UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Reese’s Lipless Approach Out West

Reese’s Lipless Approach Out West
Jimmy Reese

Growing up out West you wouldn’t figure Jimmy Reese to be much of a lipless crankbait aficionado. No, that’s something more reserved for guys in Texas or the Southeast. But truth be known, Reese, along with many top Western pros, utilizes these loud, speedy baits throughout much of the season – even if there isn’t grass involved.

No doubt on Clear Lake and the California Delta there are strong bite windows in the spring and fall for “trapping” grass, but Reese is a firm believer that these baits can produce just as effectively around structure and other kinds of cover, too.

“Fortunately for me, I live close to Clear Lake, and it offers a lot of different opportunities,” Reese says. “Maybe 20 or 25 years ago throwing a Rat-L-Trap around vegetation in the fall was the ticket for me. Like you hear about on Guntersville or on Toledo Bend, when I’d get hung up, I’d snap the bait free and started catching bigger fish doing so.

“You’re causing a reaction bite. The fish aren’t interested in eating, but you’re making them bite. So, after a while I figured I could make them react to it in other situations.”

 

When to think lipless

Reese no doubt figured out when to utilize lipless crankbaits outside of grass situations, as have other anglers out West. Rock piles and docks, for instance, attract bait and bass, making them ideal locations for a lipless crankbait to trigger strikes.

“I throw lipless baits now a lot around docks where I’d normally fish a jig,” says Reese. “But they work well around structure, too. If you can find bait and the bass are relating close to the bottom, you can catch fish on a lipless crankbait.

“I’ll have one tied on nine months out of the year,” Reese explains. “You can drag it, you can burn it, you can hop it; really, you can fish almost any situation with it.”

Reese admits that October and November are probably his two favorite months to work lipless crankbaits around hard structure, though most of fall and early winter can be equally as productive.

He prefers water clarity in the 2- to 3-foot range. In cleaner water, Reese prefers to have some cloud cover to help decrease visibility. Triggering strikes is the name of the game, so he doesn’t want the fish staring at the bait for too long.

 

What to throw

Reese keeps a healthy supply of four lipless crankbait models on hand at all times. His box is loaded with Bill Lewis Rat-L-Traps, Lucky Craft LV 100s, LV 500s and LIVETARGET Golden Shiner Vibration Traps.

“I still love the original Rat-L-Traps for fishing around shallower grass,” says Reese. “Then the Lucky Craft LVs came out, and I realized I loved the 100 size for burning around shallow water under docks – say, less than 3 feet. The LV 500 is great to fish out deeper, 10 feet or more, around docks or rock structure where you want to hop the bait more. And I really like the LIVETARGET trap because it is a more medium-sized bait that, profile wise, is between the 100 and 500. I pitch it around docks mostly in situations that don’t fit the 100 or 500.”

The California pro is a fan of matching the hatch with his bait colors but doesn’t discount bright, flashy finishes and keeps a selection of a few colors in each bait on hand. 

For his gear, Reese prefers a Douglas Outdoors XMATRIX 724 rod with 12-pound-test P-Line Tactical fluorocarbon for most of his shallower (2 to 4 feet) dock and rock fishing. If he is fishing deeper with a bigger bait, then he switches to 15- or 20-pound-test fluorocarbon with an XMATRIX 764 rod.

 

How to fish it

Fishing a lipless crankbait isn’t rocket science by any means, regardless of technique. Most of the time success comes down to knowing when to pick it up and knowing the structure you’re fishing.

“I like to keep it pretty simple when it comes to fishing a lipless crankbait,” says Reese. “As a rule, when the water is warming up you can fish the bait faster. As it begins to cool off you want to fish it more slowly, and that’s where hopping the bait off the bottom can be the best.

“For rock structure I try to go parallel with the ledge or rock pile. A slow retrieve where you barely bump the bottom without getting hung up is ideal. Every now and then you can give it a little hop, but maintaining bottom contact is the most important part.”

It’s all about repetition when dock fishing. 

“When I fish docks I make a lot of casts, especially around the pilings,” he says. “A lot of times the fish won’t eat on the first cast, but sometimes will on the third or fourth. You never know, so making accurate, repetitive casts is the best case around docks.”

Way up under the dock near shore, Reese will burn the bait back, trying to deflect it off any rocks or pilings. As he works his way out deeper on the dock, he then switches to more of a yo-yo retrieve.

The nuances of technique and presentation can vary widely from spot to spot and situation to situation, but a lipless crankbait’s versatility makes it a common choice for Reese.

“I love fishing a lipless bait. Sometimes, especially out West, the fish are just so pressured or see a certain bait so often that they need to be triggered to bite,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if it is Clear Lake or the California Delta, I’ve had some fantastic days with a lipless bait when most people wouldn’t think to pick it up. Heck, I’ve even done it on lakes like Shasta or Havasu. It’s not something you’ll throw all the time, but if you keep one tied on I know you’ll put more fish in the boat.”

Tags: kyle-wood  article 

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

New Baits from ICAST 2019

New Baits from ICAST 2019

Here’s a primer on some of the baits that we thought stood out at the show. It’s not a comprehensive list. Rather, it’s just a taste of what will probably make a splash on the market in the coming months.  READ MORE »

Review: Strike King Thunder Cricket

Review: Strike King Thunder Cricket

Ever since Z-Man released the ChatterBait anglers haven’t really had the need to broaden their vibrating jig horizon – and not for lack of options, but simply because the ChatterBait is so good that you don’t really need anything else. With the launch of the Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer a few years ago and the instant buzz surrounding it, the bar was set high for any other vibrating jigs entering the market. READ MORE »

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

FLW has teamed up with its partners at Polaris to give away a Polaris Sportsman® 570 EPS valued at approximately $7,799. This special giveaway offer is being shared with FLW members and fans. READ MORE »

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

The Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack will feature up to 238 of the top kayak bass anglers from around the country who have qualified for the event through the FLW/KBF Kayak Open, the KBF National Championship, the KBF Trail and the KBF Pro Tour. They will be competing for a total prize package of $18,000 – a $3,000 Dee Zee gift card and $15,000 in cash. READ MORE »

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Before we shift our focus to previewing the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, let’s start with a look back at the baits that were used to win the seven FLW Tour events this season. READ MORE »

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

Today, FLW sent out 119 invitations for the 2020 FLW Tour to the top performers from the 2019 FLW Tour. These invitations are in alignment with the 2019 FLW Tour rules that were announced last summer that transitioned the Tour to a qualification system, as well as one amendment made to accommodate changes in the pro bass fishing industry. The amendment was announced to pros at the registration meeting for the season finale on Lake Champlain last week. READ MORE »

2019 FLW Cup Roster

2019 FLW Cup Roster

With Casey Scanlon’s win at Lake Champlain in the books – not to mention the crowning of David Dudley as Angler of the Year for the fourth time and Ron Nelson as Polaris Rookie of the Year – the 2019 FLW Tour season is complete. Now, focus turns to Hot Springs, Ark., and the 2019 FLW Cup August 9-11. READ MORE »

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Oklahoma pro Kyle Cortiana was involved in an accident near Indianapolis on his way home from the FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain on Saturday. He has since been released from of a local hospital and is now in a hotel room recovering and waiting for a ride home to the Sooner State.  READ MORE »

Dudley Wins Historic 4th AOY

Dudley Wins Historic 4th AOY

Taking to the second to last day of the 2019 FLW Tour season, David Dudley finally did it again, triumphing over John Cox to win a historic fourth FLW Tour Angler of the Year title. Winning his first AOY in 2008, and then going back-to-back in 2011 and 2012, Dudley is now the only pro with four titles to their credit, surpassing both Clark Wendlandt and Andy Morgan. READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Professional angler Jonathan Henry of Grant, Ala., lost his battle with cancer today. He was 36 years old. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Buddy Gross.  READ MORE »

FLW Spain Championship Recap

FLW Spain Championship Recap

The 2019 FLW Spain Championship took place June 1-2 in the waters of the Garcia Sola reservoir. The event, which was the qualifying route to the Costa FLW Series Championship, was hosted by the municipality of Herrera del Duque. The team of Mario Sánchez and Juan Luis Sánchez topped the field with a total weight of 19 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: David Williams 

Check-in Time: David Williams 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with David Williams. READ MORE »

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

If you’re an FLW member, now is the time to start planning your trip to Hot Springs, Ark., for the 2019 FLW Cup Aug. 9-11. Act now to take advantage of special members-only VIP benefits by signing up for a special VIP pass. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Pros caught fish everywhere from in the middle of flooded jungles of brush to deep main-lake drops. The top finishers pretty much all power fished with soft plastics, crankbaits and frogs. READ MORE »

Cox and Dudley on their AOY Chances

Cox and Dudley on their AOY Chances

Every angler starts his season with the hope of being in contention for AOY by the final tournament. Mathematically, only a handful of anglers are still in it this year, but realistically, as the FLW Tour heads to its final stop of 2019 at Lake Champlain, it’s a two-angler race. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Premieres at 2 p.m. CT

Rapala Varsity Bass Premieres at 2 p.m. CT

The long-awaited premiere of Rapala Varsity Bass is here. In Episode 1, college fishing competitor Tyler Anderson takes on Lake Texoma. Along the way, Tyler offers an intimate portrait into his life as a YouTuber, tournament angler and senior at Texas A&M. READ MORE »