The first year I lived by the lake I decided I’d go fishing on opening day. I knew it would be crowded, but I thought it would be fun. On my morning jogs that spring I had witnessed the number of trout cruising in the shallows. On warmer days I could see dimples on the water. This signified that at least some of these stocked trout had the wherewithal to rise to bugs.
While virtually every river around town was open to year-round angling, the pond fell under opening day regulations. A Saturday in April. Not one day sooner. And, as I came to discover, not one day later – that is if you didn’t want to fish over trout that had been through 48 hours of pure piscatorial pandemonium.
Opening day was nuts.
Far be it from me to criticize anyone who wants to fish shoulder-to-shoulder over 12″ pellet-fed fish. Seriously. If that makes someone happy: fine. If that is nostalgic, a source of food, a way to introduce a kid to fishing, or just a way to spend a spring morning: fine. I’m not dogmatic. The who, what, when, where, and why are none of my concern. It was the how that turned my head.
Colorado Outdoors, the local Montrose riverfront economic development project, announced today the company has paid off the Montrose County School District (MCSD) elementary and early childhood lunch balances.
“This is obviously a very stressful time. As fellow community members, we just want to do our part to help our neighbors and families,” said David Dragoo the company president. “It’s the right thing to do.”
The payment brings all school lunch bills current for every student at Cottonwood Elementary, Johnson Elementary, Northside Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, Olathe Elementary, Pomona Elementary, and those within the early childhood programs.
The company also challenged other local businesses and individuals to do the same. “There are still lunch balances with the middle and high schoolers. We need others to jump in and help out where they can.”
The effects of COVID-19 are being felt throughout the industry, but perhaps one of the hardest-hit sectors of the fishing industry overall has been felt by the guiding community. But all is not lost, thanks to the team at Postfly Box and Badfish, a fund is being put together to raise funds to help the men and women who have guided us all and given us more information and fabulous fishing experiences than we could ever ask for.
We are very grateful to have met so many incredible people in the guiding industry throughout the years. They have taught us invaluable lessons, shown us their home waters, but best of all shared their hospitality and friendship with us time after time.
Now is our time to return the kindness and generosity.
For most guides, their livelihood is dependent upon their fisheries, and it’s the fish that often dictate how, and when, these guides can make a living.
Every guides’ fishing season may be a little different, but for a large portion of guides, it is an extremely seasonal and volatile window.
These captains, guides, and instructors spend their entire year focusing on making every last second of this window count. That often means costly investments such as boat maintenance, trailer repairs, new oars, upgraded equipment, brand new tackle or flies, and the list goes on.
For much of the guiding community, this time of year is the time they rely on most to be able to provide for themselves and their families for the entire year.
Unfortunately, due to the effects of COVID-19 many people in the guiding community have had cancellations due to travel restrictions, less recreational spending, and safety concerns.
The income they were relying on is now a fraction of what they had planned for.
We ask our community to join together to #savetheseason for guides affected by these cancellations. We have started an emergency relief fund here. We ask our fishing family to please donate and spread the word. If you know a guide struggling with cancellations please direct them here.
There are no better stewards of our fisheries than the guides that depend on it. This is just a small way we can do our part to thank them.
Guides apply here for #SAVETHESEASON relief funding.
There are plenty of healthy things to do during these troubled times. Take a hike. Walk the dog. Do cartwheels in the front yard. And get out and fish! Spring bass fishing is a great way to do that and with this Spring Bass Fishing 101 from LIVETARGET, you’ll be on the fish in no time!
The silver lining for anglers is we’re entering perhaps the finest time of year: prespawn. Bass, in particular, get on the munch when the days get longer and sun stays higher in the sky. Said photogenic phenomenon, along with warming water temps, draw bass out of their winter residencies toward shallower water to feed, and, ultimately, procreate.
Catching them isn’t like finding a cure for a pandemic, either. Locating fish is relatively easy and catching them can be equally straightforward. To that, LIVETARGET offers up four surefire lures and accompanying techniques to bag bass… and raise your spirits.
Rattle ‘em Home
The easiest lures to fish are those referred to as “chuck and wind” or “reaction baits”. Cast, retrieve, and nab fish. No special rigging or complicated retrieve sequences necessary. Lipless rattlebaits fall firmly into this category.
There are dozens of brands and models of rattlebaits on the peg hooks. They look somewhat similar in design. Lots of intriguing patterns, too. All feature an internal rattle, or rattles. But the LIVETARGETGolden Shiner Lipless Rattlebaitis what all other rattlebaits aspire to be. The buck stops there, and you can prove it to yourself, too. Grab five different brands – even that $3.99 version that would clearly seem to be the best value – and include a Golden Shiner Lipless Rattlebait,.
Then cast them…
You’ll quickly appreciate the LIVETARGET Golden Shiner Lipless Rattlebait’s castability. Casting distance is remarkable. Note, too, how perfectly it lands in the water. Hooks in order, not tangling on itself. Lesser rattlebaits are prone to spinning in the air, consequently snarling themselves and wasting the cast. Not the Golden Shiner Rattlebait; it glides in perfect posture, hooks not flailing in the air.
The magic is in its remarkable design. There’s no wasted space in achieving the stated weight – either ¼- or ½-ounce. Other rattlebaits are bulky, too physically large for their weight. This not only presents a sloppy, cumbersome lure, but also contributes to self-tangling.
Application-wise, things couldn’t be easier. Simply chuck it out there and start reeling. You can control depth-of-run by how long you let the lure sink before retrieval. Play around with speed, too, finding the rate that elicits strikes. You can also try jigging it a bit. Snap the rod tip, let the bait freefall for a second or two, and repeat the action. The Golden Shiner Lipless Rattlebait falls perfectly – top up and belly down – often earning strikes on the drop.
Lipless rattlebaits are ideal for casting expansive and weedy flats. Generally, a solid snap will free the bait of snagged vegetation. Also primo for casting into the back of coves and along creek channels, the Golden Shiner Lipless Rattlebait flies far so you can stay back and not spook the fish.
Lastly, don’t let the designation “golden shiner” keep you from fishing it where shad are the primary forage base. The bass don’t seem to care. The Golden Shiner Lipless Rattlebait has proven itself on southern waters for nearly a decade.
Show Them a Ball of Bait
Breeding isn’t the only thing bass have on their minds. In the spring, they also move up to feast. Simultaneous to the bass moving up, baitfish are also finning shallower to feed and breed. They arrive by the zillions, and bass are especially attracted to multiples of baitfish they attack in one fell swoop.
As it happens, LIVETARGET has an easily fished lure that replicates this baitfish behavior. The award-winningBaitBall Spinner Rigwas created to mimic a small school of baitfish on the move. We all know conventional spinnerbaits have their place in the springtime tackle assortment, but try upping the ante with a lure that actually mirrors real aquatic life.
Another “chuck and wind” lure, the BaitBall Spinner Rig comes in 12 astonishingly accurate patterns, each intended to Match-the-Hatch® to your local waters. Like the Golden Shiner Lipless Rattlebait, just whip it out there and start reeling. Generally, you retrieve the BaitBall Spinner Rig at a slower pace than a rattlebait, making it the ideal second offering in a one-two punch. Cover the same flats, points, coves and creek channels, riding this one a bit higher in the water column. It’s larger profile summons bass to investigate from below.
Fish Eat Fish
Sunfish (bream) are ubiquitous – meaning, they’re everywhere. Rare is the freshwater body of water that doesn’t support some species of sunfish. (Sung to the tune of Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere”): You’ve got bluegill, warmouth, longear, redbreast and papermouth (yes, crappies, too) …pumpkinseed, rock bass, orange spotted, green sunfish, spotted sunfish and flier. And no matter the subspecies, bass consider them edibles.
Combine the commonest of forage with the simplest of lures to manage, and you have LIVETARGET’sSunfish Swimbait. And, yes, it’s another “chuck and wind”. Hurl that bad boy out there and start reeling. The swimbait itself imparts all the action you need to get noticed. In fact, it’s this very nonchalant and methodic locomotion that makes bass believe the finned-food feels safe… until it’s not.
The voodoo in the Sunfish Swimbait’s seductive paddling is LIVETARGET’s exclusive oscillator tail. Custom formed to the propulsion of an actual sunfish, the oscillator pumps the bait along, creating just the right thump and water displacement to summon strikes.
Equally as important to making the perfect swimbait is visual accuracy. Well, the Sunfish Swimbait is a dead ringer. From its anatomically precise profile to three-dimensional features and spot-on colorations, the only thing missing is a heartbeat.
The Sunfish Swimbait is especially effective for fishing weedier areas and submerged timber. Its superiorly sharp hook point is shrouded by the dorsal fin, thwarting snags, as well as disguising the hook.
LIVETARGET’s Sunfish Swimbait is available in three sizes/weights, and four outrageously accurate patterns.
Give ‘em a Good Spooning
Another solid, springtime choice is the 2019 ICAST award-winningICT Erratic Shiner. ICT, or Injected Core Technology™, is a proprietary LIVETARGET process whereby a life-like Inner-Core is encapsulated in a crystal clear, durable Exo-Skin that gives the lure an erratic wide-wobble action, bringing the lure to life. The metallic core attracts nearby gamefish with its pulsating flash, while the Exo-Skin is less noticeable underwater. Bass focus on the natural profile of the forage and are not alarmed by the transparent action-generating mechanics.
ICT eliminates the mechanical exterior shape of a classic spoon and hosts a more anatomically correct profile inside the bait. Weight distribution of the lure makes for effortless long casts. And while its primary use is as a casting spoon, it can also be jigged, and performs exceptionally when trolled.
One of the most significant advantages of ICT is the ratio of plastic between the Inner-Core and Exo-Skin. The Inner-Core is much smaller than the overall mass of the entire lure. That means anglers can present a smaller hatch size while retaining the advantages of throwing a bigger bait. The Exo-Skin’s clear plastic adds 30% more mass, which adds more turbulence in the water.
Through the design and unique ICT manufacturing process, LIVETARGET was able to really play with the exterior of the Erratic Shiner and create a unique action that anglers simply can’t get with other casting spoons. For example, most spoons will sway from side to side due to their cup shape. But the Erratic Shiner has a sway with a snap at the end of each roll. It’s the snap at the end that triggers more strikes. The cadence is easy to determine from the very first cast. It’s a very simple bait to use; simply chuck and wind.
The Erratic Shiner comes in four weights to meet a variety of fishing applications: ¼ oz/7 g; ⅜ oz/11 g; ½ oz/14 g; and ¾ oz/21 g, as well as ten realistic forage-matching colors. The LIVETARGET Erratic Shiner comes in a pack of one with an MSRP of $9.99 USD.
The pre-spawn period and warming temperatures make it easy for anglers to get on the water, defeat cabin fever, and have a great time catching fish – all while compliance with recommended Social Distancing protocols. Up the satisfaction quotient by throwing angler-friendly LIVETARGET lures that are proven to outperform.
Tim got access to an awesome pond! He’s walking the shore with son JD and friend Caleb and they’re catching nice bass! Come along for really good fishing with a glide bait, small swimbait, senko, and more. Fishing from shore allows you to fish unique angles that boats can’t reach. Tim has a few tips that will make it even easier the next time you’re on the bank.
Tim starts off fishing with an S-Waver. The idea being that glide baits have incredible drawing power, pulling fish up from great distances. Best case scenario, you’ll catch a giant, but even if you don’t you’re likely to see what is lurking in the depths as they come up to examine the bait. Tim’s next trick is to focus on smaller swimbaits in bluegill and panfish colors.
While every pond’s ecosystem is different, almost all of them contain panfish. You simply can’t go wrong with a bluegill imitator. You may find that white or flashy colors will work but unlike most large bodies of water, its always smart to start with bluegill imitators rather than shad imitators. When Tim switches to the senko he shares his 3rd trick for maximizing his time on the water.
When shore fishing its often important to make long casts to maximize your fishing area. At the end of a long cast it can be really difficult to detect bites, especially with weightless presentations. Tim recommends switching your finesse rod to “high visibility” (Neon) line so that you can see the bites instead of feeling them.
Pond fishing is often overlooked and with the current shelter in place around the country, its more likely than ever that you’re pond hopping to catch a bass. Use these tips the next time you do and you’ll be surprised by the results. Below is a breakdown of all the baits (in order of appearance) as well as Tim’s top 3 Pond Fishing/Bank Fishing combos.
The strikes are violent! We headed underwater with a variety of jigs to see how different bass would react. Largemouth and Smallmouth both aggressively attack a jig with tenacity rarely seen with other lures. Depending on how you rig it, a jig can imitate a crawdad, a bluegill, or a variety of other prey species. Watch how these different fish attack everything from a large pitchin’ jig down to the smallest of finesse football jigs.
Do you fish a jig? Some anglers love them, others struggle to find consistent success. After watching how these fish react, its clear that a jig should have a permanent place in your arsenal! Two keys to a jig’s effectiveness are its adaptability and its weedless characteristics. With a handful of different head designs a jig can be adapted virtually any circumstance.
Pay close attention to which jigs and trailers these fish were most aggressive with. Also pay attention to which retrieves/hops triggered the most aggressive bites. Below is a breakdown of all the baits and trailers used in the video (In order of appearance), along with color recommendations for each. The links go directly to Tackle Warehouse where you can see close up photos of each item.
This rig is basically a weedless version of the Ned rig. At the same time, though, it has a completely different look to it.
The weedless part is a big deal. We all know that the Ned rig is one of the hottest finesse techniques around. And for good reason. It catches bass by the ton. But we also know that it’ll hang on anything and everything in the water. And, even with a weedless hook hangups can be an issue. The tiny child rig solves those issues.
You’ll need four things to build this bad-boy:
We’ll start with the hook. I like a VMC Finesse Neko Hook in a size 2 or a size 1. It has just the right bend off its shank, and the hook point has a 3 degree offset that really helps with hooksets. The other thing I like about this hook is that it has an adjustable fluorocarbon bait keeper on the shank. That keeps the bait on the hook which makes fishing easier and saves money at the same time.
Next, you’ll need a bait. I prefer a Berkley Powerbait Maxscent The General Worm in the 4-inch size, or a Berkley Powerbait Flute Worm in the 4.7-inch size. If you pushed me, I’d have to say that my favorite is the Flute Worm.
Our final component is a small bottle of Super Glue. Any brand will work as long as it’s strong, waterproof and dries fast.
Putting the tiny child rig together is easy:
The first thing we need to do is shorten our plastic bait. If I’m using The General, I’ll cut it off at about the ring (egg sack) and keep the thickest end. If I’m using a Flute Worm, I’ll cut it off at the last ring closest to the tail. Again, I keep the thickest part. Either way, I end up with something around 3 inches long, or maybe a little better than that.
The next step is to Texas rig your bait with the VMC Finesse Neko Hook. Do that from the skinny end, not the fat end. This is important. Don’t put you hook through the thickest end. You’ll understand why in just a minute.
Once that’s done it’s time to put the nail weight into the fat end of the bait. But before you do put a tiny dab of Super Glue on the end of the weight. That’ll hold it in place as the rig bounces along the bottom.
So now you have a Ned rig with the weight at the bottom and your hook on the top. That design will make it weedless as well as make it stagger along the bottom as you drag it over whatever’s there. It’ll stagger along like a tiny child who’s just starting to walk.
I’m telling you, this will take your Ned rig fishing to another level. You’ll know what I’m saying is the real deal the first time you fish with it.
Come along for a raw, unedited day on the water! The giants are moving up and the guys are ready to catch them! Its a cold, wet day but that won’t stop the guys from TacticalBassin from going fishing! If the Corona Virus has you trapped at home, we understand your pain… let us take you along for a day on the water! There will be fish catches, an 8 lber flying through the air, and even some detailed teaching about bass behavior!
Don’t have time for a 3 hour video? We understand! If you’d prefer to jump between video highlights you can do so by flipping to each of these time stamps…
-First Bass Eats A Jerkbait 5:45
-Tim Boat Flips An 8 lber! 21:45
-Weighing the 8 lber! 23:00
-Matt Explains Today’s Conditions: 34:25
-Matt Catches a 3 lber while Tim Teaches: 36:05
-Sneak Peak Inside The Jerkbait Box With Instruction: 44:40
-Meeting Awesome Fans On The Water: 50:15
-Matt Catches A 4-5 lber On The A-Rig: 52:20
-How To Choose The Right Bait For Today’s Conditions: 59:25
-Tim Teaches About Lipless Crankbaits and Cold Fronts: 1:05:15
-Matt Explains How To Choose The Best Spots: 01:12:30
-Tim Gets Broken Off By A Bass: 01:24:05
-Matt Catches Another 4-5 lber On The Rig: 01:48:15
-Tim Catches 2 lber On The Jerkbait: 01:55:50
-Tim Gives Dock Fishing Advice: 02:09:00
-Matt Catches A Giant Freshwater Clam? 02:17:00
-How To Fish Subtle Contours: 02:24:15
– Full 10 Minute Spring Fishing Seminar: 02:48:30
If you enjoyed this style of video let us know in the comments! We’re here to help you through this tough time with a steady stream of distraction and fishing information! We will not let our videos lapse despite our own lakes being shut down yesterday. Stay strong Tactical Family!
Below is a breakdown of the lures and equipment used in the video. All of the links go directly to Tackle Warehouse where you can see detailed photos and descriptions of each item. We’ve also included color recommendations where relevant.
Matt caught a monster bass on a crankbait! Crankbaits are a great way to cover water and catch bass in Spring. If you know how to adapt them to changing conditions they’re an excellent way to specifically target GIANT bass. Come along as Matt shows cast to catch footage of this big Clearlake bass then explains exactly why he caught it and how you can do the same.
We began teaching how to use the Tactical DD Crankbait to specifically target big bass back in November. Since that time a TON of big fish have been landed across the country. Not all crankbaits are created equal in cold water but once you understand the differences and how to apply baits with key vibrations to your fishing, your catch rate on bigger bass will increase.
Landing giant bass on light line isn’t just about choosing the right bait, you’ll also need the right equipment and a very patient approach to successfully battle a big fish on light tackle. Take your time, stay calm, and your new personal best could be just a cast away. Below is a breakdown of all the gear we used in the video along with some additional baits and gear that we recommend for cold water and prespawn crankbait fishing.
Keep in mind that many of the Tactical Crankbait colors are currently sold out. It will be a bit longer before all the colors are back in stock so you may want to try some of the colors currently in stock or backorder a specific color so you’re in the front of the line once they’re back in stock.
A TON of awesome new baits and gear have already hit the market this Spring! Between the Bassmaster Classic and the start of prime fishing season across the south, the influx of new offerings is crazy! Today we’re wading through the new gear in search of the best of the best. We’ve tried a huge variety of baits and gear and compiled a short list of items that are worth taking a serious look at.
Today’s video is focused around baits and equipment that will have a tangible impact on your fishing. From the Hog Farmer Flex Rigs and their ability to draw drastically more strikes than stiffer rigs, to the Quiver worm’s ability to shake and shimmy unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, every item in today’s video has the ability to help you catch more fish. When it comes to rods, we looked at both ends of the spectrum.
Crankbait rods are one of the most difficult selections an angler can make because different sizes and styles of crankbaits require such different equipment to maximize their potential. The Intenza comes in at a budget-friendly price and is probably the most adaptable crankbait rod we’ve used to date. On the higher end of the gear spectrum, both the St. Croix and the Poison Adrena bring incredible sensitivity within reach, and the Twin Power delivers ultra high-end performance at a reduced price.
Below you’ll find a breakdown of all the equipment from today’s video in the order they appeared. We’ve included links that go directly to Tackle Warehouse where you can see the products in detail. For the baits, we’ve even included color recommendations and rigging advice. We hope you find this gear review helpful!