnow.”
It’s a technique that mostly goes against the current trends in lure making and marketing. Every maker seems to want more action, more vibration and every kind of jerking and side-to-side swimming action in their lures. Wild motion’s all the rage these days.
With the no-motion minnow, we’re looking for as little motion as possible. We want to create something for the bass to eat that’s nothing. Less is more.
Start with a wacky jig. There are tons of good ones around. My preference is the one made by VMC. It’s called the Ike Approved Wacky Weedless Jig Head. Basically, it’s nothing more than a jighead with a weight in the front. As its name implies, it was originally designed for wacky rigged worms to help them fall a little faster. But we’re going to put it to a different use.
You’ll also need some sort of simple minnow bait. There are more good ones around than you can count. My choice is the Berkley Powerbait Pro Twitchtail Minnow. I select it because it has a straight tail rather than one that’s split or has a twister on it. Remember: It’s called the no-motion minnow for a reason.
Making the rig is easy and doesn’t require any particular expertise. All you do is hook the minnow through the nose and tie it on a spinning rod. You’ll be ready to go. I wish I had a picture, but I’m putting this column together in an airport. However, there are good photos of the jighead and minnow on Tackle Warehouse. Everything else is obvious.
I throw mine on a long spinning rod with a big spinning reel mounted to it. Most of the time — I’d say 75 percent of the time — I use either 6- or 8-pound-test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon. If the fish are in the 20- to 30-foot range, I’ll spool with braid and use a fluorocarbon leader with the same test weight. My rods and reels are all Abu Garcia products.
All I do after that is throw my no-motion minnow out, let it sink to the appropriate depth and reel it straight back. Sometimes I add a little twitch to the bait, but when I say “a little,” that’s what I mean. Do not overwork your lure. The idea is to have something moving horizontally through the water with almost no action.
If the fish are shallow, I’ll use a 1/16-ounce head. If they’re below 15 or 20 feet I’ll go as heavy as 1/4 ounce, but never any heavier. Too heavy of a weight requires you to reel it back too fast to keep it horizontal.
You might not think of me as a less-is-more kind of guy. I’m usually pretty aggressive. But when it comes to catching bass, I do what works. The no-motion minnow works.