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Giant Bass on Artificials in the Summer

Giant Bass on Artificials in the Summer Giant Bass on Artificials in the Summer
By Jim Hammond

There is no doubt the a giant largemouth bass is one of the most fun fish to catch and the 30 second battle is without a doubt some of the most exciting fishing that you will ever enjoy.

This past week I had the opportunity to fish for giant bass with my long time buddy, James Roney. He only had a few hours in the afternoon, so we had to make the best of the time that we had. We knew that we would have to present baits that the smaller fish would not be interested in so we threw the largest of what we had at these giant bass.

We also knew that we needed to work different depths, so he threw a one ounce spinner bait. He knew that he needed the largest profile that we had. He chose a spinner bait with very large double willow blades and a big chartreuse and white skirt. We thought that with these large blades, we would send out loud vibrations and a giant profile. As you retrieve this bait, the blades spin and clack together, sending out loud vibrations and a big flash. Remember, we are only after giant bass.

We also knew that this bait would probably best be worked by a method called slow rolling. To work a spinner bait this way, you cast it out and slowly retrieve it, keeping it just off of the bottom or up only a foot or two in the water column.

I wanted to cover different areas and with a slower presentation, so I decided to throw the largest soft plastic worm that I had. After some deliberation on color, I decided on green pumpkin. The soft plastic was a Bass Pro Shops XPS Laser Eye Squirmin Worm. This bait has about as big of a profile as you can get in a worm bait. The hook of choice is a chemically sharpened 4/0 worm hook made by X-Point. This hook is extremely sharp and is coated with something that allows it to slip right on in once the initial penetration is made and it is strong enough to take extreme hooks sets with 50 pound test line. The worm was rigged weedless with a 1/4 ounce bullet weight in front of the worm.

This bait would be worked in and around stumps and brush piles and under over hangs. The presentation would be a very slow, lift the rod tip to bring the bait back to the boat and lower the rod tip and take up the slack, always maintaining contact with the bait, never having slack in the line.

The rest of our fishing arsenal consisted of Shakespeare Graphite spinning rods, 6 1/2 feet long, medium action with Shakespeare Tidewater SS 4835 reels. The reels were spooled with the only line you should use for Giant Largemouth, Power Pro in 50 pound test 12 pound diameter. This outfit gives you the sensitivity of a graphite rod, the ability to retrieve line fast, for those times the fish is coming toward you and the hook set power that you need to get the hook in a bass's tough mouth.

We were now ready to get to it, Mr. Giant Bass, watch out here we come.

We slid the boat in to the water and slipped down the shore line workings our baits in search of that Giant Bass. We knew that we were not going to get a lot of strikes but the ones that we did get would be nice, so our patience factor would definitely come into play today.

After about 15 minutes, James was hooked up. The hook set was as if he was trying to drive a 20 penny nail into a tree with one blow of the hammer and it worked. The fish was on and a nice one at that. Mr. Bass came out of the water three times and around the boat once.

One of the most exciting moments of bass fishing is the fish coming out of the water. The line starts coming toward the surface and the hair on your back stands up as you call out "he's coming up, he's coming up". You know that when he comes up, there is a good chance the fish will shake his head and throw your lure, but you can't stand it. The excitement of a fish coming through the waters surface and into the air, as his head is thrown from side to side and tries to throw the lure from his mouth is more than most people can stand. James angled the fish like the seasoned angler he is and to the boat it came. He leaned over, lipped the fish and in the boat with a five plus pound bass. What a way to start the afternoon. After a couple of attaboys and good jobs, the fish was returned to his habitat, a little wiser and unscathed. As the fish swam off, I was in anticipation of my turn at a giant bass as I again began working my soft plastic.

About twenty minutes later, James was hooked up again and this fish was much larger. As this fish came to the surface it resembled a basket ball the someone had been holding under the water and released to explode toward the surface. As this Giant came up and opened a mouth that could swallow a football, we were both as excited as two small boys and a good deal happier. This fish only came up twice before James wrangled him to the side of the boat, where he lipped it and in the boat this giant came. We were really getting down now. You know what I mean, "alright good job, wow what a fish, man that is a big one, how did he hit."

After releasing this nine pound giant, it did not take me long to get the message, I was changing to a spinner bait and I just happened to have one exactly like the one he was using. Not long after I changed baits, I was hooked up on a fish around nine or ten pounds. I fought the fish for about 5 seconds when it decided to come up. As the fish sky rocketed, all of its body left the weightlessness of the water and entered our environment. At this moment when the fish's head was thrashing from side to side, I was mesmerized for just a moment. I let my guard down, quit winding and my line went slack as the fish threw the lure. It really didn't matter that the fish was not there any longer, I had one on and got to see a great picture. The picture I refer to is: my eyes following the line across the waters surface toward the bass, as it breaks the plane of water and air and keeps on coming as its entire body has joined our environment and almost as the bass has said no thanks, here is you lure. Watching this giant shake his head and throw my lure was a disappointment, but not as bad as you would think. The image of this experience is forever burned into my memory, for as many play backs, as I desire.

On my third cast later, I was again hooked up and for that split second, I told myself, get this one to the boat. As the fish came to the surface, as was ready and after two more jumps, it was to the boat. A nice fish, about four pounds, not in the class that we were looking for, but a nice four pounder. Back in the water it went and back at it for me. Several cast later James was again hooked up and this to was a small four pounder.

We were now coming up to a big stump field and I wanted to send the big worm back in the game, so down with the spinner bait and out with the big 10 inch worm. The second cast, I felt a slight tap and then the line went slack. I knew what this meant and I wound as fast as I could until I achieved a tight line and then the hook set. This hook set was so hard, I almost turned over the small boat, but I had the hook in this fish. Buy the time that I finally got the line tight and the hook set, the fish was only ten feet from the boat, so when it came out of the water it was like it was going to jump into the boat. After two more jumps, I had lipped the fish and in the boat with it. I was pretty excited now as my entire body felt trembled. After a couple of pictures and some more high fives, I unhooked it and sent it back to fight another day. This was definitely in the size that we were looking for, a solid seven pounds.

James then headed for the other side of the lake, to fish a small brush pile that he had found on an earlier trip. He was working the trolling motor and all day he had managed to keep me just out of range or tournament blocked from the good spots and this was no different. He had the boat positioned where he could make the cast but I would have to cast over him to get my bait in the spot. It worked, his second cast in the brush pile was rewarded with a giant bass. As this fish came through the surface, we could both tell that it was the largest of the day. Three more jumps and a short run and this fish was ready to be landed. As I leaned over to lip this monster, I thought that if I had been able to get a cast to the spot, this might have been mine. Oh well, I was happy that one of us had landed such a nice fish. On the scales, it was right at eleven pounds. This is the quality that we were targeting and James managed to get one in the boat.

By the time that night was on us we had managed to catch two more fish, a three pounder and another one about four pounds. Not bad for an afternoon of fishing, seven fish with the largest being around eleven pounds and an average weight of six pounds.

Giant bass can be caught in the summer months if you fish big baits and work them slow.

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