Monday, June 10, 2013

A Heavier Rod and New Plastics

Nice swamp bass on a YUM Shakalicious Worm (7" cut down to 5")
Soft plastics have always been the last tackle I'll deploy.  First, they're not great for the type of fishing I prefer - finesse styles - and second...well, that's a longer story.

My father is a pretty capable bait fisherman, but only in retirement is he understanding the value and use of artificial lures.  Make no mistake, he's always owned them, they just seemed to never work. Penultimate in his small tackle box of artificial lures was his selection of a few rubber worms.  Purple was one of the colors; I can't remember the others he kept.  The worms lasted for several years, fished, re-fished, covered in mud and dust, and returned to the bag.  They smelled like motor oil and caught no fish ever, as far as I can recall.

The 2.5" YUM Baby Craw has done me right for 8 years
Fast forward into my own growth as an angler, which involved a lot of misses and mistakes for several years, but ultimately some good skill came out of it by the time I was 25 or so.  I became pretty talented with light spinning tackle, focusing on jerk baits and inline spinnners.  For a decade and a half, those two lure groups have dominated my fishing.  And I've been successful, catching hundreds of trout on in-line spinners, and thousands of bass on a variety of jerk baits, poppers, and stickbaits.

Notable catches (all lures) have been a 20" spotted bass on a 3" popper, a 19" rainbow trout on a Joe's Flies inline spinner, a 17" smallmouth on a Blue Fox, and a few dozen 3-4lb largemouth on Rapalas and poppers.

The BPS Graphite Special does well with hard baits too
Yet, I've missed a lot of fish as well by focusing so strongly (and thick-headedly) on tactics focused on light tackle and only two types of lures.

My first hint was a hard-to-reach rocky bank on a shady reservoir bank, over a cobble shoreline back in 2005.  I'd happened to buy a bag of 2.5" YUM craws and decided to toss them out....from an ultralight spinning rod. I won some fights and lost some BIG ones.  As in, giant pike and 6lb+ largemouth.  That's 4lb line for you.

Since then, I've been petering around with soft plastics - the YUM baby craw chief amongst them, and had a variety of luck.   This year, I've decided to work plastics a little harder, and hopefully it will pay off.

This spring, when it seemed like I got skunked six times in a row while fishing, I also broke two rods (each break was inexcusable and due to my stubbornness and laziness).  I made a big choice for myself - I bought one new rod - a BPS Graphite Series - in Medium / Fast.  It's still a short, stiff rod - 5'6", which will allow me to pitch baits in and out of tiny holes, but I was mainly hoping it would give me some backbone while throwing plastics, and allowing for some stronger hooksets than my half-dozen light and ultralight rods.  It did.   A full review of the rod is brewing.

For the second fishing outing in a row, I caught more bass than I could count.  Once again, many were small, and once again, some 6lb+ bass simply watched the lures pass by.  But the BPS Graphite rod was strong and stiff and sensitive "enough," although it'll never be mistaken for a panfish rod, or a light rod of any kind.
I'm all ready for my next go-around with these fish.  And I've bought some 4.5" craws this time.  We'll see who's the boss then....

Definitely a stickbait...


The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

That Blue Gill photo is awesome.

Kirk Mantay said...

Thanks; that fish fought harder than any of the bass I caught (and I caught a lot), when it first took the hook and ran deep, I thought, "this is a bigger fish for sure!"

Not so much. Cool fish though.

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