Three Advanced Bass Tips From Kentucky Lake Guide Ben Parker
Over dinner that evening I asked Parker for five advanced fishing tips – not things like keeping hooks sharp or retying after a snag – but tips that haven’t been written about a million times in popular fishing magazines. Here are those tips from a man who knows how to boat a bass.
1. Today when we were fishing crankbaits we had several instances when I hung big fish – I could tell when they hit they were at least four pounds – and they came unbuttoned. Now why did that happen and what did that tell us? A lot of times when that happens it doesn’t mean you should totally change baits, you should try changing colors on the same bait before you totally change lures or fishing styles. I was thowing a Black Pearl color pattern Fat Free Shad BD7. They hit it, I pulled my rod back and they’re on for about five seconds and they’re just gone. That’s not a hook that’s inside a mouth -- its on the outside -- maybe they hit it closed mouthed, I’m not sure. Instead of totally changing baits, I threw four other colors before I found what they were hitting. What they were eating was the Foxy Shad Fat Free Shad BD7. After that, I started catching keeper fish and they were eating the bait, and we were fishing the same spot as we were when I hung those bass that came unbuttoned. What a bass wants changes with the time of day, color of water and a bunch of other factors
2. There’s a certain technique to getting a crankbait bass to the boat and it’s different than when you’ve got one hooked on a single hook. The proper way to get a bass hooked on a crankbait to the boat is to sweep the rod back when you feel the strike, then slowly reel the bass in. Horsing it in often allows the bass to jump. Well, it really provokes the bass to jump. When you sweep the rod back, you should be able to calculate how big the fish is. If you know the fish is a 12-incher, just reel it to the boat as fast as you can and hope it jumps off. When the rod loads and you know it’s a 5-pounder, the way you fight that fish is critical.
3. Somewhat related to the tip above, not letting a bass get under the boat is critical to getting it into the boat. It’s the worst situation you can get into when battling a big bass. When a bass gets to the boat and tries to dive under the boat, you should be in a football-ready position (knees bent in a semi-crouch) and the amount of line out should be equal to the length of your rod. I’ll say that again because it’s important – the length of line out should be equal to the length of your rod. Your hands are holding the rod fully extended out over the side of the boat. When the bass attempts to dive, push the rod tip as far out away from the boat as possible. Another plus to having this length of line out is that if the bass goes around the front of the boat, the trolling motor is not a factor. An angler with just 4-feet of line out will have major problems if the bass heads around the front of the boat and gets tangled in the trolling motor.