Original content by Russ Miyada
The following are some of my preferred methods and lures for bass fishing in abundant cover. They are basic, easy to use and very effective.
Rod/Reel & Terminal Tackle
General Purpose (including Drop Shotting & Skipping)
6’6”- 7' spinning or baitcasting combo
Medium action/fast tip
8-10 lb super-line w/8-10 lb mono/fluoro leader
#1- 3/0 EWG worm hook, depending on thickness of plastic bait
1/8-1/4 oz bullet weight or no weight; ¼ oz drop shot weight
6'6”- 7' baitcasting combo
30-50 lb super-line w/15-20 lb fluoro or mono leader; leader not necessary for frogging
2/0-6/0 EWG worm hook or wide gap straight shank worm hook for heavy cover
3/8-3/4 oz bullet sinker
Rigging Methods for Soft Baits
Texas Rig Most commonly used method for largemouth bass fishing due to its “weedless” design. Excellent for pitching, flipping, punching, and skipping in heavy cover such as brush, weeds, trees, snags, rocks, and docks. Also good for minimum cover and open water. Can be used with slip sinker, weight insert, or no weight.
Wacky Rig Very effective method to employ when conditions dictate it. The position of the hook in the middle section of the worm imparts a slow fall and wiggle to the lure. Use when bass are finicky and in relatively light cover.
Drop Shot Rig Although designed for deeper water, this method can be used effectively in the shallows. The lure can be shaken, wiggled, or hovered above cover or the bottom to entice bass into biting.
Note: For more information on techniques, tips, and videos on plastic worm rigging, refer to websites such as Gary Yamamoto's Inside Line newsletter, Wired2Fish, Bass Resource, Major League Fishing, etc.
Where to Fish for Largemouth Bass
I’ve caught them in lakes and reservoirs including Silver, Lacamas and Potholes in Washington; Tenmile, Prineville, Galesville, Mercer, Brownlee, Hagg, and Cullaby in Oregon; Coeur d'Alene in Idaho; and Clear Lake and The Delta in California. They can also be found in the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.
Largemouth bass prefer relatively shallow water and have an affinity for the darkest shade and heaviest cover in the form of “lay-downs” (fallen trees), standing timber, brush, aquatic vegetation, docks, and big rocks, where they often wait in ambush for prey. Their diet consists mainly of fish, crawdads, frogs, salamanders and other available creatures.
A soft plastic bait rigged Texas style works best in places with abundant cover. Slowly crawl it through the cover an inch or two at a time, stop and pause for a few seconds, and repeat the process until a strike occurs or the lure is out of the strike zone.
A bass strike can be as distinctive as a “hit”(tap, thump or pull), as subtle as a “feel-good” (heavy or light feel of the line/lure), or as visible as a “line movement” (moving line, line twitch at surface, abrupt line slack).
Whichever strike it may be, make sure to set the hook hard in order to drive it through the plastic lure and into the jaw of the bass.
Largemouth bass will also relate to vertical structure and cover when they prefer deeper water such as in summer and winter. They will position themselves along bluffs, boulders, bridge pilings, vertical timber, ledges, etc., where forage may pass by. Fish these deep bass with a drop shot rig, a weighted Wacky or Texas Rig worm, or a swimbait.
General Rules Fish shallow in spring and fall; fish deeper in winter and summer. Fish inside and shallow (flooded shoreline) during rising or high water; fish outside and deeper (secondary ledge, deep cover, creek channel during falling or low water. Look for areas where a channel meets a point near an adjoining flat. The biggest bass will be in the best spot.
Soft Plastic Lures for Heavy Cover
YAMAMOTO 5” Senko; YUM 5” Dinger; BASS PRO SHOPS 5 3/8” Stik-O
Use in relatively shallow water. Texas rig or wacky rig with or without weight.
VENOM 4” Hot Rod tube
Use weightless and skip under overhangs, docks and into pockets.
ROBOWORM 6” Straight Tail
Use for drop shot or slip shot. Nose hook or rig weedless.
ZOOM 9 1/2” Mag II Worm
Rig Texas style and use as a “change-up” lure.
REACTION INNOVATIONS Kinky Beaver, Sweet Beaver, or Double Wide Beaver
Very good bulky “creature bait.” Texas rig with large, extra wide gap hook.
MISSILE BAITS D Bomb with PAYCHECK BAITS Punch Skirt
Use for punching through matted weeds and debris. Punch skirt allows for better penetration. Texas rig with large, wide gap, straight shank worm hook with heavy, pegged bullet weight.
ZOOM Brush Hog or Baby Brush Hog
Rig this creature bait Texas style with a bullet weight.
REACTION INNOVATIONS Skinny Dipper or BASS ASSASSIN Turbo Shad
In cover, rig these swimbaits Texas style with a wide gap, keel-weighted hook. In light cover or open water, rig lure on a darter or ball head jig with exposed hook.
SPRO Bronzeye Frog or ZOOM HornyToad
Work it with a stop-go retrieve over surface cover (lily pads, weeds, debris). Texas rig the Horny Toad with a large wide gap hook. Toad may do a slow sinking spiral in an opening.
Good Luck & Good Fishing
I hope that you will find this information helpful. If you catch just one lunker largemouth bass in heavy cover when you otherwise would not have before this, then this article would be deemed successful. If you find success, PLEASE remember to “CATCH & RELEASE” your largemouth bass so someone else may enjoy the thrill that you have experienced.
Original content by Russ Miyada