In the early Fall, you often see lots of big Gizzard Shad. Bass love these giant shad, and you want to go big with your set up to target these fish. When you start noticing big Gizzard Shad, think big baits. I like to use a big Strike King 3/8 oz. buzz bait with a Rage Toad on the back of it. As the water cools (even down to the 50s, you can catch them with this reeling pretty slowly. I also like big spinnerbaits or even a KVD 8.0 or 4.0. The 4.0 is smaller, but still works when bass are keying on big shad. So in the fall of the year think big baits for bass that are targeting big shad.
Probably the most important part of any flipping set up is the hook you choose to use. Personally, I like a straight shank hook. I think it gives me the best hook up ratio. It’s easy to rig, and the bait stays very straight. The hook I have recently started using is an Owner Jungle Hook (with zo-wire). This hook is extremely strong. Four times stronger than other hooks with the same size wire diameter. Having smaller wire, it penetrates the fishes mouth very easily. And I have found my hook up ratio increasing dramatically since using it. It has a great keeper, keeping the head of the bait up and is by far the best hook I have seen – period.
The 2017 FLW Tour is about to kick off. To give you an idea about some of the great fisheries we will be at this year, here’s a quick preview. We start off at Lake Guntersville, AL, arguably one of the best five lakes in the country. The tournament kicks off this Thursday, February 2nd. Though the water temperatures will be cold the weights will be big.
Next up is Lake Travis, my home lake. Most people know Travis as a lake with a ton of fish, but not many good ones. The lake is two years removed from a severe drought, which put it more than fifty feet low. There is all kinds of bass-holding cover there now. It will fish as good as it ever has.
Then for our Florida stop in early March, we go to the Harris Chain. It will probably be around the spawn, and even though I’ve heard it will fish small, I’m excited about this one because I’ve never been there, and I love going to new places.
From Florida, we head to Cumberland Lake in Kentucky. The Tour has only stopped at this reservoir one time, and it, like Travis is just coming out of a huge drought. What I hear is that the fishing is awesome there. I’m looking forward to this one.
Next is our annual stop at Beaver Lake, mid to late April. Fishing has been much better at Beaver over the last few years. This tournament ought to be in or around the spawn and I think a lot of fish will be caught.
Then we go to the Mississippi River way north in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Everyone I know who has ever fished this place thinks it’s awesome. Both shallow small mouth and large mouth could win here. This is another lake I’ve never been to, so I’m really looking forward to it.
The last stop on the tour is the Potomac River, which is probably my very favorite tournament venue. Last time FLW fished there, I actually won the event. It’s a power fisherman’s dream there – where lots of different patterns will emerge, but any of them could win.
I’m extremely excited about the upcoming schedule – several places I’ve never fished and several proven fisheries that I’ve always enjoyed. It should be a great year.