Monday, 26 December 2011

Split Shot Smallmouth

This week on Extreme Angler TV, Season 10, Episode 13, "Search & Destroy Smallmouth"

Even with the snow on the ground and sub-zero temps this afternoon, I can close my eyes and recall the awesome day I had this past summer in cottage country chasing big fat brown bass with Strike King spit n kings and bashing them silly with strike king KVD finesse worms as a follow up presentation.
Now, remember this was a perfect warm, calm summer day. The smallmouth SHOULD HAVE been all over my topwater presentation right?
From my very first cast in the early a.m., I witnessed one of the laziest smallmouth topwater bites I have ever encountered.
These big fat brown bass would roll over by bait, they would toilet flush under my bait, they would jump over my bait, they would suspend inches below my bait. Do everything except eat my bait!
Instead of screaming and letting frustration set in, I decided to alter my approach before I started to go nuts.
I slowed my presentation down to a crawl. Same results.
I let my bait sit stationary for the longest of times. Same results.
I worked my bait quickly and changed the cadence to inspire a bite. Same results.

I finally tricked a few fish to strike, but they too we`re so lightly hooked, once they jumped, they broke free. Boated a few, but not nearly enough to film a show or enjoy my day.
So, instead of complaining about what bite I wasn`t getting on this day, I decided to change it up a little and give these fish something a little different to hopefully inspire them to bite.
Enter the Strike King KVD Finesse worm.
Instead of rigging the worm on a traditional shakey head, I rigged up one of my favorite set ups for lazy day bass with a tiny split shot placed approx. 18-24 inches above a small Daiichi finesse worm hook and threaded the finesse worm onto the hook, over the hook eye and up onto the line so the hook would come thru the worm almost half way down to hopefully increase any potential strike to hook up ratios.
I knew the bass we`re in the locations I was fishing, but they decided they would not commit to my topwater presentation, but locating bass is half the battle won, now I just had to figure out how to make them bite, hence the change up to the finesse worm, split shot rig.

I continued to work my topwater bait over similar locations we`re I had found the fish and once a SINGLE fish was located, I would put down the topwater bait and pick up my spinning outfit and begin making long casts with the spilt shot rig and altered my cadence to include long and short drags, slight lifts and drops, short sharp twitches and then let the worm settle on the bottom.
From my experiences with smallmouth bass, find or locate one single fish, and chances are, more will be present or not very far away.
Finally, a presentation that worked.
Over the next few hours, I repeated the same formula by using the topwater bait to locate the bass then change up to the finesse worm/split shot rig to inspire these thick brown bass to eat the worm.
These bass we`re in such a non-aggressive mood, that even with the small, slender finesse worm, these smallmouth found a way to tear or rip off my bait and ate it so softly that almost every second fish hooked either jumped off on the first leap or pulled the hook free from a soft spot in their yap.
Thank goodness for numbers of fish, or I would have certainly gone crazy with the amount of fish I saw, hooked, caught and lost on this day.
The moral of this episode?
Fish the way you like. Fish in a way that you enjoy.
But, if the fish DO NOT want to co-operate the same way, remember what you read here and what you`ll see in episode 13 this week on Extreme Angler TV, have a back up plan and don`t hesitate to use it to put more fish in the boat next season.
Even you lose half the fish you hook, at the very least, you will still feel better knowing you still found a way to make them bite, which is a lot better than giving up and putting the boat on the trailer too early.
Please consider to release the big ones and enjoy every day on the water.


  1. Smashed them like always KK..Great job!!

  2. Oh I gotta watch this one, One foggy morn this summer i had the exact thing happen...they were breaking water every which way but wouldn't bite I thought i was reeling to fast but no dice after hours of heart stopping strikes without hook up I was real discouraged :(

  3. Once again Karl great read. You have a knack for making me feel like I was there.

  4. Great read again Karl. Its a technique I will use for sure next season!!

  5. Karl,
    If you could only put 3 SKL spit'n kings in the arsenal, which 3 colour patterns would you choose?


  6. Scott, I would choose Chrome Sexy Shad; Gizzard shad & Blue gizzard shad as my fav`s.