Over the past ten years I have been capturing some incredible underwater images of Largemouth Bass hunting and feeding in the wild and it was time to put some of the images into a video that everyone can enjoy..For me capturing the footage is the real fun and going into the edit phase is where I get a bit frustrated that my storyline is not perfect, but finally I feel that with my video Largemouth Bass XL I got it pretty close to what I visioned in my head
The opening scene is a question that I will ask for the rest of my life “what is it about these Largemouth Bass that drives us to constantly come back for more” I know that I have had the bass fishing obsession since I was six years old, how about you?
Early in the video I added some scenes of some Monster bass chasing and crushing rainbow trout and tried to show just how real the struggle is, and later the video I show many scenes of the food chain and how the small bass need to be aware of larger bass and just them trying to move from one area to another could mean your dinner for a Big Bass.
In future videos I will pick out specific scenes and and do some comentary of what I believe was going on while filming and after seeing the clips in edit…
So enjoy the video and please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Instagram at MikeLongOutdoors
I have caught Big Bass from shore, wading, bass boat, rental boats, rafts, and float tubes, but when I got my Pursuit Kayak from NuCanoe a whole new world of options opened for me to pursue those monster bass..Here is a video to explain some of what I like about my NuCanoe Pursuit Kayak.. #Nucanoedoit
For quite some time now I have been using swimbaits and more times than I can count I’ve had to modify them with an added hook in order to catch some tricky bass. There are lots of ways to add a hook, but the method I’ve used for years the ML Stinger Rig is one that you can rig in the field in a matter of minutes and add to your swimbait, or many other lures.
Some of the items you will need are some quality treble hooks, swivels, split rings, 22 gauge wire, or Christmas ornament hangers, and some split ring pliers.
For treble hooks I prefer to use the Owner Stinger short shank size 1. it has a semi flat side that sits against the baits real nice, and the hook points are bent in towards the shank of the hook which really help keep the hook out trouble like rocks, and wood.
Your going to need two size #3 split rings, one Stinger treble hook, and one #4 swivel. I try to match the size of the hook to width of the bait, and the conditions I will fishing.
A good pair of split ring pliers and small needle nose pliers really help in putting the ML Stinger Rig together, but you can use your thumb nail on the split rings if you have durable nails.
Step One: You want to start by having everything out in front of you ready to go, and start by getting one split ring open ready and ready for the barrel swivel.
Step Two: Now it’s time to add the barrel swivel.
Step Three: Add the second split ring to the barrel swivel.
Step Four: The needle nose pliers really help to turn the split rings onto the barrel swivel.
Step Five: Time to add the treble hook to the ML Stinger Rig.
You can prepare the ML Stinger Rig at home and some ready go as pictured above, or build what you need in the field.
Step Six: Time to add the ML Stinger Rig to your lure. I prefer adding the rig to the lure tie eyelet.
Once the ML Stinger Rig is attached it’s time to secure the rig to the lure.
Your going to need a Christmas ornament hanger as pictured above, or 22 gauge wire with the green coating which can be purchased at almost any hardware store. Look online for the Xmas hangers, or stock up in December.
Cut the hanger in the middle which should leave with two 2″ pieces, now you’ll need to bend one into a tight “U” shaped hairpin as pictured in the above right picture.
Now you’ll need to push the hairpin over the hook shank at a bit of an angle into the plastic swimbait.
When the Hairpin is placed properly it should look like the picture above. Make lots of Hairpins due to loosing them on fish strikes and catches.
Make sure the ML Stinger Rig is aligned correctly on top of the swimbait.
You can make your ML Stinger Rig longer if needed by adding one more barrel swivel and split ring. I have had the most success with the rig pictured above. The two good things about the ML Stinger Rig, is how easy it is to add, and with the barrel swivel your hook will stay hooked in the bass mouth and not twist out….Good Luck and stick a Hog!!
Over my 40+ years of Bass fishing I have seen lots of new products come out, and once in awhile something comes around that really gets my attention. When Owner came out with their “Beast” line of swimbait hooks I was stoked to see a big wide gap heavy wire hook with a fixed weight attached that I had to get a few and try them out.
The sizes Owner came out with first worked great for rigging swimbaits 5″-8″, and in 2016 Owner released a Monster Beast Hook a 12/0 which is giant wide gap hook that fits most of my 9″-11″ swimbaits.
The size chart above from www.tacklewarehouse.com shows all five Owner Beast Swimbait hooks with weight size, quantity per package, and price.
My two favorite sizes of Owner Beast Swimbait Hooks are the 12/0, and 6/0. They work great on my Rago Alpha trout in 6″ and 9″ lengths. One thing about me I’m a huge fan of weedless swimbaits, I like to fish my swimbaits where the Big Bass live and not every swimbait is weedless, but most can be converted weedless with the Owner Beast Swimbait Hook.
Each Owner Swimbait Hook comes with a Twistlock which is pictured above. This Twistlock has a center guide pin which makes it really easy to center the Twistlock on your swimbait.
The picture above shows the application process of Twislock into the swimbait. It is important to find the apex section on the nose of the swimbait and then push the center guide pin into the swimbait and with some light pressure applied on the Twistlock begin pushing it towards the swimbait. Now you will begin the twisting of the Twistlock into the swimbait keeping pressure towards the swimbait..
In the picture above you can see about how far to seat the Twistlock into your swimbait. Two things to watch for. One, make sure to keep the Twistlock as straight as possible in the swimbaits, and two, the hook needs to be in the vertical position as in the picture above or the hook eyelet will twist and tweak the nose of the swimbait.
Next step is to use a sharpie and make a small dot where the end of the hook will be in the swimbait.
Now it’s time to cut a 1″ line on the belly of the swimbait about 1/4 the depth of the swimbait. In the 2″ swimbait in the picture above I made cut around 1/2″ deep cut. You want to start cutting just past the end of the hook mark you made and continue about one inch towards the head of the swimbait.
Now it’s time to gently without putting to much stress on the Twistlock to run your hook through your swimbait. The trick is to keep the point of the hook as straight up as possible.
It is very important to make sure that the point of the hook goes through the top middle of the swimbait, or the bait will not run true while swimming. The picture above shows plenty of hook exposure, this swimbait is almost ready to use.
A little trick I use to make my swimbaits more durable and last longer is to add a little Mend-it soft plastic glue to the plastic.
By adding some Mend-it glue around the head area and around the hook, and hook barb area you strengthen the plastic which will give your swimbait longer life.
My advice on the Owner Beast Swimbait Hooks in size 12/0 is to use no lighter than 20lb line. I prefer 25, 28, and 30lb line for good barb sets, and a 8′-6″ MegaMag rod with a heavy back bone and your ready to hunt some big fish.
Over the years of chasing bass during the day I have encountered several severe sunburns and till recently I have had very little in the way of light weight clothing alternatives for fishing. I have had a few fishing shirts over the past couple of years , but when Mojo Sportswear Company contacted me and sent me a sample of what they offered for the fishing community I was on cloud 9..Finally a light weight comfortable shirt that I could go to battle with while chasing bass in the extreme sun and heat of Southern California.. Before writing this review I put Mojo Sportswear Company’s product to the test for well over a month of extreme bass fishing.
Company: Mojo Sportswear Co.
Shirt: Vented Wireman
Moisture Wicking: Yes
Quick Dry: Yes
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I always look for a light colored shirt that reflects the suns harsh rays and are breathable and Mojo Sportwear has the perfect shirt for those really hot and bright days on the water. Mojo Sportswear uses 100% Technical Poly Microfiber which has UPF rating of 50+ and it is moisture wicking which will keep you dry all day. The material is also wrinkle and stain resistant.
The Mojo Sportswear Vented Wireman shirts come with vented armpits as well as venting under the arms which I found to really work well to help regulate body temperature. The stitching between the materials was top notch, this shirt should last for years.
Mojo Sportswear Co. also offers a very cool Bass Camo shirt which is also made out of 100% Poly Fiber. There is no venting on the Bass Camo shirt. I found the Bass Camo shirt to be very comfortable and lightweight and after a long hot day of fishing I had zero sun damage to my skin.
Mojo Sportswear Co. also offers Bass Camo headgear which is a must to keep the sun off of your ears, and neck, and it looks really nice matching the Bass Camo, and Vented Wireman shirts.
For me while hunting Big Bass I always try to blend into the environment as much as possible to not spook the giant bass off and the Bass Camo Headgear, and shirts are a perfect match for those Big Bass hunting days.
Visit www.mojo-gear.com for ordering, and more information on Mojo Sportswear Co. Products
Pros: Light weight material which keeps you dry and cool all day. UPF of 50+..The shirts move with your body and don’t interfere with casting in any way at all.
Cons: I would love to see a Mock version of both shirts to help keep the sun off the neck when not wearing any headgear.
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Over the years, as underwater sports cameras have evolved, I have been able to keep stride with this ever changing technology and sometimes add my creative twist of thinking outside the box to get those underwater shots that in the past we could only imagine. So I have decided to make a series of short videos of underwater bass activity to try to help unlock some of the mysterys of just what the heck these bass are thinking when we toss our lures out in their environment.
The baits I used in the video are my own Natural Series Swimmers AM Shads
One of the questions I hear a lot is “Why are the bass just following my bait?”
The picture above shows a large group of bass that were just curious about the swimbait and never made an advance towards it, just followed the bait and stayed just behind it. While filming, it was the middle of a hot Summer day, heading into a no moon phase and the water was clear and around 80 degrees.
I have found that in these periods of the year, and time of day, most bass in clear water will be low light feeders and once you find them they will be offshore, suspended just deep enough to stay out of the sun’s bright summer rays.
The above picture is a snapshot of a behavior I have seen many animals exhibit in nature and that is to rub their body, or scent onto the bait and mark it. I’m not totally sure why bass would do this, but the bass in the video never bit the swimbait just marked it.
Under the same mid-day hot and bright conditions I was able to get a few bass to chase down my swimbait and get a little more aggressive with it once I got the lure down around 25 feet.
After finding that perfect depth of water I was able to consistently keep my swimbait in the bass biting zone.
Enjoy the video!!
Thinking back well over 40 years of bass fishing one thing always comes to mind and that is how I have always liked to tweak existing lures, or build new ones from scratch that would work for the bass hunt I was currently on. I absolutely enjoy creating something from just a few ideas and testing it in the water and hoping it would trick those finicky bass, not every idea works, but you learn from each one. Tweaking, or adjusting a lure is something I do on almost every trip, so after time and time of doing this you kinda know what most bass fisherman are looking for in a specific style of lure.
I have also spent many years working with, or consulting with some of the finest swimbait makers on the planet, from Sean Donovan the original owner of Optimum Lures to Jason Scott (Castaic, Decoy Lures), to Matt Servant (MattLures), and Jerry Rago of Rago Lures. These guys are all legends in the swimbait world and have made several lures to date that have caught many personal best for thousands of bass fisherman. These men all have one thing in common, they are all driven to build the best lures on the market today.
For well over 30 years I have worked full time in the construction industry, but a few years ago after that industry collapsed I decided it was time to pursue one of my dreams and build lures for the general public and so my company Natural Series Swimmers was born.
It has been a learning curve making production lures. In the past I only had to make a few lures at a time which is much easier than trying to make 20-50 a week.
I Started with a picture of threadfin shad and an idea of how I wanted the bait to swim and after years of watching shad in the water and viewing countless hours of under water video footage of shad in their natural environment. I knew how I wanted to start.
Next it was time to make a carving.
I started with the picture of what I wanted the lure to look like, traced it out with some tracing paper and transferred that image onto some bass wood and then cut out my design. I made the shad in one piece first so I would have a future template that I could build multiple jointed baits with.
The end result which was made out of urethane and hand painted had to be field tested, which for me was one of funnest parts of the entire process. On the first field test of the glide shad I scored a few nice bass up to 11 lbs. and found I only needed to make a few minor tweaks as to where the hooks were placed and what size.
This 6″ 2.5oz. lure which I call my Glide Shad is an incredible little bait that did everything I designed it to do. I prefer to use the Glide Shad with a 7′-4″ Dobyns Rod (744) and 18Lb. Maxima Fluorocarbon line. I also add a #4 Duo Lock snap to every bait which really helps give the Glide Shad maximum freedom in the water. I balanced the baits with Owner size 1 treble hooks which work perfectly with the 6″ Glide Shad.
Every bait is field tested to make sure it meets my standards.
When working the Glide Shad it is very important to keep your rod tip pointed towards the lure and make it glide side to side with a reel retrieve only. I made a video which shows the Glides Shads swimming and how I’m “reel retrieveing” them to get the side to side motion.
My second glide bait is my Gliding Panfish
The Gliding Panfish is a bait that I have made for myself for quite sometime, I just thickened up the tail and smoothed the edges to make a more durable swimbait for production to the public. That is one problems I have with my personal baits is that they are not always built to take a lot of abuse, but built as life-like as possible and when fins break you just build a new one and your back in business.
This was another bait that I carved the template out of wood off of a concept I liked in a two piece bait. Once again this is a balanced swimbait that needs a steady reel retrieve to get the Gliding Panfish to swim hard left and right. This little 6″ swimbait is a beast around docks and trees where you can get the glide the lure partially into these targets where some giant bass are hiding out.
Field testing the new design went very well, I found I only needed to make a sleight hook adjustment which is now in all the new Gliding Panfish.
The Gliding Panfish comes with a #3 Duo Snap, two Owner Stinger 2X Black Hooks, custom Taxidermy eyes, and two magnum grade screw eyes to hold each section together. Each bait also comes with the “ML” initial and is numbered in the order it was built. Every bait is field tested before it is packaged. Along with a floating version, there is slow sink, super slow sink, and fast sink.
Attached is a link to a video showing the Gliding Panfish in the water and the proper rod position with a reel only retrieve:
Here is a link to the Glide Shad in Action:
By clicking on the “Store” tab on the homepage there will be a link to the Natural Series Swimmers that are currently for sale:
The Gliding Panfish are $105+shipping, and the Glide Shads are $68+shipping.
Coming soon are the AM Shads a soft plastic realistic looking shad with a internal bladder and weight system that gives this little 5″ bait a very realistic look in the water. This new bait is something I have been working on for awhile and just fine tuning the color patterns.
This is my second review on Santiam Rods Alaskan Travel Series , and as a bass fisherman I had the chance to field test their awesome SFC-764 four piece rod. Since a kid I have loved to hike, or bike into remote areas and do some bass fishing, but most break-down style rods are spinning rods and just don’t work well with a bait casting reel on them.
Series: Alaskan Travel Series
Overall Length: 7’6″
Individual Lengths: 24-1/4″,24″, 24″,24″
Weight: 5.3 Ounces
Line Weight: 8-17lb.
Lure Weight: 3/8oz-1oz
MLO Rating: 5 out of 5
All Santiam Fishing Rods come in a hard plastic tube with end caps which is perfect in you plan a long distance trip on a airplane, or even want to mail your rods to your fishing destination and better yet the tube helps to protect your rod from unwanted damage while not in use. Santiam also supplies a really nice holding bag with an individual slot for each rod piece. Once all four rod pieces are in the bag you can roll it up and and rod pieces are protected and ready for travel.
The Santiam SFC-764 is a great all around bass rod at 7′-6″ and a four power rating. I found this rod to work great while using Super Spooks, or working a 1/2oz. jig. It is rated for lures between 3/8oz.-1oz., but I did use some 2oz. swimbaits and never felt the rod could not hand the heavier weight.
For those not familiar with four piece rods, there is a male end, and a female end which the male end will slide into. You want to make sure each piece is pushed into the next with a very light pushing motion, but not too much or may damage the rod piece.I found that while pushing in the pieces of the rod with a sleight turning motion while aligning the eyes worked best for me.I had former MLB pitcher Andy Ashby help me test the Santiam SFC-764 while hiking some local farm ponds and he found the Santiam four piece rod to work great helping him catch well over 30 bass along with a few monsters on jerk baits and absolutely get the job done.
Pro: Very light and compact, coming with a hard case and soft cast which makes keeping the rod from unwanted damage during transit. The rod never once felt like it was a four piece rod and all rod sections stayed perfectly aligned.
Cons: Not many I could find. You will need to add graphite lube to each section this will help to seat each rod section properly and help prevent section damage.
MLO Rating: 5 out 5
For those who did not know I have been working with BassMaster Senior editor Ken Duke over the last month on how to catch the biggest bass of your life. We are on step 3 which covers fitness, nutrition, hydration, and proper clothing. Check it out and let’s here your feedback.
As I’ve gotten a little older the sun has really been harsh on my skin. I have had plenty of days that when I got home after 12 hours of Summertime fishing that I felt like my skin was on fire and I was completely wiped out. I was dehydrated, and my skin was trying to heal from the sunburn so my body was tired and sluggish and it was hard to sleep. After years of wearing flip flop style sandals, shorts, and tank tops I started to realize I needed to wear shoes, pants, a long sleeve shirt, buff for the neck and face, a good hat, and light weight sun gloves.
After finding the right Sun protection clothing I have had much better success on the water by being in the game of fishing and not burnt by the sun and tired, sluggish, and overall miserable on the water. I can spend as long as I want out fishing in the brightest of sun and at the end of the day when I remove all my sun protection clothing I feel great and my skin is the same as when I started in the morning.
I put together a short three minute video to help with sun protection clothing.
There are lots of topwater lures out on the market today, but the Boing Topwater lure is just a little bit different from all the rest. From its aerodynamic balanced design which helps with casting distance especially in the wind, to its incredible internal clicking sound which you can hear while working the lure in. Boing has set the bar high so lets break it down and take a closer look at the Boing Topwater lure.
Lure: Boing Topwater
Style: Walking Bait
Sink Rate: Floater
Weight: .6 oz
Length: 4 1/2″
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When I first received my Boing Lures I was very impressed by the packaging containers that the Boing Lures came in. They were small round cylinders that were the perfect size to store in a tackle box, backpack, or in the boat. The lid on the packaging was also a very easy to open lid and very easy to put back on and that is a pleasant surprise compared to some of lure packages on the market today.
The Boing Lure has an internal ticking sound that is activated when you move the lure, so not only will the lure attract bass like no other topwater lure on the market today, but the ticking sound will also help you in the timing of your retrieve cadence.
I really liked the tapered design of the lure, it was around 1/2′ at the head and gills section down to around 1/4′ near the tail end of the lure. Along with the weight that Boing added in the tail section of the lure, I could cast this lure through the air like a bullet. A very balanced lure while in flight and when the wind kicked up I could still make some great long distance cast into the wind which was great when fish broke surface far from the boat.
The colors I used for my field test review were baby shad and dark bass which were painted by Dwain Batey from BaitWerks which is one of the best lure painting companies in North America.
If you take a close look at the picture above you’ll find that the eyelet is turned side to side instead of up and down which seemed to really help in walking the Boing lure during the retrieve.The Boing Lure was one of those fun to use lures where I couldn’t wait to make the next cast and walk the lure in.
Pros: A very easy to cast lure with an incredible paint job. The sound chamber was by far a huge factor in getting bass to find and strike the lure. A very easy to walk lure at medium to fast speeds and the ticking of the sound chamber was very helpful in hearing and timing my retrieve cadence.
Cons: What I found during my field test was some bending out on my hooks due to the amount of bass caught, so bring some extra #4 treble hooks. The tail feather also got torn up quick so have a few extra per trip.
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
“What swimbait should I use and why?” is one question that I get asked quite often. Well, to be absolutely honest, in order to answer that question there are a few factors to take into consideration. First, you must ascertain what forage fish lives in the water where you plan to fish and then what time of the year you’ll be fishing the body of water.
Where I live the majority of what the bass are feeding on year-round ranges between Threadfin Shad, Bluegills, Sunfish, baby bass, Crappie, Golden Shiners, crawdads, and Rainbow Trout. So one of the first things I need to do before finding a swimbait to match the hatch, is to determine what time of the year it is before choosing a swimbait size and color pattern. During the fall and winter months, most of the lakes here in San Diego stock Rainbow Trout between 6″ and 18″ so matching that hatch is crucial if you want to have any swimbait success. In swimbait fishing during these seasons the size of the prey that is predominant is important for two reasons. First, it is always important to match the size and color of what the bass are currently feeding on because they tend to program themselves to feed on one particular forage at a time and hone their hunting ability as they do; it is just how their mind works to survive. Secondly, during the winter and early spring months where the days are much shorter and the water is much cooler, a bass’ metabolism slows down and it tends to not feed as much during the day. But when they do feed they spend their energy on catching one larger meal that might take well over four to five days digest. So they may only hunt once or twice a week in cold season conditions.
I have witnessed large bass in cold winter waters look as if they were dead and barely moving, remaining very lethargic throughout the day. That being said there are fewer windows of opportunity due to colder conditions; the bass are almost in a hibernation mode waiting for a bright sunny day to warm their body and spark their metabolism and get them to feel like feeding. Their digestive system slows down and so does their desire to feed, but when they do, they will eat that one big meal and digest it slowly.
As the seasons change and the days get longer and warmer during the Summer and Fall months, the waters also warm. This increase in temperature boosts the bass’ metabolism and they will feed more often. Sometimes they’ll hunt several times per hour, but when they do they tend to feed on much smaller forage 1″-5″ in size which is a much easier meal to digest.
They expend lots of energy chasing smaller fish so they have to eat more often to replenish their fuel supply. Some of the forage fish such as Threadfin Shad, panfish, and baby bass, which are abundent after the Spring spawn, are high on the bass’ list of what they will feed on. So it is very important to match the size of these smaller baits first as well as the the color of what you believe the bass are currently feeding on. To explain this better imagine it’s a hot Summer day and you just went to the gym, or ran a race and afterword your going to want to re-fuel and eat a few small meals so your body can break down the foods quickly. If you eat too much too quickly you’ll load up your system and become sluggish and tired. Your body urges you to eat smaller meals throughout the day. The bass goes through the same motions during the warmer Summer and Fall months and its body urges it to feed on smaller meals throughout the day that its metabolism can easily break down.
If your lunker hunting with these smaller swimbaits during the warmer Summer and Fall months and your going through numbers of bass, but have yet to catch a lunker, don’t automatically switch to a larger swimbait. Try to think where the lunker bass are holding. They may not be right on the surface busting on the shad like the smaller bass, but may be 10′-15′ below the ball of shad waiting for an injured shad to fall to them or waiting to eat one of the small 4″-6″ baby bass chasing the shad on the surface. I find in the Summer on some of the hottest days the bigger bass will be low-light feeders, feeding in the early morning, or on cloudy days on the surface, or deep in the mouth of a cove during the heat of the day. Docks and sunken trees are a few other areas of low-light and shade where these monster bass could be hiding in ambush.
Something to also pay close attention to is the speed of the bait, I prefer a slow-medium retrieve during the colder months and a fast retrieve during the warmer months with lots of ripping and jerking the smaller lures to entice a bight. The water temperatures definitely dictates the lure speed and retrieve style, so slow and steady in colder water and fast with some erratic small fish evasion movement.
So downsizing swimbaits in that 3″-5″ size during for the Summer and Fall months is going to be a great decision that will allow you to catch more bass and still have that chance for a trophy bass, while during the colder months that larger swimbait for those cold lurking lunkers should be a great choice.
When I recieved my 7″ Drift Master from Pizz Customs I was not sure what to expect, but when I got to the lake to test the Drift Master I was very impressed. Pizz is well known for custom paint jobs on lures and reels, but soon will be known for making glide style swimbaits with what ever color you desire on your Drift Master Swimbait.
Lure: Drift Master
Lure Style: Glide Bait
Weight: 2.5 Ounces
R.O.F.: Slow Sink
Material: Hard Resin
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The Drift Master is a two piece bill-less glide bait built to glide left and right on a slow retrieve, or fast retrieve. This bait shocked me with how much balanced movement it had from a slow to fast retrieve it thumped my rod tip, it also on cadenced reel retrieve would glide at least 2′ left and right.
I always use a quick clip to attach my lures and the Drift Master had a little more freedom using the quick clip, if you don’t want to use a clip you should add a 40-60lb. split ring to allow the Drift Master to have full movement in the water.
All the hardware on the Drift Master is heavy duty from the screws eyes, to the split rings this is a very well thought out and built bait. I was very impressed at the detail around the head of the bait. Pizz Customs added just enough fine detail on the gill plates area to give the Drift Master added life in the water.
Pizz Customs made a custom tail out of a very soft durable material that should last for the life of the bait. The tail is attached with super glue and should stay in place, but I would suggest checking it once in awhile to make sure it is secure.
To order the Drift Master go to www.pizzcustoms.com
Pro: Incredible swimming bait, the Drift Master at a slow to fast retrieve lure that thumped my rod tip with all the balanced action that came off the bait. The paint job was very life-like and Pizz Customs painted the inside of the hinge of the bait which really impressed me.
Cons: The hooks were a bit weak and I bent one a bit on a hook set, I would suggest adding your favorite hook.
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When I think back on all my years of bass fishing there is always one image that sticks out in my mind and that is the image of a bass getting its head above the water and tossing my lure into the air. It’s happened so many times to me I have lost count. Even when I’m prepared for it I’ve had some bass charge towards the boat faster than I can reel up the slack and then come up and shake their head and toss my lure out. I guess it’s all just part of the battle and you’ve got to be prepared if you want win by landing the bass.
The three pictures above show a bass jumping completely jumping out of the water and not on this jump, but the next jump spit my swimbait out. Why does this happen? Water is much denser than air, so if a bass can shake its head back and forth underwater two times per second it probably can easily double if not triple that same head shaking ability above the water making it that much harder to keep the fishing line tight and the hook set in the bass’ mouth. Another factor is the weight of the bait, the heavier the bait the easier a bass can use that added weight to its advantage and toss the heavier lure from its mouth when above the water.
One technique that I practice after a hook set is keeping the rod tip close to the water and sometimes burying it into the water. At 6′-4″ this is not an easy task for a tall guy unless I’m using a long fishing pole.
There are many times where I will get down to one knee and keep my rod as close to the water as possible. This really helps when I see my line coming out of the water towards the bass that is about to jump, I can easily bury the rod tip down into the water reel faster and hopefully slow down, or prevent the bass from jumping out of the water. The primary goal is to always keep the line tight and control the bass. We joke about this “tight lines” but it is no joke when your fighting a monster bass and it gets some slack line on you by getting its head out the water and shaking it. So thinking it through while battling the bass and staying very calm will help prepare you for what an angry bass might do while the fight is on.
Another technique I try to practice if the situation allows it is to fight a large bass by keeping the line tight and letting it go through any underwater weed, or submerged grass. I have found two things while doing this; one if I can get some underwater grass, or weed on the bass’ face and blind it some it seems to trick the bass that is safe and slows its swimming surges and gives me a chance to land the beast. Two if I can get some underwater grass and weeds on my line the added weight helps to slow the bass down in the water and also slow down the head shakes when the bass tries to jump.
So next time your on the water keep the line tight and control the bass and you’ll be wearing a big ole smile on your face.
I have had a blast lately sharing some of my underwater bass pictures here on MLO and trying to tell a story through series of pictures. I have also had lots of requests for more underwater bass pictures so here are a few more bass pictures to share with everyone.
In the pictures above I was just able to catch this monster bass around 14 lbs. come out of nowhere to chase down this 2 lb Rainbow Trout. It was an incredible site to see in person let alone capture on film.
Thanks for viewing my pictures here on MikeLongOutdoors and please leave some feedback on what you would like to see here on MLO in the future.
I get asked all the time “How do you catch so many big bass” well the simple answer is eliminating water and spending more time in productive water. Basically if I spend a day just fishing down the bank I will only cover a small amount of productive fish catching water, where as if I spend my day on certain areas of the lake that I have found to hold bass like ledges, hard bottom areas with rock, sunken trees and bushes, and one of my favorite areas where I live docks then my success rate will be very good and thus i’m a happy guy.
In the pictures above you can see classic examples of how bass will congregate on a ledges with deep water access. I have found that if these ledges have a flat on one side and deep water access on the other side that they will be a highly productive area of the lake that I want to spend more time on throughout the day.
Another productive area of a lake is a small isolated rock pile. This is another area that can hold a trophy bass and if approached quietly and correctly it can be a highly productive spot to visit throughout the day.
Some lakes have tules, or what some call “cat-tails” that are rooted below the surface into the soft lake bottom around the shallow water areas and sprout anywhere from a few feet, to 15′ above the water. These tules can hold hundreds of bass as well as baitfish throughout the year.
The trick to finding the productive water while fishing tules is finding pockets within the tules due to hard bottom where the tules cannot root. Once an area is found it’s all about finding the right lure to flip into these pockets and the correct rod, reel, and line to get these hiding bass out of this thick cover.
One of my favorite spots to fish on a lake is a dock, especially one that has deep water access. In the picture above a very large school of bass had moved up from deep water to hunt the the small bait fish that were grouped up around the dock in part due the ecosystem that thrives around the dock area.
The picture above is a great example of why I love to fish docks. These docks can hold some very large bass throughout the day, especially when it’s sunny. These giant bass love the shade that the docks offer.
So if want to have more success while out on the water, then my advice is to try studying and finding the productive areas of the lake that will hold quality bass and spend more time in these productive areas of the lake and keep a journal of your catches and by paying close attention to the productive water triggers like low-light, the sun postion in the sky and what moon phase your in as well as when the moon will be overhead. By paying attention to these fine details you will understand when to be on the productive areas for maximum success. Good Luck!!
In my pursuit of chasing and learning more about giant bass over the years, I have been able to take a break from time to time and use my underwater camera to get some incredible underwater shots of big bass in their natural environment and catalog some of what these monster bass do throughout the day and throughout the four seasons of the year.
In the picture above it was the day of the rainbow trout stocking and after a few weeks of the trout being stocked on the same day the bass became conditioned to be at the same place at the same time for the trout buffet. On this particular day I would guess that at least 1/3 of all the large bass over 12lbs in the lake were under the boat dock staged and waiting for the easy trout hunt.
This is by far one of my favorite shots a bass in the 14 lb. class chasing a freshly stocked 2 lb. Rainbow Trout on the launch ramp. She was so fat she could barely swim straight and missed at least three trout while I was filming her wild pursuit.
Here is another shot of the same bass trying to pin a trout on the bottom. Most of the large bass I have witnessed during trout stockings seem to try this pinning technique in order to get the trout head towards their mouth. This behavior makes a lot of sense to me due to all the years of success bottom crawling swimbaits.
Here a giant bass sits tucked under a dock days after a trout stock, digesting and waiting for the next trout truck to arrive. Throughout the year I am amazed how many giant bass can be found just under your feet under a boat dock. This low light environment is a perfect place for a giant bass to hold especially with how many smaller fish that are attracted to the area around a dock. I have found that some of the best ecosystems in a lake are under and around docks.
As the Winter months end and Spring approaches some of the true giant bass of the lake head towards shallower waters and start mapping out and staying very close to where the spawning flats will most likely be. This is a great time of the year to find a large bass near to a ledge, large rock, or sunken tree next to a spawning flat.
As Spring time approaches and the water temperature reaches the right level the male bass begins making a nest and spraying their pheromones in preparation for spawning. This pheromone attractant acts as a big bass love drug to hold these giant female bass shallow where they really don’t want to be due to intensity of the sunlight on their eyes.
During post spawn these exhausted giant female bass stay near the shallow waters and spend what little energy they have left to hunt some panfish. You can really tell the difference in the bellies of pre spawn bass vs. a post spawn bass.
As winter sets in and the days get shorter and the storms arrive, run off from the storms muddy the water and change the water temperature. Bass metabolisms change and the big girls tend to move around less, so you can find some giant bass just sitting on the bottom next to some of the best structure real estate in the lake and if you slow your approach with a jig, or plastic worm you may land that trophy bass of a lifetime..
I hope you enjoyed my bass pictures and they gave you a little more insight into the world of the Large Mouth Bass and they inspire you and help you to better understand the world of the largemouth bass.
I have had some emails about purchasing some of my bass pictures, they will soon be available on MikeLongOutdoors.com Thank You for viewing and for your support!!
I had been looking for a good bait casting travel rod for a reasonable price and I found that with the Santiam Fishing Rods in the Alaskan Travel Series. I wanted a light low profile three piece bait casting rod that I could put into my day pack and also mount onto my mountain bike.
Series: Alaskan Travel Series
Overall Length: 7’0″
Weight: 6.2 Ounces
Material: High Modulus Graphite
Line Weight: 8-17lb.
MLO Rating: 5 out of 5
Santiam Alaskan Travel Series 7′-0″ SFC-703
Each piece is custom built to fit into the next and I found them to fit perfectly. As for movement while casting and setting the hook I had zero joint movement.
Pros: Santiam uses a high modulus graphite blank which for the low price of $69 off their website is an absolute steal. one year warranty is also awesome. I found the three piece rod to work just as well as a one piece rod with the same specs.
Cons: You need to remember to spray silicone to the female ends,or the ends tighten up a bit.
MLO Rating: 5 out of 5
MattLures is at it again with their latest creation in the MattLures series of hard swimbaits with their 7 1/2″ glide bass, with three sink rates; floating, slow sink, and fast sink and five colors to choose from perch, smallmouth, light bass, dark bass, and walleye.
Bait: Glide Bass
Weight: 4 ounce
Color: Dark Bass
Sink Rate: Slow Sink
At 7 1/2″ the MattLures Glide Bass is one of the smaller glide baits on the market today, but having a glide bait in a bass color fills the need of many trophy bass fisherman around the globe
The MattLures Glide Bass is a lipless single jointed swimbait that was designed to glide left and right at slow speeds as well as fast speeds.
MattLures once again stayed true to style of building natural looking swimbaits. Full fins, scale patterns and a lifelike paint job.
The tail of the MattLures Glide Bass is made of a soft material that flexes slightly and should not break for the life of the bait.
Every now and then in life someone comes along who really understands the sport of trophy bass fishing and Brett Richardson is one of those people. Brett is an In-Fisherman contributor and has been chasing trophy bass for over five decades. He is a multi-species fisherman who has chased monster fish from the great USA all the way into Canada. Brett has been a freelance writer as well as guide who loves to do seminars and help people world wide with his articles and incredible DVD’s Brett’s DVD series was created for the serious bass hunters who want to obtain specific info on how to hunt and catch trophy bass throughout the year in any body of water.
Zoning Migratory Bass, and Water Elements are two must have DVD’s for understanding where the big bass and why, and reading the water.
Vertical Spring Bassin is a great DVD to help to understand where and why the big girls group and hold till the warm sunny spring days pull them back to the shallow banks to spawn. And Crucial Factors for Post-Spawn Bass will help answer some of the questions about where those big exhausted females go after the spawn.
Factoring Variables for Summer Bass is a DVD for the true trophy bass hunters and Getting a Grip on Traditional Bass is a great DVD for all levels of bass hunters.
Bite Windows is a great DVD that will really help to answer some of those questions about why bass don’t bite all day and The Hunt for Summer Pelagic Bass is one of my favorites. I promise it will make you think outside the box when fishing for those big stubborn Summer bass.
Equations for Fall Turnover and The Quest for Fall Bass will definitely help to answer some of those tough questions about where those monster bass go in the Fall months and how to pattern them.
If you would like to purchase an individual DVD, or the DVD collection they are available by contacting Brett Richardson at email@example.com he accepts PayPal and all DVD’s are shipped the next day. Thank You for reading and please support Brett anyway possible!
I have used and tested quite a few swimbaits over the years and there is a few things I look for right away in a swimbait, is it durable? was it put together well enough to take hundreds of casts a day? how well will it hold up after hooking a few bass on it? is the price affordable? I tested the Middle Fish Injured Trout Original and this is what I found out.
Lure: Injured Trout Original
Color: Rainbow Trout
Weight: 2.8 Ounces
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The MiddleFish Injured Trout is a 7″ swimbait that weighs in at 2.8 ounces and is a S-motion swimbait.
I was very impressed with the joint construction, it is a drop pin hinge joint system that is used in many custom swimbaits these days. The inside of the joint is painted to match the outside the bait and helps to keep this swimbait looking natural while swimming in the water.
Another thing I like about the MiddleFish Injured Trout swimbait is the flexibility of the hinges. I am a huge fan of S-motion swimbaits where the tail can almost touch the body of the bait, these baits have much more flexibilty and create more side to side motion in the water than other swimbaits with less flexibility.
MiddleFish did not cut any corners with a natural taxidermy glass eyes that really gives this swimbait some added life.
The Injured Trout has scale textured sides that really make this swimbait look very natural.
Pros: This small 7″ swimbait looks larger in the water and with its bullet shape design is very easy to casts in the wind. When you burn the Inured trout it has an incredible super fast S-motion and if you pause and jerk the swimbait you can make it walk left and right. I would like to see this bait with a jig hook, or frog hook off the top of the first joint.
Cons: Not the best action at a very slow speed. The front hook is a little to close needs to farther back to prevent line grab.
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Finding a giant bass is even rarer than you might think. Over the years I’ve been lucky to have caught many large bass well over 15 lbs. and to have caught one bass over 20 lbs. I have caught them using swimbaits, live crawdads, waterdogs, and jigs. Most of the large catches were during the spring months here in southern California (March-May). Some were blind catches and some were spawning bass. Most of the time, if the water is clear in the reservoir, you’ll get a chance to see one of the giants of the lake and, if you see them multiple times, you might even get a chance to track them and figure out their current migration route between their feeding and spawning areas.
One day early this March, I found a giant bass and was able to figure out its route. I was at one of San Diego’s clear water, trout-fed lakes casting swimbaits in the evening before it closed and had spotted a monster bass that I knew was well over 20 lbs. This giant bass would follow my swimbait all the way to the steep bank I was casting from. She followed the bait and would turn at about 20′ from the shore near a sunken tree in the water and hold off the tip of the tree. She played this game with me for about five casts and then would just sit off the end of the sunken tree and slowly swim under it where you could not see her at all. The following day, I made an early morning trip to the lake and hit the area where I had seen this big bass. After about a dozen casts with no follows and no sign of the big female bass I started to make a move.
I kept with the swimbait hoping to get a bite, or just get a big follower and eliminate water. I worked my way to a fishing dock and that is where I saw this giant bass again from the day before. She had a distinct shape which made me certain it was the same bass and not just another giant bass. This big bass was hanging out at the end of the dock and would not follow a swimbait, or even give it a look. As the sun rose and hit the water, she slowly began to move off the dock towards deep water and in the direction of where I had seen her the day before, which was about 100 yards away. It was about seven days before a full moon with some really nice, warm weather so there were quite a few males up on nests spawning with just a handful of female bass up at that time.
I slowly fished my way back to the area where I originally saw the giant bass and with my first cast I saw her again. She would follow my swimbait to the shore, but not commit. As the sun got higher in the sky and lit up this North-facing steep bank, I noticed a spawning male that was about ten feet to the right of the sunken tree. When I would toss my swimbait near him he would rise up and chase it away from his nests in a guarding posture; he was very aggressive.
As the sun got higher in the sky and the air temperature reached around 80 degrees, the big bass would sink down in the water and disappear into the depths. I played this game through the weekend seeing her early in the day around the dock and then 100 yards away by the steep bank and the sunken tree as later in the day. I had definitely found a big bass with a recognizable pattern I just had to stay on it. Monday came and I had to go to work, but I knew I wanted to return to the lake that day. I rose early so I could get an early start and was able to leave work around 3:00 p.m. and I headed straight to the lake.
We were now just two days before a full moon and that day the moon rise was around 5:42 p.m. When I arrived at the lake I went right to the spot and, to my surprise, there was the big female bass sitting dead center on the nest with the aggressive male bass. My heart was pounding and I almost fell down into the water from the steep bank I was standing on. It was time to think before making a cast; I got the net near the water and checked my line and knot and planned the fight of how I would I hook her and land her. I had calmed down some and started to make some some casts.
I was using a Revenge Jig with their custom, shad-color skirt tied to 20lb. Maxima line and a Dobyns DX744 rod with a Shimano Calais reel. I was ready. After about 30 minutes of casting into the nest, I started to realize this big bass was not going to move. She was frozen on the nest and the male was sitting outside and would not show any interest in my jig either. Knowing how big this bass was and that I could bump her with my jig it was extremely frustrating that she would not show any interest at all. Sometimes in these situations if you can get the male interested in the jig the female will follow, but in this case both were in a neutral mood. It was now around 6:00 p.m. with only an hour left until the lake closed, the sun was behind the hillside, but I could still see the bass in the nest and that is when I saw another female rogue bass that was around 15lbs. approach the nest.
The male bass instantly worked his way up to this new female bass and they both began rubbing and swimming in a circle around the nest, but the original giant bass was still in the middle of the nest not moving. I watched this for about ten minutes to see if the giant bass would show some interest in the new female being in the nest area, but she did not. So I figured it was time to flip the jig again. Immediately the 15lb. bass showed some interest in it and went nose down on the jig after a few more casts she ate the jig. As I fought her to the bank, I watched the other giant bass slowly rise up and follow her to the bank and as I reached down to land the 15lb. bass with my left hand the giant was about 3 feet away; so close that I could have netted her and yes she was a lot bigger than the 15lber I had just landed. I unhooked the bass I had just caught, grabbed my scale and weighed her at 15-6, and released her quickly so I could make a cast back towards the nest. Unfortunately, I noticed the big girl did not go back; she was gone.
Tuesday morning I was back at the lake first in line and first to the spot. The giant bass was there again sitting in the center of the nest, but this time she was moving around more and rubbing with the small male bass. I retied my jig, checked about ten feet of my fishing line for any cuts, or kinks and started to cast out to the nest. It did not take long to get the big female bass interested; after about 20 minutes she started to back out of the nest area and slowly charged towards it and tilted forward so she could get her big bug-eyes that were almost on top of her fat head to see the jig. BOOM!
I saw her finally inhale the jig and I as I swung she turned toward the sunken tree took off in the blink of the eye and in about all of one second had snapped me off in the sunken tree … and the words I used next I can’t publish. I had just lost a bass I believe to be between 23-24lbs. and I never turned the reel handle once after she ate my jig. All I can do is learn from this disappointing experience and try to find her again or another monster and hope for that window of opportunity to get them to bite and land her.
These days where almost everyone has a camera phone and can take a picture, or even video of their trophy bass and upload it to the internet you get to see lots and lots of bass pictures and video. Unfortunately, one common thing I see is the way the bass are handled and held for that “hero” shot. I have been guilty many times of taking to many pictures, or holding the bass by its jaw with one hand. In this article we’ll take a look at proper bass handling.
When I was younger I loved to try to catch two bass and get the “Hero Shot” it looks awesome, but over time I’ve begun to wonder if it really hurts the bass. I have caught a few big bass in my days and sometimes have caught the same fish multiple times within a few months. On those occasions, I have noticed that a few of the mouths on a few of those fish didn’t close properly anymore. The lower jaw was extended a bit and no longer lined up with the upper lip.
In the picture above of the 20lb-12oz. bass I caught and as you can see, I did hold the fish by the lower jaw a few times. If you look to where the red arrow is pointing you can see some stretching has occurred. I have found no scientific studies to prove that this lower jaw stretching interferes with the feeding habits of these bass, but I have been doing underwater video now for over two years of big bass in their natural habitat and have noticed something. When filming during trout stockings, I have noticed that the big bass have a visual difference in their jaw, one that does not allow it to close all the way and these fish definitely struggle to catch trout and hold on to them.
Bass have multiple small needle like front teeth that slightly tilt inward and work to hold onto large prey and help direct food further into its mouth to the crushers, which also have small teeth on them.
The crushers push down and and slowly roll the prey into the stomach of the bass where digestive enzymes will start to break it down. So if part of this system is not working properly, it can lead to difficulties in successful hunting.
The picture above is a good example of how to properly hold and supporting the weight of the bass.
Even the boys have taught me how to properly handle and hold large bass.
In the picture above of a monster bass weighing over 20 lbs., I am teaching someone the proper way to hold and support it. Over the years I have helped quite a few people take pictures of their big bass and in doing so, teach them what I have learned in proper bass handling technique. I have heard through the grapevine that these same people were passing this information on to others, which is really great news. I do believe it is up to all of us to help teach everyone who is willing to listen, how to properly handle large bass so the next generation of bass fisherman will get a fair chance at catching a healthy trophy bass of a lifetime.
Below is a short video I shot a few years ago about proper bass handling:
A few years ago I met a guy who had the big bass bug like me. Not just the bass cold, but full blown bass fever. I have only met a few people in my life that I believe understand and see bass fishing the way I do. Those few include Aaron Martens and Rick Clunn; true bass hunters in the game of bass fishing, but a while back, I met a younger guy that reminded me of myself in my early 30’s. More specifically, he was driven and passionate enough to dedicate himself to the pattern, no matter how long it would take. He is very independent on the water, which is a huge key to big bass success.
The very first time I went fishing with this young passionate guy was a very interesting day. I had a decision to make. I had been on a wacky rig Senko bite for some time, netting some monster bass between 5 and 10lbs. I wasn’t sure if I could trust someone with a hard earned bite, mainly because most people will not respect your bite down the road. Well I went with my gut and trusted this young guy with one of my big bass bites. I landed an 8lb. & 11lb. bass on the wacky rig Senko and just blew this young guy’s mind. On the ride back to my house from the lake you could tell he was thinking, trying to understand what the heck just happened. He asked me just a few questions, but they were key questions and I knew right then this guy was a thinker. One of the questions he asked me was about the time of year, and another was about the weather and why and how I thought it correlated with the big bass bite he had witnessed. I answered all his questions honestly, but held back just a bit of what I really wanted to say, I wanted him to earn it and I could feel he wanted it that way too.
I believe in pointing someone in the right direction, but helping them to much takes away any of the experience of catching a big bass, not something I’m willing to do. I want everyone to get the full feeling and not feel I handed it them.
The next day we met up and headed back to the same lake. I was a little curious as to what this young guy would do. Would he fish my pattern? Or would he adjust?
Well, as soon as we got to the lake and he grabbed his fishing gear that question was answered, he went right to the swimbait. I’ve got to admit I was shocked and impressed at the same time. This young guy most likely thought about the bite all night and saw something in the pattern. Almost everyone would have been right next to me dropping a Senko but not this young guy, he had seen something that I did not and two hours later had landed a 5, 10, and 11lber on the swimbait, not the Senko. And as night fell once again we left the lake and two incredible bites…and yes I did catch some more donkeys on the Senko..
This young guy, whose name is Mike Gilbert, impressed my old butt and that does not happen to me very often in the bass fishing world. I was truly impressed that Mike found his own bite and respected mine. Ask yourself what you would have done?
About a year ago Mike was on a new chapter of his big bass fishing journey and had bought a small 16′ aluminum boat so he could get out on some of the bigger waters of San Diego county. I was in my boat one afternoon on Lake Otay in Chula Vista Ca. and approached Mike to see how he was doing and he had no idea he was sitting on one of the key spots of the lake. I noticed he was watching his meter and kept saying “this spot is loaded.” While his intuition had put him in the right spot, it was just a matter of time until he would figure it out.
Over the next few months, Mike would call and tell me about the bite he had found, or the frustration of knowing he was on the bass, but could not get them to bite. About six months into the game, using his new boat and expanding the surface acres of water to fish, I started to see and hear things change. He was figuring out these big bass, recognizing patterns, and understanding the timing of where he should be, along with the correct angle and lure speeds. When Mike finally figured exactly what swimbait size and color, it was Game On!
First he started sticking 8lbers, then I would get a text: a 9lber, then 12lber, then 13lber! Then on February 16th of 2013, I got a call from Mike at around 9:00 a.m. that went to my voice mail. It was my wife’s birthday so I was not able to go fishing, but when I listened to the message Mike had left, I knew I was going to the lake and my wife was coming. His message was “get to the lake, and bring your camera! I just caught a donkey.” I knew from what Mike had been catching lately on the lake that he had landed a really good bass.
It took well over an hour to get to the lake and it gave me lots of time to think, the lake record was a little over 18 lbs. and the last big bass caught at the lake was about six years ago and was 16 lbs. So I was curious how big of a bass Mike had caught. When I arrived, I saw Mike and a friend hanging out in his boat tied up to the courtesy dock. He was jacked and told me he landed a 17 lb-7oz monster that was a little over 27″ long, just a beautiful bass.
I took pictures and I’ve got to say it was a BIG bass! I got some cool belly shots, where you could see her triple roll.
In Mike’s day job he is a professional videographer, and has edited some of the coolest videos in the skateboard world and he had his camera rolling for the 17 lber and all his catches that you will see soon. The swimbait he caught the 17 lber on is a prototype and still being field tested and perfected.
Every now and then, when I witness someone put in so much time and dedication and you see an incredible payoff like this, all I can do is tip my hat and say “congratulations.” I have been very blessed in my life to land a 20 lb. bass and see quite a few bass over 15 lbs. but I will tell you I was very proud when I saw Mike’s 17 lb. bass. I know what it takes to catch such a monster, and in my joking way reminded Mike that he now has to beat a 17lb.-7 oz. bass…lol…
Huddleston Deluxe Huddle Bug is by far the most realistic looking artificial crawdad lure ever made. It is absolutely amazing how real the Huddle Bug looks from its black eyes to the custom painted colors to the shape of the bait and best of all it looks even better when it’s the water.
Company: Huddleston Deluxe
Lure: Huddle Bug
Weight: (un-weighted .02 oz)(weighted .03 oz)
Length: 2 3/4″
Colors: 10 colors
Composite: Soft Plastic
MSRP: 5-Pack $10.99
MLO Rating: 5 out of 5
Huddleston Deluxe offers over ten colors from red to white to greens, purples, and browns. I guarantee Huddleston made a color that will match the crawdads where ever you live. The detailed hand paint jobs are just incredible and look even better in the water.
Huddleston Deluxe even paid close attention to the belly of the Huddle Bugs to make sure these little 2 /3/4″ artificial creatures looked as natural as possible from top to bottom.
It is hard to believe the detail on the body of the Huddle Bugs. The claws are flawless along with the antenna and black eyeballs that really stand out when the bait is in the water. Even the eight legs look real when the Huddle Bug is crawling on the bottom.
The Huddle Bug comes in a weighted, and un-weighted version, I strongly recommend the weighted version it comes with a custom made hairpin harness that has cylinder weights added at the ends.
When finding a hook for the weighted Huddle Bug, I prefer going with a Gamakatsu wide gap finesse hook weedless in size 1, or 2. This is a good fine wire weedless hook that really works well with the Huddle Bug and rigging it weedless you can take this bait to the structure where it was built to go.
The weighted Huddle Bug has a small wire loop under the head of the bait where you insert the hook through the wire hoop and then through the nose of the bait and out the top.
Above picture shows a fully rigged weighted Huddle Bug ready to fish. I use 6-8lb fluorocarbon line which works really well with this little bait. The retrieve is simple just toss the Huddle Bug out let it sink to the bottom and slowly work it back in. Since the Huddle Bug is so light it is really tough to feel the bait on the bottom and since it is a small light bait it really goes through the rock and branches well like in the video below.
Pros: The most realistic artificial crawdad ever made, this natural looking bait is made to trick the bass and works on the bottom as natural as a real crawdad. The weighted version is very easy to rig and the Huddle Bug is a very durable lure. I have caught well over 20-30 bass on one bait.
Cons: Still looking.
MLO Rating: 5 out of 5
A huge bass just swam by and all I can do is marvel at its beauty. We moved to Florida six years ago and I thought this is going to be power fishing at its best! It’s a flippin’ paradise with all kinds of wood, pads, grass and more weeds than you can shake a stick at.
There was another side to the fishing landscape that I had no idea existed; sight fishing. It involves fishing crystal clear spring fed rivers with a constant 72 degree water temperature year round. This really appeals to me, although I still love the classic in your face style of fishing that Florida is known for.
Think of sight fish every day you go fishing, you may say WOW that would be so cool. Being able to see the fish you’re attempting to catch is awesome, but therein lies the problem; if you can see them, they can see you as well. So it becomes a cat and mouse game of trying to fool a wary prey. It requires light line, light tackle, stealth and coming from the proper angle. Which also means everything has to go right from the beginning of the battle to the end. If you have a weak link in your plan, you’re toast. Retying is critical, the line has to be top notch, your rod and reel has to be in great shape.
You’ll only have one chance, if you’re lucky enough to get the fish to bite in the first place. It can become a real source of frustration, watching huge fish after huge fish swim by and literally swim away from your bait. The key is to find a fish that’s on the prowl for a meal; you’ll know when you spot these active fish by how they act. They’re more relaxed, focused on one thing and that’s eating what you’re presenting, whether it’s a jig, swimbait or even a drop shot.
Its one of the most exhilarating moments is watching a huge fish finally inhale your bait! Then watching every head shaking move a bass can make. The clarity of the water allows you to see all the action from the top to the bottom. One of the biggest observations I’ve made is that we are missing a lot of bites; fish have come up and inhaled my bait without the slightest tap, pull or even the appearance of having taken the lure.
Example , I tossed my drop shot along a grass island one day and as I get a little closer there’s a 5 lb sitting in the current about 10 ft off the weed bank. This fish had picked off my bait swam out and I never felt a thing until the final moment of setting the hook! It makes you wonder how many big fish, including what may have been a personal best, we have missed and not known it.
So as you can see, it’s not as easy as one might think and the frustration of watching schools of 5-10 lb’ers swim by lazily will drive you nuts. Then on the flip side the excitement of a big fish turning and heading for your bait is heart pounding experience! A 7 pounder lived on a particular cypress tree on the river; it took me 2 years before she finally fell for a Senko. Talk about determination. Curse or blessing you be the judge ….
Until next time….Stay on em!
When I hear the name Skinny Bear in the fishing world I think of some of the best jigs ever made, but when I got a package in the mail recently from Skinny Bear it turned out to be some the best looking swimbaits I have ever seen.
Company: Skinny Bear
Sizes Tested: 3.5″ / 5″
Colors Tested: Ghost Minnow, Ayu Shad, Smoke Ayu, Shad
Lure Type: Soft Plastic
Lure Style: Boot Tail
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
With a fishing market flooded with swimbaits it always impresses me when I get a chance to see and fish something just a bit better than the rest. The baits I tested from Skinny Bear were the Swimming Shad Eye Swimbaits in the 3 1/2″, and 5″ the colors were Ghost Minnow, Ayu Shad, Smoke Ayu. Skinny Bear has over 19 colors to choose from in their Swimming Shad Eye arsenal, but my favorites were the Smoke Minnow, and Bluegill.
The Ayu Shad color pictured above was another color I was impressed with, it looked good out of the package and even better in the water. The package that the Swimming Shad Eyes come in are awesome and keep your baits straight, but when you try to put the baits back in the package after a trip it can be a challenge due to how tight the package is, but once you get them aligned and all the way in the package they will be good until your next trip.
Colors pictured above are from top to bottom; Ghost Minnow, Shad Smoke, and Bluegill.
The Swimming Shad Eye Swimbaits come with silver eyes on them and after several weeks of using the baits I did not have one eye peel off. I really think having good eyes on a swimbait are key to getting bass to want to bite it, and the Swimming Shad Eye Swimbait has some good reflective eyes.
I was very impressed with the scale pattern on the Swimming Shad Eye, it looked even better in the water. Skinny Bear payed very close attention to detail with scale imprint, it is very clean and stops around the head and the tail sections which really helps give these small swimbaits life.
The tail of the baits was another area Skinny Bear payed close attention too with adding imprinted tail rays to give the bait a very realistic look.
When I was ready to go fish it was time to choose a hook and I went with the Owner 6/0 Twist Lock that has the spring that you screw into the nose of the bait.
When using a the Twist Lock style hook make sure you insert the spring into the nose all the way to the hook eyelet and then lay the hook on outside the swimbait so you will have an idea of where you need to run the hook through the swimbait.
The Swimming Shad Eye has a slit on the belly of the swimbait which allows the hook to easily pass through to the top of the bait.
With the 6/0 hook rigging on the 5″ swimbait you have a perfect weedless match-up for the Swimming Shad Eye.
Once your done rigging your Swimming Shad Eye Swimbait it should look like the picture above, a weedless set up, or an A-Rig ready to fish swimbait.
Pros: I found the colors to be some of the best I’ve seen in a small plastic injected swimbait, the detail of the bait is top notch from the scales to the eyes this is a very well thought out swimbait.
Cons: I was not a huge fan of the packaging, once you got the swimbaits back in the bag it worked fine, but it took some time.
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I would like to say I’m always on the latest train when it comes to swimbaits, but when it comes to the glide-bait style swimbaits, which have been around awhile, I have missed this train quite a few times and even when I get on it I’m a little lost. I’m just an old school guy who loves to bump a swimbait off the bottom, or structure targets and the glide style swimbait is just a totally different style. Jerry Rago made me a few glide baits well over ten years ago and I fished them hard, but always fell back on my strength bottom bumping a swimmer. But bites change and you have to change with them or you will be left behind and the glide style swimbait is getting real hot again. So this time I hope I got on the train at the right time to get to lunkerville.
Company: Rago Baits
Weight: 4 oz.
Length: 7 1/2″
Lure Type: S-motion
Hinge Style: Single Joint, Drop Pin
MSRP: About $75.00
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I’ve got to say Rago Baits is once again setting the bar with the new handcrafted Rago GlideGill lure. It is a very durable bait made out of resin and weighted perfectly for the glide motion style of fishing. I found that if you retrieved the Rago GlideGill at a slow to medium retrieve that the Gill would do a slow steady 1′ wide S-motion and when you pumped the reel handle at different intervals you could make the Rago GlideGill glide left an right as far as 3′ and sometimes even farther.
At a length of 71/2″ and a weight of 4 ounces this is a medium-size bait that you’re gonna need a light swimbait rod or a medium-heavy 7′-6″ rod and at least 15 pound line. You’ll want to spool up with fluorocarbon line when working the GlideGill back in. The glide motion is best worked from the reel handle, not so much in the rod so you want zero line stretch. You’ll find when using this reel handle technique that the length of the glide will depend on when you turn the reel handle to stop it and turn the bait to its next glide direction. It glides while your not turning the handle.
The top of the Rago GlideGill has the Rago scale pattern painted on the bait which gave the bait a very realistic look in the water.
The bottom of the Rago GlideGill has an orange breast paint job, while the belly has a pearl-white skin. On the front view of the Rago GlideGill you can see the pectoral fins as well as the grooved gill plate which really gives this Gill some definition and life.
Most glide baits are single jointed baits and the GlideGill has a new patented V-joint hinge system that works really well and is extremely strong. I have quite a few glide-baits that I have been field testing and this new V-hinge style glides just a bit better than them all.
Rago Baits made it very easy to replace the tail with the removal of one screw. This is very convenient if you break a tail, want to try another color or different tail size.
The following link is a cool video of the Rago GlideGill in action with Oliver Ngy and Ryan Crandall:
Pros: It’s very durable, casts great, and has the Rago Baits new hinge which gives this bait incredible glide action. It’s a very stable glide bait.
Cons: I would like to see the eyes placed farther off the bait and I want to see some more colors.
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Doing a review on Lunker City’s 10″ Fin-S-Fish was real easy for me since I have years and years of experience with this bait. It was one of the first swimbaits I used to catch lunker bass with when I was younger and is still to this day a go to bait for me for large bass.
Color: Rainbow Trout
Weight: 1.8 oz. (w/hook)
Lure Type: Jerk Bait
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The 10″ Lunker City Fin-S-Fish comes three to a package with one custom 8-0 long shank hook that works perfect with this large bait and for the price of $6.59 this is by far one of the best deals out there to catch giant bass. This is one of the oldest and largest jerk baits on the market and once you tie one on and start to rip and jerk it you’ll quickly understand why some of us in the big bass world have kept this lure a secret.
The Fin-S-Fish is 10″ from the nose of the bait to the tip of the tail and is 1/2″ wide. The narrow design of this giant jerk bait really helps give this bait life in the water. Lunker City uses a good plastic that is very flexible as well as durable. I have caught numerous toothy bass on one bait.
The 8-0 hook that comes with the Lunker City Fin-S-Fish is 3 3/4″ long and perfect for this 10″ monster jerk bait.
Once you Texas Rig the hook through the nose of the bait you bring the hook back up through the bottom and inside of the bait where the slit is and then out the back where there is a small channel that helps keep the Fin-S-Fish weedless.
As you can see by the picture above the hook width matches the Fin-S-Fish height perfectly so your hook-up ratios will be very good. Once you’ve rigged the Fin-S-Fish your ready to fish it, I like to use a medium action rod, with 15-18lb flour-carbon line. The retrieve on the lure is where the fun begins, you can let the bait sink to the bottom and slow pop the bait off the bottom, or my favorite retrieve is to work the rod tip with continuous downword strokes towards the water making the Fin-S-Fish walk the dog and pop out of the water. This lure can be rigged so many different ways, you can use a nail weight to help the bait sink faster and deeper and then rip and jerk it. You can also side-rig the bait which really gives this bait a wild effect in the water and if you want to work it in deep water fast try rigging it with a heavy Carolina rig and working the 10″ Fin-S-Fish in the deep water channels where I have had some monster over ten have jumped all over it.
Pros: Great price for such a large versatile jerk bait, easy to rig and fish. Really good plastic very durable.
Cons: Only one custom large hook comes with the three baits in one package, so don’t lose it!
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Jerry Rago, of Rago Baits is at it again with his latest creation, the Weedless Mini a 5 1/2″ swimbait. I have had this bait for about a month now and have tested it at three different lakes where I abused it as much as possible.
Company: Rago Baits
Lure Type: Hand-Poured Weedless Swimbait
Length: 5 1/2″
Weight: 1.2 oz (with no hook)
R.O.F.: Depends on weight added with hook
Colors: Six standard Colors
Hook: Not Suplied
Tail Design: Boot Tail
Lure Speed: Slow-Med. Retrieve
Custom Paint: No
MLO Rating: 4 out 5
I have been personally using Rago Baits for well over 10 years and in that time have seen Jerry Rago create some really awesome hand-poured swimbaits. He has a knack for being able to pour colors that are consistent and very clean. If you take a close look at some of Rago’s clear baits you will not see lots of bubbles in the plastic or other imperfections Rago Baits hand-poured swimbaits.
The rod used for this review was a Dobyns 795, reel was a Shimano Anteres loaded with 15lb Maxima flouro carbon line. Lake Poway, Lake Otay, and Lake Dixon in San Diego California were the field test review lakes.
This small 5 1/2″ weedless swimbait fits right into my game plan I love to use weedless swimbaits that I can fish where some of the big bass are hiding. I testesd this Rago weedless Mini design in tules, light brush and some sunken trees, where I had very little issue with the hook coming out of the bait and sticking into any structure. I did have some light grass get stuck on the nose of the bait from time to time but nothing a good rip of the bait couldn’t remove. Rago Baits is not supplying a hook with the Weedless Mini to try to help keep the price down. So I used an Owner 5-0 1/4 ounce weight hook, it fit perfect in the Weedless Mini and got the swimbait down to about 7′ of water on a slow retrieve.
There is a small pocket at the bottom of the bait just under the head section where my weighted hook fit perfect inside of. The pocket did a great job of hiding and holding the weighted hook in place while casting and also on the retrieve back to the boat.
A top view of the Rago Weedless Mini shows lots of real-life detail like the pectoral, and pelvic fins sticking out.
The side view of the bait shows another life-like view of all the fins. With some small swimbaits when full fins are added it interferes with the swimming action, but I did not find that to happen at all with the Rago Weedless Mini, it was a very smooth swimming bait that swam very straight in the water, very life-like.
Pros: I caught quite a few fish with the mini on a slow to medium retrieve where the bait ran at around 5′-8′ feet with the weighted hook that I used . And if I gently pulled the swimbait through any structure I got my bait back 90% of the time. It also casted really good for such a small full fined bait, even when the wind picked up it flew straight in the air, no tumbling.
Cons: I did have some issues with the the hook staying weedless after catching around a half dozen bass, a little swimbait glue fixed that issue quickly. I also had a few issues with the hook staying in the mouth area, once again a little glue solved this issue.
MLO Rating: 4 out of 5