Finess Fishing a Squarebill Post Spawn

Finesse Fishing a Squarebill Post Spawn


Many bass anglers underestimate the power and versatility of a squarebill crankbait, especially around vegetation like emergent grass. But throwing a squarebill with a smaller profile can be a productive tool even around something as thick as Kissimmee Grass. In this video, Alex Rudd, the Bearded Ban Man himself, gets deep in the weeds finesse fishing a squarebill through heavy cover.

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Video transcript:

Alex Rudd:
Well boys and girls, it is a beautiful, beautiful morning. Here we are on the Monsterbass Channel. We're fishing this morning, we're doing something that I love to do, which is cranking. We're cranking a little bitty finesse square bill. This is something that can be super valuable, really any time of the year, but especially this time of year when you're dealing with pre spawn fish, spawning fish, post spawn fish, fish in all stages of the spawn.

Alex Rudd:
When you downsize and when you get a little bit finesse, you can catch a lot of fish and have some chances at some really big bites. And so that's what we're doing today using this little bitty square bill. I mean, you guys can tell it's a 1.0 size square bill.

Alex Rudd:
So what's the difference between a finesse square bill and a normal square bill? Well, finesse, everything is just smaller. So here's mine, this is the Alex Rudd fishing signature series Hammerhead from Monsterbass. And then here's our little Square Daddy that we're fishing today. And you guys can see: smaller body, smaller hooks, smaller bill, overall smaller diameter.

Alex Rudd:
You know, this bait is going to act a lot like this bait. It's just doing it on a smaller scale. So when it comes to rod reel line on this thing, I like a more moderate action rod, a glass composite rod. So what that means is, it's a rod that is partly fiberglass and partly a graphite style rod, which makes it a composite between the two. What that's going to do, it is going to give that rod a good parabolic bend. And that's what you actually want with these travel hook baits.

Alex Rudd:
You don't want something super fast. If you use something like you would throw a jig on or a Texas rig on, what actually is going to happen is two things in my experience: number one, when that fish actually bites that, that faster action rod will jerk that bait away from that fish too quickly when they try to eat it and you won't get them hooked. Another thing that it'll do is that faster action rod, where instead of fishing one big hook, you're fishing, three smaller hooks.

Alex Rudd:
You'll actually rip those fish's mouths with that hook and you'll rip that fish's mouth and that bait will come out or it will give a fish more chance to actually come off. Then I like to fish that, and this is where I get a little bit different than everybody else. Most people, when you think square bill fishing, you think like 15 pound test.

Alex Rudd:
Well, for me, I like to use something just a little bit lighter. I'm more of that 10 to 12 pound test kind of guy. And inherently that is going to be a situation where you're going to want to re-tie a lot and it's something that I just do when I'm square bill fishing. And the reason that I do that is I truly do believe that lighter line not only lets that square bill do exactly what it needs to do and let it have maximum action. But when I do want to get it as to that maximum diving depth and keep it there, that little bit thinner diameter line is going to help me to do that.

Alex Rudd:
And then as far as reel, 6:8 gear ratio reel is kind of my ideal. You can use a 7:1 and I know plenty of people who do, but for me, I'm just really moving when I'm fishing a square bill or a crank man, I'm running around as fast as I can go, moving, moving, moving.

Alex Rudd:
And so that six gear ratio reel just helps me to slow down a little bit. And it helps me to fish that bait just really optimally, in my opinion. It is one of those things I heard Kevin VanDam say it best one time: that there's something about that 6:6 to 6:8 gear ratio reel with a square bill crank bait that in his experience really lets that square bill do exactly what it needs to do. Really let any other crank bait do exactly what it needs to do. And in my experience, it has been the same thing.

Alex Rudd:
When you're up here shallow like we are right now, up on these flats, these areas that are spawning areas, square bill is going to be just such a good tool for that because it's designed for shallow water. But a lot of people, they kind of look at a square bill or any travel hook bait. And they look at something like what we're fishing here, whether it's grass or any kind of aquatic vegetation. And they kind of don't think it's the tool for the job when in fact it can be a great tool for the job. The reason for that is, I love to rip this thing out of the grass. I actually like to kind of get it marred up in there, give it a good, hard pop, and that bait will actually break free and dart off. And when that happens, a lot of the times you can get fish to react to that bait.

Alex Rudd:
And so you guys can see I'm fishing this thing pretty hard, and the reason I'm fishing it so hard is because that's what I'm looking for. I'm looking for that reaction bite. The action really comes from the big round body in the square bill. That square bill is designed to deflect off cover. Once this square bill hits something, it's going to roll that body up, which intentionally rolls those hooks away from whatever you're trying to get over. And then it's going to come back to center. This thing also going to have a good hunting action, which means that bait is going to kind of not even have a center point that it hunts to. It actually is going to hunt around and really be super erratic. The one thing I like to key in on is really using your rod and your reel to your advantage.

Alex Rudd:
And the reason is right there, we're going to just follow that thing up. The reason I like to do that and the reason I focus on rod and reel so much, is because you can make a bait, not just this bait, but a lot of baits, do a lot of different things by using your rod and reel. A lot of people want to cast a crank bait out there like this, put that rod tip right down in the water and just start to crank it. You know what I mean? Which is fine in certain situations. If we're using those big 15, 20, 25 foot diving crank baits, that's what you want to do. You're trying to get it down there, you're trying to dredge the bottom, but with a crank bait like this, that's not the intention of the crank bait. And so when I cast it up, obviously when I get as close to that grass line as I possibly can, you're going to be as shallow in that cast as you're going to be.

Alex Rudd:
So I'm going to start with my rod tip up. And as I get a little bit deeper to start to work that rod tip down. That way that I'm using that rod to my advantage, I'm not burying that bait right off, which is going to get me hung up or get me hung up on something or not make the bait do what I want it to do. I'm going to use that rod and reel to my advantage. And you'll just kind of notice, I'll throw those pauses in there, `I'll be reeling it, I'll stop, I'll throw it some slack, I'll feed it a little bit of line. And also feeding it some slack like that really kind of...

Alex Rudd:
When you feed it slack what'll happen is, it's going, going, going, and it stops and it starts to float back up. And that float back up, especially if a fish is behind them, it starts to float back up in their face.

Alex Rudd:
I've seen, with my eyes, fish that as soon as I pause it in their face and it floats back up at them, I don't know if it's a defense mechanism, if it's a predatory action or what it is, but that's when they react to it. And so when you are fishing this square bill, once you get the confidence in it to really fish it and fish it well, you're starting to feel confident with the line and the rod and the reel and just the function of fishing your square bill, take some time to start playing with different retrieves and different actions. Because you know, my experience with square bill fishing, and my experience with fish in any bait, is when I know exactly what that bait's going to do is when I feel the most confident with it.

Alex Rudd:
And with a square bill, with my square bill, with this square bill, after you spend enough time with it, you really start to figure out all those little nuances. Like when I hit that thing and give it slack, what's it do? When I'm reeling it fast what's it doing? When I pull it? What's it doing? What's it feel like when it's got a fish on it? What's it feel like when it's fouled up? What's it feel like? Just every thing, every little detail about it.

Alex Rudd:
That's really when you're going to take that square bill game, that flipping game, any game within the fishing industry, and you're going to turn it up to the next level. And so taking that time and really playing with retrieves, learning what those square bills do when you hit them, when you twitch them, when you feed them slack, is going to take that whole game to the next level and help to put more fish into the bus.

Alex Rudd:
Pre spawn, spawn, and post pawn is like the time you go and crush fish, which is very true, but there are these weird in between times where they get in what we call the "in between funk", is what I like to call it, where these fish are transitioning. And those transitioning times can be some of the toughest times that you're going to actually have on the water.

Alex Rudd:
And so going from something like my 1.5 to downsizing to something like this can help you to get a few more bites because it's just not as big, it's just not as loud, it's just not as aggressive, it's just not going to push as much water, and it's a lot easier meal for a fish. When this thing comes by a fish's head compared to that thing, even though the size difference isn't dramatic, you would be amazed how many more fish you can actually get to react to this size versus this size when they are actually in that [inaudible 00:08:36].

 

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