When it comes to bass fishing, it holds true that the game is always evolving. With trendy techniques and new gear developments popping up constantly, it can be hard to sift through the gimmicks and lock-in on those must have baits.
This week, Cheeky Fishing was able to catch up with BASS and FLW tournament competitor Brian Volkernick of Dixfield, ME. Brian is an undergraduate at the University of Maine in Orono, where he helped found their collegiate bass fishing program. With our Cheeky FLOTR spinning reels lined up and ready to fish, we wanted to know what three baits are a necessity for hunting lunker bass this year. Here’s what Brian had to say:
“The first bait you need to start utilizing more is theNed Rig. If you find yourself in a finesse fishing situation where the fish are being finicky and picky, you’re going to want to dig out a Ned Rig. Equipped with a small soft plastic bait, the Ned Rig can be deadly in the right situations. This bait will work best when fishing a hard bottom such as rocky shorelines, as this small flat jighead will stay upright on the bottom and imitate a small baitfish digging for food. The results will amaze you if give the bait a run during the spawn, as bedded bass can’t resist from striking the bait. Freshwater bass are starting to adapt to the same old baits being introduced to their homes. It’s time to change it up and throw the Ned!
Brian believes setting yourself apart from other anglers is crucial to landing monster bass!
My second suggestion would be to get yourself aWhopper Plopper. This topwater bait, which comes in multiple sizes, burst onto the bass scene recently and can produce some big-time fish. When being burned across the surface of the water, the propellor tail creates a havoc for nearby fish to hunt down. This audio presentation, combined with an appropriate body shape and color scheme, is all it takes to get monster bass enticed. While a whopper plopper may not be incredibly versatile, when the right situation presents itself, having one in your tackle box will set you apart from the rest of the anglers on the water throwing traditional topwaters. This bait can catch that big fish you’re looking for nearing the end of tournament day, or provide you with endless hours of fun from the dock when the warm summer evening topwater bite is on!
(photo credit: Dominick Schenewerk, "Fish the Whopper Plopper" / www.flwfishing.com)
My third lure suggestion is a more subtle approach to topwater fishing. TheLive Target Sunfish is a unique topwater that resembles an injured or stunned panfish floating at the surface. Due to it's near-weedless build, this bait is great for fishing amongst lily pads and weedy environments. It can also be fished across open water with it’s ability to dart slightly below the surface with a fast retrieve. My ideal topwater sunfish fishing situation involves throwing it on 65lb braided line, working it through the weeds with a frogging rod and waiting for a big bass to chomp it down! When throwing this bait, I recommend waiting a second after the fish strikes the bait to make sure you can get a successful hookup. Occasionally, you may notice that fish will rise to the surface to nose the lure, but not actually engulf the bait. If this occurs, try changing up your speed and cadence by pausing or twitching the lure in a variety of different rhythms. When summer fishing gets tough and temperatures are starting to exceed 80 degrees, I go up shallow into the pads and wait for a big largie to completely destroy my sunfish!"
- 10+ years of competitive bass fishing
- 3 seasons competing in FLW Collegiate
- Captain of University of Maine Bass Fishing Team
Get The Right Gear:
For anglers chasing freshwater bass with spinning gear, the Cheeky FLOTR Series is the perfect line of reels to combine durability and performance at an affordable price point! A true performance spinning reel at just $69, the FLOTR's lightweight frame and Multi-Disc Drag System will help you chase down monster largemouth for a full day on the water.