The notion that big bass will eat a large soft jerkbaits like the 7-inch Strike King Magnum Caffeine Shad has never been lost on Bassmaster Elite Series tournament competitor Keith Combs. However, the accomplished Texas pro knows that certain situations may call for an atypical presentation with these oversized soft jerkbaits to entice a reaction, especially out deep and for bigger bass.
For mopping up the offshore school that have become wary from fishing pressure, to targeting schooling fish or working suspended fish around standing timber, bridges or deep docks, Keith Combs has developed a method of back-hooking his bait to mimic an irresistibly vulnerable baitfish. He calls it the spiraling drop shad.
First he inserts a 1/16- to 1/8-ounce nail weight in the bait’s nose. This plummets the shad deeper with a faster descent than the plastic alone. Next, he sticks one barb of a No. 2 Owner treble hook in the bait’s back for maximum grabbing power.
“If the cover won’t let me get away with the treble, then I’ll use a wacky rig hook,” he said. “The key is not hooking the bait up in the nose; hooking it in the back is what gives it that unique action.
“The fish are deep, but they sense it coming down to them. They don’t see the hook or anything; they just see the bait spiraling down. I’m basically dead sticking the bait, so it has its own action,” Combs said. “I don’t do anything to change the action.”
As Combs points out, his bait choice is no accident. The hefty 7-incher casts well and helps him maintain contact on the drop.
“It has enough bulk to it that you can feel the bait,” he said. “If you get a bait that’s too light, you always have slack in your line. When they bite this bait, all you have to do is reel it in. It’s 100 percent. When you hook him, he’s caught.
“The Magnum Caffeine Shad works best because I can put a big nail weight in there, it’s a big profile, it falls with a big spiral and it really doesn’t twist my line like the little one will.”
Admittedly disinterested in true finesse techniques, Combs said he can tolerate this patience-heavy presentation because he fishes it on heavier tackle. Anytime fish suspend and/or target baitfish, he’s confident that his spiraling shad presentation will deliver the bites.