Name: Bob Shaver
Favorite lake to fish: I don't really have a favorite lake. I prefer fishing slow-moving rivers.
BASS member since: 1989
Tell us the story of your Lunker Club catch:
It was the day after Christmas, and the weather was cold and overcast. Even so, my fishing partner and I decided to paddle up our favorite river. The current was slow-moving, and the water was relatively clear. I was casting a lipless Yo-Zuri Rattl'n Vibe crankbait in 6 to 15 feet of water with heavy hydrilla, like moss heads, just under the surface.
As I retrieved the lure, I pulled it to the moss heads and then pulled it free; I kept the lure as deep as possible without tangling in the moss heads. The fish just gulped the lure. He didn't jump, but I don't think he could with the water and weather being so cold. Once I got the fish up to the side of the kayak, I lipped him and took him to a sandbar for pictures. After pictures I released him, as I do with all the bass I catch.
What do you like most about being a BASS member?:
I've been reading Bassmaster for close to 30 years. I enjoy reading about the various ways other fishermen have found to catch bass. The issues about new gear help me keep abreast of what is current.
Any successful tips/technique/lure you can share with us?:
Confidence in what you are doing is number one! I'm not really a rubber worm or soft-bait fisherman. I enjoy the challenge of the hard baits, in particular the topwater baits during the summer.
The best tip I can give anyone using hard baits is to replace the original treble hooks with the same size or one size larger Gamakatsu (extra-wide gap) treble hooks. These hooks make it so that very few fish get away — this is especially true when using lipless crankbaits. As you fight the fish, many will become double-hooked, which basically ups your chances for success.
Unfortunately, since the hooks are so sharp, you can easily get them caught in your fingers, so be very careful. If I had only a few lures to use all year round, they would be: Pop R's, Sammy surface baits, lipless crankbaits and all types of spinnerbaits. I would have the hooks on all of them changed to the Gamakatsu hooks. I am mainly a kayak fisherman, so I use a stealthy approach and long casts. If the fish know you are there, they drop down and are not receptive to topwater and hard baits.
When using subsurface baits, let the bait bang into objects because that will trigger strikes.
When using surface baits, try to fish the shady areas or low-light conditions. After you catch a fish, release it where you caught it if possible.