Cool Weather Bass

Taking the time to sound around an area is very important and plays a crucial role in successfully locating schooled bass, the next step is figuring out a lure and technique that the bass will respond to.

A big bass boat side - Read Dane's tips here and catch monster fish next time you're on the fresh.

A big bass boat side – Read Dane’s tips here and catch monster fish next time you’re on the fresh.

The front deck of a Pro bass boat will usually have numerous outfits all rigged up with different lures ready to fish, as this makes it quicker to alternate lure presentations. There are six presentations that I will always tie on and rotate when targeting school fish and more often than not I already have an idea of which ones will work, however I like to go through the process of elimination to be clear in my mind. The lure spread consists of a mask vibe, blade, tail spinner, ice-jig, soft plastic and fly. The next step is knowing when and how to use each lure presentation appropriately because if used in the wrong situation quite often the results will show. The mask vibe is well renowned as a ‘big’ fish catcher and is most deadly when slowly hopped tight to the bottom.

‘Kicker’ Fish

Dane with a pair of top quality bass caught at a recent tournament he fished.

Dane with a pair of top quality bass caught at a recent tournament he fished.

I like to use this presentation when targeting smaller schools hunting for that ‘kicker’ fish. One of the most versatile and a personal favourite is the blade, which when either hopped or slow rolled emits vibrations and with the added flash is often irresistible to a bass. One lure that has been very effective on shutdown fish is the tail spinner, when worked with a long slow lift of the rod tip and then lowered, bass will smash it on the drop nearly every time. An ice-jig unlike the other lures mentioned is very subtle in the fact that it does not spin or vibrate and a short sharp flick of the rod tip is all that is required to create the jig to glide or dart depending on the model. This lure is very effective when sitting over inactive fish as it allows you to work the lure in their face constantly annoying them enough to strike.

All Time Best

Anglers head off to fish as they start another tournament day.

Anglers head off to fish as they start another tournament day.

My all time favourite lure presentation that has got me unstuck more times than I can think of is the soft plastic, a very subtle life like presentation that when slow rolled or twitched is dynamite. A very important factor when using plastics is choosing the right jig head and this will vary depending on the depth of water, depth the fish are suspended in and also the pace of the retrieve. Having a variety of different weighted heads ranging from 1/4 oz up to 5/8 oz and a range of different presentations from curly tails to paddle tails will cover most situations. The last technique is one that very few anglers seem to use, as it is a little more complicated to execute properly and that is a fly. Fly is usually very successful when dragged through fish schooled tight to the bottom with an enticing short sharp stripping retrieve. This technique has triggered even the most shut down fish to bite and can be very rewarding.

Pieces to the Puzzle

The final piece to the puzzle is having the correct outfit for the job. Any rod can be used to cast a lure although picking the correct rod for the specific lure and technique will make working the lure effortless and create the desired action. It’s no different to trying to use a butter knife to cut a steak, it will do the job but not very effective. Choosing and buying rods specifically for a lure and technique is very important and will pay dividends. I am very fortunate that all my rods are hand crafted by Brad Clarke from BarraBass custom tournament rods and are built specifically for my needs and each specific purpose. For the five lure types mentioned above, excluding the fly, I am able to run four different rod blanks allowing me to get optimal action with minimal effort out of each lure presentation whilst being a joy to use.

‘Hopping’

Another pair of solid fish - good bass in anyone's book.

Another pair of solid fish – good bass in anyone’s book.

For hopping masks I like to use a XP902 (6-12lb) which is 7’3 in length and is good for casting greater distances. It has a moderate fast tapered action which enables the vibe to engage with minimal effort projected through the tip, yet is soft enough that it won’t encourage it to trip or foul on itself. When hopping or slow rolling blades and slow lifting tail spinners I use an XP841(4-10lb) which is 7’ in length. This is a high modulus graphite blank again with a moderate fast tapered action which also engages the blade or tail spinner with minimal effort through the movement of the tip.

Reel Seat Tip

Matthew Langford with a solid bass - check out the size of that tail!

Matthew Langford with a solid bass – check out the size of that tail!

One feature I find beneficial and very comfortable is the positioning of the reel seat, both rods above have very high positioned reel seats, this balances the rod better giving it a ‘tip up’ characteristic which helps with the technique. For slow rolling soft plastics my favourite rod is a IP841 (4-10lb) which is 7’ in length. This blank is also a moderate fast tapered action and features a lower modulus graphite blank which is far more parabolic. This enables the rod to load throughout the whole length of the blank, allowing the fish to take the lure and not feel the resistance of the rod until it has one hundred percent committed to eating it. Ice jigging is one technique where having the right rod for the job is crucial and I use a XP842(6-12lb) which is 7’ in length, with a moderate fast tapered action. This helps engage the jig to dart and glide with minimal effort through a short sharp flick of the wrist. Unlike the first two rods mentioned above, these rods have their reels positioned further back towards the butt, giving them a ‘tip down’ characteristic as you want the tip facing down towards the water.
Dane Radosevic

About Dane Radosevic

My name is Dane Radosevic and I am 18 years of age, born on the Fraser Coast and raised in Hervey Bay, QLD. I enjoy participating in all forms of angling from bait fishing to my preferred methods of lure and fly.

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