Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Sports

July 26, 2012

Drop bait

Bass anglers finding success

GLASGOW — Bass anglers have long known that day-in and day-out no artificial lure on the market will catch more bass throughout the year than those we refer to as “drop baits” such as the jig or worm.

And there a number of good reasons why.

Artificial lures must perform in the water in such a way as to fool fish into thinking that, they too, are part of the food chain.

First, and probably most importantly, the lure must possess life-like action.

If an artificial lure can be made to impart the type of action that makes it appear alive, the characteristics of color and size become secondary in importance.

The second thing that must be taken into account when judging the potential of an artificial lure is its speed factor.

When the water temperature is in the 70s, lure speed isn’t that critical. But let the water cool into the low 40s and lure speed becomes very important.

Therefore, if we are talking about bass fishing throughout the year, our most productive lures will be those that will work equally effective at a greater range of speeds; possessing the ability to adjust speed to match the water temperature and activity level of the bass.

Another important factor to consider when judging the effectiveness of lures is their depth range.

Topwater baits are very limited when it comes to depth, being confined (as their name indicates) to the water’s surface.

Crankbaits dig deeper under the surface of the water, but again, are limited by the size and shape of their plastic lip as to how far under the water they can be fished.

But if you have an artificial lure that can effectively cover a depth range that stretches from the surface all the way down to the bottom, you obviously increase your chances and have a more potentially effective lure.

One final test we can put our selection of lures through is where it can effectively be employed. While bass will reside in and around any number of structural locations, not all artificial baits can effectively be used to probe those locations.

For example, if bass are holding in a dense stand of reeds, an angler would be ill-equipped to try and fish for them with a crankbait.

But if the angler chooses a lure that can be fished in virtually any type cover, his or her bass-catching opportunities become almost limitless.

Drop baits answer all these requirements.

The most popular of this group is the plastic worm. Introduced in the 1950s, worms have seen various changes over the years.

Common sizes run from 4 to 12 inches and are available in a variety of colors and various tail designs.

The most enticing action of this bait is the slow, wiggling fall.

In fact, the majority of bass hits will occur while the worm is falling… and the slower the fall, the better.

If your worm does settle to the bottom without a hit, don’t give up.

Allow the worm to remain motionless on the bottom for several seconds (on a semi-tight line) and then raise the tip of the rod about 6 inches and allow the worm to fall back to the bottom (of the water).

This slow lift-and-drop retrieve should be continued throughout the entire distance of the cast. When a bass takes your worm you may feel a solid thud, a tap, or heaviness.

When in doubt… set the hook!

Although constructed different than plastic worms, jigs tipped with trailers are effective for the same reasons and should be fished in a similar manner.

Rod position is important during the retrieve. The tip should be kept low enough so that the hook can be set quickly. Hold the rod directly in front of your body at about a 10-o’clock position as you work your presentation.

Once you determine a hit, lower the tip of the rod toward the water, reel up the slack, and then jerk the rod tip above your head, driving the hook into the tough upper lip of the bass.

 Getting the feel of fishing drop baits takes time and an extreme amount of concentration. Good jig and worm anglers are good line watchers.

Learning to see and react to those light strikes, instead of waiting until you feel a solid thud, will increase catches.

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