UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

The Trixie Shark: Get Explosive Strikes

The Trixie Shark: Get Explosive Strikes
Trixie Shark

Reaction Innovations got the name right when it created the Trixie Shark. The soft-plastic topwater bait has a literal shark-shaped body with side “wings” and two flapping rear legs similar to what you find on a traditional topwater toad, yet with enough differences to make the bait unique.

Cosmetics aside, the real reason the bait is perfectly named is that it turns big bass into Jaws impersonators. Hawgs explode on the bait from shallow water. They strike it to defend their beds, or they eat it because they can’t resist.

FLW got a first-hand look at the bait’s effectiveness at the FLW Tour event on Lake Toho, when Darrell Davis took his Shark to Tiger Lake and banged out a top-10 finish and some impressive video.

If you haven’t tried the Trixie Shark, it’s probably a bait worth checking out this spring. It fits into the topwater toad category, though it’s just different enough that you might want to test it out and see if it deserves a place alongside your Zoom Horny Toads.

Here’s a summary guide to how Davis fishes it.

 

Darrell Davis

Why and where

The two biggest advantages of the Trixie Shark are its ability to come through grass and snags and the ability to cover a lot of water with it. It works in similar situations as other weedless or near-weedless topwaters, but due to the body shape and profile, and the exaggerated legs, it offers anglers that “little something different” they’re often looking for.

Davis starts throwing it once the water temperature rises into the mid-60s.

“I like using it in shallow water especially,” Davis says, “but in clean water I use it as a search bait, too, instead of throwing a buzzbait. That Trixie Shark has got a lot of noise, but it’s more of a subtle noise. It sounds more natural than a clacking buzzbait coming through the water. And you can run it through the grass and run it through different cover and not get hung up.”

Ideal shallow targets to hit with the Trixie Shark are pads, hay grass, any open holes in hydrilla, along outer edges of various types of grass and over milfoil that’s topped out but not scummed over into a dense mat. Very thick mats really aren’t fishable with it, but as long as the tails are able to make a bubble trail on the surface, Davis will wind the Trixie Shark through some dense stuff.

He also throws it under docks, willows and other overhanging trees, and around flooded bushes. 

“If it’s ‘dirty dirty’ they’ll be in less than a foot of water, and they’ll still eat it,” he says. “Otherwise, I like throwing it when the clarity is stained to clean, but the cleaner the better to me. It’s a shallow-water bait mostly, but you can throw it in 5 feet of water in clear water, and they’ll still come up and eat it.”

Finally, Davis likes to throw it in spawn situations when bass are bedding in thick cover.

“You’re not getting up there on the trolling motor and spooking them by getting too close,” he says. “You can make long casts. A lot of times you’ll catch the fish, but even if you don’t you’ll get them to wake up on it. Then you’ll know where they’re at.”

 

Darrell Davis

How to fish the Trixie Shark

Like most toad-style baits, the root of the Trixie Shark’s action derives from a straight retrieve, which keeps the bait on the surface and gets the legs kicking. Presentation speed should be adjusted based on the aggressiveness of the fish and the thickness of the cover. For instance, around scattered patches of floating vegetation, Davis likes to burn the bait through open water then slow it down over the greens. When bass are spawning, he might wind it over grass and then slow down when he comes to a hole that signifies a likely bedding spot.

The wings on the bait’s flanks cause it to glide when it falls, so killing the Trixie Shark in an open hole is another good way to get bit.

Davis advises to keep this trick in mind to catch “wakers” and followers, too.

“If I get a fish waking that bait more than 4 or 5 feet and it doesn’t explode on it, I’ll slow it down until the fish gets close to it, and then I’ll stop it,” Davis says. “It [the bait] almost does a big circle as it sinks, depending on how deep the water is. It’ll turn and go back toward them, and they can’t stand it. Or, if I know they’re getting so close to the boat that they might spook before they bite it, I’ll pause and make them eat it. If they don’t eat, you can pitch a Beaver or some kind of stick bait back to it.”

 

Trixie Shark

Tackle

Tackle selection isn’t too complicated. Davis likes the Trixie Shark in the shiner color in spring and black in summer, but he uses a variety of others depending on clarity and conditions.

Though Reaction Innovations no longer makes the Screwed Up Bullet, Davis still has a small supply of them left in his boat, and he’s milking them for use with the Trixie Shark. The Screwed Up Bullet is a clear plastic nose cone shaped like a bullet sinker that’s essentially weightless. A small plastic tip protrudes out the back, and a spring lock wraps around that tip.

To rig, Davis runs his line through the Screwed Up Bullet and ties to a 5/0 EWG SuperLine hook. He rigs the soft plastic Texas style, and slides the nose of the bait over the hook eye and knot before twisting in the spring on the Screwed Up Bullet.

“That keeps the bait from sliding down the hook,” he says. “You’ll get a lot more casts without that bait sliding down the hook, and it makes it more weedless.”

If you can’t find any Screwed Up Bullets, Davis suggests adding a Carolina-rig bead out in front to help “part” the grass and keep the knot clean. Or, he says you can use a screw-lock-style toad hook.

Davis only uses 50-pound-test Sunline braid. Like with most soft-plastic topwaters, it’s necessary to hesitate after the bite to make sure the fish has the bait. Then set the hook. The heavy braid helps to get fish out of the grass if they bind up in it during that hesitation.

Likewise, Davis suggests a heavy-power rod to tackle thick grass. He likes a 7-footer for fishing under docks and willows and a 7-4 for bombing long casts. His two favorites are the Denali AttaX and Denali KOVERT series.

Finally, Davis fishes Ardent Apex Elite and Ardent C-Force reels, and keeps two reels on his deck at a time.

“I like a 7.1:1 reel on one rod and a 6.3:1 on another,” he says. “Sometimes they want it really burning, and it’ll wear you out with a 6.3:1.”

It doesn’t really matter how you define the Trixie Shark – toad, shark or something else all its own. The bait is a cool topwater that draws vicious strikes, and that’s reason enough to give it a few swings this season. 

Tags: trixie-shark  -florida  -topwater  -bass-fishing  -pro-tips-weekly  curtis-niedermier  tips-and-techniques 

Daniel Fennel to Direct Pro Circuit

Daniel Fennel to Direct Pro Circuit

At the registration meeting for this week’s Pro Circuit season opener at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, FLW announced that Daniel had been promoted to senior director of tournament operations for the Pro Circuit, FLW Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League, with responsibilities to include directing the Pro Circuit. Bill Taylor, who served as tournament director for the FLW Tour from 2001 through 2019, has been promoted to senior director of operations, where he’ll lend his expertise acquired through more than two decades as a tournament director toward logistics, angler relations and event planning for all FLW circuits. READ MORE »

Big Prespawn Potential at Toledo Bend

Big Prespawn Potential at Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend is a legendary reservoir that straddles the border between Texas and Louisiana. It spans some 65 miles along the impounded Sabine River, which runs north to south, and sprawls across about 185,000 acres at full pool. Though Toledo Bend has a number of major tributaries along its length, the bulk of the reservoir is its straight, wide-open main-lake span. 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 »

Gator Division Kicking off at St. Johns River

Gator Division Kicking off at St. Johns River

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League’s popular Gator Division, which is presented by A.R.E., kicks off its 2020 season on Saturday, Jan. 11 at the St. Johns River near Palatka, Fla. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

Reese’s Lake Baccarac Adventure

Reese’s Lake Baccarac Adventure

With a home base of Clear Lake in California, FLW Pro Circuit pro Jimmy Reese is pretty used to phenomenal fishing. But, until Thanksgiving, he’d never sampled the bass fishing in Mexico. Now he has, thanks to a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits trip to Lake Baccarac Lodge that turned into the trip of a lifetime and produced some truly outstanding fishing. 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 »

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

“It’s almost like a wintertime pattern already,” Salzman says. “It’s kind of interesting. Because it’s been so hot and then so cold, the fish kind of got into the mouths of the creeks this year and never fully pushed into them. The majority of the bait is on the main lake on every lake in Alabama. The water temp was falling so quickly that the back bays were too cold, so the most stable water is on the main lake.” READ MORE »

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

By catching four quality smallmouth bass on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, Missourian Chad Allison was able to come back from 10th place and win the co-angler division, earning more than $30,000. READ MORE »

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

For the second time this season, Andrew Upshaw is an FLW champion thanks to consistent days spent targeting big Southern smallmouths. The Tulsa, Okla., pro won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky., with a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces. The win comes less than seven months after Upshaw won the FLW Tour event on Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee. READ MORE »

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland was a bit tougher for some, given the post-frontal conditions featuring lighter winds, sun and cold temperatures. As projected, consistency has been the key and Andrew Upshaw continued to dial in his program adding 15 pounds, 1 ounce to his day-one bag of 14-15 for a total of 30 pounds even. READ MORE »

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

The FLW International Division is well represented in the Costa FLW Series Championship, and perhaps none represented the division better than Roger Cousens of Zimbabwe, who didn’t seem bothered by the stingy conditions of Lake Cumberland on day one. With the only bag that topped 17 pounds for the day (17-2), Cousens enters day two with a 3-ounce lead over Robert Nakatomi, who qualified from the Western Division. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »