By : Mark Hicks
Tungsten weights are inobtrusive and sensitive, delivering great results. Mark Rose shares the fishing weights that he depends on in professional fishing tournaments.
Fishing weights may not be glamorous, but they are crucial for success with soft plastic baits. No one knows this better than Arkansan Mark Rose, one of the most accomplished professional bass anglers in the country.
Rose dotes on Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weights for two reasons. A tungsten weight is more compact than lead, so it slips through cover more easily and is less obtrusive to bass. And because tungsten is substantially harder than lead, it is far more sensitive. You feel strikes and the bottom much better when using a tungsten weight.
Bullet weights combined with Texas rigged baits have easily accounted for more bass than any other type of lure. The depth of the water, the time of year and even the mood of the bass determine which size bullet weight should be used.
“The bass aren’t as active in the spring,” Rose said. “They respond better to baits that sink slowly then. That’s when I use a light 3/16- or 1/8-ounce weight.”
After the spawn, the bass become more active and more willing to pick off a faster sinking lure. Rose responds by stepping up a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce bullet weight, which works well with a wide variety of soft plastic baits.
“Depending on the size of the forage and the bass, I might Texas rig a Rage Menace Grub, Rage Bug, Rage Tail Lizard or some other Strike King bait,” Rose said. “If I’m fishing a trophy bass lake in Texas, I’ll go with a bigger bait like Strike King’s Rage Tail Space Monkey or Magnum Rage Bug.”
Rose reserves the heaviest Strike King tungsten bullet weights for punching through matted grass. He employs the 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce sizes most often and opts for the lightest of these that easily penetrates the mat. Strike King also makes a 2-ounce size for especially dense mats.
Strike King Tungsten weights come in four colors that allow you to match some of the most popular hues in soft plastic baits.
Strike King’s teardrop shaped Tour Grade Tungsten Drop Shot Weights work well in all conditions in which you would fish a drop shot. Because they are much more sensitive than lead drop shot weights, you can distinctly feel whether the bottom is soft, firm or rocky.
“I use Strike King’s 3/16- and 1/4-ounce drop shot weights most of the time,” Rose said. “If I’m fishing deeper than 20 feet, I’ll use a 3/8-ounce weight. The only time I go heavier is if there’s a strong current.”
Although many anglers use bullet weights for Carolina rigging, Rose prefers a weight that is specifically made for this productive fishing method. Specifically, Strike King’s Tour Grade Tungsten Carolina Rig Weight.
“I love Strike King’s compact, streamlined Carolina rig weights,” Rose said. “They come through everything. I feel more bites because they’re so sensitive.”
These weights come in 1/2-, 3/4- and 1-ounce sizes. Rose uses the size that best suits the depth, the bottom composition, and the cover he is fishing.
Rose also uses thin, nail-like weights for Neko rigging, a finesse tactic that has become quite popular among pro anglers over the past few years. You assemble the basic Neko rig by placing an O-ring around the midsection of a plastic worm and threading a hook upright under the O-ring. Rose prefers a No. 2 wacky worm hook for this.
A thin weight is inserted into the head of the worm, which makes it sink nose down.
“The pull point is in the middle of the worm,” Rose said of this setup. “That makes each end of the bait bend and spring back with an unbelievable action.”
His favorite worm for Neko rigging is Strike King’s 6 1/2-inch Perfect Plastic KVD Finesse Worm. He downsizes to Strike King’s 5-inch KVD Fat Baby Finesse Worm when fishing for spotted bass.
“That Baby Finesse Worm is like a banana split to spotted bass,” Rose said.
When fishing offshore ledges in summertime for largemouth bass, Rose rigs Strike King’s 8” Bull Worm Neko style and fishes it with casting tackle and 15-pound fluorocarbon line.
“I call it magnum Neko rigging,” Rose said. “You can really clean up on a ledge with that thing.”