UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Lake Sinclair

Pro Tips Weekly: Ron Shuffield

Starting the day in 20th place overall, veteran EverStart pro Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., parlayed a two-day catch of 34 pounds, 5 ounces, into a fourth-place result by the end of day two on the Potomac River.

To me, the jig is the most versatile big-fish lure for late winter and early spring. In highland lakes, the bigger bass - largemouths, spots and smallmouths - are moving toward the shore and holding in groups in the places where the last deep water meets shallower water. What I key on is the outside channel bends, whether it's where channel swings in to a bluff bank or a rocky shoreline. You're liable to find fish bunched up 15 or 20 feet deep, or even 40 or 50 feet deep. My favorite colors for off-colored or deep water are black-and-chartreuse or black-and-blue. If the water is clear, I'll go to a brown, brown-and-purple or brown-and-blue jig. My line is 10- or 12-pound-test fluorocarbon. For deep water, a ¾- or 1-ounce jig is best. I thin the weedguard quite a bit, and also sharpen the hook as soon as I get it out of the package. Then I'll check the point every 30 minutes or so to make sure it's still sharp. I'm kind of old-fashioned about the trailer; it's either going to be an Uncle Josh No. 11 for the smaller jigs or maybe a No. 1 Jumbo pork frog for the bigger jigs, in colors to match. Once in a while I'll go to a Fat Albert Twintail grub in sapphire blue or green pumpkin if the fish want a little more movement. When the jig gets to the bottom on a stairstep-type bottom, I fish it back with what I call "controlled slack." I'll lift the rod to about 10 o'clock and then let the jig go back down slowly while keeping the slightest bit of tension on the line. If it's just a slanting bottom, I'll drag the jig along very slowly. The fish won't really slam the jig; you might feel a tick, or it will feel mushy. It's not like you need to set the hook instantly, either, because the bass will hold on to it for a good while. One last tip: on cold mornings, fluorocarbon line tends to get stiff and coil up on your reel. To fix that, I'll tie off the end of the line to a boat cleat while I'm still at the dock, back off several yards and stretch the line a bit. That will help you feel the jig better. EverStart pro Ron Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark.

Tags: pro-tips-weekly 


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 »


Head Off Bass on the Move

Five or six years ago Guido Hibdon won a tournament at Lake Eufaula by sitting in one spot and casting crankbaits and soft plastics over and over again to a point that had a couple of big rocks off its end. READ MORE »


Go Big for Bedding Bass

Everybody has his own ideas about the best baits and approaches for bedding bass, but I’ve had the best luck using the 7-inch Mizmo Ish Tube for fish that weigh more than 5 pounds. READ MORE »


Pro Tip: Combat the Cold

When the weather gets really cold, you start experiencing equipment failure and the effects of freezing temperatures. One of the best things you can carry with you on a winter fishing trip is a can of silicone spray. There are all sorts of products made for fishing line, but silicone will get the job done just as well as anything. In icy conditions, especially, you want to spray your line on the spool and your fishing guides fairly often so they don’t ice up as bad. Another thing you want to do is leave your braided line at home in really cold weather. It doesn’t cast very well when it soaks up water and freezes and loses a lot of its sensitivity. I go back to fluorocarbon, or even monofilament. Spraying it with silicone also helps it stay a little more limber so it doesn’t stiffen up so bad in the cold. READ MORE »


Fish the Transition

Although you couldn’t tell it by the weather up north, bass are moving toward their spawning areas in a lot of Southern lakes. In south Florida, where the FLW tournament season is set to begin in about a week, they’re already spawning. Though there are certain rules that apply to fishing the spawn, I’ve developed an approach that has helped me catch fish when other things have failed. READ MORE »


Pro Tips Weekly: Anthony Gagliardi



Pro Tips Weekly: Keystone Light Pro Casey Martin

December and January are the two months when anglers really start preparing for the coming season, whether it’s firming up sponsorships, planning tournament schedules or restocking baits and equipment. This is also the time of year when a lot of anglers plant cover in the lake or the lakes where they fish so they’ll be productive the following year. READ MORE »


Pro Tips Weekly: Dion Hibdon

The umbrella rig sort of follows its own script on Lake of the Ozarks and some other highland reservoirs. While it’s a good producer on other lakes in warm weather, we don’t catch bass on umbrella rigs around here in the summer. Instead, the bass will get on them starting in late fall and continue on until the spawn next spring. READ MORE »