Astute bass anglers like Chris Zaldain excel by targeting under-pressured bass with proven big fish baits on overlooked spots. He gives us a lesson in finding schools of big bass around mid-depth saddles using a combination of detailed mapping and an assortment of modern sonar technologies. He then leverages forward-facing sonar to make accurate casts to bass and work magnum flutter spoons through the schools with great success.
Every fishing day starts by driving your boat to a likely location. Zaldain kicks off the process by doing a map recon and applying colors to specific contour ranges to make structures and sneaky spots pop to the eye. While ledges, points, and drop-offs are excellent areas, they also receive the lion’s share of the pressure. Saddles, however, are often overlooked despite being baitfish and gamefish magnets. He shows what saddles look like on mapping, then idles these spots to see if they have life.
FEATURED TACKLE (retail links)
- FLUTTER SPOONS
- SWIVEL – Owner Micro Hyper Barrel Swivel
- MAIN LINE – Seaguar Smackdown Braided Line (Flash Green), 50-pound
- LEADER LINE – Seaguar Gold Label Fluorocarbon, 30-pound
- ROD – 13 Fishing Muse Black, 7’11” Heavy
- REEL – 13 Fishing Concept A2, 8.3:1
*Additional links are below.
Once he finds predator fish, Zaldain acquires the bass off the bow using a combination of 360 Imaging and forward-facing sonar. Suppose you’re fishing a trophy bass fishery such as Texas’ famed Lake Fork. In that case, magnum flutter spoons are an excellent choice for triggering the biggest bass in the school — fish commonly conditioned to jigs, crankbaits, and swimbaits. Zaldain makes precise casts to bass by cross-cueing MEGA 360 and MEGA Live Imaging. MEGA 360 Imaging paints the detailed terrain map while he uses MEGA Live to pinpoint the fish and how far they are off the bottom. Cast beyond the school and stroke the flutter spoon over the top of them to trigger big bites.
Trial and error have shifted Zaldain’s flutter spoon program away from straight fluorocarbon. He lands way more fishing using a heavier and longer casting rod paired with a fast reel spooled with a braided mainline to a short leader of heavy fluorocarbon. Apply these tactics and tackle if you’re hunting big bass on pressured fisheries.
BOAT & ELECTRONICS
- FISH FINDER – Humminbird SOLIX 12 CHIRP MEGA SI+ G3
- 360 SONAR – Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging
- LIVE SONAR – Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging
- MAPPING – Humminbird LakeMaster With VX Technology, Midsouth States V1
- TROLLING MOTOR – Minn Kota Ultrex 112lb-36V Trolling Motor
- BASS BOAT – Skeeter FXR20
- TRUCK – 2022 Toyota Tundra