Two of the most popular finesse bass techniques are the ned rig and the shaky head, but what exactly is the difference?
There are quite a few similarities between the Shaky Head rig and the Ned rig when it comes to bass fishing. Both are widely considered to be finesse lures, but there are some subtle differences that should be noted in order to determine just which one is better in certain situations.
Shaky heads are normally fished on the bottom and in deeper waters while the ned rig can be fished at varying depths.
Ned rigs are normally much smaller and lighter than shaky heads.
From a tackle perspective a the best shaky head rods will have a fast action as you need to be able to put a lot action into the jig and get the most feedback down through the rod blank to know what’s going on.
The main differences between the ned rig vs shaky head is that the shaky head is threaded onto a screw type bait holder on the jig head whereas the ned rig is threaded through the body and uses a flat mushroom style jig head.
Let’s take a closer look at each lure to see what sets them apart.
A Ned rig is relatively new to the sport of fishing. It is typically smaller than a Shaky Head and consists of a small plastic tube-like worm of up to 4 inches in length. The lure is weighted by a jig head that is normally 1/32, 1/16, or 3/32 with a hook size of up to #2 or #6.
A Ned rig’s weight is shaped like a mushroom and sometimes has a small indention on one side in order to help balance the lure’s position so that the worm sits upright on the bottom.
Ned rigs are generally used in more shallow water of less than 15 feet in depth. The key to fishing a Ned rig is to know that you likely won’t feel any of the bait’s movement (or lack thereof). Remember, this is a finesse lure and you’ll want to make sure your line is tight enough to feel the subtle bites from fish along the bottom.
Ned rigs work best on areas with flat bottoms near structure, but are also known to be productive around grass beds, docks, points and flats where you might typically find baitfish feeding or hiding from predators.
One of the biggest differences in the Ned rig and Shaky Head is that a Ned rig will utilize a smaller, exposed hook. This may seem like a subtle difference, but it plays into the overall method of how to fish a Ned rig.
Since the Ned rig is the smaller of the two, you’ll want to use it in more shallow water up to 15 feet in depth. Fishing in deeper water will make it more difficult to feel fish bite the Ned rig since it is much lighter than a shaky head.
Also, a Ned rig should simply be “pulled” across the bottom of a waterway instead of “bouncing” it like most anglers do with a Shaky Head. The lightweight Ned rig will easily glide across the bottom of a lake and come to a resting, upright position that will attract nearby fish in a different way than a Shaky Head will.
The Ned rig, much like the Shaky Head, is attractive to most game fish like largemouth bass because it appears to be a smaller bait fish feeding on the bottom of a lake or waterway. Bass usually spend very little energy in biting a Ned rig as they will generally let the lure come within range and bite.
The Ned rig can be dragged or bounced across the bottom with variable lengths of time between when you decide to move the lure. Some anglers have reported success with a “swimming” technique in which they never let the bait touch the bottom.
A Shaky Head rig is equally simple in composition and can appear to be very similar to the Ned rig at first glance. This lure usually employs a soft plastic worm of more than four inches in length, with a variety of different plastics in use.
Shaky Heads typically utilize a hook size from 3/0 to 6/0 and have a jig head of 1/16 ounce up to a ½ ounce size. One of the main differences between a Ned rig and a Shaky Head is the rounded jig on a Shaky Head. This allows for greater movement, even when the bait is sitting on the bottom.
A Shaky Head is generally larger than the Ned rig and will usually produce much larger catches.
Most experienced anglers will agree that the Shaky Head is their go-to for targeting fish that are stubborn and when the bite is slow. Something about this lure’s “shaky” action produces a strike in fish where other lures will be passed by without even a glance.
Shaky Head fanatics say this lure works best around docks and brush piles or other structures when the fish are ignoring other baits. As a general rule of thumb, you should look to throw a Shaky Head around some type of structure in hopes of coaxing the nearby bass out for a closer look and possibly, a bite.
The Shaky Head’s hook is not exposed and, therefor, allows you to use this bait closer to structure or weeds and grass as you’re less likely to get hung up.
There’s no rush when using a Shaky Head. In fact, the slower, the better, according to most experienced anglers who find success in using a Shaky Head.
There are a variety of different kinds of soft plastics you can use with a Shaky Head. For a rounded head, it is best to stick with a stickworm or finesse worm that you should use on rocky or gravel bottom waterways.
For a standup jig head, trick worms are best, but anglers have reported success with a wide variety of different types of worms.
The key to being successful with a Shaky Head is to keep the action going, even when the bait is stationary. When other baits are forced to lie motionless, you can easily twitch and “shake” a Shaky Head in the right spots to produce a strike.
It’s hard to choose a winner between these two baits matched up head to head. Each one has specific advantages over the other depending on the conditions and specific area you plan to fish. The best answer to this question is to learn how to use each lure and employ them at your own discretion in order to experience real success on the water.
Drop shot fishing for bass has exploded in recent years and lot’s of tournament anglers are taking major wins with a drop shot when other techniques are failing.
Drop shotting is considered a finesse tactic but unlike other finesse approaches it is truly versatile and can be used year round and in a variety of different locations and scenario’s.
The drop shot rig itself is quite simple, your hook is tied a few feet up with a polomar knot from a weight on a leader that is usually fluorocarbon.
Drop shot fishing allows you to fine tune the exact depth that you bait will run at.
Controlling your depth is crucial to keeping your lure in the strike zone whether that is in deeper waters where bass hold at a certain depth during the winter or in warmer seasons in shallower waters.
Being a finesse application a lightweight drop shot rod with a lot of sensitivity is key to getting the best feedback from your sinker and bait which ultimately will increase your strike rate.
Being such a versatile technique fishing a drop shot can produce big bass all year round especially in winter when you can target them right down in the deeper waters of lakes.
Knowing how, where and when to use this type of rig is key to getting the very best out of it.
Below are some of our drop shot fishing tips that we hope will help you to catch more bass!
Tactics are everything in bass fishing and fishing a drop shot is no different.
Tailoring your approach to the seasons is the key aspect of catching more bass.
Water temperature is the ultimate guiding force to bass movements and learning to read it is very important.
Deeper waters call for a slower dead sticking approach and water weather can call for a more active almost jigging like approach.
Different seasons call for very different approaches and knowing how to fish each one relative to the water temperature is very important.
We won’t give any strict temperature ranges here as across the country different seasons have big variances in water temperatures so apply your local knowledge to best affect.
Winter Bass are almost always out in deeper waters and will generally stay suspended at a fairly consistent depth depending on the lake and temperature in question.
It’s not uncommon to see bass on a fish finder in 40 to 50 feet of water during cold weather and this is when vertical drop style fishing excels.
Seeing as this is the most lethargic time of the year for bass dead sticking you lure will usually get the best results.
Only an occasional twitch of the rod tip is required once the weight has hit the bottom or you exact suspended depth.
Pre-spawn Bass will usually start to enter more shallower mid-range depths and will start to move when temperatures start to hit 50 degrees.
You’ll find them between 10 and 6 feet. Crawdad soft plastics are particularly effective especially if you are fishing over a rocky bottom at this depth
Post-Spawn/Summer Bass immediately following the spawn can take a while before they return to full summer feeding frenzy so you may notice a reluctance for bass to be overly aggressive in the immediate few weeks once spawning has ended.
Once summer kicks in it’s all about weed cover and working a light rig in and around weed is a killer approach.
Shore fishing will of course limit your reach but it can still be very effective, less so in the colder months as bass will naturally move to deeper waters that are normally out of reach from the shore.
The major advantage of fishing off of a boat is that every location on a lake is available to you.
On the shore you are limited by your maximum casting distance but on a boat with a fish finder you can search every single area making sweeps of drop offs, gravel beds and close to cover.
A fish finder will give you the biggest possible advantage.
All of the techniques described above are available to you as a boat angler.
From the shore you will mostly be casting and then slowly bouncing or jigging the weight back towards you.
Boat ramps and docks can be a big spot for bass that a lot of anglers ignore so make sure to work them just as hard as any stretch of bank.
A lot of times anglers will complain of missing a lot of fish on a drop shot and ultimately they are setting the hook with far more force than necessary resulting in the hook being ripped from the mouth.
Lift your rod tip and reel in at the same time instead of yanking the rod back.
Using a combination of reeling and lift the tip quickly will take in any slack line in the system and also set the hook without ripping it.
Chances are you’ll be using very sharp hooks that require very little force to penetrate a bass’s lip.
The majority of drop shot baits for bass will be soft plastic worms. But that does not mean you should limit yourself to the worm only.
Crawfish, shad, tube baits and other soft plastics lures work just as well in the right conditions.
When you are dead sticking or putting less movement into the drop shot then a good approach is to shaky head rig your worm as it will get a bit more life into it than just regular nose rigging.
Worms that have a ribbon tail will always have the best life in them but the only drawback is that the tail is a lot weaker than on a regular worm so you may end up replacing them quicker.
Being a finesse technique means matching you tackle to get the very best casting performance and also the as much sensitivity as possible from the weight or your lure back down through the rod to your hand.
6.6″ to 7′ in length, medium/light power rating with a fast action. Tip sensitivity is key here and a moderate or slow tip rod is not suitable.
Spinning reel in a size 2000 or 2500 to match your rod. Spinning gear is best suited to lighter line techniques.
A good line for drop shots is fluorocarbon as it has a lot less stretch than monofilament.
Braid is also a good option particularly close to heavy cover but always use a fluorocarbon leader to help reduce visibility when drop shot fishing for bass.
Getting the best out of your jig fishing means fine tuning you jig setup for bass so that it allows you to get the most life into the jigs when working in deep cover.
Most modern jig setups use a fast action rod and a baitacaster reel paired with a low stretch line like fluorocarbon.
That low stretch is important as you need to get some life into the jig by twitching the rod tip and it also allows you to set the hook quickly.
A quick hook set is important when jigging as you might need to turn the bass away from heavy weed or other such structures before they get a chance to run towards them.
The best jig rods will be casting rods with a medium/heavy power rating or heavy if you are working in really thick weed cover.
Power describes what weight line that the rod is rated for and how heavy a lure that it can handle.
They should be 7 feet in length in length as you will be flipping into cover and that extra length will also help to put a bit of life into the jig with just a quick flick of the wrist.
Just like most single hook lures a jig setup needs a rod with a fast action.
A fast action starts to bend up high on the rod blank in the top one third from the tip.
A more moderate action will have it’s bend start lower down the blank.
A fast action allows you to set the hook quickly and it also gives you good feedback down through the rod blank so you have some idea about what is going on at the lure.
Faster action rods also make it much easier to put some life into the jig. With a moderate action the rod blank would absorb a lot of the energy you would be trying to put into the line.
Most modern bass fishing poles will be made from graphite and for jigging it really is the best option in terms of action and weight.
A high speed baitcaster is definitely an advantage if you are looking to take up line quickly and try to haul bass out of thick weed or away from obstructions.
Try to run a reel with a 7.2:1 gear ratio or higher.
I don’t like to set the drag too light as you may need to get that bass out of cover quickly I you really do not want it taking too much line off of your spool once hooked.
If you are casting into clearer waters over gravel or very light short grass then you’ll need a line that is less visible than braid but low stretch unlike monofilament and this is where fluorocarbon really shines.
For lighter jigs in the 3/8 to 1/2 ounce range I’d run 12 to 20 lbs fluorocarbon line.
If you are fishing larger jigs in dense weed then 40 lb braid if using a medium heavy rod or even as high as 50/60 lbs braid if you are using a heavy power rod and throwing jigs into really thick weed beds.
I usually prefer to use a fluorocarbon leader when running braid as a main line as braid is just so visible I rarely like it tied directly to any single hook lure like a jig.
With drop shotting fast becoming one of the go to finesse tactics for bass a lot of anglers are clued in on how to fish it but a little more confused on what kind of soft plastics make the best drop shot baits.
The 4″ worm is without doubt the most successful drop shot bait since the techniques started
The beauty of drop shot lures is that chances are you have already fished them before just on a different style of rig.
Soft plastics make the best drop shotting lures with the old reliable worm being the very best as it’s long slender shape puts out a lot of movement.
But they don’t stop there.
Shad imitators, small minnows, tube baits, crawdads and even paddle tail swimbaits can all be killer choices as a drop shot bait.
One thing is for certain, when bass are feeling lazy dead sticking a drop shot bait can be one of the most successful tactics for big bass.
Only the slightest movement is required and you may get a strike right when you feel like recasting.
Patience is a virtue when working a drop shot bait in a super slow manner.
These types of techniques do require a lighter drop shotting rod so a heavy powered casting rod is really overkill for using small weights and plastic lures.
Easily the best dropshot bait ever the Roboworm brand name is synonymous with drop shotting and are easily the most popular choice for thousands of anglers.
With a massive range of colors and sizes there is a Roboworm for just about any situation.
You can run these up to a big 6″ when wacky rigging or straight through the nose on a smaller 4 inch version.
You can also Texas rig them when working through heavier cover in warmer summer months.
Best to vertical drop in cover rather than cast away from you with any great distance as you can end up with a lot of weed on your weight if you have to drag it towards you.
Berkley’s legendary line of scented worms the Powerbait Power worms are some of the best performing soft plastic ever thanks in part to their super stinky scent.
That scent combined with an innovative ribbon tail makes these irresistible to bass.
Their tails has a very distinctive flutter that gives out a great little vibration through the water.
You find bass will smash these on the drop or just after they stop moving on the way down.
Drop shot baits are not just confined to using worms and bass really do love feasting on crayfish.
Nose hooking these allows for those claws to really start flapping in the water.
Texas rigged they are also an absolute killer in cover and thick vegetation.
Because of the vibration from the claws they also work great in stained waters thanks to having a much bigger profile when compared to a standard worm.
The Zoom Trick Worm has a similar taper from the body to the tail as the KVD Dream Shot below.
This taper makes them a prime candidate for wacky rigging.
When wacky rigged either end is heavier than where they are hooked so you end up with a lot of life from both sides of the hook.
The have a fairly beefy front section so can also be Texas rigger when working in cover.
Designed by tournament legend Kevin Van Dam.
The Strike King Dream Shot bait has a thinned out mid-tail section that really makes the end come alive on your rig.
Specifically designed for finesse drop shot presentations these soft plastics come in a huge range of colors.
At 4″ long they are the perfect length for a drop shot lure and work in just about any situation.
Use a size 1/0 hook and hook them through the nose when in more open water to really make that tail dance.
They can also be used to great affect if Texas rigged and worked through cover in the summer months.
Texas rigging them is one way to make them weedless you can also use a weedless hook if need be.
Tube baits are the first type of lure you might think about when going drop shotting but that fluttering skirt on the end is a real killer.
The Zman Tubez are a high quality tube bait than come with a dimpled tube body and life like tail end.
To get the most life out of the tail you really need to nose hook these. I’ve even had great success slicing them in half length wise to make two lures out of one.
Sliced in half they are a really good finesse style bait.
What kind of list of soft plastics could be complete without a mention of the all time classic worm the Yamamoto Senko?
The go to bass worm that has slayed bass for decades.
Most drop shot worms are normally used in either a 4 or a 5 inch version but with a Senko you can run them up to even 8 inches and absolute hammer bass in and around spawning beds.
They also work really well around structures like docks or submerged tree stumps.
Zoom have been manufacturing plastics for years and they offer some of the best value of any major brand out there.
These finesse worms are 5″ long and have a massive range of colors.
Can be wacky rigged or through the nose as to your liking. The best colors are greens of various varieties and pink or black when looking at plainer colors.
These are the smaller cousin to the Zoom Trick Worm and are really good when you want a lighter presentation when bass are spooking easily.
When bass are on the shad it makes sense to throw them a shad imitator and the Jackall Crosstail is one of the best out there.
To get the most out of them they really need to be hooked through the nose.
They have a unique ‘crossed tail’ design(hence the name) that makes them flicker sideways and gives out a lot of really natural vibration that bass just seem to find irresistible.
Big bass sometimes call for big lures and the Magnum II from Zoom is a whopping 9 inches long.
They have a massive curved ribbon tail that really comes alive on the drop.
Great for really deep work especially in and around drop offs when bass are feeling lazy and just hanging in the water column.
And seeing as they are so long are really suitable for Texas style rigging.
Although the classic soft plastic worm is undoubtedly the very best drop shot bait ever used there are some occasions were trying some other options can produce quick results.
Matching the hatch is always a solid approach regardless of what type or style of fishing that you are doing.
When bass are gorging themselves on small shad then chances are they may well ignore you lovely 4″ senko even if you have put it right in front of their nose.
Having a few other offerings available to hand in your tackle box is always a solid approach.
Below we have listed the top drop shot baits by type starting with the classic worm and finishing with small bug imitators.
The old reliable soft plastic worm is always top of the list when discussing drop shotting lures and you’ll find that there are three main varieties that are commonly used:
The standard worm is usually fairly uniform in the taper from the head of the worm to the tail. They come in an almost endless array of colors and sizes and there are also glitter patterns available too.
The thick bodied, thin tail style of worm bait is great for really adding a lot of life into your drop shot fishing. These are almost always best rigged through the head as you want to get as much life out of that tail as possible.
The paddle tail worm takes on a different type of movement than the thin tailed on. Whereas the thin tailed worm has a nice soft flutter through the water the paddle tail has a much more aggressive yet slower movement.
Shad imitators are clearly the ultimate choice when bass are feeding on the real thing.
I’ve known bass to ignore just about everything but a shad style soft plastic when they are in season.
You’ll normally want to rig them through the nose as they will be too short for wacky rigging.
Tubes make an excellent choice although they are normally quite short in terms of length.
The key is obviously in the tail. Choose a tube that has a lot of action in the tail and you can’t go wrong.
For most bass anglers a soft plastic swimbait would not be the most obvious choice when choosing drop shot baits.
But a swimbait with a paddle tail can really set bass off to strike hard.
Most Swimbaits for Bass are fairly large but in the smaller sizes they work really well on a drop shot.
Nose hooked for more open water work or Texas rigged in cover is how to use them best.
Bass feed on a large variety of underwater creatures and insects so it stands to reason that a decent soft plastic crawdad or other small creature should make an irresistible snack for a hungry bass.
Any type of insect or other sub-aquatic imitator can work really well on as a drop shot bait.
Most finesse techniques will call for a light spinning rod and a drop shot setup is no different.
Matching your rod, reel, line, weight and hooks is crucial to getting the best out of this bottom focused rig.
When drop shotting you need a lot of feedback so that you can set the hook quickly.
Bass will strike on the way down more often than not and you need to be able to sense this bite easily so you can set the hook quickly.
As with most finesse bass techniques your choice of rod should be a good spinning rod as casting rods are better suited to heavier lures and rigs.
The best drop shot rods will have a medium/light to medium power rating and have a fast or extra fast action.
They will generally be rated for line in the 6 to 12 lbs range and a lure rate of 1/8 to 3/4 oz.
The fast action gives a lot more tip sensitivity which is crucial to getting as much feedback as possible through the blank.
You also get much quicker strikes and can set a single hooker with a much more snappy action.
Seeing as you will be running a spinning setup then a spinning reel is a must.
Sizes range anywhere from a 2000 up to a 3500 depending on how heavy you go with your main line.
A size 2500 is a nice compromise as larger size 3500’s can upset the natural balance of your rod so you need to take this into account.
If you go to the trouble of buying a high end dedicated rod then the last thing you want to do is to unbalance it by attaching a reel that is too big and heavy.
A reel with a good high gearing so you can help set the hook quickly although not a must is definitely something that is nice to have.
A lot of anglers preferred drop shot setup will be to run braid as their main line and then to use a fluorocarbon leader.
Braid is just too visible when working finesse style rigs so a clear leader is really important.
As your main line you can run 20 lb braid as this will still be thin enough to be able to make accurate casts.
Lighter braid slices through the water quite easily which is what you want when you are effectively jigging off the bottom.
But fluoro is the better choice as the best line for drop shot rigs particularly in clear or open water.
Fluorocarbon is the go to for leader choice and you’ll generally find that most anglers are using 8 lbs breaking strain.
Mono is a poor choice as a leader as it has to much stretch in it and this stretch will reduce the sensitivity of your rod tip, which may result in missed strikes.
There are two style if hooks commonly used regular wide gap hooks with a bait keeper or specialty swivel hooks.
A bait keeper is a must on your hooks as using such erratic up and down motions and lots of casting can cause a soft plastic to slip off of your hook easily.
Swivel hooks virtually eliminate line twist which can be a real problem when fishing a drop shot.
The hook is free to swing around the line without twisting it.
The shape of your weight can have a big impact on how often you get snagged or hung up on the bottom or underwater objects.
A traditional round style weight will be the easiest to snag on most objects.
Tear drop or straight cylinder style weights are the best option as their slim profile will lessen the chance of getting snagged up.
Spinnerbaits are one of the most reliable lures to have in your tackle box.
They can produce big bass all year round and in most types of water conditions and temperatures.
The best spinnerbaits for bass tend to give out a solid vibration and have a lot of life in their rubber skirt.
Bass are a predatory fish and use their lateral line to sense vibration in the water.
It is the blade on a spinnerbait lure that produces the vibration and using different blades in different scenario’s is what will give the best results.
There are generally three types of blades that you will find on a spinnerbait:
Blades can be either polished/hammered/patterned metal of bronze, gold and silver or painted with a pattern.
Regardless of the style their purpose is to give off a flash and vibration to draw in bass from a distance.
The type of blade will also affect how fast it can run in the water.
Bigger blades like the Colorado cause a lot of drag in the water and will tend to run slower than a willow leaf blade which spin much faster.
A spinnerbait is a lure that comprises of a wire bent at ninety degrees with a jig head and a skirt on one end and a freely spinning blade on the other.
They have a variety of different blade configurations and styles of blades and also variations in the type of rubber skirt.
Trailer hooks are often employed to increase hook up rates as bass can strike them short of the hook due to the long skirt.
They also come in a variety of weights and as with any lure the heavier spinner baits will run deeper than the lighter ones.
The majority of spinnerbaits for bass will be in the 3/8’s to 1/2 an ounce range.
The Booyah Pond Magics are somewhat smaller than the average spinnerbaits but they do produce big bass!
They are particularly effective when working smaller waters along the edge of structures or weeds or on larger waters that have a lot of heavy weed beds.
With one main willow blade and a smaller Colorado blade you get the best of both world lots of flash and big vibrations.
The wire frame has an open loop design so bet to tie in directly rather than use a snap link.
They weigh 3/16 of an ounce so despite being small in size you can still get a decent casting distance.
Big spinnerbaits catch big bass and the Booyah Super Shad is one heck of a performer.
Boasting no less than four high quality willow blades these lures are all about the flash.
The four blades aim to imitate a small shad school and create quite a lot of drag as they spin through the water.
Best fished in either clear or slightly stained waters especially when bass are gorging themselves on shad.
Weighing 3/8 of an ounce you can run these fairly deep.
Six colors available and all of which are fairly light in color with all gold or silver blades or a combo of both.
The Mini-King from Strike King is another small or mini sized spinnerbait that weighs in at 1/8 of an ounce making them suitable for smaller species and lighter tackle.
One of the best spinnerbaits for small-mouth bass especially in low light situations.
Strike King describe these as having a Tennessee blade in reality it is a Colorado blade with a hammered diamond finish.
That blade gives off a lot of vibration and is extremely effective at both dawn and dusk when flash is less important and bass are hunting by vibration.
The jig head has a big bright eye and is finished in diamond dust for extra sparkle.
The Strike King Finesse is designed and tested by legendary Pro Kevin VanDam.
Available in two different blade configurations and a variety of color combinations.
The two blade combos are a double Willow blade and a Colorado/Willow combo with the Willow being the main larger blade and the Colorado being the secondary.
The Colorado/Willow combo weighs in at 3/8 of and ounce and the double Willow at 1/2 an ounce.
Both models have an extended tail and a high quality skirt. With an extended tail you should always run a trailer hook as bass may come up short when biting and routinely miss the hook.
The Nichols Pulsator features a patented 3D metal flake tapered blade which give a massive amount of vibration even from traditional willow like blades.
The range is huge with 5 different sizes and no less than 70 different color options available.
The high quality skirt combined with the metal flake finish of the blades makes them a premium end spinnerbait.
These have a mush shorter arm than most regular spinnerbaits for bass so if you are worried about short strikes and missed bites they will have a higher hook up rate.
When fishing a spinnerbait for bass always remember that the flash and vibration are the most important things to get right.
The speed of your retrieval can have a big impact on how the blade spins.
An popular spinnerbait setup would be a baitcasting combo and fluorocarbon fishing line.
A reel with a high gear ratio can be an advantage especially if you are looking to cover a lot of open water when casting.
With most spinnerbait rods having a medium/heavy to heavy power rating and a fast action.
Spinner baits are tied into your line at the bend in the wire. That bend can either have a closed loop or an open loop depending on the manufacturer.
The type of loop will have a big influence on how you tie a spinnerbait rig to your main line.
The preferred choice is a closed loop as open loop spinner baits can suffer from having the line run up towards the blade.
This is particularly true if you are using a snap link instead of tying directly to the spinner bait lure.
When using an open loop always tie directly to the loop and do not use a snap clip.
The Colorado blade is the biggest and producing the greatest amount of vibration of all three types of blades.
They are an excellent choice when fishing in darker light conditions or in colder water temperatures.
Colder temperatures will generally require you to fish your lures in a low and slow manner.
A bigger blade means more resistance through the water so your spinnerbait will run slower.
Willow blades are often referred to as ‘willow leaf’ blades due to their long slender appearance.
Because of their shape they will spin at a much higher speed than a Colorado blade.
They are particularly effective in warmer months when bass are a lot more energetic and will chase a lure much more willingly than in colder months.
The flash element of the blade is also more suited to better light conditions.
Indiana blade strike a balance between the bigger Colorado and the more slender Willow-Leaf blade.
The are not the most popular type of blade for a lot of spinnerbait anglers as their main usage is during times when bass will spook easily.
If you have used a spinner bait lure enough times you may begin to notice a pattern with them when a bass is interested and decides to bite.
You’ll notice that you your hook rate is quite low and that the skirt on the spinner bait is being torn or bitter off in small pieces.
That is because for some reason bass seem to always fall short when striking them.
This is true more often than not when you are using a fast retrieve.
One way to stop this from happening is to use a trailing hook.
A trailer hook is an extra hook that is attached to the normal hook of the spinnerbait.
It basically extends the hook by an extra inch or so and can greatly increase your hook up rate.
Whilst most anglers will run a baitcaster for most of their bass fishing a common question I often hear is “what size spinning reel for bass?”
If your aim is to use lighter rigs and lures then a spinning setup for bass may well be the best option, however there is no best size spinning reel for bass.
You need to match your rod, reel and line to the type and size of lure you are using and where exactly you will be fishing them.
For example there is no point in using an ultralight setup if you are fishing in and around really thick weed cover as the rod will not have enough backbone to handle hauling a bass out from the weed.
And conversely you will find it very difficult to cast light lures on a bass fishing setup that is to heavy.
Saying that if you are looking for an all rounder then the best size spinning reel for bass will be a 2500.
A size 1000 spinning reel is what is considered and ultralight spinning reel. These reels are designed to be used with really light line.
Monofilament in the 2 to 6 lbs range of breaking strain. They need to be paired with an ultralight spinning rod.
This type of setup is usually used when “finesse fishing” i.e. throwing really small and light lures in shallower waters.
They are commonly paired with an ultralight rod that is normally 6’6″ or under and has an ultralight power rating with a fast action.
They are commonly used as a trout reel for use in smaller rivers and streams.
The size 2500 is probably the best spinning reel for bass by size as it strikes a decent balance between light weight and still having a decent line capacity and drag system.
They will generally hold monofilament line up to 8 lbs and braid up to 12 lbs which are a good match to most light weight rigs and small lures.
For a lot of anglers a size 2000 may well be a little too small and they would consider it an ultralight reel.
You can pair a 2500 size spinning reel with a 6’6″ to 7′ spinning rod with a light/medium power rating with a fast action.
The fast action is a must when using lighter gear as it gives a lot of tip sensitivity which is crucial when using lighter presentations and small single hook bait rigs.
This type of combo is really versatile and can be used with a good amount of lighter bait rigs and lures.
Once you hit a size 3000 then you get the added benefit of a larger spool.
A larger spool will generally mean less coiling of your line especially monofilament as it can have a pretty high memory depending on the brand.
You will also get a lot less line twist when the reel has a large spool on it.
If you are targeting large bass near to thick cover then a higher breaking strain line is always a good idea.
Being able to spool your reel with 12 lb line can give you a lot more confidence than using much lighter setups.
Flipping and pitching for bass are two of the most fundamental casting techniques to master if you are to truly progress you bass fishing skills.
They are both close quarters fishing approaches that allow you to get both a highly accurate cast and a quiet entry for your lure or jig.
A lot of anglers confuse the two terms and will regularly describe pitching as flipping and vice versa
You will usually be close in to your intended target so they are best used in and around heavy weed cover or during dirtier water times.
In clear water you will not have the kind of range needed to remain out of site of bass and a spooked bass will rarely strike.
Soft entries are the name of the game as you want to reduce the amount of splash or any other noise/sound that may make fish wary.
Flipping involves pulling a length of line off your spool with your free hand and then swinging your lure out front whilst feeding the line through the rod, pitching on the other hand involves a light underhand cast with the spool disengaged.
Both techniques do take a little time to master and the best way is to practice, practice, practice.
You can do this in you yard or on your lawn. Set up a few small target or markers on the lawn and then with a lead shot on the end of your line that is similar in weight to you lures start to practice each technique.
Once mastered they will become like second nature and you will wonder how you lived with out them.
Flipping is the shorter of the two casting techniques and in my mind is usually a little more accurate once mastered.
It is particularly effective at making a super soft entry with little or no splash.
It differs from pitching in that the spool is always engaged and line is pulled off of it by your free hand so you will need to set your drag accordingly.
Because of this it has a limited range and depends a little on your height and length of rod.
The best flipping rod to use will be one with a fast action so that you can load up the rod tip allowing it to transfer any power from the swing down to the lure.
You can flip on spinning gear if you are looking for really finesse presentations but the majority will use a baitcasting rod and reel as their flipping setup.
Flipping involves pull line off of your spool in your free hand so that your arm is extended straight out to the side and slightly behind you body.
With your rod tip raised you should have your lure in line with your reel.
You then swing the lure outwards away from your body and towards your target.
As you do this you should feed the line through the first eye of the rod allowing the lure to flip forwards.
Never let go of the line completely, instead let it run through your fingers as you move your hand back towards the reel.
Letting go of the line completely means less over all control. When you control how quickly the line runs through the rod you can fine tune your distance with a lot more accuracy.
When pitching for bass you definitely have a longer range available than when flipping as you are effectively casting with an underhand cast with the spool free running.
This longer range can be a better bet in clearer waters that require you to maintain a bit more distance from the bass.
Pitching is just a normal cast but you do so with an underhand swing forward of the lure.
To start you can hold the lure in your free hand when you are first learning the technique.
Once you are a bit more experienced you can just swing the lure out with the right amount of force and speed but get the basic technique down first.
Release the spool as normal and thumb down on your spool, holding the lure in your free hand(behind the hook otherwise you will get snagged) swing it forwards and use you thumb to control the distance by thumbing the spool.
Pitching is always down with a baitcaster as on spinning gear it is just too awkward.
Chatterbait vs spinnerbait – just how different are these lures in terms of design and fishing applications?
Most anglers can tell the difference between an chatterbait and a spinnerbait just by looking at them.
Where the biggest confusion lies is where and when is the best way to fish them.
Both are fished on fairly similar tackle and both do create quite a bit of disturbance especially when they are fished right under the water surface.
If you are not overly familiar with how each lure is constructed then below we describe the exact make up of each lure and how it swims:
The main difference between a chatterbait and a spinnerbait is the types of blades used in their construction and how those blades spin.
On a chatterbait the blade is a hexagonal shape and is mounted on the front of the lure. The blade vibrates from side to side but never fully spins around and around.
Whereas on a spinnerbait the blade is a more traditional type of spinner blade such as a willow or Colorado blade.
The spinnerbait has the blades mounted out to the side of the jig head and skirt compared to a chatterbait that has the blade mounted directly in front of the jig head.
The best time to choose a chatterbait is when you are working in and around heavy weeds. Chatterbaits really do excel here and you can fish a chatterbait over the tops of weeds by either burning them quickly or using a more stop start technique.
That vibrating blade can draw bass out from cover and they will smash a chatterbait hard from below.
Spinnerbaits work really well on very windy days or in darker waters.On really windy days some topwater lures can perform poorly but fishing a spinnerbait just below the surface and your chances will increase greatly.
The give off a lot of vibration and flash from their spinning blades so any time you need to really attract bass in because of poor light or dark waters then the spinnerbait is one of the better options.
Spinnerbaits are of the few lures that are actually quite productive year round. Although I prefer a chatterbait over a spinnerbait during summer months.
Both these types of lures can be fished on very similar tackle.
Light spinning gear is not the best choice of setup here. A good quality baitcasting rod and reel will be the better option.
Line choice will also be pretty similar.
A spinnerbait rod needs a decent backbone so a medium/heavy power rating is usually best and a fast action.
Occasionally you will see one used with a more moderate action, this is done when using very large chatterbaits especially ones with long trailers as you might want to delay the hook-set slightly.
Since the original launch of the Zman Chatterbait success of these odd lures spread like wildfire.
They were hailed as a hybrid lure somewhere between a spinnerbait and a swim jig.
The terms chatterbait and bladed swim jig are used interchangeably.
When fishing a chatterbait you need to be aware of what type of water it performs best on.
A chatterbait is essentially a bladed swim jig. They have a hexagonal blade that vibrates back and forth that is mounted in front of the jig head.
This motion is why it gives off such a distinctive noise and hence the name ‘chatter’ bait.
They can be rigged with a trailer, which is usually some kind of soft plastic lure. This adds a little more life into them also helps to hide the hook even further.
The best way to fish a chatterbait is in and around heavy weed cover, over gravel beds and over the tops of submerged trees.
Chatterbait fishing is particularly effective when bass make their seasonal moves towards more shallow holding areas.
Slower techniques using various different bass rigs are a lot more effective in colder months. But ripping lures such as bladed swim jigs is rarely attempted.
There are generally two types of weed or grass that you need to concern yourself with, heavy and light.
When fishing a chatterbait around heavy weed the best approach is to fish it right over the top of the grass tips.
Burning a chatterbait at speed really makes that blade sing and will most definitely make bass sit up and pay attention to your lure.
Bass like to stay camouflaged in weed so look for spots in the weed were there is a sign of recent disturbances or a natural clearing.
In lighter grass beds you can fish the chatterbait directly through it and just above it, varying your depth and speed.
They are fairly weedless however the clip in front and the blade can get fouled up so it is good practice to regularly clean them and remove even the slightest build up
When fished through weeds a chatterbait will be superior to a spinnerbait as due to their design a spinnerbait can get fouled up with a lot of weed on it’s wire frame.
Smallmouth bass in particular are very fond of hanging out over gravel or shell beds during the summer heat.
In this instance you can work a chatterbait low and slow.
Aim to run your lure along the top of the gravel occasionally touching so that a small bit of sad or light gravel is disturbed.
These types of visual stimulation’s can be the difference between a bass striking you lure and just inspecting it.
Combined with the very distinctive sound that a bladed jig makes bass will tend to chase these lures a lot.
It is crucial to vary your retrieval rate to make sure that the bait looks as natural as possible.
Another technique for chatterbaits that works well over gravel is yo-yo’ing.
The yo-yo retrieve involves casting your lure out allowing it to sink until it touches bottom.
Now raise your rod tip and move the lure upwards and towards you, reeling in any slack.
You then let it sink again and continue this pattern until the lure is back near the boat.
Yo-yo’ing works extremely well on sandy or gravel bottoms as there will be less snags to get caught up on and the impact on he bottom can also raise a small cloud of dirt.
Old logs and stumps make a great ambush spot for bass to lay in wait for a tasty snack.
Work a chatterbait over the tops and in and around any branches taking are not to get snagged as you go.
Vary the retrieve as a method to adjust the height you are working at.
If you need to run shallower over a branch raise your rod tip and increase the speed that the lure is moving at. This will help it to rise up over the the branch.
Once clear you can then slow down the chatterbait to allow it to drop a couple of feet.
You can repeat this pattern over and over but only if you can see all the snags.
A slower strike and hook-set seems to be the best way to use a chatterbait and really increase you hook up rates.
This is particularly true if you are using a large soft plastic trailer. Give the bass split second or pause to allow them to really engulf the chatterbait in their mouth.
Failure to do this can result in a lot of missed hook sets, you will be literally ripping the lure right out of their mouths if you strike too quickly.
Vary the retrieve regardless of how and where you are fishing will make the bladed jig seem far more natural.
Not only that, it will also have a big effect on the noise and the vibration that the chatterbait blade will be giving off through the water.
Slow rolling works great in colder water temperatures. In open water if you are casting along the side of drop offs or other deep structures you can work the chatterbait right down where the bass will be in the deeper depths.
You’ll need to use a fairly large chatterbait for this and stay away from light and smaller sizes.
Any decent medium/heavy baitcasting setup that you have can work for both a chatterbait or spinnerbait.
A best chatterbait rods tend to have a lot of backbone as you will be fishing them around heavy cover and hauling a bass through thick weed is next to impossible on a light weight spinning setup.
Look for a rod that has a medium/heavy power rating and a fast action. There is an argument for a more moderate action similar to a crankbait style setup as it can slow down your hook-set ever so slightly.
A good chatterbait line choice is either 30 lbs braid or 15 lbs fluorocarbon.