UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

Watson’s Toad Tricks

Watson’s Toad Tricks
Zoom Honry Toads

I like to throw toad-style baits such as a Luck E Strike Frantic Frog, a Zoom Horny Toad or a Reaction Innovations Trixie Shark because they’re really subtle-sounding baits when a buzzbait is too much. When the water is clear, that’s when this style is the best. During the spawn and just after in the postspawn are the best times, and then again in the late summer and fall when the fish are around bluegill beds.

In the summer, on those hot, slick days, you just have to fish until you run into bass that are up shallow cruising for big shad or bluegills. You have to cover a lot of water. You might go all day and only get four or five bites on it, but generally they are going to be good-quality fish. In the spring, I throw it all around bedding areas, around fry and anywhere a shallow bass might be.

Most of the time I like to retrieve it just under the surface, just to make a riffle. It’s like a subtle wake bait.

I use the same tackle for a toad as I do for a Whopper Plopper. I use 50- to 65-pound-test braid, a 7-6, heavy-action Waft Iron Feather Bass flipping stick, and a 7:1 gear ratio Bass Pro Shops CarbonLite or Pro Qualifier reel. That 5/0 Zoom Horny Toad Hook is all a man needs for the hook.

You want to always leave that hook exposed a little bit if you can, but I’ll just barely skin-hook it if I’m fishing around a lot of grass.

White, black and grey ghost are the only three colors I throw, unless I’m on Lake Okeechobee, and then I throw junebug. On overcast days or in the morning I start out with black, and if it stays cloudy I’ll stick with black or throw grey ghost. When it gets sunny and bright I stick with white.

James Watson

Tags: frog  spring  summer  james-watson  pro-tips-weekly 

Pros’ Favorite Shad Spawn Baits

Pros’ Favorite Shad Spawn Baits

With the bass spawn winding down across the South, it’s time to capitalize on the shad-spawn bite. Shad spawn patterns usually don’t last long into the day, but fishing the shad spawn can be a fantastic way to catch a pile of fish and some big ones to boot. READ MORE »

Pros’ Favorite Baits for May

Pros’ Favorite Baits for May

Across the country, May is a great time for fishing, with tons of bass in and around the spawn and a lot of baitfish species spawning as well. With warming water, it’s a great chance to throw a topwater for the first time, or really to do just about whatever you want in some parts of the country. READ MORE »

How to Make a Buzzbait Squeak

How to Make a Buzzbait Squeak

One of the key aspects of buzzbait fishing is the sound, and Bradley Dortch modifies his with a file and some pliers to get the most squeak he can. READ MORE »

Throw Bigger Swimbaits in Tournaments

Throw Bigger Swimbaits in Tournaments

Fitting larger swimbaits into a tournament arsenal is a goal that a lot of anglers never hit. Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Kurt Mitchell has gotten it done, and actually earned a lot of money with some of the more specialized and larger swimbaits over the past few years. READ MORE »

The Ultimate Clear Water Jerkbait Mod

The Ultimate Clear Water Jerkbait Mod

Schooled on tough Western fisheries with clear water and smart bass, Wade Strelic knows a thing or two about getting the most out of baits. One of his favorite modifications for super-clear water is to add a strip of holographic tape to each side of his jerkbaits. READ MORE »

Swimbait Experiments in Florida

Swimbait Experiments in Florida

In his time guiding in Florida, Brent Anderson has learned a lot. From adding standard Florida techniques to his arsenal to adapting his topwater program to the Sunshine State’s bass, he’s intentionally broadened his horizons a fair bit. Picking up big swimbaits was a bit of an accident. READ MORE »

How to Catch Tailrace Smallmouths

How to Catch Tailrace Smallmouths

The reservoirs strung along the Tennessee River are tremendous fisheries, but they perhaps don’t get as much shine for being smallmouth producers as they should. READ MORE »

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Ron Nelson, the Pro Circuit Angler of the Year leader and a renowned sight-fisherman, used a Keitech Swing Impact FAT for blind-fishing and sight-fishing at Martin and earned a runner-up finish. California’s Kevin Hugo took seventh at Lake Havasu and caught some of his biggest bass sight-fishing with a Little Creeper All American Trash Fish or Sunfish. Though the reasons why they settled on swimbaits varied, both pros can offer valuable lessons for any angler tackling a spawning scenario. READ MORE »

Registration Now Open for 2020 Wiley X High School Fishing Camp presented by Tackle Warehouse

Registration Now Open for 2020 Wiley X High School Fishing Camp presented by Tackle Warehouse

BENTON, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2020) – FLW announced today that registration is now open for the third annual Wiley X High School Fishing Camp presented by Tackle Warehouse, scheduled for July 22-24, on the Murray State University campus in Murray, Kentucky... READ MORE »

Dortch’s Flipping Setup

Dortch’s Flipping Setup

After growing up on the Tensaw River in Alabama and spending much of his early fishing career in Florida, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Bradley Dortch naturally has a very good handle on flipping. Especially around matted cover, Dortch is quick to put a big stick into action, and his preferences fit him perfectly. If you’re looking for a new flipping plan, or maybe just thinking about tweaking around the edges, his advice could be applicable to you. READ MORE »

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

According to FLW Pro Circuit angler Tim Frederick, who’s lived in Florida since he was 4 years old, one of the most important factors for successfully locating both spawning and staging bass in the coming weeks is bottom hardness. In most situations, the harder the bottom the better, but there’s more to it than that. READ MORE »

Running Ditches for Winter Bass

Running Ditches for Winter Bass

There are a lot of excuses to not go fishing this time of year. Though, if you like catching bass and avoiding the crowds, you should definitely consider keeping the boat hooked up to your truck instead of the 4-wheeler. READ MORE »

How to Fish Offshore Grass in Florida

How to Fish Offshore Grass in Florida

In recent years, fishing a lipless bait, a spinnerbait or a vibrating jig in offshore grass in Florida has lit up the leaderboard in many tournaments. Tyler Woolcott, a second-year pro from Port Orange, Fla., has plenty of experience tracking the bass in offshore grass throughout the seasons, and you might be able to learn a thing or two from him. READ MORE »

Cash in on the Florida Prespawn

Cash in on the Florida Prespawn

Growing up on Lake Okeechobee, Jared McMillan loves to flip for big fish when the opportunity presents itself, but he’ll be the first to tell you that mid-November can be one of the best times to be on the water. READ MORE »

Be Aggressive to Catch Big Spots Now

Be Aggressive to Catch Big Spots Now

When FLW pro Alex Davis isn’t hunting trophy bucks in the fall, he spends a lot of days fishing for big bass that are binging on shad in the reservoirs of north Alabama. In particular, fall is a killer time to fish jerkbaits with high-speed, aggressive tactics in clear-water reservoirs for spotted bass – for both size and numbers. READ MORE »

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

While there’s almost no bad time of year to find a dock pattern, early fall is a prime season for it. The catch is that as shad transition throughout a reservoir in the fall, some bass go on the move with them. So dialing in a key stretch of docks or a dock pattern can at times be challenging, particularly on lakes with a lot of docks. READ MORE »

How Schmitt Targets Late-Summer Tidal Bass

How Schmitt Targets Late-Summer Tidal Bass

As we’ve seen pretty much every year in the FLW Cup, which is usually held in the South, going way up creeks to find slightly cooler water is a productive pattern in the heat of late summer. The same strategy can pay off on tidal fisheries such as the Potomac River and James River as well, albeit with some tweaks for the situation. READ MORE »

How to Make a Swimbait a Line-Thru

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Jake Lawrence thinks the line-thru swimbait is more versatile than many tournament anglers realize. The Kentucky Lake and Pickwick guide and 2018 Costa FLW Series Lake Barkley champion frequently chucks one any time bass are shallow to not only put big fish in the boat, but to catch five good ones in a day. READ MORE »

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. READ MORE »

How Brad Knight Plans to Win the Cup

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Brad Knight’s life changed forever in Hot Springs. In 2015, the Tennessee pro won the FLW Cup on Lake Ouachita, earning $500,000 and thrusting himself into the pro bass fishing spotlight. Now that he knows just what a Cup win can do for a tournament angler’s career, Knight is even more motivated to win the title again, which he’ll have a chance to do Aug. 9-11 on Lake Hamilton, right back in Hot Springs, Ark.  READ MORE »