Tips & Tricks – Tackle Grab

Simple Jig Modifications

By: Tactical Bassin

We custom paint crankbaits, change blades on spinnerbaits, pour our own worms, why on earth don’t more people customize their jigs? Sure they work out of the package but so do most of the other baits we modify. Does that make any sense at all? Jigs, like most other baits, seem to work their best once they’ve been chewed on a few times. Since I’m not willing to spend the day pre-chewing my own jigs the next best bet is to make it look like I did.


There is definitely something special about a jig that has the “it” factor. One of these days I’ll get around to fully explaining this factor but for now its the magical “something” that makes one bait work better than all of it’s identical counterparts. Here is a shining example of a jig with “it”. This is a 3/4 oz Dirty Jigs No-Jack jig in the color “molting craw”.

Its been responsible for 4 fish over 9 lbs and a handful of others over the 7 lb mark. (Yes, all of those scratches are from bass teeth) Why does this one work so well? I don’t know! The important part to understand is simply that it does. I know the day will come when I lose this jig. Instead of waiting for another one to get beat up enough to start developing “it” I’m going to skip a major part of the curve. If you follow these simple steps to modify your jigs and give them more of a mottled look they will be much more appealing to big bass.
If your goal is to catch any little fish that will bite its not all that hard to do and any old jig will do. In fact, don’t bother modifying your baits at all. On the other hand, if your goal is to catch a GIANT, whatever that may be to you, then do everything you can to put the odds in your favor. Don’t go down the bank throwing the same jig as everyone else. Make your bait look more real than any other jig that big bass has ever seen and then cross your fingers that today is her day.

Top 5 Baits For Bed Fishing

By: Tactical Bassin

Love it or hate it, bed fishing is a great way to catch the biggest bass of the year. If you live in warmer parts of the country you’re probably already seeing the beginning of the spawn. We sat down with the camera this week to bring you the Top 5 Baits that will help you fool those feisty spawning bass.

The key to sight fishing is to treat every bed as a new opportunity to start fresh. The bait that caught the last fish might not work on the next. Each fish has its own preferences so don’t be afraid to rotate through your arsenal of rods until you’ve found the bait that works best.

My top 5 choices:

1) Jig w/ Craw Trailer: 3/8 to 1/2 oz Dirty Jigs Pitchin’ Jig coupled with a beaver-style or double tail grub trailer. This profile allows me to present a large bait but still have a compact enough profile that the fish can easily engulf it.

2) Swim Jig: 3/8 to 1/2 oz California Swim Jig in Alabama Bream or Tactical Shad coupled with a matching Keitech or Sizmic Shad. With a swim jig I can hop or swim the jig, depending on the mood of the fish.

3)Bluegill Imitator: My two favorite bluegill imitators are the Mattlures Bluegill (boot or flat tail) and the Basstrix in “Perch” color. The mattlures gives me that large swimbait profile whereas the basstrix is a very finesse, slow presentation that can really irritate those hard to catch bass.

4) 3.5″ Tube: The tube is a deadly bait on all bass but its especially deadly with spots and smallmouth. I find a 3.5″ to be best but you can drop down to a 2.5 if the fish are picking the bait up by the tails.

5) The Senko: Who can argue with the senko? 5″ or 6″ is your choice but if you use a bright color (White Or Chartreuse) and a natural color (Green Pumpkin Or Watermelon) you’ll find a bait that the fish are willing to eat.

Please remember that bed fishing is a great time to catch the fish of a lifetime but its also a critical time during a bass’ life cycle. Treat the fish with care and always return them to the bed quickly so they can successfully finish the spawning process.

Spybaiting – The Technique of Silent Capture

By: Aaron Anders


Spybaiting is a technique that has made it’s way to North America via Japan and really began to get noticed mid to late this past season. When I first saw the technique what I really saw was how the subtle nature and general versatility would give fish that live in pressured bodies of water a different look and it is no surprise it has garnered some attention from other anglers, including some top level pros. It struck me the same way the drop shot did when I first saw it, a way to present a bait to a fish in a way they haven’t been hammered with over and over. Its not the erratic jerkbait, the pounding of a spinnerbait or the shake of a drop shot worm. Spybaiting is a horizontal, subtle, contour tracing technique that fish chew!

To learn about the bait, gear and retrieve to effectively use the spybaiting technique see below:

The Bait

The bait it’s looks very mush like a smaller jerkbait with the front diving lip replaced with small props at both the nose and the tail. The bait tends to be a bit smaller than the average hardbait, most on the 80mm length. The body of the bait has a slight contour which allows the propulsion of the prop to send water along the body creating what is know as the “plume” effect. The bait has a slight side to side roll and shakes very similar to a senko as it falls. Some of the best baits on the market right now are made by Duo Realis.

Gear Used

Being a finesse technique the setup I use is for spybaiting is almost identical to my drop shot setup. Light line is an absolute key to the technique as the fish get a good look at the slow moving bait, however, even important thin line diameter is crucial to get the proper action. A braid mainline in the 10 pound test range with a 6 pound test fluorocarbon leader is a standard with spybaiting.

Light line combined with small treble hooks requires a longer rod with a fast tip to absorb the fight of the big fish that tend to swallow the bait. I use a 6’10” Medium Light, Fast Action, Fenwick Elite Tech as my go to. The longer rod gives me the shock absorption I need as well as provides leverage for a good long cast in clear water.

When it comes to a reel I’m looking for a spinning reel with smooth drag and high line capacity. The baits are typically in the 3/8oz range and in making casts as long as possible I want to make sure I have a big spool to allow for the long casts and smooth drag to take care of the light line.


Spybaiting is a technique for the patient. The retrieve is a slow, steady retrieve and the goal is to trace the contour the fish are holding on. If the fish are suspended in the water column you can trace the contour they are sitting at, or count the bait down closer to the bottom and trace the depth or break line the fish are relating to. The biggest mistake an angler can make is trying to impart action into the bait with the rod or by varying retrieve speed. The draw to the bait is the smooth steady motion and the natural rocking action and gentle pulsation created by the props. Pack you patience and you’ll get it right.

Overall, many see spybaiting to hard bait fishing what the drop shot was to sof tbait fishing when it first appeared. It’s a way to give a bass a different look and feel, which everyone knows puts more fish in the livewell. Pick up a few spybaits and next time you hit the water, tie that small hard bait with a couple of props to your drop shot setup, use some patience to slowly trace a contour and hold on tight!

Video of California Record Spotted Bass

By: Wired2Fish

This bass has been certified by the state of California as the state record. It’s measurements were documented and verified. And Tim Little is now the holder of the California state record bass title. Congrats Tim on an amazing catch and your dedication to making sure the fish was released alive.

You can see more about the catch and other big bass catches on Tim’s and Matt’s website..

Read the story of his catch being certified as the California state record here.

Slam Dunk with The MJ Rig

By: Aaron Anders


Everyone knows giving the fish a different look is key to getting more bites and putting more fish in the boat. Towards the end of last season I started to experiment with something called the MJ Rig, I knew after catching a chunk 3-pounder on the first cast I made with the rig that this could be something great! The rig is quite simple but gives the fish a slightly different look than what they are used to seeing. They can’t help but chew on it if for no other reason than to figure out what it is.

To see how to rig and fish the MJ Rig take a quick look at the video tip or read below to how to get setup.


At it’s core the MJ Rig is nothing more than a Texas Rigged Senko with typically a willow leaf blade attached to the back using a hitch-hiker. There are a number of companies that now manufacture an assembled version of the blade portion of the rig, however, if you would like to make your own all you need it a few hitch hikers, a high quality swivel with split rings and usually about a #3 willow leaf blade. To assemble the blade portion of the rig yourself, attach the blade to the spilt ring on one end of the swivel and the hitch hiker to the other end of that same swivel. From there I snip off a small piece of the narrow end of the senko to give me a bit more surface area to screw the hitch hiker into. Once I have screwed the hitch hiker into the back end of the senko, I Texas Rig the senko just like any other soft plastic using a 4/0 hook and a 1/8oz or 1/4oz tungsten weight. You don’t need a big weight with the rig, you’ll be surprised how much weight that blade on the back really adds.


I fish the MJ Rig using the same gear I would fish a Texas Rig or a jig with on deeper grass lines as that is exactly where I have been using the rig the most. For me that is a 7’3” Medium Heavy – Fast Action Abu Garcia Veritas rod paired with a Revo Rocket spooled with 17 or 20 pound test fluorocarbon. For me I’ve really moved to fluorocarbon when fishing grass unless there are other pieces of cover like wood around to cause problems. I feel like I have good feel with the fluoro and I believe it gives me the chance at an extra bite or two.


When fishing the MJ Rig I really try to focus on areas that have a fair bit of grass, a relatively defined edge and with enough water depth above the grass to be able to swim the rig along. I’m making a long cast, letting the rig fall until it reaches either the bottom of settles into the top of the grass bed. If I’ve made my cast along the edge of the grass-line and my bait is in more open water or sparse grass I’m going to lift my rod tip and let the rig fall back to the bottom and continue this retrieve at a consistent pace but while keeping some bottom contact. If my cast has been made to the middle of the grass bed I will have a more steady retrieve keeping my rod tip up and hopping the rig along the top of the grass. Like any presentation, most bites tend to come as you pop the rig free of a piece of grass.

As you think towards the 2015 season keep the MJ Rig in mind. I believe fish truly get conditioned to standard presentations and a slight variation to give them that different look can really go a long way!

12-Year-Old in Idaho Takes World Record Perch Title From Massachusetts

By: OTW Staff


In March of 2005, Massachusetts angler and regular On The Water contributor Roy Leyva set the ice-fishing world record for a yellow perch caught on a tip-up: 2 pounds, 6 ounces, caught on Massachusetts’ Sheep Pond. That benchmark stood until 2014, when it was toppled by a hard-core ice-fisherman from Idaho — 12-year-old Tia Wiese.

Tia’s humongous, 2-pound, 11.68-ounce yellow perch broke the Idaho state record and shattered the ice-fishing world record for a fish caught on a tip-up, a category recognized by the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

Leyva is big proponent of getting kids into fishing and has worked as project director and lead instructor for The Fishing Academy, a non-profit organization geared to take kids off the streets and into the outdoors by teaching them how to fish. On his Facebook page, he offered his congratulations to Tia: “So glad it was a 12-year-old girl who broke my world record. Fishing might not be the answer to fixing what the next generation will have deal with, but it’s a start! Good for her! Glad to pass the torch!”

Catching Striped Bass Through The Ice

By: OTW Staff

It’s no secret that some striped bass, instead of migrating south in the open ocean, choose to spend the winter in brackish and freshwater coastal rivers in New England, including the Mystic River, the Providence River, and the Thames, Connecticut and Housatonic rivers. These striped bass that don’t migrate south are what anglers call “holdover” stripers.

Where striped bass will often move far into fresh water coves that freeze solid enough for ice fishing, there’s the potential to connect with a striper through the ice—but it doesn’t happen very often. Here are a few photos we’ve received of striped bass caught while ice fishing.




Get Hooked On A New Concept

By: Zak Elrite and Andrew Martin


Every now and then a product comes along in the fishing industry that truly changes the game. These new products afford us the ability to fish existing baits and techniques in new ways, giving us better results on the water. That is exactly what Penetration Hooks has done with their variety of creative long-shank, offset hook designs. Pen Hooks has taken the offset shank worm hook and “built a better mouse trap” out of it. Pen Hooks currently offers several different sizes and a few different styles of their new hooks, to cover techniques from finesse to flippin.

Having covered Pen Hooks in a Rahfish product overview already, we thought it was time to take them to the water and REALLY put them to the test.


The 2/0 model “H” hook is their lightest wire model great for using in drop shot or Carolina rig techniques. Recently testing the “H” hook rigged with 12lb test Seaguar InvisX, a 1/4oz drop shot weight and a 6″ Roboworm to “bubba shot” on the California delta, the results were better than expected. The fish that were finicky and hard to catch had no choice but to grab ahold of the longer Pen hook. Because it can be rigged in a Weedless fashion, much like a Texas rig, this is a great way to fish a drop shot in heavily vegetated areas. Pen also offers a slightly heavier “G” model which is also effective when paired up soft plastics like the Zoom Fluke, Yamamoto Senko or the Zoom Trick Worm. The possibilities go on and on.

Get hooked on a new concept – Marin ElriteFor the power fishermen out there Pen Hooks offers a 4/0 size, the model “A” hook. This is a heavy duty wire, extra long shaft flipping hook that works great on larger worms, lizards and Swimbaits. Recently my Team partner Andrew Martin Schadegg and I put a twenty-five pound limit of bass in the boat during a the recent Lucas Oil tournament on the California delta while fishing 10″ Berkley Power Worms with a 1/4oz bullet weight. Again, because of the bass’ short strikes, Pen Hooks gave us a distinct advantage when fishing this big bait technique. We caught several bass in the seven pound class and many more in the three pound range, and the heavy duty wire never straightened out. We also noticed the barb on all the Pen Hooks to be slightly larger than other brands and kept ahold of the fish extremely well.

The Pen Hooks testing phase was a definite success. As young of a company as they are, Pen Hooks isn’t only here to stay, but they are here to grow. Weather you prefer finesse fishing or power flippin’, make sure to take a closer look at Pen Hooks.

How To Fish Ponds

In this months “How – to” video, Tackle Grab pro Travis Moran shows how productive small bodies of water can be using Castaic’s NEW shakin shad to quickly locate fish in the shallows. ….