No matter where the prespawn lies on your calendar, one thing is commonplace across the country; bass feed heavily on bluegill and shad in preparation to spawn. Wired2fish’s McKeon Roberts shares his process for targeting big bass in shallow water using realistic swimbaits that mimic shad or bluegill.
- SWIMBAIT – 13 Fishing – Coalition Bait Co, The Gill
- SWIMBAIT – 13 Fishing – Coalition Bait Co, BAMF Shad, 5.25-Inch
- HOOK – Lazer TroKar Magnum Weighted Swimbait Hook, 7/0 3/8-ounce and 5/0 – 1/4-ounce
- ROD – 13 Fishing Omen Black 3 Casting Rod, 7’11” Heavy
- REEL – 13 Fishing Concept A2 Casting Reel, 7.5:1
- LINE (main) – Sufix ProMix Braid, 50-pound
- LINE (leader) – Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon, 20-pound
Bass and bluegills often comingle in shallow water, especially in wind-blown pockets where the whole food chain from plankton to predator exists. The bass use cover or structure such as bulrush, rootballs, or wood to hide in ambush. You can effectively fish weedless-rigged swimbaits around cover such as grass and wood a slow and steady retrieve usually works best.
A casting reel in the 7.5:1 range is ideal as speed can be easily managed while still having the ability to pull fish from cover. Other important factors for a larger swimbait setup are a longer rod, which aids in long casts and driving the heavy gauge hooks in. Roberts uses a braided line for hook setting power coupled with a strong 20-pound fluorocarbon leader for invisibility. As the water is shallow, the big bait can often spook fish upon entry. Try to land your bait calmly or bank it off cover to keep it quiet.
BOAT AND MOTOR
- BOAT – Lund 1650 Rebel XL Tiller, Gunmetal Grey
- ENGINE – Mercury FourStroke 60hp Command Thrust Tiller
- PROP – Mercury Elite Series SpitFire X7 Propeller
- TILLER HANDLE – Mercury Tiller Handle 40-115hp
BOAT CONTROL (TROLLING MOTORS AND SHALLOW WATER ANCHOR)
- BOW MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR – Minn Kota Ultrex 80/MSI/IP Trolling Motor w/i-Pilot Link Bluetooth – 24v-80lb
- SHALLOW WATER ANCHOR – Minn Kota Talon, 8-foot
- ELECTRONICS – Humminbird HELIX 10 MEGA SI+ CHIRP GPS G4N
- MAPPING – LakeMaster Plus
- MOUNT – T-H Marine KVD Kong Electronics Mount
BATTERIES AND CHARGER
- BATTERIES – Dakota Lithium 12v-54Ah Deep Cycle
- ONBOARD CHARGER – Minn Kota MK-345PC Precision On-Board Charger 3 Bank 15 Amps