Fishing Slower Often Produces Larger Bass
Pro Mark Davis Likes Carolina Rig Plastics For Big Fish Now
The prime spring spawning season for catching big bass may be over, but that doesn’t mean Mark Davis stops fishing for them. If anything, the Yamaha Pro and former Bassmaster Classic® champion concentrates that much harder on putting a heavyweight into the livewell.
“It will probably surprise a lot of anglers, but right now is one of my favorite times to go after a really big fish,” notes Davis, who caught his heaviest largemouth ever, a 12-6 giant, in the month of June several years ago. “On many lakes, the bass are still in a type of transition and haven’t completed their move to deep summer structure. On some lakes, a few fish may even still be spawning, so some of them are in relatively shallow water where they’re much more accessible.”
The real key to catching big bass anytime of year, however, emphasizes Davis, is fishing extremely slowly, which takes not only patience but also confidence. In fact, when Davis is really looking for a trophy bass, he fishes slower than he does during the winter months when bass tend to be more lethargic.
“Big bass will never be far from deep water, even in the spring when they’re coming to shallow flats to spawn,” continues the Yamaha Pro, “so that’s the first thing I look for. I like to find creek channels or ditches leading from deep water into the shallows, or points and ledges that have steep drops into deeper water.
“Then I look for cover like logs, stumps, bushes, or vegetation around those depth changes, because these are objects that bass use, and if they’re present, the fish will stay longer in that area.”
Davis prefers fishing soft plastic lures like creature baits, big worms, and stick baits on a Carolina rig when he’s hunting big fish. The reason is because these types of plastic lures are still extremely effective when fished slowly. He rigs them Texas-style, with the hook imbedded to make them weedless.
“When I feel my Carolina rig weight hit a piece of cover as I make my retrieve, I stop and let the lure sit there from 10 to perhaps 30 seconds,” he says, “because I want to keep the lure in that area as long as possible. Even if I’m fishing vegetation and feel the sinker hit it, I’ll still let the lure sit there a long time.
“I may be fishing with a leader as long as six feet, so I’ll shake my rod a time or two, let the lure sit there again, then crawl it into the vegetation. I know the bass know my lure is down there, and I want it to look as tempting to them as I possibly can.”
Depending on the type of lake and the water clarity where he’s fishing, Davis gradually works deeper water as the summer progresses. Instead of concentrating in eight to 12 foot depths like he might in May, for example, in June he works his way out to about 15 feet. The more off-colored the water, the shallower bass will be.
Davis tries to time his big fish hunts during the three days immediately preceding a full moon, regardless of the time of year. He doesn’t know why bass seem to bite better during that time, but his years of experience as both a tournament pro and a guide on Lake Ouachita near his home have proven it is the most reliable time to catch a big fish. He really likes to be on the water when the sun and moon are visible at the same time.
“Overall,” concludes the Yamaha Pro, “catching a big bass now is all about finding cover close to deep water, and then fishing that cover extremely slowly. Don’t worry about leaving your lure motionless on the bottom for up to half a minute, because the bass definitely know it’s there, and they’re probably watching it.
“The less obtrusive and aggressive you can make it look, the better your chances for catching one of them.” Y
Visit Yamaha Outboards.com
Original Source; Sportsmans Lifestyle.com