By Jeff Book
Castaic Pro Staff share their inside tips, tricks, and advice.
I am a Canadian bass angler and have learned a lot over the years from fishing with and listening to more experienced anglers. And just simply reading from what others have posted. With bass season still not open, and with the ongoing pandemic, who knows if it will get delayed or all-out canceled (fingers crossed that it won’t), I hope to provide some tactics that have worked for me in the past.
I will start by saying that I am a HUGE fan of using swimbaits. Mainly 3 different ways, either weighted swimbait hook, swimbait jig head, or weightless. Pretty much what anyone would use. I even use them for flipping into lily pads — yes, it has worked for me. I bet if you have flipped a swimbait, it has worked for you as well.
Because the bass season is at its peak during the dog days of summer up north, some days get tough, each lake has a different take on what makes the bass strike, nothing that no one already doesn’t know. But, in those tough days, has anyone ever thought about downsizing to the Thin Shad? The Reaction Strike Chunky Shad and the Castaic Swimbaits are amazing swimbaits and very versatile. Still, on those days where the bass are just nipping or short striking, I found that downsizing to a smaller profile swimbait profile will trigger more strikes, giving you more opportunities to set the hook.
We all have been there before: a bass hammers the bait, you set the hook, and the fight is on. You get the bass to the boat and find out it’s about 1lb, and you swear that it felt like a 5lb. Then you throw back into the same spot, the same thing. Frustrated, you throw something else into the same pocket, stick bait, T-Rig creature, and then nothing. What about just downsizing to the Thin Shad, either on a shakey head, smaller jig head, etc.?
We all know that if the bass are hitting swimbaits, they will keep hitting swimbaits. So, why not trying to downsize your swimbait. Yes, of course, big baits yield big bass, but it also falls on the same principle as downsizing your jig or going from a 5″ stick bait to a 4″.
Think of it this way: if you put a Thin Shad on a shakey head and as it falls, what does it look like? Not necessarily an injured minnow but a minnow feeding off the bottom not paying attention to the 6lb behemoth irritated that it’s crept into its home.
I would recommend a finesse set-up if you are going to use a Thin Shad shakey head, 7’0″ – 7’2″ MH F spinning. I always use braided line with a fluro leader (with the exception of my crankbait, spinner bait, top water popper, and jerkbait rod set-ups). I use 30lb braid to 12 fluro leaders for all of my finesse set-ups, including shakey heads. Sometimes it will be a 10 lb fluro leader, but that is rare for me.
When I use a spinning rod, I hold the set-up with the reel seat between my baby finger and ring finger, and once the bait it where I want it (either on the bottom of just above a weed bed, etc.), I keep my middle finger directly onto the braid while I am working the bait. Whether it’s in my head or not, I feel like I can feel those light strikes faster by keeping my finger on the braid.