Lowrance provided Serious Excitement on and off the Water at the Bassmaster Classic

 

Lowrance provided Serious Excitement on and off the Water at the Bassmaster Classic

Lowrance® continued its domination of America’s tournament-fishing circuit late last month as Lowrance Pro Jordan Lee won the 2017 Bassmaster Classic Championship on Lake Conroe in Houston, Texas. A 25-year-old professional angler from Guntersville, Alabama, Lee became the sixth consecutive Lowrance angler to win the Classic when he finished with a three-day total of 56 pounds, 10 ounces, taking home $300,000 and the most coveted trophy in the sport. Steve Kennedy, who also competed in the event with Lowrance marine electronics, finished second with a total weight of 55 pounds, 1 ounce.

On the final day of the Classic, 15 of the top 25 competitors — including seven of the top 12 anglers – were using Lowrance HDS fishfinder/chart-plotters to navigate and find key fish-holding areas. For Lee, 2017 was his second appearance at the Bassmaster Classic. He finished 6th in the 2014 Classic at Lake Guntersville in Alabama.

During practice at Lake Conroe, Lee used his HDS-12 Gen3 with StructureScan® 3D imaging to identify an underwater “point” with a hard-bottom area that he thought would hold fish. He returned to the spot on the final day, where he was limited by mechanical issues on his boat, which held him in the same spot all day. Staying in that spot proved to be the difference as Lee jumped from 15th to first place with a 27-pound, 4-ounce, five-fish limit, the biggest single-day catch of the tournament.

At the tournament, there was plenty of excitement off the water as well. Lowrance announced the production of the HDS CarbonTM 16, a new high-performance fishfinder/chart plotter with a 16-inch screen – the largest ever produced by Lowrance.  

The massive 16-inch high-definition screen on HDS Carbon 16 displays provides an even bigger stage to showcase the clarity, high resolution and superior target separation of SolarMAX™ HD technology, exclusive to the HDS Carbon series. Setting up a four-panel split on the HDS Carbon 16 gives anglers the equivalent of four seven-inch screens on a single display.

Anglers in the market for a do-it-all, integrated system need a processor that can smoothly drive high-tech features like StructureScan® 3D with SideScan and DownScan Imaging™, StructureMap™, Broadband Radar™ and SiriusXM® Weather Chart Overlay. HDS Carbon 16 delivers on that front, taking processing power to the next level with a dual-core processor that allows anglers to switch between applications and simultaneously view independent sonar feeds with ease.

Lowrance SolarMAX HD display technology features high-definition views and clear visibility in all conditions with the widest available range of viewing angles – even when wearing polarized sunglasses. The new displays feature 1920×1080 HD resolution and are engineered to withstand higher temperatures than conventional units, offering enhanced reliability in warmer climates. The secret behind the new SolarMAX HD displays come from the implementation of the most advanced IPS (in-plane switching) screens in fishing electronics. With superior color accuracy and boosted high-definition reproduction, IPS screens are perfectly designed for viewing picture-like sonar images. Whether viewing menu panels or onscreen fish targets, the improved clarity and sharpness of SolarMAX HD displays are clearly evident from any viewing angle.

With Live Network Sonar, HDS Carbon 16 gives anglers the capability to view and control two independent, live sonar sources at different locations — like the front and the back of the boat — from a single display. This powerful feature provides anglers with a comprehensive picture of underwater activity with convenient and complete control. 

In addition to integrated wireless connectivity, HDS Carbon 16 features Bluetooth® control of multiple Power-Pole® shallow water anchors and Bluetooth audio streaming from the SonicHub®2 marine entertainment system. Anglers can navigate with ease behind proven Lowrance navigation technology, high-resolution mapping with enhanced coverage of coastal and inland waters, a 10 Hz internal GPS antenna, and a multitude of mapping options accessible from the unit’s dual microSD card slots. HDS Carbon 16 is compatible with the most expansive selection of optional cartography on the market, including Insight Genesis™ custom mapping, C-MAP Insight PRO, C-MAP Lake Insight HD, C-MAP MAX-N+, Navionics® and more.

HDS Carbon 16 supports radar, SmartSteer™ control of Motorguide® Xi5 trolling motors and the Lowrance Outboard Pilot and full engine data integration highlighted by compatibility with Mercury® VesselView® Link.

Congratulations to Jordan Lee and all the anglers competing in the tournament. And look for more exciting developments from Lowrance in the near future.

Catch more fish, learn more at Lowrance.com  Today!

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

Former Classic® Winner Jones Has a New Competitor on the Water

 

Former Classic® Winner Jones Has a New Competitor on the Water

This Season Alton Jones Jr. Joins His Father to Fish the 2017 Bassmaster Classic® and the Elites

Never, in all of his previous 26 seasons of bass tournament competition, has Alton Jones been concerned with how many fish any other anglers may be catching, but that will change this year. That’s because the Yamaha Pro’s 24-year old son, Alton Jr., will be joining him on both the Bassmaster® Elite circuit and in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic® as he begins his own full-time professional career.

They will be the fifth father-son duo to compete against each other in a Classic,® but the first to do so in the Elite Series. Although they have been fishing together for years, they have never before actually competed against each other.

“He’s a better fisherman than I am, too,” admits Alton, Sr., winner of six B.A.S.S.® events during his career, including the 2008 Bassmaster Classic.® “He’s more versatile, and he understands the fish better than I do. He may not have as much experience as the other pros, but he’s still going to be a tough competitor.”

“Little Alton,” as many know him, graduated from Baylor University with a degree in marketing in 2014, all the while planning to start fishing professionally as soon as he graduated. He spent the next two seasons fishing the Bassmaster® Open Series just to qualify for the Elites and did so through his consistently high finishes in the Central Division this past year. By winning one of those events on the Red River in Louisiana, he also qualified for the Bassmaster Classic® to be held next month at Lake Conroe near Houston.

“Dad had me in the boat with him when I was still an infant,” laughs Alton Jr., now also a Yamaha Pro, “and later I traveled with my parents to each tournament and fished every practice day with him for years. I always thought becoming a bass pro sounded good, but it wasn’t until the 2008 Bassmaster® Elite season that I made up my mind.

“That year, I fished eight Elites as a co-angler and loved every minute. It was an incredible experience because I got to fish with a lot of the top bass pros, and afterward I knew without a doubt I wanted fishing to be my career. I was ready to start immediately, but my parents wouldn’t let me until I earned a college degree. That was a long four years, but I’ve already realized the benefits of having that degree, particularly a degree in marketing.”

Understanding his son’s desire to turn professional, as well as to add extra incentive to complete his college education, Alton, Sr. made a fully rigged bass boat available for Little Alton to use anytime he wanted to, as long as he maintained good grades. Little Alton took advantage of the opportunity, fishing numerous weekend tournaments throughout Texas during his time at Baylor. Those events, in which he won several boats and cash prizes, helped prepare him for the Opens, and ultimately, he believes, for this season’s Elites

Although both father and son visited Lake Conroe before the impoundment went off-limits, they did so separately. The discussions they’ve had about the Classic® lake, as well as about other lakes they’ll fish during the season, have only been about general overall strategies. The experienced father has not given his son any specific information.

“He really doesn’t want any information,” emphasizes Alton, Sr. “He is his own man on the water, and he’s very confident in his own abilities to locate and catch fish. He’s proven that many times over, and besides, our fishing styles are completely different. He doesn’t need my advice.

“When I started taking him fishing with me, I wanted him to grow to love fishing just so he and I could spend time together,” says the long-time Yamaha Pro. “When B.A.S.S.®changed their rules about tournament practice partners, it ended that opportunity for both of us. 

“Honestly, what I’m most excited about this upcoming Elite season is being on the road together and having more father-son time. Am I concerned about fishing against Little Alton? Of course not. Naturally, I’m his biggest fan.” Y

Visit Yamaha Outboards today.

Original Source Yamaha Outboards.com 

Dialing in Docks to Up Your Bass Game

 

Dialing in Docks to Up Your Bass Game

Virtually every angler on the water these days is well aware that boat docks hold bass throughout the year.  However, not all anglers approach dock fishing with the correct tackle and strategy to make the most of their time on the water.  Fine-tuning your approach by reaching all fish-holding zones and identifying patterns can definitely lead to higher catch rates and bigger fish.

For starters, selecting the right tackle for dock fishing is absolutely critical.  While many professional anglers are adept at skipping lures far under dock platforms using baitcasting gear, most fishermen will find this task much easier to accomplish with a medium-light power, fast action spinning rod paired with a reel spooled with thin braided line.  With the right spinning rod and reel, you can focus on the mechanics of making the perfect skip cast rather than worrying about controlling backlashes.

As far as lure selection goes, a compact jig-and-plastic combination is hands down the most versatile setup for fishing docks.  Small finesse jigs can imitate a variety of forage, from small crawfish or other invertebrates when dragged across the bottom, to juvenile bream or small baitfish when descending or retrieved through the water column.

An ideal jig-and-plastic pairing is a 3/16 ounce Z-Man ShroomZ Micro Finesse Jig paired with a 2.75” Finesse TRD stickbait trailer.  The flat, compact head of this mushroom-shaped jig coupled with its short silicone skirt allows it to be cast precisely into tight quarters or skip cast under dock platforms or skip cast with relative ease.  When paired with the Finesse TRD soft plastic, the combination has enough bulk to cast long distances, but sinks slowly and stands up off the bottom at rest due to the TRD’s buoyant ElaZtech construction.  In addition, the extreme durability of this soft plastic trailer allows it to be skip cast and bounced off dock pilings repeatedly without ripping or tearing.

While casting around the outskirts of a dock is simple, the best way to access hard-to-reach zones beneath the above-the-water superstructure is a well-executed skip cast. The key to a good skip cast is to generate as much lure speed at the point of line release, with the rod almost parallel to the water, so the lure travels across the surface with minimal drag. The more the lure spins and stays on its trailing edge, the longer the skip.  While dialing in the proper skip casting technique can take a little bit of work, any angler can make the technique look effortless with a little bit of practice!

In order to key in on how the fish are positioned around docks on a given day, it is critical to initially work the structure as thoroughly as possible, probing every inch of the surrounding area from shallow to deep, hitting both the outside and inside of the dock with precise, targeted casts.  When the bait hits the water, allow it to fall straight to the bottom on a slack line before making a couple of short twitches to hop the jig off the bottom.  Also pay close attention to the line as the jig slowly descends through the water column, as many bites come on the fall, indicating that the fish are suspended under the docks rather than near the bottom.

The most critical part of discerning a pattern to how fish are positioned around docks is making a mental note of the location and water depth of each bite, paying close attention to where the fish is stationed relative to the structure in particular.  Efforts should then be focused on similar areas around successive docks, and zones that do not produce bites should be ruled out.  Focusing your efforts in this manner will allow you to eliminate casts to unproductive areas and become more efficient with each dock fished.

Visit Z-Man Fishing Today!

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

Can You Trust Your Fishfinder?

 

Can You Trust Your Fishfinder?

Before Lowrance invented and sold the first recreational sonar product for fishermen in 1957, many anglers focused their time on the water searching for gamefish near or around the shoreline. The reason is simple: When you can see fish-holding structure along the bank of a lake, you are more confident in locating key fish-holding areas. The Lowrance Fish-Lo-K-Tor – also known as the “The Little Green Box” – changed all that. Using this portable, battery-operated device, fishermen gained the confidence they needed to move off the shoreline with a whirling dial of red lights that could define depth changes, and mark underwater structure as well as gamefish. While this first fishfinder was simple in design – requiring a considerable amount of training to use effectively – it changed the way we fished, and it definitely helped put fish in the boat. Today, when a marine electronics company announces a “ground breaking” fishfinder that delivers a meaningful benefit, anglers take notice. And that’s where our story begins.

In 2014 Garmin launched DownVü, a feature that gave anglers a photo-like image of what was directly beneath their boat. Rocks look like rocks, trees look like trees and fish look like fish. It represented a game-changing sonar technology. The problem – DownVü technology isn’t a Garmin original design. It was a duplicate design of Lowrance’s DownScan Imaging™ – the same technology offering the same features and benefits. DownScan Imaging had been designed, patented and brought to market by Lowrance’s parent company Navico years before. Rather than develop their own solution or license the Navico technology – as other marine electronics manufacturers had done – Garmin took a shortcut that resulted in a 2015 ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) stating that Garmin’s DownVü transducer design infringes upon Navico patents, and those DownVü products could no longer be imported into the United States.

In an effort to work around the ITC ruling, Garmin modified the design of the DownVü transducer by tilting the angle of the down-facing element. An ongoing enforcement action is underway, relating to Garmin’s attempt to import the tilted-element transducer without seeking ITC approval.

The latest workaround attempt by Garmin is the recently introduced ClearVü scanning solution, which is a radically different design. Garmin’s new design no longer infringes the patents like before, but that is because ClearVü features no down-facing sensor. So to be clear, in the U.S., Garmin ClearVü is sold without any down-facing transducer element. For anglers depending on their fishfinder to identify fish and structure beneath the boat, this new design is a cause for concern.

ClearVü compiles data from the side-scanning elements in the transducer, then uses software to try to fill in the missing information below your boat. If you pass directly over a fish, your “down-scanning” ClearVü fishfinder may not see it, because it could be out of range of the side-scanning beams. In an attempt to produce downward data from side-scanning beams, Garmin has managed to reduce clarity and distort the appearance of targets across the board.

The idea of creating a down-scan view by using only the side-scan sonar signals is not new. Other marine electronics manufacturers tried this years ago, until they decided the best solution for anglers is to offer true DownScan Imaging, which is why all other marine electronics manufacturers, such as Humminbird and Raymarine, now license the true Navico DownScan Imaging technology for use on their fishfinders.

Since 1957, sonar technology has changed the way we fish with meaningful benefits that gave us the confidence to move off the shoreline to find and catch more and bigger fish. When those fishfinding benefits fall short of what we should expect, it’s important to take note, so you can make the most of your time on the water. To learn how true DownScan Imaging continues to set the standard for the best possible image-scanning views beneath your boat, visit http://www.lowrance.com/true-downscan.

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

Catch More Bass During Tough Transitional Periods

 

Catch More Bass During Tough Transitional Periods

In the springtime just prior to the spawn, bass fishing can be relatively easy as fish begin moving shallow and gorge themselves as their metabolism speeds up with rising water temperatures.  However, during other transitional periods – like spring-to-summer and summer-to-fall – bass can be more difficult to dial in.  In these situations, using electronics to map high percentage offshore locations and selecting the right lure set-up are absolutely critical to getting bites.

During tough transition periods, bass routinely stage offshore over structure, including both natural structure like rock ledges, humps, and creek beds and man-made structure like submerged roadbeds and brush piles.  Such features are easily located using electronic mapping tools available on most modern GPS systems available today, but dialing the precise location and the proper technique presents more of a challenge.

Once a likely area is pinpointed, the best way to approach the situation is to run a zig-zag pattern across the area, while watching the fishfinder screen closely for isolated structure like timber or man-made brush piles.  Experienced bass fishermen look for the presence of baitfish and larger predatory fish on the sonar screen and mark any promising locations.  At the same time, watching for visual cues is critical, as bass often roam the perimeter of underwater structure looking to ambush bait on the surface.  Any kind of schooling topwater activity is a dead giveaway that feeding fish are in the area.

When probing spots in this manner by scanning for clues on the sonar and on the surface, using a versatile lure that will tempt fish throughout the water column is absolutely critical.  Perhaps the most versatile rig is a basic jig-and-worm combo like the Big TRD soft plastic worm and Power Finesse ShroomZ jighead, both manufactured by Z-Man Fishing Products.

A four-inch stickworm like the Big TRD is ideal for this type of fishing because it mimics a variety of forage.  When casting to surface fish and paired with a light 1/10 ounce jighead, it descends slowly through the water column and falls with a quivering motion like a dying or stunned shad.  At mid-depth, the buoyant ElaZtech material causes the jig-and-worm combo to sit at a horizontal posture like a live baitfish, and the jighead’s weed guard allows the rig to slide through wood and brush without snagging.  When dragged along the bottom on a 1/5 ounce jighead, the tail of the ElaZtech bait floats up and comes to life like no other soft plastic worm will, mimicking a crawfish or other invertebrate scurrying along the bottom.

A versatile combination like the Big TRD and Power Finesse ShroomZ will allow an angler to react quickly to different types of scenarios that may be encountered without constantly changing tackle.  What’s more, the exposed hook design of Power Finesse ShroomZ jighead allows for smooth, easy hooksets, and the bait need not be constantly re-adjusted like baits rigged Texas’style with the hook point embedded in the plastic.

While patterning bass can be trying during transitional periods, combining the mapping and sonar tools of today’s electronics with the most advanced and versatile fishing lures available will definitely help shorten the learning curve.

Visit Z Man Fishing.com Today and Catch More Fish!

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

Warm up for boating season at the Northwest Sportshow®

 

Warm up for boating season at the Northwest Sportshow®

By Craig Lamb

Ice-out season is coming soon, and that means boat show season is winding down. If you are looking for a new boat, or just need a cure to break the winter chill, there is a show like none other happening in Minneapolis.

It’s the Northwest Sportshow®, March 23-26, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. A spring tradition for 84 years, the show is the best place to find everything you and your family need to gear up for outdoor adventures.

You’ll find once-a-year deals on RVs, fishing tackle, marine electronics, hunting gear, and even vacation packages. The most exciting thing you’ll find are boats by the hundreds!

Come visit Skeeter Boats at Booth 1501. On display will be the latest models, including the all-new Solera™ 189. This family friendly rig looks good and fishes great. Custom built and loaded with standard features, the Solera 189 enjoys abundant storage and a wide-open interior. The Solera 189 is the new standard for a fishable, family friendly boat. Whether pulling the kids around the lake or jigging for walleyes, the Solera 189 is the perfect balance of fish and fun.

If you are looking for a serious multi-species rig loaded with standard features, then come check out the WX Series Deep-V boats. These models are built for the big, open waters of Midwest lakes where gusty winds and choppy water are the norm. Deep, open cabins, wide beams, and abundant storage make the WX Series Deep V boats the top choice of walleye tournament anglers.

Lowrance® fishfinders and graphs are standard on many Skeeter boats. Anyone looking to learn shortcuts and tips on how to use Lowrance® electronics have a special opportunity at the show.

Marine Electronics University, sponsored by Lowrance®, provides hands-on workshops taught by experts. Topics focus on the new Lowrance® HDS® GEN3 Touch units. Sessions will cover all the basics and more. You can get instructions on everything from routine setup and product use, to news about leading technologies like CHIRP sonar and Insight Genesis® Mapping. 

Show hours are: 1-9 p.m. on Thursday, March 23; 11 a.m.-9 p.m on Friday the 24th; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday the 25th; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday the 26th. The address is 1301 2nd Ave. South, Minneapolis.

In the meantime, get your boat show fix at skeeterboats.com. You can request a brochure or download a catalog, build your dream rig, and get Skeeter Team merchandise to wear to the shows.  Got a question? They’ve got answers at the Skeeter factory in Kilgore, Texas. Call (903) 984-0541, or find the nearest dealer here.

This document contains many of Skeeter’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement.

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

Meet the Skeeter Pros at Bassmaster Classic®

 

Meet the Skeeter Pros at Bassmaster Classic®

By Craig Lamb

There is only one place bass fishing fans get the chance to meet their favorite pros while seeing them cast for the world championship title… and the chance is coming soon.

Make plans now to attend the Bassmaster Classic®,  March 24-26 in Houston with the competition playing out on Lake Conroe. The Classic has never been held there and with it come a couple of historical firsts you don’t want to miss.

First, Lake Conroe is one of the top rated bass fisheries in Texas. By competition time the bass will be in post-spawn mode, meaning anglers will be fishing for aggressively feeding bass. For fans, it means they get the chance to see trophy bass come across the scale and the most unique venue and stage in the event’s 46-year history.

Daily weigh-ins will be held at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. A custom built stage at third-base will have fans practically able to reach out and touch their favorite pros. Plus, the drama from on the water will unfold on the venue’s high def video display, the fourth largest in major league baseball, spanning 54 feet high and 124 feet wide. Imagine taking in a big league baseball game with a pro bass fishing setting.

The Classic is built around the fan experience. You can even launch your boat on Lake Conroe and follow your favorite pros on the water as they cast for the $300,000 first place award. If staying on land is your thing, you have an even better opportunity to meet the pros up close and get autographs, selfies and even pick up fishing and boating tips.

You can do all that at the Bassmaster Classic® Expo, located within walking distance of the ballpark at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It’s arguably the largest event of its kind in the country with 300,000 square feet of exhibit space, the greatest in Classic history.

Nothing compares to the Classic when it comes to the chance to meet so many pros in one place. Skeeter Boats has an all-star list of the top pros in the Classic, and there are others who will make appearances at the Classic Expo. 

Here’s the lineup of top pros you can meet, and hopefully watch win the Classic. Come see many of them at the Classic Expo in the Skeeter Boats’ booth.

Cliff and Ben Crochet

Cliff Crochet. The popular pro nicknamed “Cajun Baby” is coming off a great 2016 season. He won the Bassmaster® Southern Open held on the Atchafalaya Basin, basically in his own backyard.

Todd Faircloth

Todd Faircloth. The Jasper, Texas pro will be one of the tournament favorites.

Matt Herren

Matt Herren. The Ashville, Alabama pro will be making his seventh Classic appearance. Herren is a shallow water expert and will be a top competitor on Lake Conroe.

Alton Jones Jr.

Alton Jones Jr.  Expect the young Texan and Bassmaster® Elite Series rookie to bring the momentum from his successful 2016 season of B.A.S.S.(R) competition to Conroe.

Alton Jones

Alton Jones Sr. The 2008 Classic champion and native Texan is a pre-tournament favorite to win the title in his home state.

Jared Lintner

Jared Lintner. The California pro is making his sixth Classic and is coming off a successful 2016 season of the Elite Series.

Bill Lowen

Bill Lowen. The Indiana pro is also coming off a hot season on the Elite Series circuit, and he’s a strong contender when the bass bite is hot in shallow water.

Brandon Palaniuk

Brandon Palaniuk. The young pro from Idaho is making his sixth consecutive Classic appearance.

Dean Roja

Dean Rojas. The Arizona pro is a veteran of the sport and always performs well in Texas events.

Chris Zaldain

Chris Zaldain. The Californian is making his third Classic appearance following a successful season on the Elite Series tour.

Classic details

Weigh Ins

Doors at Minute Maid Park open at 3 p.m. each day.

Location: 501 Crawford St., Houston

Outdoor Expo

For more on the expo located at George R. Brown, Convention Center click here.

Location: 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston.

In the meantime, get your boat show fix at skeeterboats.com. You can request a brochure or download a catalog, build your dream rig, and get Skeeter Team merchandise to wear to the shows.  Got a question? They’ve got answers at the Skeeter factory in Kilgore, Texas. Call (903) 984-0541, or find the nearest dealer here.

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

For Cold Weather Bass, Try This Two-Lure Approach

 

For Cold Weather Bass,  Try This Two-Lure Approach

 Yamaha Pro Bobby Lane  Alternates Jigs and Crankbaits  in the Same Water

By Be First Media Group

By most standards, Florida-based pro Bobby Lane would be among the last to say he enjoys fishing cold winter water, but just the opposite is true. The veteran Yamaha Pro has developed a two-lure approach that has nearly taken him to victory in the last two Bassmaster Classics,® both conducted in extremely cold weather.

“The two lures I use are a tight wobbling shad-imitation crankbait and a jig,” explains Lane, who used this combination to finish second in the 2015 Classic® on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, and 11th last year on Grand Lake in Oklahoma. “The crankbait allows me to cover water, and when I do catch a fish with it, I switch to the jig and work the immediate area more carefully.

“In cold water a lot of bass suspend, but at the same time they still move up in the water column routinely to feed. This is when they become more accessible, and these are the fish I’m looking for first with the crankbait. For the most part, I concentrate in water only about 10 feet deep, and traditionally it seems I have my best success early in the morning, even when it’s brutally cold.”

Lane’s crankbait is a suspending model he fishes on either spinning or baitcasting rods, normally using a slow but steady retrieve. 

If he does stop reeling, which he does occasionally just to make the bait look more natural, the lure remains at that depth instead of rising to the surface. He targets deeper points, creek channel bends, bluff walls, and even boat docks when he can find the right water depth. He often visits the very same spots several times each day.

“The crankbait stays in the potential strike zone anywhere between five and 10 feet deep, and since I can fish it slowly and stay at that depth, bass will hit it because it looks so natural,” continues the Yamaha Pro. “I’m not crawling the lure through rocks like I might do in summer, or digging along the bottom the way I do in the fall months. I’m just casting and slowly reeling back, and not really trying to make contact with anything. I may not get very many strikes during the day, but I am covering water where I’m always expecting a strike.”

When Lane does catch a bass this way, he changes to his jig to work slightly deeper water. He knows winter bass gather in schools but not all of them move up to feed at the same time. 

“I’m really going after the same fish,” he says, “because the jig will appeal to those bass that just aren’t as active at that moment. Not only can I fish it slower, I can also work bottom cover more effectively with it. I’m fishing it only a little deeper, maybe down to 15 feet or so, and in the same places I fished the crankbait.”

Lane’s favorite jig is a compact 5/16-ounce model, and he adds a small plastic trailer for added action and a more lifelike appearance. As well as having a completely different appearance than the crankbait, the jig also has a different presentation, two factors Lane believes take on added importance in winter fishing for either largemouths or smallmouths.

“While the crankbait looks and moves like a shad, it’s not going to attract every bass that sees it,” emphasizes the Yamaha Pro. “I do know that when I catch one fish with it there are almost certainly others nearby, which is why changing to another lure that looks and acts differently may be what triggers one or two of them to strike. It looks good and they don’t have to spend any energy chasing it, so they bite it.”

For the past five years, Lane has used this two-lure combination in competition on lakes all over the country, and one look at his record certainly proves that it works. Even though he loves the warm water in his home state of Florida, the crankbait and jig have made him just as comfortable in cold water, too. Y

Visit Yamaha Outboards.com Today!

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com 

ChatterBaits a Key for Early Season Bass

 

ChatterBaits a Key for Early Season Bass

When the ChatterBait bladed jig burst onto the scene in 2006, many anglers considered it another ‘flash in the pan’ lure that would quickly slide off the radar, as seems to be so common in the fishing world.  However, over the last ten years, this unique spinner/jig hybrid has carved out a permanent spot in the tackle boxes of most serious bass anglers and has repeatedly been a top producer in bass tournaments—particularly early in the year during ‘pre-spawn’ conditions.

A ChatterBait lure consists of a hexagon-shape stainless blade connected directly to the eyelet of a jighead.  The fishing line is tied to a snap that is secured to the blade via two mounting holes, and when the bait is pulled through the water, the blade vibrates and flashes erratically, drawing attention from far off and provoking vicious strikes from otherwise stubborn fish.  Most bladed swim jigs are dressed with silicone skirts, and anglers add a variety of different plastic trailers, most commonly swimbaits or crawfish imitations.  The ChatterBait brand lure, manufactured by South Carolina lure maker Z-Man Fishing Products, is far-and-away the most popular bladed jig because of the company’s patents covering the direct head-to-blade connection, an orientation that consistently outperforms other similar baits.

While many anglers consider the ChatterBait to be a spinnerbait alternative that is fished by simply casting it out and reeling it in quickly, astute bass fishermen have found that it is much more than a standard ‘chunk and wind’ style bait, particularly in colder water.  Mixing up presentations by slowing down or varying retrieves, working the bait along the bottom in deeper water, and fishing it more like a jig than a spinner has resulted in multiple pros hitting paydirt in early season derbies.

Bassmaster Elite Series pro-Stephen Browning sees the ChatterBait’s versatility as one of its biggest draws early in the year.  “There are so many different ways you can fish it,” remarks Browning.  “I use it a lot as a search bait, but it’s a great big fish bait too, and that’s what makes fishing it so exciting.”

During the early season pre-spawn period—just prior to when bass move up shallow to spawn—Browning prefers winding the ChatterBait slowly through deep grass, particularly around contour changes like underwater channels and submerged points.  His favorite cold water retrieve is a stop-and-go style retrieve, and the key to this cold water presentation is using his reel—not his rod—to move the bait.  Holding his rod at about a thirty-degree angle, Stephen winds the reel quickly before letting the bait fall, varying the number of turns of the reel handle to mimic the erratic movements of injured baitfish.  He pays close attention to what he is doing when he generates a strike, noting the retrieval pattern so he can duplicate it going forward.

In the first two months of 2017, several professional-level tournaments—not to mention a number of local events—have already been won on the ChatterBait, further cementing its position as a lure that is here to stay.  Whether you are a serious tournament angler or a weekend warrior, learning the different ways to fish this versatile bait in the relatively cooler water during the first few months of the year will undoubtedly help you up your catch rate, and maybe even help you catch the bass of a lifetime!

Visit Z-Man Fishing.com Today!

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

 

 

Ned Rig System

 

Ned Rig System

In an age of copycat baits and fad techniques, it’s increasingly rare for a new fishing lure that truly helps anglers catch more fish to burst onto the scene.  But over the last two years, that is exactly what has happened as fishermen nationwide have started adopting the ‘Ned Rig’ system and watched their catch rates soar.  And best of all, the Ned Rig is not only extremely effective, but also very simple, inexpensive, and easy to use, making it ideal for everyone from beginners to the most ardent tournament anglers

The Ned Rig consists of a miniature, mushroom-shaped jighead paired with a small soft bait made from ElaZtech, a proprietary soft plastic formula developed and manufactured by South Carolina-based Z-Man Fishing Products.  ElaZtechElaZtech is far more durable than traditional soft plastic materials, so the baits not only outcatch but also outlast other competitive products.

Though the roots of this finesse technique date back to the 1950s, it wasn’t until approximately ten years ago that small jigs were paired with ElaZtech plastics to create a true Ned Rig.  Beginning in the early 2000s, In-Fisherman Field Editor and finesse fishing guru Ned Kehde – as well as other students of finesse fishing – relentlessly cut up, customized, tested and refined various versions of ElaZtech baits to ultimately shape the techniques of legendary finesse anglers like Chuck Woods, Guido Hibdon, and Charlie Brewer into a more modernized approach by taking advantage of the advanced soft plastic material.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Kehde and his cohorts, Z-Man developed a system of small, wormlike soft plastics – the Finesse TRD, Hula StickZ, and Finesse ShadZ – that mimic small invertebrates and baitfish that can be easily paired with its Finesse ShroomZ jigheads to create the perfect Ned Rig.  Introduced to the fishing world in 2014, word of the Ned Rig’s ability to attract numerous bites even in tough fishing conditions has made it a staple among recreational and tournament anglers alike.

So why exactly does such a small, simple, and nondescript presentation like the Ned Rig work so well?  While no one knows for certain, several noted experts have their theories.  According to fisheries biologist and noted fishing writer Ralph Mann, “[t]his is a very complex subject, but basically, bass only see detail when they have to. Bass are eating machines and will eat almost anything that looks and acts alive and does not exhibit any danger signals that they recognize and have learned to avoid.”

Full-time Kansas fishing guide Clyde Holscher, who relies on the Ned Rig daily to help his clients catch fish, has his own theory.  “Seventy percent of freshwater fishes’ diets are small invertebrates and crustaceans.  The Ned Rig duplicates the size and texture of this forage, and Z-Man’s color selections emulate invertebrates and crustacean throughout the changing seasons. We are not offering the fish a double cheeseburger, but merely a tasty morsel!”

Visit ZManFishing.com for the Best in Fishing Lures and Advice Today!

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle