Tips, Tricks and Tactics From the Pros
Editor’s Note: Everyone likes to fish new baits, and Strike King pro, Mark Rose of Marion, Arkansas, is no exception. Oftentimes if the bass haven’t seen a lure in 6 to 12 months, an old lure can become a new lure. Anglers tend to concentrate on big baits for big bass. But Rose also uses big baits’ baby brothers to catch big bass. This week, Rose will tell us what baits he fishes with to catch big bass and numbers of them.
Part 1: Seventy-Five Bass in 4 Hours on the 5XD with Strike King’s Mark Rose
Question: Mark, where have you been fishing?
Rose: I recently fished at Pickwick Lake on the western part of the Tennessee River with Strike King’s Chief Operating Officer Allan Ranson. We fished the Strike King Pro-Model 5XD crankbait. The Series 6XD received a lot of publicity when it came to the market, because it was a great deep-diving crankbait that got down quickly and bumped the bottom at depths deeper than most-other crankbaits. But this year, Strike King introduced the new 5XD, a smaller-profile bait that dives down to about 16 feet. There’s not a lure like this in the fishing industry. Bass holding in deeper water are accustomed to seeing big, deep-diving crankbaits, since that’s the size of the bait usually needed to get down deep where those bigger bass are holding. But the 5XD gives you a smaller-profile lure, like a little hors d’oeuvre, that can reach almost 20 feet.
This lure is productive for spotted, smallmouth and even largemouth bass holding in that slightly-deeper water. We started fishing at about 12:00 pm at Pickwick Lake in Alabama, and by 4:30 pm, we’d introduced 75 bass to the 5XD. We caught some tiny smallmouth, but the majority of our bass were largemouths. The power company’s pulling a lot of water through the Tennessee River right now in May, and the bass were set-up on ambush-type points, making the conditions ideal for fishing the 5XD. We wore-out that bait. A number of people would be surprised at the size and the number of bass they could catch on the 5XD.
Question: Where else have you fished?
Rose: I fished an FLW tournament on Chickamauga Lake on the eastern section of the Tennessee River and finished in 36th place with some nice-sized bass.
Question: What was the secret to catching bass in that tournament?
Rose: The weather, because the Tennessee River was high due to flooding conditions in Tennessee and Alabama, and we fished the back end of the flooding. I’d won a tournament on this lake last fall deep-cranking on the ledges. But in this tournament, I moved into the flooded backwater areas and caught a few bass flipping and a few more on the spinner bait. I caught the majority of my bass on the 5-inch Strike King Shadalicious in the blue-gizzard color using a different technique than I’d fished with previously. I found some short grass that was just starting to grow-up in the backs of some of the pockets. Most people fish the Shadalicious weedless by running the hook through the nose, up through the belly and then skin-hooking the point of the hook into the top of the back to make the lure weedless. However, I inserted a 3/4-ounce weighted hook and exposed the point of the hook.
Because there wasn’t any cover around and only short grass, I felt that I could swim the Shadalicious through the grass with the hook exposed and not pick-up any grass on the point of the hook. I used the 3/4-ounce jig, because the water was clear, and many times I had to make long casts. When the Shadalicious hit the water, I kept my rod tip high and swam the bait over the top of the grass. The bass slammed that bait hard. I reeled it slowly and counted on the tail action of the Shadalicious to attract the bass. I started fishing the bait in 1- to 1-1/2-feet of water. The 3- to 3-1/2-pound bass holding in that water attacked the bait aggressively.
Question: What pound-test line did you use and what rod and reel?
Rose: I fished 20-pound-test Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon line on a 7-1/2-foot Kistler Custom Z-Bone heavy-action rod. My boat was sitting in about 3 feet of water, and I cast to the backs of the pockets where the water was fairly clear and only about 1- to 1-1/2-foot deep. So, I had to stay-away from the bass and make long casts. As soon as I started to move the Shadalicious, the bass would attack it. If you have to fish clear, shallow water and want a subtle presentation, use the Shadalicious with a jighead and an exposed hook.
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