It seems like every year there are more and more big baits on the market. The most recent one to add to the big bait lineup is the 8″ Magnum Spoon. But, do big baits actually work? Or is this just another attempt at catching the fishermen instead of the bass?
When we think big baits, we immediately think big swimbaits that look like trout for big California bass. We know these work, but I’m talking about a different breed of the big baits. Now, it obviously depends on the body of water, time of year, and the fishing conditions but let me just say this. If you aren’t experimenting with big baits, then you are missing a tremendous opportunity.
I have spent the past few years experimenting with big baits when the time seems right and I have learned one thing. Big baits aren’t just for big fish. There are certain times of year when I use a big willow leaf spinnerbait with a #6 and #5 blade on it to catch spotted bass (a big one here is 2 lbs.). I have had 14″ spotted bass spit up birds in my livewell (yes, I have pictures) and skipjack over 6″ long. There is a time of year at Kentucky Lake when it seems like you can’t throw a topwater bait that is too big. I’ve seen a 10XD get way more bites than a DD22 and the reason is simple. Fish want to eat as big of a meal as possible.
Why is this? Would you rather sit around and make yourself bag after bag of popcorn all day long or eat a big steak dinner and be done with it? I’ll pick the latter of the two myself. Think about the amount of energy it requires a fish to catch their meal. If they can fill their bellies by eating a big baitfish, then they will be happy to do it. I’m not saying that big baits are the way to go all the time. In fact, there are also several times when very small baits are the way to go. But, what I am saying, is don’t be afraid of a big bait. After all, a 1.5 square bill is pretty small in the grand scheme of a shad. Deep diving crankbaits are two or three times that size. Does that mean that deep fish eat bigger shad than shallow fish? Sure seems hard for me to believe. If you’ve been reluctant to try big baits, give them a shot. It’ll be worth your time and just might catch you some of the biggest fish you’ve ever seen.
if you are in a boat and it has down-riggers I would start at dawn with one side depths set at 20 and 30 feet and the other side at 15 and 25 and I would focus more on the south part of the lake if you are wantnig pike and muskie they will be in the north part along with bass as there the water will warm up the soonest and what is going to mix the whole thing up is how deep that lake actually is. I would think facing the sun with the longest strait trolling distances will produce your bigger fish but I would also think about changing things up like when turning around and going back the other way speeding up the troll during the direction changes and slowing down on the straight lines. If you are using lead core start with four colors and as the sun gets higher in the sky you will need to go deeper.