Targeting summer bass with a pencil bait

Targeting Big Summer Bass with a Pencil Bait


Targeting summer bass with a pencil bait can be equal parts fun and challenging. Keep the pencil bait dancing in place as long as possible by throwing extra slack to it and turning the reel handle more slowly.

When fishing high pressured lakes, using a monofilament leader can help you get bite. But if you're fishing low pressured waters, you can get away with using straight braid. Braid floats, so it keeps the nose of the bait above the surface where it can freely slide from side to side. Walking a bait is easier with a braided line because it has zero stretch, so your rod twitches can be more subtle.

A cool trick to finding summer bass is to become a birdwatcher. Look for white birds actively circling and diving in groups. These birds are feeding on bait balls, perfectly mirroring what the bass are doing below.

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Video transcript:

Patrick McNeese:
How we doing? This is Patrick from School of Fish here to support MonsterBass. We're fishing out here on Lake Placid, going to be throwing some pencil baits. Going over how to rig it, going over the types of conditions that you want to, the options when it comes to cadence and making that lure move in certain ways that are going to get you more strikes.

Patrick McNeese:
So you might be thinking, "What's the best possible setup to get you these strikes when you're using a pencil bait?" My personal preference is a nice, longer rod. This is a 7'4" heavier rod. I've got 20 pound braid, and then I've got a 25 pound mono leader on. I try to go about an arm's length away.

Patrick McNeese:
Depending on the type of braid color and braid that you're using, a lot of it can be pretty visible. In high pressure fish situations where you're fishing lakes, where a lot of fish see baits all the time, using a leader is beneficial in that sense. On lakes where you don't see a lot of pressure, private lakes, golf courses, things like that, you might be able to tie straight braid. Straight braid you are going to get a little more sensitivity. You'll be able to feel that bite. However, when you're fishing a top water bait, you don't need to feel the bite that much, you see the bite. You see the strike happen.

Patrick McNeese:
My particular best option when I'm throwing most baits is a loop knot with a top water bait that you're going to walk the dog a little bit. You're going to have a bunch of different action. You're not tied directly tight to that lure, so you've got a little bit more action and a little bit more leeway.

Patrick McNeese:
What we're using here is an 8:1 ratio reel. I feel like top water fishing, you have so many options between your cadence and your speed. You can walk that dog fast, you can walk it with the nose up where you're not getting as much of a splash, you can put your rod tip down, get more of a splash action. My personal sort of tip would also be, look and see if you see bait fish around, and if bait fish are popping and you see splashes of bait fish, that's when you want to pull that rod tip down. Get that splash going with that lure as well, because what you're trying to do always is mimic what you're seeing as variables on the lake. You want to try to see what's happening.

Patrick McNeese:
A lot of people I think rely on their electronics, but I think looking out at the natural things around you really gives you a benefit that people overlook. So we've got our pencil bait rigged up with our nice loop knot. We've got a nice leader here tied on to our braid. You can go straight braid if you'd like. This is just a personal preference of mine. We got a nice long rod and we're ready to go catch some fish. So let's go out there.

Patrick McNeese:
So what we have in front of us is a pretty significant drop ledge area. So my theory that I usually follow is, if you've got a bank that rolls off in this fashion, the fish will nose up to the bank because a lot of the bait trickles off of those ledges. Those are ambush points for me. Looking at our electronics or knowing the area that you're fishing. If you've got that knowledge, take a look at where those drop offs are because when those fish nose up, we got bait right here.

Patrick McNeese:
When those fish nose up, I like to start with the shallow and work my way out. Because what we're looking at here is the ledge is facing this way. And so those fish will point themselves in this direction. I start fan casting here and working my way back into the deeper water, hoping that those fish are angled in that certain position.

Patrick McNeese:
So you got a lot of options when you are retrieving this type of bait. So you can do a light amount of action, where it's just a little bit of wrist movement. That's almost a straight retrieve with just a little bit of motion, right? Most of these pencil bats are designed to have some sort of a swaying walking the dog motion. The more wrist action you add, with my rod tip higher, the less splash you're really going to get. You're going to get that to naturally walk with the face out and the tail of that bait just dragging behind the water. As you lower your rod tip, you're going to get a little more violent splashing. And the harder you twitch, obviously you're going to get even more splash.

Patrick McNeese:
So paying attention to what type of bait is out there, and seeing what the bait's doing and how the fish are striking that bait, is going to be beneficial to making a choice on how you're going to retrieve your pencil bait. So once you get confident throwing this type of bait, these pencil baits out in these open water, where you see lots of bait busting. Don't be afraid to get it into these tighter situations. A lot of people stick to throwing frogs. We list more weedless options. You might be surprised once you get good at casting a bait like this, at where you can fit it. So the situation that we're in right here, don't just get stuck on throwing a frog, a pencil bait's excellent for this as well.

 

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