If you can swim, stroke, or shake a lure it’s almost a guarantee you can catch a bass. These three different techniques allow an angler to present soft plastic lures where bass live and feed. It’s just a matter of figuring out which technique to use and when.
Ever wonder how professional tournament bass anglers catch fish on lakes they have never been before? Sure they scan the internet for current information on water level, fishing reports, tournament results and lake map, but that’s just part of it.
Pros know that no matter where they are fishing a bass is a bass. Understanding the seasonal patterns of bass will get them where the bass live. Once they find where the bass are located it’s just a matter of having the right presentation to catch them.
What technique to use depends on several factors; begin by finding out what type of cover or structure and water depth the bass are located. In addition, lures style, speed of retrieve, and rate of fall can either elicit a strike or scatter them like dust in the wind.
Many times an angler will over think catching bass. There are just so many different techniques to catch bass. Instead of over analyzing the situation, try one of the three never- fail bass catching techniques.
Swimming, stroking and shaking are the three techniques anglers have come to rely on year after year to catch bass. Each one allows the angler to present a lure differently.
“I worked hard on the design of the new Santone Lures HT’s S3 (www.santonelures.com) so it could be used for multiple techniques like swimming, stroking, or shaking a soft plastic lure. The extra wide spring grabs hold of the outside walls of a swimbait or soft plastic lure to keep it from sliding down. It comes in several different sizes including 1/4-, 1/2-, 3/4-, 1- and 1 1/4-ounce so it can be fished shallow or deep,” said Heath Taylor, lure designer and Texas Game Warden.
His design really started as a way to keep expensive soft plastic hollow bodied and boot tail swimbaits from tearing up on a swimbait head. To do it, Taylor designed a swimbait head able to hold on to soft plastic lures with an extra large spring bait keeper. The results were phenomenal, but he also learned the special head could be used when swimming, stroking, or shaking other soft plastic lures besides swimbaits.
Swimming a soft plastic lure like a hollow bodied or boot tail swimbait maybe the easiest of all three techniques. It allows the angler to fish any section of the water column. The rate of retrieve and how much the S3 weighs will influence what depth the swimbait will run.
“Which Santone Lures S3 I use depends on the depth. Say I want to fish shallow grass beds, lay downs, stumps or rocks piles that’s a good time to use a 1/4-ounce S3. It lets me just tick the top of the grass, wood, or rocks without getting hung up and normally results in a reaction strike,” said Taylor.
If Taylor wants to catch suspending bass, he changes to either a 3/4- to 1-ounce S3. The heavier weight allows him to count the swimbait down to the right depth before starting to reel. He noted a great place to use the swimming technique was in submerged treetops on Lake Amistad because the snagless design allows it to come through branches without getting hung up.
A soft plastic swimbait can also be burned near the surface to get suspended bass to bite. “The S3 is designed so it can be burned back in quickly without having the head rollover. You just can’t do that with a lightweight belly weighted swimbait head,” said Taylor.
Surprisingly, Taylor will swim a lure even in dirty water. “This technique isn’t just for clear water conditions. If you put on a big soft plastic swimbait bass and fish it in stained or dirty water, bass will eat them,” said Taylor.
Besides slow rolling swimbaits, an angler can fish bottom-bumping lures like a Gene Larew Biffle Bug on a S3. The key is to fish it around cover or structure using a slow bumping retrieve.
Stroking is a technique where the lure is popped up off the bottom then allowed to drop on a slack line. This keeps the lure in the key spot without moving it from the strike zone. Famous bass reservoirs like Kentucky Lake or Lake Guntersville stroking is one of the best techniques for catching fish off ledges.
“Instead of using an expensive flutter spoon or traditional jig, I will use a swimbait or creature bait doing the same stroking technique on one of the heavier S3 heads. It’s a reaction bite once the lure starts falling nose down and tail up. The best part is it gives bass something different to look at instead of the same old lure,” said Taylor.
Shaking a soft plastic lure is another time-proven technique. By attaching a soft plastic lure to a weedless head design, anglers can fish in cover and structure without being hung up.
“You can rig up a S3 and drag it into a bed of a spawning bass then just shake it. The soft plastic lure will stand up with its nose down appearing to be eating the eggs. That will just drive a bass wild and it will attack the lure,” said Taylor.
Heath likes using bulky creature baits like big Biffle Bugs or lizards when fishing around the beds. He will also fish bulky baits around brush piles too. It features a recessed line tie and extra wide gap Mustad hook allowing the biggest of soft plastics to be rigged on it.
One other place Taylor likes to fish a S3 is around reservoirs or rivers with current. He uses a 1-ounce head to get it down to where the fish are hiding behind current breaks like boulders, rock piles or lay downs. “The heavy S3 head will get a swimbait down without getting it hung up and that’s the key when fishing areas with current,” said Taylor.
All three of these techniques catch fish. It’s up to the angler to figure out which presentation is best for catching fish in the conditions they are fishing. By Brad Wiegmann