UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Pro Tips Weekly: Justin Lucas

National Guard pro Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala., is in 8th with five bass for 25-12.

A swimbait is hard to beat as a search bait in the spring, especially when you're fishing a lake you haven't fished before, or you're just not sure where the bass are in a big cove or pocket. I especially like to use swimbaits in practice, when I'm more interested in finding bass than catching them. Cast it out and wind it back in; that's all there is to it. I can cover a lot of water quickly and efficiently. Even if the bass won't hit a swimbait, a lot of times they'll make a run at it or follow it back to the boat - unless a cold front has just passed through the area. I like to use a 4- or 5-inch Berkley Hollow Belly on a 4/0 or 5/0 Owner hook and weighted with a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce sinker or jighead. If the aquatic vegetation is fairly thick, I'll rig it with the Owner; otherwise, I'll fish it on an open-hook jighead. When I'm trying to catch fish, if a bass swirls at a swimbait but doesn't take it, I'll switch to a drop-shot rig or something slower. Whether I want to catch fish or just find fish, swimbaits are my pick. Not only will they find productive water for you, but they'll help you eliminate water, which is very important when you're trying to narrow your options. -- National Guard pro Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala.

Tags: pro-tips-weekly 


First-Aid for Your Boat

One of the best moves I made early on was to familiarize myself with how things are rigged in my boat: electronics, trolling motor, Power-Poles, trailer lights – whatever. Now I rig up just about everything myself, and if there’s an issue with something, I probably know how things work well enough to fix the problem. READ MORE »


Quick Lure Modifications

Over the years, I have compiled a list of items that are oftentimes not associated with bass fishing but that play critical roles for me each time I'm on the water and need to modify baits. These little tools and trinkets can be used to improve your success rate, but will not be found in a local bait shop. Instead, they’re found in the aisles of local hardware and craft stores. To recognize their value, you have to think outside the box a little bit. READ MORE »


Spinning Rod Skipping Tactics

I skip a jig or soft-plastic jerkbait on casting gear, but I use a spinning rod when I’m not getting many bites or in areas where I think the fish are getting more pressure than normal. That’s when the finesse technique and the spinning rod become a really strong game plan. READ MORE »


Fishing a Senko on Top

An unweighted Yamamoto Senko, rigged on a wide-gap hook, has caught a lot of bass for me. Most often, I use it where the fish have been hammered and have seen about every other lure there is. This is probably in an area where the bass aren’t replenishing and are just sort of hanging out and feeding once in a while. READ MORE »


Are You Sponsor-Friendly?

There’s no doubt that some companies are constantly bombarded by fishermen who want to be on their pro-staffs. From my experience, the most successful fishermen are the ones who realize that companies sponsor them to help sell products. This entails actively promoting a company and its products, being well-spoken and never missing a chance to plug a major sponsor, and just generally projecting a positive image. READ MORE »


Creek Fishing in the Fall

Conventional wisdom has it that in Tennessee River lakes shad migrate up creeks, and bass follow them in the fall. But which creeks? READ MORE »


Wake Baits for Fickle Fall Bass

Sometimes fish just don’t want to break the surface to get a lure, but will go after it when it’s just below the surface. Wake baits are great for such times. They have a reputation for being good lures for the spawn and post spawn, but I fish them a lot in the fall when the bass want something a little different. READ MORE »


How to Choose Topwaters in Fall

As the cool nights drive baitfish to the shallows, bass see a prime opportunity to fatten up for winter. It’s the perfect scenario for a topwater approach: loads of bait, ravenous bass and skinny water. Best of all, you can forget stowing away the surface lures once the sun peaks. These bass are more than willing to crush a topwater rain or shine, morning, noon and night. READ MORE »


Changing the Profile of a Buzzbait

Fishermen are starting to catch on to the importance of profile when using buzzbaits, especially in the fall when the fish are more particular. When you’re fishing a buzzbait and the fish either miss it or just swirl at it, usually it’s a speed thing or the profile in the water isn’t right. They’re keying on something, and you’ve got to figure it out. READ MORE »


Flipping the Mats

A great pattern this time of year is flipping for bass that are feeding on bluegills in grass mats along shorelines. READ MORE »


Fishing Flooded Trees

Lakes that don’t have much current develop thermoclines in the summer where the water temperatures differ and form layers. Depending on water clarity and other factors, the top of the thermocline might be 20 to 30 feet from the surface, and a lot of times you can spot it on your fishing electronics. READ MORE »


Make Your Own Rod

For a while now, I’ve been wrapping my own fishing rods. I’m not knocking the rods that are produced for the mass market, but there are certain things that I want in a rod. So the small adjustments I can make by tweaking the components are worth the trouble and time it takes to wrap my own. READ MORE »


Power-Shotting on Beds

Tom Redington explains how power-shotting can be a productive technique to catch bedding bass. READ MORE »


Be Patient with Bedding Bass

Probably the biggest reason why some anglers don’t catch bedding fish is that they lack the patience that’s often necessary. They might think, Well, that fish just isn’t ready to be caught, but a lot of guys miss fish that are actually catchable. READ MORE »


Running a Spot Spawning Pattern

In lakes where there are spotted bass, smallmouths and largemouths, the spawn can get complicated. Largemouths tend to bed in shallower, warmer water, but smallmouths and spotted bass might bed anywhere from the shallows to so far out it’s hard to see their beds. READ MORE »


Osinski’s Texas-Rigged Swimbait

Lake Okeechobee Rayovac FLW Series champion Val Osinski relied on a unique Texas-rigged swimbait paired with a Gambler KO Punch Skirt on the final day of his tournament win. It’s an option that Tour pros might find handy next week when they take to the waters of Lake Toho. READ MORE »


Skinning a Shadalicious

There’s not a time of the year that a swimbait isn’t an effective lure. The only thing that really changes is how and where you fish it. READ MORE »


Rubber or Silicone?

Jig skirts are made of silicone or rubber these days, but I think rubber skirts are superior overall, especially in the winter when the water is cold. Rubber skirts aren’t as affected by cold water and still have quite a bit of action, while silicone skirts tend to stiffen up more. READ MORE »


Slow-Rolling Spinnerbaits in Cold Water

Crankbaits, jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits are popular search baits in the prespawn, but to me it’s hard to beat a spinnerbait. You might not get the same numbers of fish as the other baits will, but as a general rule you’ll get bigger fish. READ MORE »


Lighten Up

There’s no telling how many times I’ve sat in my boat after dark or before daybreak trying to find a bait in a locker or spooling new line. All the while I’d be holding a Maglite in my mouth or trying to adjust a headlamp where I need the light. READ MORE »