Editor’s Note: Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas, has fished competitively for 40 years and has won Angler of the Year on the Bassmaster circuit twice, the Bassmaster Classic in 1983 and numerous other tournaments. According to Nixon, who’s won about $4 million in tournaments plus sponsor money, “Bass don’t have rules like fishermen do. For instance, bass don’t know that they are supposed to bite a certain lure of a certain size and a particular color on a specific day, based on water and weather conditions, and where they are in their spawning cycle. Bass are opportunistic feeders, so many times, if you break the rules that most bass anglers hold near and dear to their hearts, you’ll catch bass that other fishermen won’t catch. This week we’re looking at how, where, why and when I break the rules.”
In the spring of the year when bass move into shallow water, they’ll often be chasing little bitty baits. And, during that same time of the year, most fishermen will be casting 3/8-ounce or 1/2-ounce spinner baits, flipping a 3-inch tube, or a 6-8-inch plastic worm, or casting a big crankbait. So, I’ll switch to a teeny, teeny spinner bait and burn it through the water. The bass will see that teeny spinner bait as a little minnow running to escape, and they’ll really eat it up. Many times you can go down a bank where other anglers have been fishing all day long, and you may catch 20 bass that the other anglers haven’t caught with a tiny lure. Oftentimes those bass may not be really big, but catching some bass is better than catching no bass.
My favorite tiny bait is the old Strike King Rocket Shad in the white shad color. I usually cast this bait as far as I can and wind the tar out of it as fast as I can reel it about 2 inches under the surface. I’ve found this tactic to be extremely deadly when I’m fishing in less than 5 feet of water. Many other anglers will fish down the same bank and never get a strike. However, I can come along behind them, fish the Rocket Shad for bass and often load the boat. There is one caution about fishing the Rocket Shad. Just about every fish that swims in the lake will eat this bait. You’ll catch crappie, catfish and sometimes even big bream using this little lure. I’ve caught about every species of fish on a Rocket Shad, so don’t be afraid to go little with a Rocket Shad when everyone else is fishing big with large lures.
To learn more about bass fishing and get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, print books and audiobook on bass fishing, go to http://johninthewild.com/books/#bass, or for Nook books, visit www.barnesandnoble.com.