Fall is here. The water is cool. The fish are shallow, or at least moving in that direction. It’s time for shallow baits to take advantage of that. Here are my top three…
But, before I start talking about the baits we need to think about shallow water. It’s different in different parts of the country and in different lakes. It’s a term of art, not science. For this blog I’m going to tell you that I’m talking about water that’s no deeper than 3 feet. That’s pretty skinny, I know. Nevertheless, it’s fall and that’s the water I’ll target from now until winter.
I want you to remember, though, that bass do live in shallow water all year long. Never forget that. Even though I’m talking about fall, the lures I’m talking about will be good in the winter, spring and summer, too, as long as the bass are shallow. And there will be some shallow all of the time.
Anyway, my first choice is a soft plastic stickbait. My preference is a Berkley Powerbait Maxscent The General Worm. It comes in at least a dozen colors and in three lengths — 4-inch, 5-inch, 6-inch.
I like the Maxscent best because it adds the element of scent to everything. I’m telling you, this one is hard to beat. And, it’s easy to fish because you don’t have to do much with it. Toss it out and let it fall. It’s also good in heavy cover or open flats.
I rig this bait two ways. The first is the venerable Texas rig. I use it in heavy cover. It’ll shimmy all the day down, and it sinks relatively fast even when it’s weightless. I rig it with a VMC IKE Approved Worm Hook in the 3/0 or 4/0 size. It’s an offset design so it works perfectly for Texas rigging.
For no cover situations I go with a wacky rig. I use a VMC IKE Approved Wacky Hook in any size ranging from a No. 2 all the way up to a 2/0. I make my hook size selection based on the size of my General. I put the hook right in the middle of the bait, dead center. That gives it a little more action.
My second choice of shallow water lures is for sloppy cover, more than just weeds, or open water. It makes no difference. My preference here is a Molix Pop Frog. I like it best because it’s versatile. You can do almost anything with it. Almost anything includes walking it, skipping it or making it spit. It’s also easy to work in place.
I slow it down when I fish it in shallow, sloppy cover. That seems to work better than moving it fast. I love to throw it on Berkley 50-pound-test Braid. Either 5X or 9X will do the job for you. Use what you need based on conditions.
DO NOT PULL THE FROG AWAY FROM THE FISH!
When I get a bite I step back to feel the bass before I set the hook and start cranking. That gives the fish just a second to get the bait in its mouth and turn it a little. Do this and your hookset percentage will go up immediately.
My final choice of lures is an easy one. It’s a skirted jig. I love Missile Baits jigs. I like the Ike’s Mini Flip Flipping Jig. We have a jig designed for any situation you can imagine but this design is special for shallow water. It’s just a little more compact than most flipping jigs but without losing the power of a stout hook.
I always use a trailer with my jigs. The Mini Flip is no exception. For shallow water applications I like a craw style. My favorite is a Berkley Powerbait Crazy Legs Chigger Craw. The 3-inch size works best with a Mini Flip jig. I always use complimentary colors. They look more like the real thing, to me anyway.
Note: Make sure you break the appendages apart. In cool water I cut the curly ones off. Otherwise I leave them on so that this bait looks real and has a lot of movement to it.
You’ll catch shallow bass with one of these lures. I guarantee it! Make sure you carry a few of them in your tackle box.
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