Editor’s Note: “Why in the world would you spend $60 on one bass lure,” I asked my friend Mike Carter of Cedar Bluff, Alabama, who primarily guides on Guntersville Lake – one of the nation’s top big-bass lakes. “You know if you lose that lure, you’ll have just thrown $60 down the gutter.” Carter answered, “I did lose the first $60 lure I bought on the first day I fished it.” When I asked if Mike bought another of those $60 bass lures, he said, “I’ve bought several dozens of these lures after I lost the first one.” So, I set-out to learn how a bass lure would be worth spending $60 on it. To learn more, visit Mike Carter’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ and his website at https://mikecartersguideservice.com/. Here’s what I learned.
John E. Phillips: Mike, tell me what convinced you to buy the first Bull Shad bass lure you bought?
Mike Carter: When I started seeing magazine articles, videos and YouTube videos about the Bull Shad and the size of bass it was producing – that’s when I decided I had to have one of these handmade, three-jointed swim baits to catch really-big bass. When I bought my first Bull Shad, I thought to myself, “Mike, have you lost your mind?” But I went back to the Bull Shad website at (http://www.bullshad.com/) and watched anglers catching big bass with this $60 bait. I just had to try it. On my first fishing trip with the Bull Shad, I caught a 5-pound and a 6-pound largemouth in about an hour. I was really hyped-up thinking that I had found the Silver Bullet for catching big bass. I was so excited that I could hardly stand myself.
To catch those two bass, I was using 50-pound-test braided line. After I released the 6-pounder, I made a cast. Midway through the cast, my line stopped, and that $60 Bull Shad kept going. Not until I started studying my reel and line, did I notice that that 50-pound-test braided line had pulled down into the other line on the reel. What I determined happened was that when I set the hook and began pulling that big bass in, that’s when the line, because of the strain, started pulling down deeper into the line on my spool. This Bull Shad was a 2-1/4-ounce lure. Once the line stopped because it was buried down in the line on my spool, the line broke, and the lure kept going. I lost my $60 lure.
The Bull Shad is a slow-sinking bait. Once it hits the water, it will go to the bottom, and more than likely like me, you won’t retrieve it. Because I didn’t find the first Bull Shad that broke off my line, that’s when I learned my lesson about using braided line with the Bull Shad. I’ve had two clients since then show-up to go fishing with me, and both of them had 40-50 pound test braided line tied directly to their Bull Shads. I told them they didn’t need to use that braided line when fishing the Bull Shad, because it was a sinking bait. When that braided line got tight, it would bury itself in the braided line still on the reel, and that Bull Shad would break-off and sink.
The equipment I use to fish the Bull Shad and Wake Shad is a 7’6” Hammer Rod (https://hammerrods.com/), and 20-pound-test Pro Elite Viscous fluorocarbon line (https://shop.getvicious.com/), and a 7.5:1 to 1 Daiwa reel (https://daiwa.us/collections/reels).
I’m often asked, “Why are you using 20-pound-test fluorocarbon because that’s such a light line?” My answer is that line is super strong. You’re not going to backlash when you cast it, it won’t break-off or bury-up in the spool after you catch a big bass, and you won’t lose your $60 Bull Shad like you will with braided line. I’ve been using that 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line for 20 years, and we haven’t broken off a fish or lost a $60 Bull Shad lure on it.
Phillips: Why did you make the decision to buy another Bull Shad after you’d lost your first one?
Carter: Because I caught two really-nice bass on that bait in less than an hour. There are very-few days of bass fishing that you’ll catch a 5-pound and a 6-pound largemouth in less than an hour.
To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” at http://amzn.to/YpoJvD, available in Kindle and print versions, and https://www.amazon.com for Audible. (On right side of the Audible page for this book and below the offer for free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible with one click). You may have to copy and paste this click into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the book for free).
Tomorrow: How to Fish the Bull Shad Bass Lure