Category Archives: Bass & warmwater

What’s with the Shotgun for Bass Fishing?

Would you think to bring a shotgun to bass fishing? Well this guy sure did, and with good reason.
In this video you’ll get to see some great blasting and casting when two guys bring a shotgun fishing.

They give some great tips about filling your bird tags and hooking lunkers for anywhere you call home.

As you just saw the reason this guy wanted to bring a shotgun bass fishing was because of the cormorant bird. These ‘water turkeys’ frequent lakes where you can also find hungry pre spawn bass.

Although the shotgun worked well for the birds, the angler was using a Zoom 4? Lizard to lure in the pre spawn bass. The fisherman used a dragging technique to find where the fish were biting. He put the Lizard lure on the line and with aide of the split-shot, it bounced along the ground as the boat slowly over along.

After searching around the lake, tho guy had the most luck with the lizard lure and the chatterbait. Keep in mined each area has a unique environment, so you’ll have to find out which patterns will catch fish in your neck of the woods. However if you’re after birds, shotguns work well no matter where you go.

Video Transcription
Alright, so you’re probably asking, ‘why would you ever bring a shotgun out on a fishing trip?’ Well here in the south, we have birds that I call ‘water turkeys’, but their official name is a Comerand, and they’re a nuisance to a lake, and they can actually come in and take over. They fly in in the south and they eat all your baitfish and your bluegills, and they can really destroy a lake in a short amount of time. So my man Fred here, his job today is to run ’em off, shoot ’em, do whatever we can do to kinda get rid of some of these and kinda help get some of these birds out of this lake before they destroy it.

Here we go!

[Shot]

Get ’em Fred!

There he is! [shot] Got him!

Alright guys, it’s pre-spawn here in Alabama, and I’m gonna show you some techniques I use that really work. And this is what I call the #Hundie rig, and I say that because it works 100% of the time. But all joking aside, it is a really good technique to catch pre-spawn bass, and specifically to find out where these fish are at. So I’ll just show you, for instance.

I’m gonna target areas that are maybe 40-50 feet off the bank, and in the pre-spawn, these fish, the water temps aren’t warm enough to go spawn yet, so they’ll sit out here in what I call the prime real-estate. So just say, if there’s a stump right out here, 40 ft off the bank, there’s always gonna be a fish on it, even if you pull up and you catch that fish, you know, thirty minutes later, a day later, another fish is gonna move in. These are paths that they use in the spring, and kinda staging positions that they sit in. And the thing that I like to do is throw a really tiny lizard, I use a Must-add grip-in hook, and that hook will keep that lizard head from sliding down, so that’s a really cool hook for this technique. Eight-pound test line, a split-shot weight, and a spinning rod. And I’m just gonna cover all of this area, and I’ll catch a lot of small fish using this technique, but it’s really good to let me know what depth they’re holding in. Because the water’s still cold enough that they could be sitting out here in the deep part, they could be 20-40 feet off the bank, I don’t really know yet, so I’m gonna use this rig, find out where the fish are, and then I may swap over to a chatterbait or something, or maybe try to go for one of those bigger fish. But this is really successful because it’s a finesse presentation, and in the wintertime when the water’s still cold, or pre-spawn, they’re not necessarily wanting a heavy meal, you know. They’re fattened up over the winter, they’re looking for something a little light, and this is just small enough and just tempting enough to get them to bite it. So let’s see if we can catch something with this technique, and then we may swap them over to something and look for something big, but I have caught big fish on this finesse presentation before. So let’s try it out.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget the secret sauce. I always use it on my soft plastics. Make ’em hold on to it.

Here’s one. Got her. ‘No giant, but I’ll take it. Probably the number-one question I get asked on my Youtube channel, is ‘have you ever caught a small fish’, and of course, I catch a bunch of small fish throughout the year, but a lot of them don’t make the cut. But I’m gonna make sure that I show you guys some dinks in these videos. Little dinks, but still just lettin’ us know, we’re trying to key in on where they’re hanging out at, and hope to get into a big one soon.

So just to take a quick look, I probably caught that fish about fifty yards off the bank, but the fish that’re hanging out here are probably gonna move up into that cove there in the spring, and that’s where they’re going to spawn at. That’s the number one problem I see in the people fishing at the pre-spawn, they go straight to the banks, but a lot of the fish are still hanging out here offshore, so it just takes a little time to find ’em, but it can be rewarding.

There he is. Got him. Got a little drag for a little guy. I like it. A little junebug lizard. Come in here buddy. There we go. A little male bass. Got pretty colors on him, a little technique. There’s my lizard.

Now I’ll show you one other technique I like to do, I call it a dragon technique. What you do is just flip it out behind the boat and uh, if the wind is blowing, you just let the wind carry you. But if not, you just put the trolling motor down on the slowest speed and just drag it along every now and again, just cut it off. You’re not wanting that split-shot to be sitting down there on the bottom, and you’re wanting that lizard to kinda be bouncing back there on the other side of it, and I’ve had some good luck doing this, especially if I don’t know what area to target, I’ll drag until I get a bite, and then I’ll start casting and try to pick a spot apart, but we’ll see if they’re up for Dragon technique today.

Got him. Let’s see, what do we have here… Feels like it might be a decent little fish. Nope, not a little dink. Still fun catching ’em. Notice how far it was off the bank right there. That’s what I’m looking for, information. Not necessarily big bass right here. Oh this thing’s a fighter. Come on in here, buddy. There we go. Little healthy fish. Well alright, I think that’s enough to kinda tell us what we need. So we’re gonna put this one back. Haha.

Here we go. Oh yes sir. That’s a nice one. [something about good females] She’s got some power to her. Just gonna take my time, let her run out. Come on in here. There we go. A nice springtime fish right there. That could be a big male. Now these fish are confusing me. If that was a female, she should have some eggs. That’s probably a nice male right there. But hey we’ll take it on the hundie rig. Can’t beat that.

Alrigh now I’ve figured out where they’re at, located ’em, might swap over to spinner bait or chatter bait and try to get a real big one. But my rig did its job.

Alrighty, first fish out here with pre-spawn techniques. Chatter bait, search bait, trying to figure out where they’re at. Nice little chunker, female. Yep, that is a good way to start. Females are moving up. I’ll take it. No red tails, but you can tell she’s getting ready to pop.

Oh! That was not a good female; chopped up, spitted out. Hey we’re runnin’ a little bite here.

Alright guys, I’m gonna end today’s video here. I did end up catching some really nice fish, but I’m gonna save that, it’s gonna be a whole new video in itself, and it’s all thanks to this new rig I showed you. So hopefully you can go out and use it and find some pre-spawn patterns in your area, but before I end this video, I want to show you some typical spring lures that you’re gonna see me using this upcoming spring. Spinner bait, that’s the rig I was just using, swim jig, chatter bait, now these are all really good baits for the springtime. ‘nother chatter bait, and something like a big– that’s a custom-painted bluegill. And if you wanna see me use any other techniques or whatever for the springtime, just make sure to leave it in the comments below and I’ll try to make sure to cover those techniques, but make sure it’s a shallow water springtime technique. So get ready folks, I’m pumped up, it’s finally spring, the fish are finally moving up, and you’re definitely gonna see some big bass caught on our channel, so guys, get out there, and catch some of those springtime fatties!

Sources: BammaBass Youtube, Johnny Certo

Reese wins Elite Series West Point Lake tournament, breaks two-year winless streak

Auburn's Skeet Reese celebrates his victory Sunday at the Elite Series event at West Point Lake in Georgia. (Photo by James Overstreet)

Auburn’s Skeet Reese celebrates his victory Sunday at the Elite Series event at West Point Lake in Georgia. (Photo by James Overstreet)

It’s long been a belief here in the California Sportsman offices that the West Coast – and specifically the Golden State – is the true Mother Lode of bass fishing. The Southern-based professional circuits obviously believe otherwise, but, our editors here will go to their graves with the belief that anglers from California are the best, most diverse in the country.

Auburn’s own Skeet Reese notched one on the “West Coast” list this weekend with a Bassmaster Elite Series victory at West Point Lake in Georgia, the former Bassmaster Classic champion’s first tour win since 2010. And who finished second? None other than Aaron Martens, another born-and-bred Californian.

For good measure, San Jose’s Chris Zaldain settled nicely into sixth place, officially giving the state of California 33.33 percent of the top 10 in a 100-man field.

Reese, though, served the loudest proclamation about West Coast anglers and their diversity by ditching his original plan – to throw swimbaits – and racking up most of his 46 pounds, 6 ounces by targeting bedding largemouth with a drop-shot 4-inch Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper.

“I thought if I could win, I’d win on a swimbait,” Reese told Bassmaster. “I couldn’t get a bite on a swimbait. I didn’t think I’d be picking up a spinning rod, but I adapted to conditions.”

The win pushed Reese to third place in the coveted Toyota Angler of the Year Standings, followed closely by Zaldain in fourth.

Final standings: You’ll find final standings HERE on Bassmaster.com

100 best bass lakes: We’re No. 3! And No. 9! And No. 24 …

By Joel Shangle

Let the arguments begin.

Even though we Golden Staters are honored that Bassmaster magazine ranked two California lakes in its recently released Top 100 Bass Lakes of 2013, we’re already dialing Bassmaster editor James Hall to lobby for New Melones Reservoir- among others – as a write-in vote.

Clear Lake was ranked No. 3 in the country, which is probably right where it belongs … for this year anyway. Thanks to the recent resurgence of the lake’s famed largemouth fishery in the recent two years, don’t be surprised if Lakeport is the center of the bass fishing world in 2014.

And how were the fisheries chosen?

Last year, we developed the list by asking every state’s Department of Natural Resources (sometimes it was the wildlife agency) to give us catch rates, population studies and stocking schedules for all the fisheries they managed. From there, we sent the list to B.A.S.S. Nation presidents and conservation directors to rank each of these bodies of water based on the tournaments they held. And then we had a panel of Elite Series pros, outdoor writers and industry professionals finalize the lakes list and rankings.

This process made last year’s list solid, but not bulletproof. This year, we added another very important step to the ranking system: you!

We sent the list created by the DNR data to not only the B.A.S.S. Nation leadership, but also 3,500 B.A.S.S. members throughout the U.S., as well. We asked these avid anglers to tell us which fisheries should be deleted and which lakes should be added to the list, and then to rank the lakes in their respective regions. The response was unbelievable, and the data collected helped legitimize the ranking of each body of water.

The Delta came in at No. 9, Lake Oroville at No. 24, Lake Shasta at 33. I’m a little surprised that the Bassmaster boys snuck Bullards Bar in at No. 37 and Berryessa at 53 – nice scouting, Mr. Hall!

Clear Lake hawgs like this 10-pounder landed by Byron Velvick at the 2011 Elite Series tournament at Clear Lake are why this NorCal fishery was voted No. 3 by Bassmaster. (Seigo Saito photo)

The A-rig, year 2: how will it do in its sophomore year in California?

By Joel Shangle

Kent Brown with a largemouth caught throwing a California-ized version of the A-rig at Clear Lake. (Photo courtesy Kent Brown)

It came screeching out of Alabama in 2012 like a tornado in reverse, this jangle of hooks and baits and titanium wires that caused rule-makers at the two biggest bass organizations in the world – BASS and FLW – to consider abolishing it from competition.

Andy Poss created a five-headed monster on Guntersville Lake with the Alabama rig – easily one of the most revolutionary bass baits of the past 25 years – but it took few months for that monster to rear its head in California waters.

When it did, though, the California-legal version of the A-rig did some damage. Average Joe anglers caught more and bigger fish, and tournament anglers who had previously dominated with spinnerbaits, swimbaits and cranks suddenly found themselves staring up at top 5s that were heavily weighted with A-rig throwers.

“That bait made a difference,” says Kent Brown, host of Ultimate Bass Radio in Sacramento. “If you weren’t throwing that thing out of some sense of stubbornness, you cost yourself fish. It proved to be a damn effective bait. It was unbelievable last year. Unreal. The biggest spotted bass you ever caught the biggest smallmouth you ever caught, all on A-rigs. There were bags caught on the thing at Clear Lake that went 33, 34, 35 pounds, fishing literally with one rod. You could be ‘One Rod Todd’ and clean up on that bait.”

Heading into the A-rig’s sophomore year in the Golden State, it remains to be seen whether it was just the first-blush uniqueness of the bait that made it so deadly, or whether it’ll join the swimbait and ripbait as longlasting parts of the California bass arsenal.

“The jury is still out,” Brown admits. “The next 90 days will determine if this bait is going to be as good as it was last year. I think it’ll be a factor again at Clear Lake this spring – it’s just starting to scratch the surface there. It never really dominated the Delta. It was okay, but never really tore it up there last year. Shasta, Oroville, Folsom, Don Pedro, places like that, it was definitely a bait to be reckoned with. It’ll be interesting to see how it works the second time around. This year in California, we went through December/January with very little rain. The lakes have kind of stabilized – there’s not a lot of inflow coming in, and the lakes are pretty clear. I think that’s slowed the Alabama rig down a little.”

However, the timing is right for the rig to shine now as fish move from winter to pre-spawn transition water.

“Water is warming and the fish are starting to make the move shallow,” Brown says. “They’re somewhere between their winter spot and transition area where they’re headed to spawn. It’s fish that are pulling up and staging. I’m painting a picture of 30 spots on Clear Lake right now where I could find that condition, at the mouth of a canal or a point, or a warming bay. If they’re in that in-between water, the A-rig will be money.”

Making adjustments: The first versions of the A-rig fished in California – either the original Alabama rig sold by Mann’s, or similar imitators – were slightly heavy and likely discouraged anglers who threw it without trying to alter it to fit their fisheries. It didn’t take long for Golden State bait tweakers to adjust the rig to better fit the state’s clearer waters.

“I think there were a lot of guys who bought it, tried it, probably lost it and never picked it up again,” Brown says. “The first thing we got from Guntersville was heavy, but the guys in the West kind of revised it a little bit. They finessed it up a bit, took the weight out, scaled the baits down a little. The thing was just flat too heavy when we first got it, and really tough to fish in shallow water. Now we’re seeing both national manufacturers and garage-shop guys who are building it with 1/8-ounce jigheads, and A-rig setups that are unique to California.”

FLW pro John Murray echoes Brown’s observations about the West Coast alteration of the bait.

“The finesse versions of the A-rig have gotten popular, the ones you can actually cast accurately,” Murray says. “The thing that’s really caught on (out West) this year is the rig with the blades on the arms, that produce more flash. I’ve seen those out-produce the regular rigs, especially if there’s a little color in the water, or wind.”

Another trend to watch is the increase of the number of baits fished on the A-rig.

“More is better,” Brown says. “If five baits works great, then 7 to 12 baits must be better. You’re still limited to three hooks in California, but the theory is that the bigger bait ball is more attractive to a fish. No matter how many rigs you have in the bait ball, though, if you extend one back with a little longer wire and make it look like that bait is trying to catch up with his buddies, that bait will almost always get hit.”

Redlands native Brent Ehrler locked up his fish FLW Tour win this weekend in Alabama. (Photo courtesy FLW Outdoors)

Ehrler takes wire-to-wire win in recent FLW event at Lewis Smith Lake

By Joel Shangle

Redlands native Brent Ehrler locked up his fish FLW Tour win this weekend in Alabama. (Photo courtesy FLW Outdoors)I’ve long declared that West Coast bass anglers are the most diverse – hence, the best – on both the FLW and BASS tours. Guys like Redlands, Calif., native Brent Ehrler sure are making me look smart.

Ehrler locked up a wire-to-wire victory on the FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper, Ala. on Sunday, notching his fifth Tour victory in nine years as a pro. Ehrler rang up 60-09 pounds to easily outdistance second-place finisher Jacob Powroznik, who finished with 53-05.

The win vaults Ehrler to the top of the FLW Angler of the Year standings after two events, a far cry from the humble beginnings of his pro career.

“You know I was just talking to my wife and Brett (Hite) the other day about the Ouachita River tournament I fished back in my first year on tour which was 2005,” said Ehrler, who now has over $1.9 million in career earnings. “I was so spun out at that event and I finished way down in 174th. I never would have expected to be where I am at today.

The next Tour stop is at Beaver Lake in Alabama, April 11.

Check out FLW Outdoors’ comprehensive coverage of the event HERE.