UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Go large or go home

Using a large lizard as a spinnerbait trailer is one of the ways to turn big plastic into big bass.

When Ish Monroe missed first place at the Stren Series Western Division event on California's Lake Oroville by 4 ounces back in May, he probably felt like crawling into a hole - perhaps the very same one where the gopher that mysteriously appeared in his livewell once lived. No kidding, Monroe found a rodent weighing well more than 4 ounces in his livewell when he sacked up his limit for the final day's weigh-in. Monroe surmised that the gopher had been displaced by recent rains, gobbled up by a bass and then later regurgitated into Monroe's livewell. "I think when the water started rising that gopher finally had to leave his hole and when he did, that bass was waiting for him." That tells us two things: First, largemouth bass are indiscriminate opportunists. Second, these fish won't hesitate to grab a meal that will surely test their gullet capacity. No doubt, throwing the big stuff means aggressive strategy. It's not an everyday - or everywhere - tactic, but there's no better way of weeding out the riff raff and finding the ones you want than slinging oversized baits. Smaller fish may take their shot at big targets, and there's not much you can do about that. However, big fish are far more likely to grab a big bait than a small one. "I fish big baits pretty much all the time because I'm looking for big fish," Monroe said. "You can catch big fish on little baits too, but I think the majority of times, a big fish is looking for one big meal." Some of it comes down to location. Mexico's famous bass lakes are known for their lunker potential where on any given day of the week, a first-timer can make that lucky cast and score the fish of a lifetime. Perhaps not quite so predictable, but no less rich in trophy potential are stateside treasures like Falcon Lake and Lake Amistad (Texas) as well as the fabulous California Delta. Visit any of these big fish Meccas and you're sure to hear of anglers finding large bass floating at the surface with a ridiculously large tilapia, bluegill or trout stuck in their throat. State fishery departments typically offer historical catch records, as well as lake data and current big fish reports. A little research may help you size up your chances of sticking a toad, but even in waters not known for great numbers of huge bass, some would gladly trade quantity for quality. So stands the eternal question: Do you want to scratch out a limit with bank runners or swing for the fences? Tube talk California pro Ish Monroe helped design a jumbo 7-inch tube that temps big bass shallow and deep.Spend any time around the Cal Delta or Clear Lake and you'll see a fanatical fixation on big swimbaits. Foot-long trout and bulbous bluegill imitators see a lot of action, particularly around the spawn, but one of Monroe's favorite weapons is his signature 7-inch Ish tube. Partnering with Picasso, Monroe took his inspiration from California's saltwater scene in which anglers often drop big tubes for rock cod and lingcod. A random experiment produced a light bulb moment that Monroe had to explore. "I know some saltwater guys who like to go bass fishing, so we trade trips," he explained. "The bass guys take the saltwater guys fishing for bass and the saltwater guys take the bass guys fishing for rockfish and (other species). One day, a saltwater guy brings his tubes and says `I'm going to try this.' I kind of laughed at it, but then he pitched it on a bed and I saw (how aggressively) the fish reacted to it and I said, `Huh. I can do that.' Monroe began bed fishing with big tubes and found that he could consistently tempt big bass as well or better than he could with practically any other bait. It didn't take long for him to realize that the big-fish appeal probably extended past the sight-fishing game. "I decided I'll just try flipping this thing, because if the fish react the way they do on a bed, what about the bed fish you can't see?" Monroe said. "They pretty much react the same way - they hammer that thing HARD. It's something big and bulky, so the fish get down there and say `Oh, I gotta eat that!'" With Monroe's input, Picasso made whopper tubes with softer consistency for the less toothy freshwater scene and added salt for greater bass appeal. The partnership also yielded the monstrous Picasso 12/0 Ish ProX hook, a serious lip-grabbing hunk of metal sized perfectly for the big tube. For bed fishing, Monroe pairs his tubes with 1/2-ounce Tru-Tungsten weights. He goes with a 3/8-ounce weight for flipping. Other "big tube" options include the 7-inch Garland Tora Tube and the Lindy Tiger Tube. Available in 6- and 8-inch models, the later come pre-rigged on jig heads with body hooks and trailer hooks hidden in the tails. Big baits, big benefits The Yum Money Craw is an oversized plastic body that increases a jig's profile and its appeal to big bass.Applications for big plastics also include jigging with large trailers like the 4 ¾-inch Yum Money Craw; flipping hefty water-moving creatures like Reaction Innovations' Double Wide Beaver; Carolina rigging large lizards like Strike King's 10-inch 3X Iguana; and Texas rigging titan worms such as the 10-inch Berkley Power Worm, Yum's 10-inch Big Show Paddle Tail and Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits' 12-inch Curly Tail worm. (Dressing up a spinnerbait with a large plastic lizard or grub is a real head-turner.) With all of these the benefits are many. But in simplest terms, a bigger target yields bigger interest; its simple time and energy management. Bass that live to trophy size have learned the lessons of survival and high on that list is the one about energy gained with each meal vs. energy spent in its acquisition. The promising profile of a big bait convinces a fish that this is prey worth pursuing. Once you close the sale, big plastics offer more to chew on which in turn stimulates a greater feeding response. From a distance, these baits present more body for fish to see and more water displacement/vibrations for fish to detect in lower visibility. With scented baits, larger bodies release more fish-calling aroma into the water. Big lizards make highly effective Carolina Rig baits, particularly in low visibility.On the strike, a mouthful of plastic also lessens the chance of a fish feeling the hook too soon. With anorexic finesse worms, there's not much to mask the metal and a hyper-sensitive fish may spit out the rig if they feel the hard stuff before you can jack his jaw. From a delivery standpoint, a larger bait means more weight and that means greater casting distance. This is always a good thing, but it's especially handy on windy days. Drop(shot) it like it's hot Clearly, all this talk of big plastics smacks of brash, in-your-face fishing; but there is a balance to boldness. Say "finesse" to most anglers and they'll pull out dinky little plastic worms, leeches or minnows maybe 6 inches in length. But not Oregon angler Chris Ricci - he won't hesitate to run 9- to 10-inch worms on a drop-shot rig. Oregon angler Chris Ricci likes big worms on his Texas rig, but he won't hesitate to rig a 10-incher on his dropshot.In reality, Ricci takes what is traditionally a finesse rig and employs it for more aggressive flipping and pitching presentations. Preferring ultra-limber hand-poured worms made by Bass Chow and Maverick, Ricci uses 17-pound Berkley 100-percent fluorocarbon line, a 4/0- 5/0 extra wide gap hook and a 3/16-ounce weight on a 4- to 6-inch leader. "The weight of the (large) hook pulls the head of the worm down and the tail floats up so the worm looks like it's feeding on the bottom," he said. "When the worm goes down the soft body wiggles and vibrates. The subtleness of the hand poured worm (imparts) all the movement for you." With this, or any big plastic presentation, there will be times when a bass will just suck in the bait like he's sipping a hot cappuccino, while other encounters will feel like the fish is literally trying to break down the bait's molecular composition. Either way, a big fish is a big fish. And a big bait just might the strategy of choice for landing your next super-sized catch.

Tags: article  david-a-brown 

/tips/2015-08-04-technical-issues-due-to-service-provider-outage

Technical Issues Due To Service Provider Outage

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-24-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with a tournament on Saturday, July 25, when the Shenandoah division takes on the James River. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day event. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-22-how-to-fish-the-prop-bee

How to Fish the Prop Bee

The Brian’s Bees Prop Bee isn’t the most popular topwater bait on the Walmart FLW Tour. Rather, it’s more limited in scope. It’s a niche bait. When a tournament falls into the window where the Prop Bee shines, however, it’s one of those “you-gotta-have-it” baits that is practically a shoo-in to produce a few top-10 finishes. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-16-flw-tournaments-headed-to-china

FLW Tournaments Headed to China

FLW announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Sunny Lake (Beijing) Sport Development, LLC, from China to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern Asian nation at a contract signing today at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando. The agreement was signed by FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel and Gang Li, vice president of the Florida Culture Exchange Association (FCEA), representing Sunny Lake Sport Development. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-10-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with two tournaments on Saturday, July 11. The Great Lakes division takes on the Wolf River Chain and the Michigan division stops at the Detroit River for an event presented by Navionics. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day events. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-10-5-frog-tactics-that-work-now

5 Frog Tactics that Work Now

Beyond the simple joy of slamming hooks into the mouth of a shallow, surface-feeding bass, frogs also offer technical advantages that allow anglers to capitalize on some of the best big-bass action of the summer. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-martin-earns-first-aoy-title

Martin Earns First AOY Title

Prior to the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season, Scott Martin had banked a total of three top-10 Angler of the Year finishes in his 15-year career as a pro. It was impressive, but not indicative of his greatness. The truth of the matter is that Scott Martin was a winner, always taking risks in search of equal reward. That risky fishing has led Martin to more than $2 million in earnings, a Forrest Wood Cup win and four Tour-level wins. But the gambles burned him often enough that he never earned AOY. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-birge-dominates-roy-race

Birge Dominates ROY Race

Zack Birge isn’t wasting any time filling out his tournament-fishing resume. The Oklahoman won the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake last fall then joined up on the Walmart FLW Tour for 2015 and went on a season-long tear that earned him the Rookie of the Year award. Birge, alongside his wife, Kristina, was presented with his ROY trophy this afternoon on the weigh-in stage at the Potomac River tournament, where he finished in 77th place. He finished 29th overall in the AOY standings to best a group of 18 rookies. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-27-flw-signs-contract-for-south-korean-tournaments

FLW Signs Contract for South Korean Tournaments

At the day-two weigh-in of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River, FLW signed a contract that inked an exclusive licensing agreement with MirooNamoo Media Group from South Korea to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern-Asian country. South Korea will run a series of FLW tournaments that advance anglers, who are citizens of the host country, to a new International Division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship beginning in 2016. Two anglers will compete as pros with FLW providing Ranger boats, and two will compete as co-anglers. The top pro award at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship is $95,000, including a Ranger Z518C if the pro is Ranger Cup qualified, and the top co-angler award is a Ranger Z117. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-hunter-captures-co-angler-of-the-year-title

Hunter Captures Co-angler of the Year Title

Things couldn’t have worked out any better for first-year Walmart FLW Tour co-angler John Hunter, who wrapped up a phenomenal season from the back of the boat to win Co-angler of the Year and the Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard that goes with it. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-aoy-update-martin-controls-his-destiny-

AOY Update: Martin Controls His Destiny

Scott Martin is on the verge of winning the only major FLW title that has escaped him to this point: Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year. As John Cox and Bryan Thrift stumbled in the Walmart FLW Tour season finale on the Potomac River, Martin steamed ahead and made the top-20 cut in 11th place with 26 pounds, 9 ounces. The way the math checks out, if Martin finishes 19th place or better, he’ll win AOY. If he finishes 20th, he’ll be tied with Cox. The tiebreaker awards AOY to the angler with the most total weight for the season. If he finishes 20th, Martin can still win by bringing at least 11-13 to the scale on day three. Anything less and Cox survives to win. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-25-on-the-bubble-for-the-cup-

On the Bubble for the Cup

By rule, the top 35 anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year standings make the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita Aug. 20-23. However, when a Tour pro pre-qualifies through another of FLW’s tournament circuits and also finishes in the top 35, an additional Cup invitation is extended to the angler in 36th place, and on down the list in the event of additional double qualifications. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-24-a-bass-fisherman-in-need

A Bass Fisherman in Need

Friends of FLW College Fishing angler David Cosner have established a fund to help the Texas fisherman pay medical bills associated with his long battle with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a debilitating disease that gradually destroys the organs. Cosner, who founded the Texas State University Bass Cats and was named to the 2010 FLW College Fishing All-America team, was diagnosed with the rare disease in 2009 when he was 17 and since has had to undergo 215 surgeries. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-22-coy-and-roy-on-the-line

COY and ROY on the Line

FLW is hauling a lot of hardware to Maryland this week for the final stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The world’s largest tournament fishing organization is also going to be writing some fat checks. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-22-thrift-flirting-with-second-aoy-title

Thrift Flirting with Second AOY Title

Bryan Thrift can’t say for certain what baits will sit on his front deck during the final Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015 on the Potomac River, which is set to kick off this Thursday, but he’s quick to say what will not join him – the memory of his 2010 Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-18-father-of-david-dudley-passes

Father of David Dudley Passes

James Dudley, the father of longtime Walmart FLW Tour pro David Dudley, passed away June 17 after a lengthy illness. He was a lifetime resident of Lynchburg, Va., and a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Like his son, James Dudley was also a tournament fisherman and competed in 73 FLW events. He finished in the top 10 in eight of them. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-12-is-this-the-new-bass-fishing-capital-of-the-south-

Is this the New Bass Fishing Capital of the South?

Dayton, Tenn., is situated on Richland Creek, a tributary that flows into the western side of Lake Chickamauga, one of the hottest bass fisheries in the country. Local officials with a flair for marketing – and good business sense – believe that Chickamauga can be the sellable “brand” that attracts bass fishermen to come and spend their time and their money in Dayton. They believe that old-fashioned Southern hospitality and small-town charm, plus trophy bass, are just the recipe for turning Dayton into “The New Bass Fishing Capital of the South.” READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-09-bass-bbq-is-back

Bass & BBQ is Back

Bass fishing and barbecue are favorite Southern pastimes, made even better when you spice them up with a little competition. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-09-starting-strong

Starting Strong

Zack Birge likes to play the numbers, and right now the math is looking pretty sweet for him. With two events remaining on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, the Blanchard, Okla., pro has essentially sewn up Rookie of the Year honors, and he’s currently sitting in fourth place in the Angler of the Year standings. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-08-top-10-patterns-from-the-james-river

Top 10 Patterns from the James River

Flipping isolated clumps of spatterdock produced the winning fish for Canadian pro Cory Johnston at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the James River. Adapting to the week’s extreme high water was critical to bagging the winning total of 46 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »