Targeting Those Shallow Fish
0995: Three common multispecies twitch baits from Rapala are the #12 Husky Jerk, #11 Shadow Rap and the new #9 RipStop.
When it comes to targeting summer bass, there are many considerations that need to be pondered. The first one that always comes to mind is depth. Do I target deep fish or concentrate on shallow bass.
Although there is a definite migration of post spawn fish to the deep weedline, they don’t all end up there. Some bass stay pretty shallow all summer long. Others will move in and out of the shallows on a regular basis.
There are many factors that determine just where bass will set up housekeeping. Food and cover are two of the main considerations.
Bass do love weeds, especially largemouth. If you can find a good cabbage bed coming up out of fairly deep water, you will more than likely find bass lurking there. Cabbage is a great place to hide and offers a smorgasbord of food.
On the other side of this, you have shallow structures like docks and trees that are often magnets for summer bass. Put a little deep water nearby for added security, and the shoreline cover becomes even more desirable.
On some of the lakes I fish, it seems that bass will relate to lily pads and bulrushes much of the time. If you go to northern Minnesota, the majority of the bass stay shallow all summer long and frequent these two cover areas.
And then you have boulders and rock piles. Just ask the Mille Lacs smallmouth anglers or the Rainy Lake bass anglers what smallmouth think about rocks. They love them and reside in them much of the year.
So what are some of lures that are popular for targeting bass that are relating to somewhat shallow water? There are lots of them that will work including spinnerbaits, buzz baits, poppers and cranks. However, two of my favorites are wacky worms and twitch baits.
The wacky worm is the most do nothing, simplistic lure I have ever used. It is also one of the most deadly on bass.
A four or five inch sinking worm impaled through the middle of a 1/0 hook and sticking out evenly on both sides is all it takes. As this odd looking contraption sinks, it slides back and forth and wiggles just enough to drive bass crazy.
The retrieve is simple. Throw it out, let it sink, lift it off of the bottom and let it sink again. The key is trying to keep the line tight enough that the pick-up is easy to feel.
Wind and depth are enemies of wacky style worming. By adding a split shot above the hook or by using a VMC weighted and weedless wacky worm hook, the wacky set-up becomes more versatile.
As for twitch baits or jerk baits, suspending lures are a must. When fished over the tops of weeds or boulders, bass will readily rise to take what appears to be a crippled minnow. By watching the lure alongside the boat, it is easy to see what type of rod action is needed to make the lure come alive.
Twitch bait users will quickly find they attract walleyes and northern, as well. One of my fishing cronies, Duane Osgood, boated 26 walleyes on a white Husky Jerk on the Minnesota walleye opener. Some of the biggest northern I have ever caught came on large Husky Jerks.
Summer is a great time of the year to target bass. Although I spend much of my time working deep weedlines, I also realize that not all bass are in deep water.
You can be sure that when I do find fish that are utilizing shallower water, I will be tempting them with wacky worms and twitch baits.