Nearly time to test your Bass Fishing' Tactics


Cold and rainy weather doesn't conjure thoughts of big days on the water. But it pays to be prepared for when better fishing weather arrives.

That's why about 100 anglers recently met at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tenn., for a "Bass University" program, listening to top professionals discuss winning tactics.

Here's a sampling of strategies and gear they recommended:

- Plastic worms: Woo Daves, the 2000 BASS Masters Classic champion, says one of his favorite tactics is plastic-worm fishing in shallow water.

Daves said 90 percent of bass are caught in 6 feet of water and 70 percent of big bass are caught on plastic worms.

Spinning tackle is his choice, including a 6 1/2-foot, medium heavy action bass spinning rod. Best line is 10-pound test and never more than 12-pound, he said.

"It's best to pitch a worm underhand with a flip which is all done with the wrist," Daves said.

Daves uses this method to get the lure back under docks and overhanging limbs in hot-weather fishing.

- Flipping and pitching: From his ESPN television series Jimmy Houston Outdoors to his success as a two-time BASS Angler of the Year Jimmy Houston is well known in the outdoors world.

So when Houston calls flipping and pitching the "ultimate fishing technique," it should catch anglers' attention.

He says it's best to use a 61/2- to 7-foot medium heavy action casting rod with a bait-casting reel and 14- to 17-pound test line.

Flipping and pitching, he says, are successful shallow-water techniques, even in early season fishing. In flipping, Houston uses only about 12 feet of line and 30 feet pitching.

Houston says don't worry if it's a strike or not, go ahead and set the hook.

"If you set the hook and it isn't a strike you've got to tell your partner in the boat that it was anyway," Houston said with a laugh.

- Finesse fishing: Rich Tauber has seen finesse fishing help him become a three-time BASS Master Classic Finalist.

Tauber recommends a spinning rod and 10-pound test line. When using the spinning rod, it's best to close the bail by hand after a cast.

In finesse fishing, Tauber likes to use a small tube worm or grub, and drop the lure on a loose line into thick cover. Since the strike frequently occurs on the drop, he sets the hook on any resistance in lifting the lure.

Tauber also described the "drop shot rig," which uses a straight tail worm rigged to stick out 90 degrees from the line over a sinker hung about 14 inches under the lure. He uses this rig in deeper water, jiggles the rod tip and then drops it to provoke a strike.





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