Bass Fishing Basics

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  • We all started off being new to bass fishing.  For some of us, we started fishing as kids, others of us started as adults.  Often a family member passed down their knowledge of fishing to us, or at least took us fishing for the first time.  Bass fishing can be rewarding and extremely frustrating all at the same time.  Hopefully this article will help you get started, or get you on the path to catching some fish.

    Techniques like the drop shot, or fishing a stick bait (i.e. senko) are fish catchers!  Every bass fisherman should have these staples in their tackle box at all times.

    The drop shot and the stick bait can be fished on similar rod and reel set ups.  If you’re new to fishing, I’d suggest a spinning rod set up.  Many fishermen will fish a stick bait on heavier action rods and reels than a drop shot, but for someone starting out with minimal gear, a spinning rod and reel will work just fine.

    The Drop Shot

    The basic components of the drop shot rig are as follows:

    • Drop shot hook
    • Drop Shot Weight
    • Plastic Worm

    The drop shot at its most basic is a plastic worm presentation.  The drop shot hook is connected to the line with a knot (i.e. Palomar knot) that has a long tag end.  A drop shot sinker is connected to end of the line, allowing the plastic worm to be suspended off the bottom of the lake floor (Tip: after tying the knot feed the tag end back down through the hook eye before attaching the sinker).

    A 6″ straight tail Roboworm makes a hard to beat dropshot bait, shown rigged two ways with different hooks; Texas rigged and nose hooked

    The drop shot is a slow presentation.  Simply drag the bait along the bottom, and occasionally move the rod tip up and down to give the bait additional action.  Play with the movement of the rod tip to find what works.  Sometimes shake the tip, other times pop it, and sometimes don’t move it at all.  The bites are generally soft “taps” that you feel at the rod tip.  Other times you won’t feel the bite at all and there will be a spongy heaviness when you move the rod.  When you think you’re bit, don’t set the hook right away.  Let the fish take the bait for a few seconds on a semi slack line, once you feel the fish or see the line move, take up the slack and set the hook.  When determining how hard to set the hook, be aware of what pound test line you’re using to avoid breaking off on the hook set.

    Drop Shot Tackle Suggestions:

    The Stick Bait

    The basic components when fishing a stick bait are as follows:

    yamamoto-senko

    The 5″ Yamamoto Senko is the most popular stick bait on the market, shown rigged here “Texposed” with a Gamakatsu Offset EWG Worm Hook

    Almost every lure company has a stick bait offered in their line-up.  My preference is a Yamamoto Senko.  There are many variations to a senko, there’s the slim senko, a thin senko, a swim senko to name a few.  When I refer to a senko in this article, I’m referring to a traditional 5” senko.

    This is another slow presentation.  I like to call this the do nothing bait.  Often a senko does the work for you.  To start, fish a senko weightless and shallow, no deeper than 15 feet.  Rig the bait Texas rigged or Texposed, so the bait is weedless.  Cast the senko out, and let it sink down.  After the bait has sunk, lightly lift the rod tip to feel if a fish is there.  Many times the bite will happen on the fall and a fish is there the first time you lift the rod.  If there is no fish, gently pop the rod tip to move the senko and let it fall again.  Often you will not feel the actual bite, but you’ll feel a spongy heaviness.  When you feel bit and the fish has taken the bait, set the hook.  Be aware of what pound test line you’re using when setting the hook to avoid breaking off on the hook set.

    Stick Bait Tackle Suggestions:

    • Wide gap hook: Gamakatsu Offset EWG Worm Hooks
    • Stick bait: 5” Yamamoto Senko.  Keep the colors simple and stick with green colors.

    Rod, Reel, and Line Size Suggestion

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  • Both the drop shot and senko can be fished on similar rods and reels.  There will be people that disagree, but I’ve caught a lot of fish with a senko on a spinning combo.  For a combo that can handle both, I would recommend a small to medium sized spinning reel and a medium to medium light extra fast action spinning rod.  My personal suggestion would be a Shimano 1000 series NASCI Spinning Reel and Powell 712 MLEF spinning rod.  This combo costs around $260.00.

    My suggestion when it comes to line size would be to spool with 6lb or 8lb test fluorocarbon line.  The 8lb test will allow you to fish both a drop shot and senko, and isn’t so light that breaking on a hook set is too much of a factor.  I use Sunline Super FC Sniper Fluorocarbon line.  A lot of fishermen will use lighter line for a drop shot and heavier line for a senko, but the 6lb or 8lb test line will allow you to both.

    Structure and Cover

    Bass relate to cover and structure.  They use these areas as ambush points to feed.  Focus on areas of visible cover when starting out.  Find things like trees, brush, rocks, and grass.  Drag the drop shot around the trees, over the rocks, and along a grass line.  Fish a senko along a grass line or pitch it to a pocket in the grass, parallel to a tree line, or up toward a rock pile.  Finding areas of submerged cover and structure can be very helpful as well, but to start, keep it basic and focus on what you can see.

    I have only scratched the surface of these techniques.  There are many variations of these techniques as well.  You can use different hooks, different plastics, wacky rig the baits, use technique specific rods, but if you apply these basic concepts to your fishing, you will catch more fish.

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  • About Author

    Matt Luna

    Matt Luna is 31 years old from Santee, CA. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Matt has fished local team tournaments in the San Diego, CA area and has fished Wild West Bass Trail events as a pro angler. He is currently sponsored by Last Chance Performance Marine, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Powell Rods, and Dedicated 10. Matt started his own tackle company, Matt’s Basic Weights, in 2017. Contact Matt on Facebook at Matt Luna Fishing and Matt’s Basic Weights and on Instagram at mattlunafishing and matts_basic_weights.

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