Why You Should Be Rooting for Brett Preuett

Have you ever heard of Brett Preuett? Well, he's a bass fisherman. He managed to climb the ranks of the Bassmaster and FLW college tournament series and was able to qualify for both the Forrest Wood Cup and the Bassmaster Classic! After that he qualified through the Opens to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series and is in the midst of his rookie season on the Elites. 

So... why should that matter to you? Because this guy is an inspiration! On and off the water he's faced some serious struggles. Matt and Tim met Brett on Lake Fork recently and both were blown away by his story. Do yourself a favor and hear what this guy has to say...

...If you're not a Preuett fan after watching that video I don't know what to say. He's an inspiration to all of us and a reminder that no matter the setbacks, God has a plan. Stay focused, keeping moving forward, and who knows... you might just find yourself in the Bassmaster Classic! 

Best Baits to Target Bluegill Eaters

We focus a lot on trout and shad imitators out West but we all know that bass love to eat bluegill. When the water begins to warm the bluegill becomes a major forage base for bass and you shouldn't overlook them. This week Matt breaks down his Top 5 Baits to best imitate a bluegill so you can begin to catch those big summer bass. 

The key to successfully imitating bluegill is to find baits that not only get bites but are also slim enough to have a high hookup ratio. There's nothing worse than getting giant bites and not hooking the bass! Below you'll find a breakdown of Matt's favorite bluegill imitating baits and the reasons he chooses them. 

The first category is the Squarebill crankbait. Bluegill eaters spend most of their time shallow and around heavy cover so the squarebill is a great option to coax a bite. Matt's favorite all around bluegill imitating squarebill is the River2Sea biggie. You might remember our squarebill debate from THIS VIDEO

The second category is the swim jig. When imitating a bluegill I love to use a keitech fat swing impact as a trailer on my California Swim Jig. This combination creates a wide thumping action that imitates a bluegill's tail really well. Quick tip: a chartreuse/blue keitech paired with a very natural looking jig adds a little chartreuse flash and really looks nice in the water! ...see picture below.

The third category is the soft swimbait. The two most widely available baits that best fit this category are the Mattlures Bluegill and the All American Sunfish. Both baits have a very natural profile and are great around cover. Quick Tip: The All American Sunfish needs to be rigged on a swimbait hook of some kind. My preferred hook for this bait is the 5/0 trokar

The fourth category is topwater. My favorite large bluegill topwater is the MS Slammer. Its not perfect, but its good enough to get those monster bites and that's what counts! Another great option is the Jackall Gantarel. If smaller baits are your preference, you can't beat the popper. Personally, I'd throw the yellow magic though there are many other great options out on the market. 

The fifth and final category is the Senko. I hate to say it but the senko works incredibly well on bluegill eaters! They're ambush predators and the slow fall of the senko , especially when wacky rigged, really lures them out. Color comes down to personal preference but something with a bit of a chartreuse tail should get the job done. 

I hope you find these tips helpful! As always, we love hearing from you so feel free to leave a comment with your own experiences or even a topic idea for a video you'd like to see us do. Thank you for your continued support of tacticalbassin!


Keith Combs' Crankbait Tips

Keith needs no introduction but for those Western anglers who may not follow professional angling as closely as they should, he's won the Texas Big Bass Classic on Lake Fork 3 times, fished the Bassmaster Classic 5 times, and set the record for the heaviest ever tournament weight with a 3-day total of 110 pounds! He's a legend with a crankbait, especially when it comes to Lake Fork, Texas. 

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to fish with Combs last month at the Shimano Content Creator's Conference on none other than the famed water he has made his name on. Watching Combs fish Lake Fork was very rewarding but watching him operate his Humminbird Onyx electronics was mindblowing! When we got back to our rooms we compared notes and were both agreed we were most impressed with how he fine-tuned his electronics, located fish, adapted his baits accordingly, and immediately put the fish on the screen onto the deck of the boat. 

If you ever have an opportunity to fish with an "Elite" angler, you should take the opportunity. It was a very eye opening experience! 

Tim spent much of his time fishing with the Shimano Antares reel and was blown away by the performance! Its not for the faint of heart with a price tag of $599.99 but to our amazement, its worth the $$$ if you can afford it. However, for those that live within a budget, the Shimano Casitas at $119.99 held up extremely well, even when slinging a giant 10XD Crankbait all day. We'd both overlooked the Casitas in the past but will be taking a better look going forward. 

Combs on the other hand keeps his arsenal very simple. He preferred to use a Shimano Curado in 7:1 gear ratio, even when throwing a 6XD and 10XD. He explained that he can slow it down if need be but when he gets a big bass on he's able to power up that 7:1 reel and really keep control of the fish. 


We're Back!

After a crazy spring we're finally back! Starting tomorrow there will be a variety of new content both here and on our Youtube account. We'll still feature our traditional "how to" style videos that you've come to expect but will also begin incorporating our time and experiences on the road, on the water, and perhaps a fish catch now and then. 

Its exciting times at TacticalBassin and we're thrilled to have you along for the ride! 

How to Get the Most From a Baitcasting Reel

We received a request for a video on how to adjust a baitcasting reels to get the best performance. Neither Tim nor Matt are reel mechanics but Tacticalbassin is all about helping anglers improve their fishing. This week these two fishermen will show you exactly how we adjust our personal reels when its time to hit the water.

As always, Tim and Matt rarely agree so instead of pretending, we're showing you the reels we actually use on a daily basis. For Tim, that means a Revo STX Gen 3, and for Matt, that's a Shimano Curado.

This video shows how we adjust both Shimano and Abu Garcia Reels without going into all the technical details. This isn't a reel breakdown by a reel technician, its a real world video of what each of us do to our personal equipment when we get a new reel and want it to perform at its best.

We hope this video helps! We know its not the video most expect to see, and I'm sure a reel tech or two will shake their heads but this is how the two of us fish our equipment year after year and it has stood the test of time.

Waterspout on Lake Berryessa!

Photo by Matt Allen

Its not every day we see this kind of weather in Northern California! Matt was on a guide trip on Lake Berryessa today when a storm cell moved into the area and began pouring rain.

Photo By Kurt Himmen


Shortly thereafter this waterspout touched down. You never know what you're going to get when you head to the lake.

Important Note... Kurt got his Grand Slam, landing all 3 species; Spotted Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Largemouth Bass, before the weather rolled in. What a fun day at the lake! Congratulations Kurt!