Fishing for summer bass with a wakebait

Wake 'Em Up | Using a Wakebait as a Search Bait

When the face of the water is calm or slightly ruffled, conditions are right to wake up summertime bass.

Wakebaits are great tools for tracing long edges of bass-rich cover like grass lines, main lake points and shallow ledges. They cast wide, V-shaped ripples that spreads continuously behind, making it easy for any fish in the area to track down.

A slow retrieve will bring bass from a distance or call them up from the depths. A fast retrieve will trigger fish that are set up on ambush points. A pause in the retrieve will cause a jointed wakebait to turn and ‘look back’, an action known to trigger strikes.

Rod angle can be critical to wakebait success. A high tip will keep the lure bulging the surface.

Line material and size matter. Large diameter braid will keep the lure up better than fluorocarbon which sinks. An additional benefit of braid is the extra casting distance it affords, which is always helpful in the types of clear water environs where wakebaits work best.

Don’t sleep on wakebaits in deep water! While the lure rides high in the water column, it will draw bass from as far away as they can see it. In clear canyon reservoirs and highland lakes this may be surprisingly deep. Also, spotted bass and smallmouth are known to be aggressive sight feeders making them extra vulnerable to the alure of a wakebait.

Boil the water with a wakebait this summer!

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Video Transcript:

Alex Rudd:
What's up, guys? Welcome back to the MONSTERBASS Channel. We're out here on the beautiful Lake Gunners. We're doing some post spawn fishing. And today I'm fishing with a really cool little bait. It's a wake bait and a wake bait is really kind of a sleeper bait, in my opinion, especially post spawn. As soon as you go post spawn, still hitting some of those fish, they're still shallow, but they're starting to move out deep. And one of the first places that those fish go as soon as they decide to move out deep is around these docks. Some of these fish will use these docks as a transition area. And they'll feed around these docks. Feed on bluegill and croppie that live around the docks. And then some of them are just residential fish. They live here all year long.

Alex Rudd:
And so we're going to slow roll this wake bait around some of these docks, see if we can get a fish to blow up on it. But it's just such a cool and awesome technique that we're going to break down today for you guys and show you how to fish a wake bait around docks.

Alex Rudd:
All right, so as you guys can see a lot of grass in the backs of these pockets, so not optimal for a bait with treble hooks on it. And so really what I'm focusing on are the ends of these docks. And really that's where I like to focus when we're going into the post spawn, are the ends of the docks. And the reason for that is a lot of these fish moved up really shallow. They spawn, they made beds, they made babies. And then that first natural stopping point is going to be the end of that dock before they decide to either travel on out, or just live on the end of that dock the rest of the year.

Alex Rudd:
And so really what I'm doing is I'm hitting the shade lines and really using the fronts of these docks and the shade lines of these docks and the ambush position that these docks create for a fish to my advantage. And just slow rolling this wake bait around the ends of these docks, because all this looks like is a big wounded bluegill. If you ever see a fish dying, the first thing it starts to do is float to the top in a lot of instances. And all this looks like is a bluegill that's really struggling to get down and struggling to live. And a lot of the times, those bass are going to take advantage of the fact that those bluegill are injured, or that they're hurt and they're going to want to eat them. And so using the ends of these docks, not only as shade lines and ambush points, but just as those natural stopping points that those bass are going to use first can come to your advantage.

Alex Rudd:
All right. So what you'll notice about this little wake bait that I am throwing is it's the smaller one. It's that smaller version, and some of you guys are going to be receiving the smaller one. Some of you guys are going to be receiving a little bit bigger one. Obviously this smaller one is going to do a really, really good job of mimicking these bluegill and these brim that are living around these docks.

Alex Rudd:
That little bit longer one is going to do a really good job of mimicking stuff like gizzard shad, and blueback herring that live around these docks. And that's the thing is there's so much forage up here right now that these bass can choose from, whether it be bluegill, gizzard shad, threadfin. Everything accumulates around these docks. And they want to live around these docks because just like the bass needs cover to feel safe and to want to ambush something, those bluegill and those smaller bait fish are the same exact way. They want a piece of cover to live on so that they feel safe, and they feel like that they're in an area where they're not going to get killed, but little do they know that there's normally a big bass sitting on the end of one of these docks waiting to eat it.

Alex Rudd:
I'll tell you another great thing to do with this thing is, as you guys can see, we've kind of got this expansion between these two docks, slow roll this thing around. Don't be afraid to just throw that thing out there. Fish along a grass line, or fish around a little drop, or fish around some rip wrap, those areas where those bass are going to be transitioning from as well, because it's not like every single bass in the lake just moves up and spawns all at once. They come up in waves and so you'll have a wave moving up, you'll have a wave moving down, you'll have a wave actively on the bank, spawning. And so this can be a bait, not only can you intersect them coming in, intersect them coming out, but then you can also use it to target cast, like at the ends of these docks and get some of those post spawn fish to eat.

Alex Rudd:
I use the same top water rod for pretty much every application that I like to throw. That's a seven, six medium heavy moderate action rod. I got that paired up with some 40 pound braid and a seven gear ratio reel. And then I run just a small little floor carbon liter on the front of this. And what that does is, that floor carbon isn't as supple and isn't as flexible as that braid. When you give into braid that braid's just got to fold up on itself because it's so supple where that floor coverages got just a little bit more bounce to it. And so it helps to keep wake baits, walking baits, whatever it is from the front hook, actually getting fouled up and your bait getting fouled up when you're trying to walk it.

Alex Rudd:
Also, when a bass blows up on it, if they miss it, a lot of the times they'll push it from behind and there's nothing more frustrating than have a bass hit it and miss it. And then your braid gets all jawed up in your hook. And so just a small piece of floor carbon, this one's obviously worked down to just a couple inches. Usually I make about a foot, foot and a half. And, just running that on there is going to help to keep that bait from getting all jawed up and getting messed up and keep you a lot more efficient on the water.

Alex Rudd:
One thing about this seven six rod that I like, too, is it allows me to keep the tip of this rod up because this bait's unique in the fact that it is a wake bait. So it's made to wake right underneath the water. But the thing is, if you put your rod tipping down and just start reeling, it'll get a couple inches under the water, and sometimes that can be the bite. Sometimes they want a little bit deeper. Sometimes they want a little bit higher, but what I like about this longer rod is that I can keep my rod tip up. I can slow roll this thing. And that bait is just going to inch along, right under the surface of the water. And that does such a good job of looking like a dying or wounded bluegill or wounded bait fish.

Alex Rudd:
As you guys see, as I get it closer, I just start to drop that rod tip because I don't need that rod tip to be up as I get it closer to the boat and just slow roll it around. The thing is too, if you want to speed it up, one thing that I love to do with a wake bait is actually throw it out there and burn it and kill it. Burn it, and then kill it. Burn it, and then kill it. And what that looks like is just a bait fish or a bluegill is trying to get away and it dies. And try to get away, and it dies. There's really great way to get a reaction bite, and especially when you're fishing around the ends of these docks, there's really two methods. And you can go through both of them to try to figure out what the fish want or what the fish are doing. And that's that kind of slow methodical method. And then there's that burn it and stop, burn it and stop kind of method.

Alex Rudd:
A lot of the times with that burn it and stop just like a square bow crank bait or any other bait that you burn and stop like that, you're going to get those fish to react to it, to just lash out and try to kill it.

Alex Rudd:
Post spawn is a great time of year. It's a great time to go and catch some of the biggest fish that you'll catch all year, because they're going to make a mistake. The fish are just done spawning. They're hungry. They're looking for a big meal. And so learning to throw something like this wake bait, around these docks around this cover, learning how to get those bigger fish to react to this thing can be huge. And I can promise you with something like a wake bait, like many other top waters, it's going to be that bigger than average fish that eats it. And so taking the time to learn this thing, learn where it's effective around. You can be huge, especially right now that we're going into post spawn.

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