Tips Archives – Page 3 of 3 – Tackle Grab

Archive / Tips

RSS feed for this section

Fishing Jerk Baits

By: Randy Philips 2010 BASS Classic Qualifier

AR – Jerk baits pictured

For me, a jerk bait rod needs to be at least 6.5 feet in length, fast in action, while at the same having a parabolic bend. Long, limber rods are important for the same reason as in fishing crank baits. They act as shock absorbers and aid in keeping fish pinned when a fish has not taken the bait completely. The longer rods also allow for longer casts in stiff winds.

Then comes line choice. Personally, I go with the lightest line I can get away with when fishing jerk baits. Light line allows the bait to achieve deeper depths along with more lively movement of the bait. Heavy line will tend to float bait higher and take away the action of the bait. I stick between 8-12lb-test lines.

Once the proper rod and line have been picked the next key part has to be the presentation. Work jerk bait on a semi-slack line. By fishing the bait on semi-slack line, you allow the rod tip to attain almost top speed before the line tightens and moves the bait. This tip speed pulls the bait through the water quickly and erratically. Also what is importance is the cadence or the retrieve. In the summer months it’s a quicker retrieve with very little pause. However in the colder months and especially spring a more subtle approach is better. The bite usually comes on the pause before the next jerk. I will pause the bait in the winter months from 10 to 45 seconds. You need to mix up your cadence to find out how the fish want it.

Jig Fishing

By: Kamile Jaskolski

Jr pro Staff @ Boag Hog Baits,Dragin Baits & Airrus rods, Jay Wallace – Owner: Boag Hog Baits

Jigs are a lure that have been around for a long time and are a classic technique to catch monster bass. Whether you’re throwing a football head, flipping or pitching a brush jig into some wood they all get big fish into your boat. My personal favorites are dragging football heads in rocks or flipping trees with small finesse jigs. Football jigs work great in rock because when you bump them into a rock they lift up and all the bass can see is your craw trailer in that defensive pose. Brush jigs like Boag Hog Baits (Lead Free) have a great head design to slip into the thickest cover around and snags are greatly reduced.

When I’m fishing a jig I usually rig it on a 7’2 MH or H Skeet Reese worm and jig rod. I throw it on 12-17 lb fluorocarbon or heavy braid depending on the weight and cover I’m fishing. More often than not a bass will suck the jig in on the initial fall so you need as much sensitivity you can get. It’s crucial to watch your line! When fishing in wood or trees its good to just crawl the jig over each and every limb, letting it drop in between. Also swimming a jig through tree limbs can produce viscous strikes. Let the bass tell you where they are and what they want.

Grass Jig

Different depths and seasons call for different jigs. In the summer when big bass are deep football jigs and heavier flipping jigs will get the job done 3/8-3/4 oz. will cover this spectrum nicely. When the bass are in shallow cover and lighter brush jig 3/16-3/8 oz. will usually do. When casting to shallow cover you want your jig to enter the water as quietly as possible. You want to have the advantage of surprising the fish and getting that reaction strike. Another great technique for summer bass is sliding grass jigs through deep weeds. You can swim the jig and drop into pockets as you come across them.

Brush Jig

Lead free lures are better for the environment and waterfowl. They also transmit better than lead. This is a great option when you don’t want to snap off to many tungsten lures but want to comply with some state regulations. My go to colors have been Black, Black/Blue, Camo (blk/brwn) and Black/Red flake. I use a matching craw trailer to finish this killer package. Next time you head out tie on a jig-n-pig and hang on!!

Tight lines.

Be Versatile With a Shaky Head

By: John Boudreau

Pro-Staff for Denali Rods, and Boag Hog Baits

If you have never fished a shaky head, this is one technique you need to add to your skill set. On the very toughest of days it can help you put fish in the boat when nothing else is working. The finesse technique of shaky head is made up of a small ball type jig head commonly paired with a 4”-5” finesse style straight tail worm.

  1. Shaky Head & Worm body pictured
  2. Rigged

There are many companies that make many different styles of shaky jig heads that work fine, including a nice lead-free option from Boag Hog Baits at The technique itself is as simple as cast it out, let it fall. Then shake it place, or slowly drag it on the bottom, or hop it. Even dead sticking it can work. As with anything, experiment with your retrieve and let the fish tell you how they want it. A shaky head can be fished just about anywhere, except thick grass will give you some trouble. Typically not known as a “Big Fish” bait, however don’t let that limit what soft plastic you choose because a creature style just may increase the size of your catch. As far as gear goes most anglers will fish this technique on a 6’ 8” to 7’ 2” medium action, fast tip spinning rod with 8lb fluorocarbon. Some may use a baitcast set-up, and some may choose a different line size or type. The marketplace now has many companies that make “technique specific” rods, including “shaky head”. One of those companies is Denali Rods at, with 2 great options. Hope this helps you be more confident with a shaky head, which will in turn help you put more Bass in your live well.


Boxing For Bass – Punching Heavy Cover

Submitted by: Neil Dootson a.k.a Sinista, Boag Hog Baits

I can remember fishing local ponds and lakes that were completely choked by vegetation and thinking to myself, “there is no way that bass could be in vegetation that thick, and if so, there is definitely not a lure in my arsenal that could extract them from such heavy cover.” This was all of course before I had learned the essential art of punching mats and heavy cover for giant largemouth – “Boxing For Bass.”


Mats are best described as isolated patches of floating vegetation that have been pushed together by boat traffic; not to be confused with matted vegetation, which occurs when grass or vegetation grows so thick that it begins to double over on itself – forming a layer on the surface which appears thick enough to be walked across. Depending on which region of the country you are fishing, this vegetation could consist of coon tail, hydrilla, lily pads, water chestnuts or whatever tends to grow in your neck of the woods.

Bass stack up in heavily matted cover for a number of reason; cooler water in the heat of the summer, an abundance of forage, protection from birds of prey, the list goes on and on – regardless of why they are there, your job is only to find them and wrench them out.


For those of you who may not be familiar with this technique the set up is comprised of a few readily available tackle components; a bobber stop, heavy tungsten (for the best sensitivity) flipping weight (ranging from ¾oz up to as much as 2oz – depending on the thickness of vegetation or cover you are attempting to punch through), a punch skirt (available for purchase from Tackle Grab and Boag Hog Baits), a heavy wire 4/0 to 6/0 straight shank flipping hook ,and lastly a soft plastic bait of your choice.

This set up should be fished on a heavy or extra heavy rod – I prefer a 7’2” extra heavy rod – a quality bait caster with a high retrieve speed that doesn’t compromise drag strength (when in doubt lock the drag down completely to prevent bass from getting deeper into the vegetation), and, most importantly, a minimum of 50lb braid (I prefer 65lb braid).


The act of punching mats is quite simple; a series of short flips or pitches are made to the designated target, allowing the weight of the set up to “punch” through the cover in order to reach the bass lying below. Some cover is undoubtedly thicker than others, hence the wide range of weight differences listed above. The bait is allowed to fall to the bottom on a controlled slack line, and then the bait is worked.

Here is where things get tricky – the definition of “worked” will change depending on a multitude of variables; thickness of cover, current conditions and fish activity. There are days that the bait is inhaled by the bass before it ever has a chance to hit the bottom, this happens frequently so be prepared, while on other days it requires a hop or two, a series of short to long lift and drops, or a banging of the bait against the underside of the mat or cover to trigger the strike.

Being as quiet as possible can be a critical factor although is at times of little importance. There are times where a subtle presentation, picking out a very small opening to squeeze the bait through is necessary to avoid spooking the bass as your bait enters the water, while on other days a bait pitched upwards 15 feet in the air – generating enough force to penetrate extremely heavy vegetation such as water chestnuts –creates a splash, ringing the dinner bell, thus alerting the bass to the location of the bait. It is all trial and error, and time on the water is the only way to determine what works and what doesn’t.


Understanding bass and why they bite is a major factor when it comes to any style of fishing. Since a bass doesn’t have hands to grab and observe their prey, they are forced to bite it and hope for the best. When employing this technique, in my experience, the strike is based on reaction almost 100% of the time.

Punching heavy mats requires the upmost concentration; the slightest misjudgment or hesitation in your ability to sense the strike and set the hook could undoubtedly cost you the fish of a lifetime. “ALWAYS WATCH AND FEEL YOUR LINE” for changes in speed or direction. The strike could be as subtle as a change in the speed of the bait’s descent, a small bump and stop in the bait’s fall, or a strike so violent it nearly rips the rod from your hand. The first thing to remember is, “WHEN IN DOUBT SET THE HOOK” Worst case scenario, you and/or your partner will have to dodge an 1.5 oz tungsten being expelled from the cover at speeds in excess of 90 mph….tell me that won’t keep you on your toes!

Once you set the hook, your primary purpose becomes what I like to call “breaking the fish’s will.” In other words, you need to show her who is boss. This is accomplished by setting the hook hard and getting the reel cranking as fast as possible to get her head coming towards the boat, and for the love of god – once you do, “DONT STOP!” You would be surprised how easily a second of hesitation can allow a bass in heavy cover to gain the upper hand. If for some reason the bass should get the upper hand and ball up in the vegetation, don’t try to rip her out –“GO IN AFTER HER!” Some vegetation has sharp enough edges to fray even the strongest of braid; a knick in the braid, plus the force of the tug-of-war between you and the bass, could easily spell “YOU NOT CASHING A CHECK” in that day’s event.

For those of you who think 50, 65 or even 80lb braid can’t be broken – I’m here to tell you that it can, and I’ve experienced it more than once! Finally, after you get the fish coming in the direction of the boat, the next decision is whether you are or are not a net guy. This comes down to personal preference and the size of the fish. More times than not, I’m using the momentum of the fish coming forward to lift and swing her into the boat.


There are many other factors that often affect the outcome when punching heavily matted cover; bait style, size, and color, wind speed and direction, and water clarity and temperature .I’ve caught bass in 80 degree water while punching, and I’ve caught bass in water as low as 34 degrees, punching through the branches of newly fallen trees in the middle of a snow storm…true story!

There is no substitute for time on the water; the only way to really determine what works and what doesn’t is to get out there and start punching. I hope I have provided you with enough information to understand how, where, and –most importantly – why this technique works. Good luck, and remember – when in doubt…."SET THE HOOK!!"


Submission by: Hunter Kenway

Each crank bait has it strengths and weaknesses. Wide wobble baits, tight wobble, wood baits, plastic baits, floater and suspenders. It’s always helpful to Get comfortable with a specific crankbait or a family of crankbaits. Learn what depth a particular bait will run on a mean line size. You can then use the general line conversion to add or take away depth. For example: Under the same casting distances a Norman Deep Little N on 12-lb. line will run approximately 10.5 feet deep. On 10-lb. line, it will run at 12 feet, on 8-lb. it will run 13.5 feet, on 6-lb. in the 15 foot range. On 14-lb. it will run in the 9 foot range on 17-lb. it will run about 7.5 feet and so on and so on.

On an average expect about a foot and a half depth change with every line size change.