Topwater Mayhem with a Lunker Punker

Don’t you just love those winter days when the sun comes out, the wind lays down and for a few brief moments it feels like Spring? Despite the ice cold water you can almost imagine fish starting to head for the shallows and begin to feed near the surface. You know the days I’m talking about; you’re in full winter gear all morning but by early afternoon you’re wearing just a sweatshirt and for a few minutes you even give the T-shirt a try. Nearly a month ago now I was enjoying one of those very days. I was with a client and he was on a school of fish that that wouldn’t leave a swimbait alone. During a lull in the mayhem my mind started wandering to warmer places and despite the 50 degree water temps I started digging through the lockers looking for a topwater. Wouldn’t you know it, down in the bottom under all the winter tackle I found a lunker punker. Without a doubt, the punker is my favorite early-spring topwater bait.

I tied it on for kicks and began firing it around the boat haphazardly. What I didn’t expect was that after just a few casts, a fish would roll and miss the bait. As I continued slowly walking the bait to the boat I could see the fish following behind working side to side as she tracked the bait’s movements. It seemed to go on forever but realistically, she was probably behind the bait for 15 to 20 seconds before finally inhaling the bait on the side of the boat. It wasn’t the biggest fish ever but a 5 lb topwater bass in early March is a sight for sore eyes.

As soon as I got home from the lake I started searching for my lunker punker footage that I could share with the Tacticalbassin community. The following video was put together in 2 days of epic fishing on one of my favorite fisheries.

The bass in this area were keyed on large prey and the punker was the perfect tool to do the job. There was a lot of fishing pressure but most anglers missed the opportunity to step up the size of the baits and specifically target the larger fish. Its important to realize that this can be applied to your local waters as well. These larger baits don’t just catch big fish, they catch 1 and 2 lbers as well. Some of these same fish might have eaten a smaller topwater but the bigger fish would have passed them by. By using the right tool for the job I was able to catch more of the fish that were in the area. We were literally catching MORE fish because we were using BIGGER baits. That is a concept that a lot of anglers fail to realize.

There are some simple modifications I make to this bait to help increase my bite to hookup ratio. While I don’t have time to cover them right now, get a punker or two in your hands and in the next couple of weeks I’ll shoot a follow up video to show you exactly what hooks I use to make the bait do what it needs to do as well as the tackle I’m using when fishing the bait.
Though I throw both sizes of the wood punker as well as the full range of injected baits, this video was shot with the 6″ Injected G2 Lunker Punker with Rattles. Here is the direct link to the bait I was using: Injected Lunker Punker

East Coast Advice on Swimbaits

When the fishing is going really well it’s easy to become jaded and forget how good we have it. It’s important to take the time to stop and consider just how blessed we really are. One of the best ways I can think of to get that “reality check” is to watch the reaction of someone who isn’t used to fishing our local bodies of water.
Allow me to introduce Josh Fan. I had the pleasure of fishing with Josh for several days on some of the best fisheries Northern California has to offer. Josh was here during a prime time when wakebait and topwater fishing was at its peak. While we didn’t catch any true “giants” we caught a bunch of quality fish and had a great time on a fishing adventure that neither of us will soon forget. As the trip was drawing to a close Josh took the time to sit down and share some tips that were born out of his experiences in the West.

These tips will help you regardless of where you live but if you’re fishing in the East you really need to hear what Josh is saying. He talks about the fish we were catching on a Lunker Punker and a Wake Jr. but the key is the belief in his voice about the effectiveness of these bigger baits. Josh now has a clear understanding of how powerful true big baits can be, regardless of where in the country you happen to be.

Glimpse at a 42 lb limit

Some days you launch the boat and the world just feels right. You can sense that something epic is coming. The clouds are just right, there is a ripple on the water, and the water temperature seems perfect for big fish.
On this particular day I had that feeling. That is, until 3 hours had gone by and we didn’t have a fish in the boat! 3 big bites down, no fish! It was starting to look like a disaster until my partner got one to the net.

Isn’t it amazing how one fish can turn a whole day around? It seemed like all was lost until a single fish connected and made it to the net. Then it was game on! I apologize for the dark pictures but we caught fish so consistently we didn’t bother to take their picture until it was dark and the bite had stopped.

Here is a quick video giving a glimpse into a livewell full of largemouth! These fish were caught on a variety of lures. At this point I’m not even sure what fish ate what baits. Fish were caught on a homemade 7″ boot tail swimbait, 6″ injected lunker punker, super spook, Snagproof frog, and Yamamoto Senko.

The fish were actually incredibly simple to catch. They had moved up in very shallow water along a reed and chunk rock bank. We spent most of the day casting parallel to shore and working the baits in 2 to 10 feet of water.