Soft Swimbait Buyer’s Guide: Styles, Colors, and Rigging Tips

Giant swimbaits work everywhere! If you haven’t tried them yet, the time has come. They can be pricey and they’re not all created equal. How do you know which baits to invest your time and money into? Today we’re teaching everything you need to know about soft swimbaits.

We’re covering wedge tails, boot tails, paddle tails, as well as rigging and color selection. If you’ve ever wanted to try big swimbaits this is for you. Don’t waste a fortune trying dozens of baits, wondering if you’re doing it right. Stick with these proven options and you’ll start catching in no time.

The actual act of swimbait fishing is very simple. It is almost always a cast and slow, steady retrieve. Season to season the speed may change (some times you’re reeling like a spinnerbait, other times its as slow as you can stand to turn the handle) but the cadence never does. There is no need to add action, stop and go, pop the rod, etc… just a slow and steady retrieve.

Below is a complete list of the soft baits and equipment we have confidence in including color recommendations for each.

The Baits…

-Huddleston 8″ Swimbait:

(We Recommend ROF 12 in Hitch or Holdover Trout)

-Huddleston 68 Swimbait:

(We recommend both ROF 5 and 12 in Black Gizzard Shad and Rainbow Trout)

-6″ and 7″ Osprey Tournament Talon:

(Chartreuse Shad, Reverse Hitch, T.S. Bluegill)

-Scottsboro Tackle Swimbait:

(6″ and 7″ in Mullins Madness, Natural Light, and Ol Smokey. Recommended Rigging: 8/0 Owner Beast Hook listed below)

-Keitech 6.8 and 7.8 Swimbait:

(Recommend Tennessee Shad, Electric Shad, Ghost Rainbow. Recommended Rigging: Matt Allen Swimbait 3/4 oz or 10/0 Owner Beast Hook, both listed below)

-6″ Trash Fish:

(LC Blue, Tucked Out Chartreuse Shad, Tucked Out Ghost LC Hitch. Recommended Rigging: 6/0 Beast Hook listed below.)

-8″ Trash Fish:

(Ghosted Chartreuse Shad, LC Hitch, Just Shad. Recommended Rigging 6/0 Blade Runner Head or 8/0 Owner Beast hook, both listed below.)

Megabass Dark Sleeper:

(1/2 or 3/4 oz in Donko, Haze, Wakasagi)

Big Swimbait Combo…

Rod- Dobyns Champion 807 Mag Heavy:

Reel- Shimano Calcutta 400B:

Line- 80 lb Power Pro MaxCuatro:

Leader- 30 lb Maxima Ultragreen:

Beast Hook Rigged baits…

Rod- G Loomis IMX Pro 966:

Reel- Shimano Tranx 300 AHG:

Line- 80 lb Power Pro MaxCuatro:

Leader- 30 lb Maxima Ultragreen:

Budget Swimbait Combo…

Rod- Dobyns 795 Fury:

Reel- Cardiff 300:

Line- 65 lb Power Pro:

Leader- 25 lb Maxima Ultragreen:


Need Apparel? Tacticalbassin Gear is in stock! Get your hats, Hoodies, and sunshirts by emailing

Soft Swim Web.jpg

New: LIVETARGET Skip Shad with Injected Core Technology

New: LIVETARGET Skip Shad with Injected Core Technology thumbnail

LIVETARGET unveils the versatile Skip Shad, with Injected Core Technology

Flat-sided baitfish represent critical components of the forage bases of many fisheries. In freshwater, shad, alewives, and even young-of-the-year sunfish and crappies are favorite targets, from trout and salmon to walleyes, bass and stripers. In saltwater environments, threadfin herring, and sardines are well-established prey items for a staggering variety of inshore and offshore species, and are frequently used by anglers as chum or live baits due to their innate bite-triggering features.

Skip Shad shown in Silver/Green (952)

The prevalence of such baitfish around the globe, and their importance to the fish that we pursue with rod and reel, led the master lurecrafters at LIVETARGET to engineer a truly unique soft plastic jerkbait, the Skip Shad, to help anglers put more fish in the boat – wherever those fish happen to swim.

The innovative Skip Shad will elevate your soft plastics game to the next level. Manufactured using LIVETARGET’s exclusive, patent-pending Injected Core Technology (ICT), the Skip Shad features an authentic, vibrant color patter within the core, which is fully encapsulated and protected by a clear, soft polymer shell. Matching anatomical features are aligned on both the interior and the exterior portions of the Skip Shad, producing unique three-dimensional textures that are both robust and ultra-realistic. By carefully controlling the density of both the interior core and the outer shell during the molding process, the Skip Shad achieves a perfectly-balanced, strike triggering action – right out of the package.

Injected Core Technology not only gives the Skip Shad its unique appearance, but it also makes this soft plastic jerkbait extremely versatile to rig and present in both freshwater and saltwater environments. It can be fished on a weighted or un-weighted weedless Texas Rig, or along the bottom on a Carolina Rig. The smallest size Skip Shad is an incredibly tantalizing dropshot bait. It can be rigged to crawl nose-down along the bottom on a stand-up jig, or even used as a trailer to elevate a conventional jig-and-plastic presentation to the next plateau of realism. And, as the name implies, the Skip Shad is also a tremendous option for skipping under docks and overhangs; its flat sides help it to skip farther back underneath overhead cover, to areas where true trophies wait in ambush – places that other lures simply cannot reach.

The precision-tuned balance of the Skip Shad is revealed as it falls through the water column. When simply dressed on a hook, the Skip Shad has a remarkably slow descent, with its flat body within the horizontal plane as it falls, perfectly mimicking the action of an injured shad or sardine. The Skip Shad doesn’t tumble or spiral, it simply drifts tantalizingly downward with just a gentle shimmy along its length until it comes to rest on the bottom – or is consumed by a nearby predator fish.

The LIVETARGET Skip Shad will be available in three lengths and weights: 3 ½” (4 per pack); 4 ¼” (4 per pack); 5 ¼” (3 per pack). Six color patterns (134 Silver/Pearl, 951 Silver/Smoke, 934 Silver/Brown, 952 Silver/Green, 201 Silver/Blue and 207 Silver/Purple) make it easy to select the perfect Skip Shad to match your regional forage base and target species in freshwater or salt. The Skip Shad has an MSRP of $9.99.

Silver/Pearl (134)

Silver/Smake (951)

Silver/Brown (934)

Silver/Purple (207)

Silver/Blue (201)
Please follow and like us:

Buyer’s Guide: Best Rod/Reel Combos Under $200

Looking for the best gear this Holiday season? We’ve got 5 rods and 5 reels that you need to take a look at. They’re light, sensitive, and best of all they won’t break the bank! Whether you’re a new fisherman or just looking for a deal, we’ve got you covered!

In the past we’ve struggled to locate any rods below the $100 mark that we felt were worth a mention. That mark seems to be the cut off for purchasing quality equipment but we searched high and low and found 2 options that are worth trying. Additionally

Below is a break down of the 5 lines of rods and 5 models of reels we recommend trying. For your convenience we’ve including some of our favorite models from each line of rods. The Black Friday sale begins today at 8 AM Pacific time so be sure to check them out! If you were hoping for high end tackle for Black Friday keep in mind the sale will run Friday through Tuesday so be patient, high end content is coming!

The Rods…

-Dobyns Colt:

Favorite models include 7′ MH, 7′ MH Cranking, 7’3″ Heavy

-13 Fishing Defy Black:

Favorite Models Include 7’1″ Medium, 7’1′ Medium Heavy, 7’6″ Medium Heavy

-Dobyns Fury Casting Rods:

Favorite Models Include 7′ Med/Heavy, 7′ Heavy, 7’3″ Mag Heavy, 7’6″ med Heavy.

-Shimano SLX Casting Rods:

Favorite Models Include 6’10 Medium, 7’2″ Medium, 7’2″ Medium Heavy, 7’2″ Heavy, 7’5″ Heavy

-Shimano SLX Spinning Rods:

Favorite Models Include 6’9″ Medium, 7′ Medium Light, 7′ Medium

-St. Croix Bass X Casting Rods:

Favorite Models Include 7’1″ medium, 7’2″ Medium Heavy, 7’4″ Heavy

-Dobyns Fury Spinning Rods:

Favorite Models Include 7′ Medium Light, 7′ Medium

The Reels…

Daiwa CR 80 Casting Reel:

13 Fishing Origin TX Casting Reel:

Shimano SLX Casting Reel:

Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel:

Daiwa Fuego LT Spinning Reel:


Need Apparel? Tacticalbassin Gear is in stock! Get your hats, Hoodies, and sunshirts by emailing

$200 Web.jpg

Shore Fishing Seattle Area – Largemouth Bass Spots

Shore Fishing Seattle Area – Largemouth Bass Spots thumbnail

Shore fishing Seattle for Largemouth Bass proved to be a fun. Here’s some places I discovered while visiting my brother in the Seattle area for catching bass. This post includes a map of where to find these places. Along with some tips of what baits worked best on these bodies of water. Plus, any other details to help you catch more fish if you venture out to these waters in the Seattle area.
Continue reading “Shore Fishing Seattle Area – Largemouth Bass Spots”

TacticalBassin’s Top 8 High End Combos – Buyer’s Guide

The Buyer’s Guide continues with an in-depth look at HIGH END equipment! If you’ve wondered about the best, this video is for you! We cover both casting and spinning in this whirlwind tour of some of the best bass fishing rods and reels on earth! This video is no accident, today is CYBER MONDAY and you can score the best deals of the entire year on this gear!

Whether you’re a collector, an aficionado, or just want to dabble in the world of high-end tackle, we’ve narrowed it down and chosen a handful of combos that we feel stand out from the rest. We’re talking about the smoothest, longest-lasting, and most sensitive rod and reel combos that money can buy.

Below is a break down of our favorite gear. We’ve separated it into casting and spinning rods, paired with our favorite reels for each. We’ll also link to some inexpensive items to help keep your new gear looking its best. In no particular order, here is the best gear in bass fishing.

Casting Combos…


Rod- St. Croix Legend X Casting Rods:

Favorite Models Include 6’10” Medium, 7’1″ Medium Heavy, 7’6″ medium Heavy.

Reel- Chronarch MGL 150HG:

Excellent work horse reel, super smooth and durable.


Rod- G Loomis NRX Casting Rods:

Favorite models include 852C JWR, 853C JWR, 894C JWR

Reel- Aldebaran MGL 50HG:

This is the smoothest, most compact reel we own. We can’t say enough about how light this reel is. Check it out, its a “must have” if you want to try a high-end reel.


Rod- G Loomis Conquest Casting Rods:

Favorite Models Include 842C MBR, 844C MBR, 903C MBR

Reel- Shimano Metanium DC:

This is a work horse reel that practically runs itself. Light baits, heavy baits, and everything in between. If you only want one reel, this is it.


Rod- Megabass Orochi XX Casting Rods:

Favorite Models include the Tour Versatile, Braillist, and Extreme Mission Type F.

Reel- Shimano Metanium MGL:

The Metanium is Shimano’s high-end work horse. Its the do-everything reel that will last for years and years. If you want one reel to do every job, look no further than the Metanium.


Rod- Megabass Destroyer Casting Rod:

Favorite Models Include the OneTen Special, Onager, and Daemos

Spinning Combos…


Rod- St. Croix Legend Elite Spinning:

Favorite Models Include 7′ Medium Light, 7′ Medium, 6’10” Medium Light

Reel- Daiwa Certate Spinning Reel 6:1 Ratio:

Probably the most free feeling handle of any spinning rod we’ve used. Incredibly smooth and buttery.


Rod- G Loomis NRX Spinning Rods:

Favorite models include the 852S, 802S, 872S

Reel- Shimano Exsence 3000:

Both Matt and Tim’s favorite spinning reel. The word “unreal” was used over and over when describing this reel.


Rod- G Loomis Conquest Spinning:

Favorite Models Include 742S and 902S

Reel- Shimano Exsence 3000:

Both Matt and Tim’s favorite spinning reel. The word “unreal” was used over and over when describing this reel.

We use the following equipment in conjunction with our high end gear…

Braided Line- Power Pro Maxcuatro:

Monofilament Line- Maxima Ultragreen:

Fluorocarbon Line- Sunline Assassin:

Casting Reel Cover- Shimano Neoprene:

Spinning Reel Cover- Shimano Neoprene:

Rod Sleeves- Casting Rods:

Rod Sleeves- Spinning Rods:


Need Apparel? Tacticalbassin Gear is in stock! Get your hats, Hoodies, and sunshirts by emailing

Thumb 2.jpg

Best Worms and Creature Baits For Bass Fishing – Buyer’s Guide

Today we continue the Buyer’s Guide Series with a look at our favorite soft plastics. We’ve chosen 12 of our favorite plastics including worms, tubes, creatures, and minnow baits. Some of them are old stand by’s while others are wild cards you might never have heard of.

This bonus video is designed to help you wade through the hundreds of soft plastics on the market and focus on the proven producers and best new options without wasting time and money. Each of these baits has been producing for us and we’re confident will do the same for you.

Below is a breakdown of the baits we have confidence in. Whether you’re finesse fishing, flipping, or chasing a reaction bite, there are baits here that will work for you. We’re including some of our favorite colors and size recommendations for each as well. In no particular order, here are the baits…

1) Yamamoto Senko 5″ and 6″:

-Some of our favorite senko colors include Green Pumpkin black flake, Green Pumpkin Watermelon laminate, Baby Bass, and June Bug.

2) Zoom Super Fluke:

– The Fluke can be used to mimic any baitfish so “match the hatch” the best you can. Some of our favorite colors are Tennessee Shad, Green Pumpkin, Albino, and Smokin Shad.

3) Strike King Fat Baby Finesse Worm:

-Favorite colors include Blue Fleck, Green Pumpkin, and Watermelon Red Flake.

4) Net Bait 6.5″ T-Mac Worm:

Favorite Colors Include Green Pumpkin, Junebug, Kentucky Special, and Texas Craw.

5) Reaction Innovations Man Bear Pig:

Not to be confused with Al Gore’s Man Bear Pig, the Reaction Innovations version is a true fish producer! We’ve seen incredible results with this bait and often throw it in place of the Brush Hog. Favorite colors include Hematoma, Okeechobee Craw, Tramp Stamp, and Watermelon Red.

6) Keitech Crazy Flapper 4.4″:

This bait is a sleeper and you should really check it out. It has a TON of action and shines on a light Texas rig. Favorite colors include Green Pumpkin, Double Trouble, Green Pumpkin Fire, and Sprayed Grass.

7) Roboworm Alive Shad 4″:

Give your fish a unique look with this full-bodied worm. Favorite colors include Aarons Magic, Hologram Shad, Margarita Mutilator, and Morning Dawn.

8) Dry Creek 3.5″ Tournament Tube:

Favorite colors include Butt Ugly, Green Pumpkin, Old Ugly, and Mocha Copper Pepper.

9) Z-Man Finesse TRD:

If you haven’t thrown a ned rig yet, you’re missing the boat. This one is for you! Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Goby, Yoga Pants, and Mud Bug are all proven producers.

10) Roboworm Ned Worm:

Favorite Colors include Aarons Magic, Desert Craw, MM3, and Peoples Worm.

11) Realis V-TailShad:

Unique bait that works equally well on a dropshot or a Damiki Rig. Favorite colors include Bluegill, Ghost Pearl Silver, and Violet Wakasagi.

12) Roboworm Fat 6″ Straight Tail Worm:

The Roboworm is a proven bait in the West that is winning tournaments all over the country. Favorite colors include Aaron’s Magic, MMIII, People’s Worm, and Red Crawler.

13) Jackall Archelon:

This is our favorite flipping bait fished on a heavy Texas Rig. Favorite colors include Green Pumpkin Candy, Green Pumpkin Pepper, and School Bluegill.

Favorite Flippin Stick- Expride 7’11” Extra Heavy:

Favorite Hooks, jigheads, and weights…

-Vike Tungsten Weights:

-Strike King 3/16 Tube Heads:

-Gamakatsu 4/0 Superline Worm Hook:

-Ned LockZ HD Heads:

-Owner Shaky Ultrahead:


Need Apparel? Tacticalbassin Gear is in stock! Get your hats, Hoodies, and sunshirts by emailing

Worms Website.jpg

13 Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners

13 Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners thumbnail

Kayak fishing can be daunting for beginners. Some of these anglers have been bank stomping their entire lives while others are downsizing from power boats. Floating on a piece of plastic and chasing fish of varying sizes, some bigger than your vessel is a great end goal but before you get there, you should work through some things that every angler will face. These 13 tips for kayak fishing beginners should help you with the learning curve.

13 Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners
Follow Kristine Fischer, a great kayak fishing ambassador, on Instagram at midwestfischergal.

1. Learn to Paddle, Pedal, and Position a Kayak

Sometimes staying on a spot is very important and nature will try to push you off of it. Whether current, wind, or powerboat wakes, learning to maneuver your kayak well will add time fishing and reduce frustration. A proper paddle stroke will actually propel you at the same speed or faster than the “digger” who goes all out. Make sure to look up a local ACA paddling course. It will be money well spent if you bought a paddle craft. For those who are in electric or pedal powered kayaks, learning to properly position your kayak to face oncoming wakes, anchoring safely, and maneuvering skills when in tight places will be a great benefit.

2. Kindness Goes A Long Way But Don’t Force It

Some of us are social; some are not. A nod and a wave will usually suffice. If someone has time and/or wants to chat, they’ll give you an opener. If you don’t have time or don’t want to chat at that moment, be courteous, answer the opener and let them know you are heading up stream. It takes some practice but it is well worth it to let people know you’re not a tool. You’ll see this behavior in a lot of groups. A popular one is the low hand wave motorcyclists give in passing on the highway.

3. Find a Kayak Buddy and Join a Facebook Group

Getting on the water by yourself can be scary, especially for a newbie. I almost always have a great experience when sharing time on the water. If you talk about kayak fishing as much as I do, you might know who would be interested in going. If not, joining a local Facebook group for kayak anglers could be helpful. This is a great way to discover new techniques, be safe, and share a common interest with other people who share your passion.

Backwater Assassin Paddle

4. It’s Not Your Spot. Chill Out and Move Along

Most of the time the person fishing where you were wanting to fish isn’t doing it because they are vindictive spot stealers. Most of the time they paddle or motor by, think a spot looks fishy and decide to throw some bait at it. While this spot may be a great spot, the lakes are full of fish. Losing your cool isn’t going to put fish in the boat. Mark the spot and come back later.

Will your world change if you can’t fish that spot right now? No, it won’t.
Yet, a lot of people act like it will. I’ve been guilty of the grousing that comes with finding someone already located where you want to fish. It’s disappointing. Is it worth a life? No. Most folks won’t evaluate it that way. What’s a little yelling? Maybe a little pushing? The fact of the matter is, you don’t know what the other guy will do. You don’t know what you will do if the adrenaline gets going. Don’t let it get up. Be a bigger man and understand: IT’S JUST FISHING.

No one should have to pay fines, go to jail, get seriously hurt or die because you WANT to fish a spot. It won’t always be the other guy who gets in trouble. We have to be more like adults and less like schoolyard kids. Hit the pause button and think about what you are upset about.

5. Kayak Karma

Believe me when I say there is such a thing as Kayak Karma. She is angry and vengeful. If you push people away from kayak fishing, she will get you. If you chew somebody’s tail for no good reason, she will get you. Be nice out there because Kayak Karma is not only vengeful but she is the sister of the Fishing Gods and she WILL tell on you. Kayak Karma hates an internet troll. Don’t be that guy.

13 Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners
Yep, it’s a small kayak but it’ll catch fish!

6. If It’s Safe, Float With It

Show some excitement when someone tells you about the new kayak they bought. They’ve wanted to kayak fish and now they can. Be happy for them. Don’t tell them their investment is a piece of trash or too hard to paddle. We all start somewhere and not in the same place. Tell them “Welcome to the Addiction” or something along those lines. Really the only time to speak up against something is if safety is going to be an issue. If a Defensive Lineman from the University of Alabama gets on an eight-foot long kayak with a 145-pound weight limit, speak up. If they do not have the required by law equipment, speak up to save them a ticket and maybe a life. Other than safety, be supportive.

Ride_the_Bull1_800 kayak tournament tips

7. Be Smart, Be Safe

First and foremost, wear your PFD. That’s not an electronic document, it’s your life jacket. It will save your life. Additionally, make sure you are always obeying state water safety laws but above and beyond that, don’t be stupid. Don’t try to race across an inlet with a power boat headed at you on plane. Be careful with wakes around bridge pilings. Have the proper lights and maybe even more than required if fishing at night. Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. There are many more but the bottom line is, Be Safe.

8. Teach What You’ve Learned

If someone has shown you how to do something, pass it on! In the medical field, they have a mantra that I like a lot: “Watch One, Do One, Teach One.” This keeps the fountain of knowledge flowing to future generations of kayak anglers. Helping anglers who will come after you to the sport learn how to plastic weld, learn how to install an anchor trolley, learn how to install a hatch, and many other DIY fixes are what really solidifies the bond in the kayak fishing community

9. Be Helpful

If someone looks like they are struggling with loading or unloading, if someone drops some gear on the way to launch or if someone is looking puzzled while staring at their kayak, ask if you can help. It’s pretty easy, most of the time they really appreciate the question, even if they decline help. I have had many a trip made easier by someone helping me put my kayak in my truck bed or help me to cartop a heavy kayak.

13 Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners
Rex from knows how to have a good time!

10. Have Fun

This is supposed to be a fun sport. Don’t try to over think it. If you struggle, ask for help. If you find yourself not having fun, talk to someone about it. Take in the nature around you. Listen to the sounds that are so rarely heard in a power boat. Watch how close fish and birds will get to you. Take pictures! This is the best sport in the world. Make sure you enjoy it!

11. Boat Ramps are Not Campsites

If you are using a boat ramp to launch your kayak, have everything ready before you back down the ramp. And turn your lights off. Nobody likes a boat ramp camper taking 20 minutes to unload all their stuff and rigging up their kayak. (This also applies to other watercraft). Have a plan, have it together, get it off the truck or trailer and move it off the ramp so others can use the ramp to enjoy their day.

12. Give Space or There Will Be Words

When you are fishing, unless you have been invited to come closer, stay at a good distance. Nobody likes a potlicking vulture. If you ask to come closer or leap frog to a spot up the bank be prepared to hear “No” and be okay with it. If a boat or kayak is moving in a direction, working behind them is ok but if you move past them in the direction they were moving toward and aren’t a few hundred yards past, be prepared to answer a few questions or expected to respond to your actions. It shouldn’t be a huge deal in most instances but it’s rudeness as its highest form here. You might as well take a bite of your buddy’s steak before he gets to. There will be words.

Yak Gear Fish Stik Smallmouth Stillhouse Hollow-Chris Payne
Tournaments are COMPLETELY different in a kayak.

13. Tournaments are Very Different in a Kayak

If you’ve ever fished a tournament, you know about the adrenaline factor, nerves, all the posturing that goes on but in kayak fishing, tournaments are a completely different animal. The ballet that is measuring, photographing, uploading, scoring, and releasing a fish takes practice. Start with an online casual tournament. Maybe a month-long one at first to really get the feel for the Catch Photo Release format of tournaments. It’s more difficult than you might think.

Please follow and like us:

Catching BIG Bass With Larry Dahlberg

We got the opportunity to fish with Hall Of Famer, Larry Dahlberg on Clearlake and it was awesome! Larry’s first ever bite on Clearlake was an 8 lber and we captured the footage as it happened! Listen to the story and watch the footage as Matt breaks down that incredible day.

Listening to an angler with Larry’s years of experience will change how you think. Getting the opportunity to fish together is something truly remarkable. If you ever have the opportunity to spend time with Larry or any other knowledgable angler, take the time to do it. Its amazing what can be gleaned from even short conversations with these people.

The time spent with Larry was something we don’t take lightly, nor will we forget. We’re lucky to have the footage to share with you and hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Below is a break down of the gear used in the video as well as the products that Larry has developed.

Larry’s Lures…

Whopper Plopper:

Whopper Plopper Silent:

Clackin Crayfish:

The Gear from the video…

Rod- Expride 7’11” Extra Heavy:

Reel- Metanium MGL HG:

Line- Power Pro 65 lb Braid:

Lure- Jackall Archelon (School Bluegill Color):

Weight- River2Sea Trash Bomb 1 oz:

Hook- Gamakatsu 4/0 Superline:


Need Apparel? Tacticalbassin Gear is in stock! Get your hats, Hoodies, and sunshirts by emailing

Dahlberg Website.jpg

Fishing with Indiana Bass Pro Ronnie Getz

Fishing with Indiana Bass Pro Ronnie Getz thumbnail

Today, we talk to Ronnie Getz. He is an Indiana bass pro who gets to fish all around the country and competes at some of the top levels of the sport. Ronnie shares with us his journey as well as some of his places to fish.

How long have you been fishing?

I began fishing about the age of 4. Living in Florida at the time we fished a lot of canals and lakes around the Orlando area. We moved to Indiana when I was 7 and I continued to fish local farm ponds and the Whitewater River. Growing up we would take a yearly trip to Ontario Canada where we would catch Northern Pike.

When did you decide fish professionally?

I decided to fish Professionally about 2010. After fishing a team series with a family friend, moving to fishing as a co-angler in the Toyota Bassmaster weekend series and also as a co-angler on the Bassmaster Open Tour, I decided to move to the front of the boat and step into the ranks as a Professional  Bass angler.

I think a lot of people have the dream of fishing at a pro level. How hard is it to fish at the pro level?

Fishing at the Pro level is definitely a challenge. With the way that the Bass fishing has grown not only on the tournament trail, but in High Schools and Colleges, the level of talent is by far at the top of any sport.

I began my journey as a Pro with little sponsorship support. Fishing at the Pro level takes not only a lot of time but also you need good financial support. I am fortunate to have the support needed to continue fishing at the Pro level.

The rewards to me as a Pro angler are many. Fishing against the top anglers in the sport and becoming not only competitors but close friends as well is truly remarkable. Every tournament is a learning experience. Getting to fish on top lakes in the country and traveling from state to state seeing the country and meeting new people along the way is the greatest reward.

You are from Indiana. What are your favorite Indiana bass waters to fish?

My Indiana home lakes are actually small in numbers. Brookville, Monroe and Patoka lakes are the top three that I fish the most. If I had to pick my favorite Indiana lake it would be Patoka. Fishing at Patoka always turned into a family camping trip.

I know you also fish Kentucky Lake. What makes this one of the top bass fisheries in the Country from your standpoint?

I began fishing Kentucky Lake when I began fishing the Toyota Weekend Series. My fist tournament there I was able to cash a check with a sixth place finish.

Kentucky Lake has every thing you could ask for. Between ledge fishing, dock fishing, sight fishing, fishing from one foot of water to forty or more feet you always have the opportunity to catch a trophy. The lake has gotten tougher to fish with the Asian Carp seeming to grow in numbers, but it is still a great fishery.

You have been able to fish lots of places. Beside those already mentioned, what do you consider your favorite bass fishery?

Choosing my favorite fishery is a tough one. I have been fortunate to fish so many different lakes with so many different outcomes. I love to be on the water, so every lake that I can fish is a blessing. I would have to say that any lake in Alabama would rank at the top.

What bass fishery do you consider your nemesis?

The lake that I can truly say gives me the most trouble actually isn’t a lake at all. The Ohio River system has been a true nemesis. Even with a second place finish in the American Bass Anglers division, the river is always ever changing and making it very difficult to pattern fish.

What are you future goals as angler?

My future goals are to continue to stay healthy enough to continue to fish at the Pro level for many years to come. As a full time career Firefighter and Paramedic I do everything I can to stay healthy.

Of course every angler wants to win the next tournament or the their first big tournament. My ultimate goal is to make it to the Elite Series, and in order to make that dream come true I spend as much time as I can on the water in the attempt to make my self a better angler.

Who are your sponsors?

I am blessed to have Associated Scales as my title sponsor. Mike Seifke and his staff are truly family to me. Jonathan Creek Outfitters, Mama Nancy Cabs, TH Marine, WOO Tungsten weights, Fitzgerald Rods, Viscous, and Nines Optics are my other sponsors. It is my honor and pleasure to get the opportunity to promote all my sponsors while traveling across the country. Getting the word out about the great products that my sponsors have to offer that I truly believe in.

Thank you Ronnie! Will be following all of your tournament success at

Fishing Both Ends of Lake Champlain with Chris Adams

Fishing Both Ends of Lake Champlain with Chris Adams thumbnail
Fishing Both Ends of Lake Champlain with Chris Adams

Chris Adams has been fishing Lake Champlain his entire life. He has a ton of tournament wins on the Lake to his credit and also a lot of high place finishes. We talk to Chris about fishing both ends of Lake Champlain. He shares some of the secrets to his success.

How long have you been fishing Lake Champlain? 

I’ve been fishing Lake Champlain since I was a little kid, but specifically for bass and in bass tournaments since I was about 16.  I am 32 now and started out fishing some local club and team tournaments with my dad, Don Adams. He fished a lot of tournaments when I was a kid and now tends to do more guiding than tournament stuff.

I am fortunate to have had him to expose me to the sport and give me the basic tools and knowledge to develop a solid base before I got a boat and started fishing events on my own. In past years I’d say I would fish the lake once or twice a week, some more some less, between June and October. This year I’ve had a lot going on outside of fishing and haven’t fished as much as in the past, so maybe once every two or three weeks now. Hopefully I get more time on the water this fall and into next year. Time on the water is critical on a lake of this size and is absolutely key in my success.

Chris Adams Has Had A Lot of Lake Champlain Tournament Success

You have had a lot of success on the Lake tournament fishing. What is it about this lake that lends itself to success for you?

I’ve been very fortunate to have had some really good days on Champlain. The lake has given me a ton of opportunities that I am so thankful for.

It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s certainly a place where if you put your time in and prepare, you can have a lot of sustained success and have things be somewhat predictable. On the flip side of the coin, there can be quite a bit of dead water. It can be overwhelming at times in terms of trying to cover all the different sections of the lake leading up to a tournament.

Not to mention maybe the biggest factor of all, the weather. Anyone who has been to Champlain knows that you can have the best group of fish or best game plan going into an event and have to scrap it all and fish on the fly if the wind trashes your main plan or limits your ability to get somewhere. That is not easy to do.

Additionally, it’s that good of a fishery where you could also just show up and go fishing without any practice and win. Personally, I’m a practice guy and the tournament days are the easy part. I like to know exactly what the “core” of my day will be and how much weight I’ll roughly have from the core area or areas. I then have an idea of what moves I can make on top of the core areas to push me over the top to a win.

I think personally the lake sets up well for me because I consider myself to be fairly versatile. I don’t identify one thing or another as a particular strength. I’m comfortable with doing mostly whatever it takes for a given event to do well.

One week it might be flipping heavy cover, cranking or frogging, another week it might be sight fishing up shallow, and at other times it might be drop-shotting or Carolina-rigging in 40 feet of water. For example, I’ve won four Champlain Bass Series tournaments and two Ram Open Series events of which three wins were all smallies, two wins were all largemouths, and one was a mixed bag. This gives just a quick idea of the range of strategies that can factor in on the lake.

I also think a lot of the guys who consistently do well on Champlain are versatile because the lake forces you to be like that. Whether its because of weather and wind, or because certain areas and patterns dominate at different times, you have to be willing to adjust in order to be successful. You see some anglers who might win a certain way at a certain time, but then struggle in other events at different times. I try to be decent at doing a lot of different things and more often than not that leads to some level of consistency.

Given the lake’s diversity, its actually surprising that you don’t see more full-time pro’s that come from growing up on Champlain and developing that well-rounded skill set. But then again, most people who live and fish here have very little reason to leave since the fishing is that good and hard to walk away from!

What is your favorite section of the Lake? 

Boy this is a tough one, and one that I truly can’t answer. For me, I like different sections of the lake at different times of the year. A certain area can be hot for say two or three weeks, and then all of a sudden another area that had been slow picks up and starts kicking out winning fish.

Aside from the wind, that can be the biggest challenge. You have to decide which section you think will be most productive and dedicate your time to practicing and fishing in that area. You have to do this while also keeping an open mind to other areas or options.

That being said, the Ticonderoga area is pretty special to me just because that’s where I learned to bass fish, and the north end – the Inland Sea & Main Lake area, has grown on me a lot over the years because I enjoy fishing clear water and like being able to bounce back and forth between smallmouths and largemouths at various times during a tournament day.  To me, a perfect day on the lake is catching a real solid base of smallmouths and then going hunting for a kicker largemouth or two. So, I’d probably have to lean toward the north end, if I absolutely had to pick a preferred section.

Part of a Limit of 23.6 Pounds of Smallmouth Bass
Part of a Limit of 23.6 Pounds of Smallmouth Bass

Do the major areas on the lake that have mostly community spots or are you able to find your own water to fish most days?

There’s no doubt that both the south, Ticonderoga, and north sections have plenty of productive community holes that you can build into your game plan if needed. But I try to get away from the crowds on most days and do my own thing.

There is so much untouched and untapped water on our lake that even with the increased pressure in recent years, you can still find winning areas that you have all to yourself. I would say that those areas are becoming harder and harder to find each year, and even more difficult to keep secret with the rise of social media and internet information.  Some days I might fish 75% “sneakhole” spots that most others don’t fish or know about and 25% community holes, while on other days it might be the exact opposite. It just depends on what each area is producing for numbers and quality.

How do the North and South ends on Lake Champlain fish throughout the seasons? 

I find the south end area to be a bit more consistent throughout all seasons just because of its features and habitat, shallow grass, rock and wood etc. Other than largemouth out deep early or late in the season or fish that use the channel to follow bait, most of the productive areas are shallow and can be fairly consistent throughout the year.

On the other hand, I find the north end of the lake to be a bit more variable in terms of seasonal patterns and fish movement. I think on a year-to-year basis the north is more predictable and patternable than the south, but on a seasonal basis the north changes more during our short fishing season.

What I mean by that is the grasslines in the south can change a lot from year to year, whereas the grass seems to be pretty consistent each year on the north end. On the other hand, the north has a lot more deep, off-shore structure for both species and the fish are constantly moving to different depths at the north end depending on water level, temperature, bait movements etc.

Of course, productive areas always change on the lake at both ends, but hopefully that gives some insight to my opinion on seasonal changes at both ends. The lake is very dynamic as a whole, so season patterns apply everywhere. But the south end seems to concentrate fish maybe a little more in certain areas throughout the entire year than the north. Not to mention, it’s a lot smaller of an area.

Chris Puts a Big Fish in the Net
Chris Puts A Big Fish in the Net

What do you consider the mix of largemouth and smallmouth at both ends?

I’m not a biologist and have no data to support this, but I’d have to guess the south end is maybe 70% largemouth and 30% smallmouth, whereas the north end as a whole is probably the opposite, 70% smallmouth and 30% largemouth. These percentages may be more even than I realize, but this is the general idea.

Of course certain areas, for example Missisquoi Bay at the north end would be dominated by largemouth, but as a whole the smallmouth population is far greater in the north. Quality throughout the lake is pretty consistent with good tournament-class smallies and largies both being in that 3.5 to 4.5 pound range, with the occasional 5-plus pound kicker fish.  It’s such a strong fishery that you have to ignore the 3 pound fish and really commit yourself to finding the next tier of fish closer to that 4-pound range in order to compete.

Without giving away any tournament secrets, what do you consider your two favorite baits to throw for largemouth bass at both ends of Champlain? 

I’ll give you a quick rundown on two baits that you’ll find me throwing for largemouth bass throughout the year in both areas. You’ll always find my 7” Heavy Shimano Zodias flipping rod rigged up with a ½ or ¾ oz. V&M grass jig, regardless of whether its June or October. This is a confidence bait for me and a lure that can imitate crayfish, bluegills and other baitfish that Champlain largemouths feed on at both ends of the lake. I’ll typically throw this on 50 lb. braided line on a Shimano Curado 70 reel

I rig it with either a twin-tail/craw type trailer or a beaver type trailer. I’m pretty basic with my colors. I throw black and blue or green pumpkin, simple as that. Nothing too fancy here. I use this jig to pick apart shallow grass using short pitches and trying to keep the presentation as vertical as possible, unless of course I need to send a cast further out under a dock or toward an isolated piece of cover.

You’ll also find me with a basic ½ or 3/8 oz. Z-man Chatterbait tied on. This bait allows me to cover water quickly and locate active schools of largemouth throughout the year around various types of cover including grass, wood, rock etc. I throw this bait on both braided line and Gamma Edge fluorocarbon on Shimano Zodias rods and Shimano Curado 200K reels. I will vary the pound-test depending on the depth and cover I’m fishing how I want the bait to run around that cover.

Similar to my flipping jigs, I’ll generally use black, green pumpkin or white for colors, and tip my Chatterbaits with either a craw, shad, or boot-tail style trailer. Again, nothing revolutionary here, just staples in my arsenal that I’ll always have ready to go.

One key for me with this bait has been to see how the lure reacts to and deflects off different cover with different types of line. Sometimes I like the braid and other times I prefer the flouro. This just comes with trial and error.

What do you consider your two favorite baits to throw for smallmouth in these areas?

This is a bit more challenging just because smallmouth on Champlain can be found at both ends of the depth-spectrum really at any time of the year. You’ll always have some fish out deep, and some fish either up shallow or on a breakline between shallow and deeper water. As a result, you need to have baits ready to target multiple different depth ranges.

That being said, my two favorite Champlain smallmouth baits for the north end are probably a Lucky Craft 112 Slender Pointer jerkbait, and a basic drop-shot rig. I actually prefer to throw the jerkbait on a spinning rod – a 7” Medium Shimano Zodias and a Shimano CI4 spinning reel.  It might seem a little odd, and it can be tiring, but I like the action that I can put into this jerkbait with a spinning rod setup as opposed to a baitcaster. Probably more personal preference than anything, but it works for me so I don’t change much. I will rig a jerkbait on a baitcaster also if I know I’m going to be throwing it all day long and that helps with fatigue, but for the most part I use the spinning rod.

I throw this bait on 10 lb. Gamma Edge fluorocarbon, make real long casts and keep it moving. I will adjust the cadence based on water temperature, clarity and the mood of the fish etc., but for the most part I like to move it pretty quick with hard jerks. I like to fish this jerkbait over boulders, along breaklines and around scattered grass growing on hard bottom areas, typical northern smallmouth water.

For the drop-shot, I also do things a little different than most.  I don’t use braid backing as mainline and a fluorocarbon leader as is ultra-common today. I am a bit old school and go straight fluorocarbon. No leader, no connection knot, no swivels, none of that.

I like the efficiency and speed of retying with fluorocarbon only. I retie a ton during the course of a tournament day to avoid a potential break-off. I like to have a little bit of give in my set-up, and find quality fluorocarbon to be plenty sensitive in gauging different bottom compositions.

I also prefer to have a single connection. The line to the hook only, as opposed to multiple connection points and potential points of failure. Again, just personal preference, but the straight fluorocarbon works for me. I don’t lose fish and have plenty of sensitivity with my Gamma line.

I will rig my drop-shot on 8 pound or 10 pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon, and use either a Gamakatsu Shin Fukae Swivel Shot or Roboworm Rebard hook depending on what I’m throwing for a bait and the cover I’m fishing. And while I will occasionally throw the cyclinder-style drop shot weights, I generally like the tear-drop or ball-shaped weights. I think I get better bottom contact and feel with these although they do tend to get hung up a bit more in the rocks.

For soft plastic baits on my drop shot you’ll find a few regulars – a Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm, a Jackall Crosstail Shad, a Yamamoto Senko, an X-Zone Slammer or Gajo Baits Spirit Shad, a Keitech swimbait and a few other niche baits from time to time.

I generally fish my drop-shot two ways. One being fan casting it around grass, rock etc., and the other deliberately just dropping on fish I see on my graph around deep structure.  Other than that, nothing really that special or unique. It’s more about the areas and historical knowledge than the technique or bait. It’s Champlain and if I put it in front of them, they usually eat…not always, but usually.

Two Big Lake Champlain Smallmouth Bass
Two Big Lake Champlain Smallmouth Bass

Overall what are 5 pieces of advice that you have for anyone fishing north and south end of Lake Champlain?

Below are some general tips that can be applied to both the north and south areas of the lake.  I spend more time than I probably should contemplating strategies and seasonal patterns. Ask my family…haha. I think about what will give me the best chance to win in different areas at different times. These tips and themes are constantly running through my mind, and have helped to guide my approach to fishing the lake and ultimately led me to some success over the years.

  1. Do your homework and understand how the various sections set up, which species is dominant in each area and what types of cover are most productive for the different times of the year. If you understand these high-level themes, you’ll ultimately be more efficient and successful.
  2. Plan for the weather. Whether your tournament fishing or fun-fishing, check the recreational lake forecasts regularly leading up to a trip to the lake and be ready.  Prepare your boat accordingly. Tighten your bolts, carry a drift sock and anchor, have multiple trolling motor straps etc. You want to prevent mechanical issues in order to maximize fishing time, but you also want to be safe. Also strategize your practice and tournament days around the wind forecasts, directions etc. to maximize efficiency and give you the best chance to be successful.
  3. Don’t bite off more than you can handle. If you don’t have a ton of experience on the lake, look at past tournament results to see which species factors most at different times of the year, and then use maps to identify areas you might want to concentrate on. There’s so much water that you can end up scrambling and running all over the place if you try to cover multiple different sections of the lake in a short period of time. Most of the time this can be detrimental to success.  Select and area or two, and pick them apart.
  4. Prep your tackle and have a pile of rods ready. Most practice days you’ll find me with a mess of different rods on my front deck prepped for covering both largemouth and smallmouth water and the varying types of cover and depths that I might be targeting. Some of my best tournaments have come from making a quick stop at an “oddball” type spot during practice and having the right bait to quickly test that water. Again, it’s Champlain and if you get around the fish with the right presentation, they will certainly let you know they are there. But, what if you opt to drive by something that might look intriguing just because you aren’t rigged up with the right tackle to fish the spot? I say have it all ready and at your disposal even if you only make one cast with a certain lure, because that one cast could tell you a lot.
  5. Be versatile. This might be the single biggest tip for anyone coming to fish Champlain. Depending on the weather and how fish can move and change their feeding habits quickly, it’s important to be able to adapt. One day you might be flipping for largemouths in a beautiful grass bed on the north end and then the next day, or even a few hours later, there can be 4 foot waves crashing in on that spot making it unfishable. I’ve had plenty of tournaments where I maybe started up shallow for largemouths, the wind came up fast, and I had to go out and drag for deep smallmouths in order to do well. You might get away with sticking to a single pattern, spot or lure and sometimes that can be the key to winning, but you’re playing with fire a little bit if you’re one-dimensional. Be ready to do a lot of different things if needed in the event that conditions or the fish change, which can happen fast. I just fished a tournament recently where my deep fish weren’t biting all that well so I moved to a shallow spot and quickly caught a key 4 pounder on a jerkbait. I then went back out deep later on and the deep fish were firing, so things ended pretty good, but that 4 pounder up shallow was a critical bite to keep the day progressing. If you’re versatile, your results will be a lot more consistent. You might not always win, but you’ll likely have a lot more solid finishes if you can do a lot of different things.

Who are your sponsors?

I have a few companies that I’ve been fortunate to develop relationships with over the years. First and foremost, Turner Piping & Refrigeration has been my main sponsor for the past four years.

They are a Vermont-based commercial refrigeration company that does a lot of big projects for grocery stores, supermarkets, restaurants, convenience stores etc. They do everything from refrigerated supermarket rack systems, refrigerated cases, walk-in coolers and freezers, and keg coolers, to air conditioning and air handling and dehumidification systems. They really do it all and provide 24-7 emergency service and maintenance on top of the design and install work.

They’ve been a tremendous supporter of my fishing endeavors and they are a real pleasure to work with. I know how hard their crew works on projects, and I always try to match that effort on the water to represent them well. Folks can learn more about them at

I have a bunch of additional key supporters who I work with that are instrumental in me being able to compete at a high level on the lake from equipment support to financial support. I recently started working with Shimano Fishing through Chris Bielert, who I’ve known since I was a teenager doing BFL events together. I can’t say enough about the quality of their products, as well as their service.

In today’s fishing world it seems that marketing and advertising can help companies see some inflated short-term success, but a company like Shimano has stood the test of time and been consistently successful over many decades because of the true quality of the equipment they produce. Their rods and reels are durable to stand up to the beating Champlain can dish out, yet light and high performing. I can’t get over the sensitivity and lightness of the Zodias rods I’ve been using, the ultra-smooth drag of the Stradic CI4 spinning reels and the all-around performance of the different Curado baitcasters I use.

And have you seen the new Curado DC? Reel is incredible. It does things that don’t seem possible. Just top notch equipment ,and I’m thankful to work with them.

I’ve also worked with Gamma Fishing Lines for a while now, about nine years I think, and really trust their products when money is on the line. I use a lot of fluorocarbon and their Edge fluoro is the strongest on the market in my book. I can’t remember the last time I broke off, and I’m constantly around zebra mussels and sharp rock on Champlain.

I also just started working with Vermont Field Sports, a local Vermont fishing and hunting shop. They have a great selection of baits for fishing Lake Champlain, as well as a lot of the Shimano products I use.

Additionally, the folks at Keitech have reached out recently and provided some help. I use quite a bit of their stuff, and their lures have absolutely factored into some of my success on the lake over the years.

A few other local organizations including Maple Sugar & Vermont Spice – maybe one of Vermont’s most iconic breakfast and lunch restaurants located in Mendon, Vermont. Also Green Screen Graphics are a talented graphic design and installation group in Rutland, Vermont that takes care of all my boat graphics etc. They have been tremendous supporters as well.

Not to compare one sponsor to another as they are all critical in their own ways, but I really can’t overstate the importance of good equipment on Lake Champlain, particularly your boat and motor. Champlain can really dish out a beating on a lot of days, and your equipment needs to hold up for you to do well and to keep you safe.

I’ve run a Ranger for as long as I’ve been fishing and know that their boats will hold up to Champlain’s rough water year in and year out. Not only do their boats fit my preferred storage and layout style, but they are built like tanks and hold their value so well. Not to mention their service has always been unmatched and they’ve always been there to help me out over the years, whether its with parts overnighted to me in a pinch or giving me a loaner boat to use when needed. Just a great company to work with.

And, on the power end of things my last two motors have been Yamaha’s and all I can say is wow. I currently run the Yamaha 250 SHO and the reliability and responsiveness of that motor is critical for running around Champlain in big water and driving the waves. I’m never afraid to make a big run through brutal water if I need to in order to get to my fishing areas, because I know I’ll get there and get back because of my Yamaha SHO.

Prior to that, I had one of the older carbuerated motors and its honestly scary to think about the number of  hours I put on that motor, making long runs in big waves, all without a single issue, ever. That motor is still running strong today. The reliability of their outboards is just incredible. Similar to boats, there are other great motors on the market today, but I can’t say enough about Yamaha’s products and service and how they’ve stepped up to support me at different times during my career.

And to maintain my equipment, I like to work with the folks at Reynolds Garage & Marine in Connecticut.  I tend to do some of the more simple maintenance myself, but if there’s anything that needs a little more attention or expertise, I go see Tom Reynolds and his crew.  They are angler. they know bass boats. They do a great job. Plus, they are a full line Ranger and Yamaha dealer with a deep inventory of new and used boats, as well as accessories, at all times. Another great organization that I can rely on, whether it’s an urgent equipment question after hours or a routine maintenance visit.

Thank you Chris! Will be following all of your Lake Champlain and tournament success on Instagram @cmavt14.