Getting a lure to the depth at which bass are holding and keeping it in the strike zone are two requirements a fisherman must satisfy to entice a strike. How neat it would be to have a lure with a built-in transponder that would transmit its exact depth and location in relation to the bass. Such baits doesn’t exist, but finding structure or drop-offs on the sonar and the ability to feel them with a rod and line will suffice.
Finding the proper depth where fish are holding necessitates an accurate sonar unit. Prespawn, staging females are usually suspended in the water column.
Veteran angler Donnie Stuart of Pelahatchie has solved the problem with a degree of satisfaction with the results.
“I have never had a good feel for just how deep my baits were, or if I was fishing at the right depth,” Stuart said. “So I tied a bead-stop at the depth I see fish holding and use a slip cork to keep the bait where I want it to suspend. Then I use a spoon with a trailer or plastic bait such as a Shimmy Shad.”
Stuart uses the plastic on a 1/8-ounce weighted hook so it will sink slowly. Instead of jerking the bait, he raises the rod tip to raise the bait under the cork. It slowly sinks, mimicking the actions of a dying shad. Most strikes come when the bait starts to fall. By keeping the bait suspended under the cork, Stuart can fish it as slowly as he likes.
“When using the jig with the trailer, sort of a traditional jig-and-pig, I stick to crawfish colors with blue accents,” Stuart said. “This works well where structure allows the bait to crawl on the bottom. I squirt a little fish attractant to get the bass to hold the bait a little longer. It has been my experience that bass will take the bait, but will not run with it. Seeing a slight twitch in the line or feeling the resistance is sometimes the only way I know I have a fish.”