Outdoor Articles

Bagwell’s Bass Tactics: Two for One

by Pursue The Outdoors on June 27th, 2005 in Freshwater Fishing

Since this is the first installment of my new online column, I have decided to give you all a taste of the two angles from which I approach things. One being the “Tip and Tactic” format that is designed to help anglers of different skill levels increase their overall fishing knowledge. The other approach is a little more brash and sometimes misinterpreted. On occasion, it may come off as me being a self righteous, arrogant jerk, but that is not the way I intend it. My belief is to call it like I see it, without sugar coating things in order to please someone else.

With all that being said, I would like to thank all of you for taking part in the first issue of my column. It should be a lot more fun than when it was published in a magazine. The choke chain isn’t nearly as tight and I can be “me” a lot more frequently. So fasten up the kill switch and let’s go for a heck of a ride.

Get Creative With the Drop Shot Rig for Spawning Bass

When most anglers hear the words “Drop Shot Rig,” the last thing they think of, is sight fishing for spawning Bass. The truth is, in lakes all over the country there are anglers putting big limits in their boats using this killer technique. When sight fishing, there are certain factors that will greatly affect the outcome. If you can accomplish these objectives, you will be much more successful at putting these big pigs in the boat.

Approaching the fish with your boat and with your bait in a stealthy manner is probably the single most important element in sight fishing. During the spawn these fish are very gun-shy and spook very easy. When moving into position, keep your trolling motor on low. Constantly switching the motor off and on will usually scare the fish away. Once you are within range, quietly pitch your bait a few feet past the bed. This will allow you to slowly and quietly sneak the bait into the strike zone.


While bait selection is important, it is far less complicated during the spawn. Bass are not in the mood to eat. Therefore, selecting baits that mimic predators rather than prey is a more logical choice. Using lures such as Lizards, Senkos and Jigs will be far more productive. The reasoning behind Lizards and Jigs is fairly obvious, but to most anglers, Senkos don’t really look like anything. With the right color selection, a Senko on a Drop Shot rig does an awesome job of imitating a Bluegill. As we all know, Bass hate Bluegills, especially during the spawn.

As I previously mentioned, Bass are not in the mood to eat during the spawn. In order to get these fish to hit a lure, you have to really make them mad. When they do strike, the fish is simply trying to kill the intruder, rather than grabbing a quick meal. Using a Drop Shot rig gives you the ability to slide your bait into the strike zone and continually move it, all without pulling it from the bed. The reason being, the weight stays stationary, while the bait moves in an erratic action on semi-slack line. This technique gives you the ability to move the bait up and down, or just shake it a few inches off of the bottom for as long as you want. Even the most laid back fish will be forced to obliterate a trespasser that has been in its bed for too long. Be sure to keep a close watch over your bait, because these fish will hit hard and fast. If you are daydreaming, your bait will be placed five feet from the bed before you even have time to set the hook.

Inconsiderate, Spot Sharing Co-Anglers

There is always a certain level of animosity between Boaters and Co-Anglers. Some of the ill feelings are justified and others are just mentally fabricated ramblings. The different arguments could quickly fill the pages of a book. Although I would love to debate both sides of the issue, I just don’t have the time. After a psychological coin toss, I decided it would be the Co-Anglers that would hate me this week. Oh fret not my back deck buddies, the Boaters will get their lashes in due time.

It is common knowledge that most Boaters put in a lot of work in the days, weeks and even months preceding a tournament. Most of their time is spent trying to find productive areas and patterns. They work very hard to keep the data they have collected, close to the vest. If the information in their memory banks were to get out, any advantage they had, would be gone. Ironically, as soon as the tournament starts, all of the secrecy goes out the window. These Boaters are paired with Co-Anglers that now get to fish in their top secret waters. This paradox is likely the single biggest cause for some of the bitter feelings between Boaters and Co-Anglers.

Way too many (not all) Co-Anglers talk entirely too much. They haven’t yet learned that certain details in Bass tournaments are to be kept quiet. You don’t go back to the dock and tell all of your buddies where you fished. This is especially true in multi-day tournaments. At a very big tournament at Kentucky Lake in 2002 I was about fifty feet away from two boats that were nose to nose and the anglers were ready to throw down. These guys were yelling expletives at each other for about ten minutes. All of it was because a Co-Angler with an over active mouth had told his second day Boater where the other guy’s secret spot was.

Another example is a guy that fishes about ten tournaments per year as a Co-Angler. He never pre-fishes and has very limited time on this particular body of water. Strangely enough, he has new spots after each tournament and is more than willing to share them. The sad part is this angler has developed a bad reputation that is spreading faster than butter on a hot biscuit. Nobody wants to draw this Co-Angler and when they do, they often hesitate to go to their favorite fishing areas. This resentment prohibits these anglers from fishing to their full potential, because he is in the back of their boat.

Unless you want to be dubbed the “Most Hated Co-Angler,” keep your lips sealed after tournaments. It is fine to broadcast what baits “you” used or what pattern “you” fished, but never disclose an area that a trusting angler took you to. The only exceptions to this rule would be if you had already been there before the tournament (community hole) or if the Boater gives you his/her blessing to do so.

Just take into consideration how you would feel if you worked your butt off, only to have some other angler troll right in and tell everyone where your honey hole is. You wouldn’t like it and believe me, neither do they. Build your reputation as an honest angler that others can trust. In a lot of tournaments, the sharing of information by Co-Anglers is an explicit rule infraction. Violating this rule could possibly lead to you being served a mouthful of knuckles or even worse, being banned from tournament fishing. It is not even worth the hassle. Instead, enjoy your time on the water, learn as much as possible and be thankful that you have the opportunity to fish.

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