Top 5 Spring Search Baits

Despite the freezing temperatures in much of the country the West is seeing record highs. The bass are already moving to the shallows in anticipation of Spring and the bite is turning on. The transition from Winter to Spring is one of the best times of the year to target both quantity and quality of bass. Learning to cover water and locate fish is the key to success.

This week Tim and Matt break down the top 5 baits they use in the Spring to quickly locate and catch schools of bass. In no particular order they are:

1) Squarebill: The Squarebill is a great bait for covering water and triggering reaction strikes from early-season bass. It can be fished in heavy cover but can also be ripped through grass, much like a lipless bait, resulting in violent strikes. We've found the River2Sea Biggie and the Strike King KVD to both produce extremely well in the early season.

2) Spinnerbait: The whole concept of a spinnerbait is to imitate a fast moving, compact school of baitfish. This is a perfect profile to present as bass are bulking up for the spawn. When the water is murky the spinnerbait will outperform virtually every other reaction bait. Our two favorite are the Revenge (Try the Deep Runner with its small blades for a burning presentation) and the River2Sea Bling.

3) Jerkbait: In the West we call them Rip Baits but whatever you call them, they are deadly. A super slow retrieve in cold winter temps will give way to a fast, erratic retrieve as the bass start to spawn. Try the Staycee 90 as the bass are transitioning into the shallows and who could forget the Megabass Ito Vision 110? Throw the Ito whenever, wherever, its practically a fish magnet!

4) GlideBait: The Glidebait combines the benefits of the jerkbait with the drawing power of a big swimbait. These baits are the perfect transition bait to catch both numbers and size. Whether you're looking to win a tournament or catch the biggest bass of your life, you should have a glide bait ready to go this Spring. We throw the S-waver, GanCraft Jointed Claw, and the Slideswimmer. Look at your budget and take your pick, they've all produced GIANTS in the Spring!

5) Alabama Rig: Love it or hate it, its a producer! Rather than rambling about the A-rig we'll just point you back to The Alabama Rig Video

Whether you're wearing shorts and flip flops already or dreading shoveling the snow off the driveway again, Spring is coming. We hope these tips help you cover water quickly and find the biggest bass of your life. Good luck!

Paul Elias Discusses the 2011 Bassmaster Classic

Very few anglers have dedicated as much time to the sport of bass fishing as Paul Elias. Paul has left a mark on nearly every bass angler who has picked up a rod since the 1980′s. The next time you pick up a deep diving crankbait take a moment and consider where it came from. That entire genre of lure was born from Paul’s Classic win in 1982. In recent years Paul set the all-time heavyweight record in a BASS event proving that after 30 years in competition, he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Is there anything else Paul could do to gain our respect? How about I let you in on a little secret; he’s a trophy bass angler too. Paul is one of the most well-rounded and universally-respected anglers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
During a recent discussion with Paul he agreed to share some insights on the upcoming Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana delta. Its a unique look into the mindset of a champion. Have you ever wondered what it would take to compete at the national level? This clip will shed some light on the preparation that is required to remain competitive.

Now that you’ve seen the video I’d like to lend a few more insights into what Paul is saying. If you watch it once you will hear some great information but I encourage you to go back and view it again. Its staggering just how much information is packed into this clip.
When the average angler prepares for a tournament they come up with the best game plan they can, hopefully with some sort of back up plan, and then wait for the day of the event to see how they rank. Paul is talking about scenarios that you and I would likely never consider. I hear him saying “Yes, I’ve got a plan… but what if my boat breaks down, what if its foggy, what if the fish move, what if, what if, what if.”
For the average guy any one of those scenarios would derail the plan if not completely wipe the angler out mentally. Paul is thinking so far ahead that months before the tournament even arrives he knows what to do if the weather shifts. I’m confident that if something goes wrong on the final day of competition and everything is on the line Paul won’t panic. The reason for this is simple: Preparation. He has already prepared himself for each of those scenarios so that nothing can derail his mind from his ultimate goal. His own words sum it up best, “I’m going to think WIN the whole time. You’ve got to do that if you’re ever going to be a winner.”
What more can be said? Watch the video as many times as you need to until you realize that these elite anglers are not just getting lucky. Things go wrong for them just like they do for us but through constant preparation and planning they are able to regroup and move forward more quickly than everyone else.
Paul, thank you for taking the time to share these insights with the Tactical Bassin community. I look forward to sharing more of your insights in the coming weeks and months. I wish you the best at the Classic and will be following the results closely.

Gary Dobyns: Passion wins tournaments

Over the next few weeks I plan to do a series on the mindset behind winners. It doesn’t matter if you’re out to win a tournament, catch a trophy bass, or just make it big amongst your friends. No matter what your goal, preparing your mind to win is a huge part of consistently coming out on top. In this video Gary Dobyns talks about his win at the 2009 US Open, the most prestigious tournament on the west coast.
What does it take to win the biggest tournament in the West? What makes one angler so much better than the rest of the field on a given day? Was it preparation, some secret spot no one else knows about, or is there something more? The first aspect of a “winning mindset” that we will discuss is PASSION.
Listen to what Gary has to say about the US Open but as you hear it listen to the underlying theme. Though Gary never used the word “passion”, it is woven through everything he says. After you’ve watched the video consider if you have that kind of passion. Would you be willing to do what it takes, whatever it takes, to win?

If you want to consistently win and don’t have passion you need to develop it before you take another step into the bass fishing arena. While passion is only one aspect of a successful angler it is incredibly important! Watch for a few more videos on this topic in the weeks to come.