This spring has been a weird one. A few days of promising warm weather during the week, is met by cold heavy winds during the weekend. Some bass have started to spawn, but most are waiting for the right time. The past few weekends I have been looking both deep and shallow, and I finally found them… deep in heavy cover.
Last weekend set up like every other, temps in the 6os and 70s during the week, followed by low 50s on Saturday. Since I figured the bite would be tough, I went to one of my high confidence lakes.. It is fairly shallow with a lot of cover. I began using crankbaits and senkos, looking for fish on open flats but I couldn’t find any. I then went to a huge laydown and pitched my jig into it. Before it hit the bottom I felt a hard THUMP and immediately set the hook. My rod doubled over and the water inside the laydown exploded. I had a BIG bass on. I carefully worked the fish out of the cover, using my rod to do the work. Once I got the fish in open water, the fight was routine. I lipped the bass and brought her in. She was 23.5” long and weighed around 7lbs.
I got back to fishing and started to key in on brush piles and lay downs. Almost everyone had a fish on it. I caught several good fish all on the jig. The last laydown I hit, was another big tree with mutliple layers of cover. I pitched up into it and after a few short hops the line was slack. I knew that this meant a big one picked it up. I set the hook really hard and started to crank down on the fish. A 5 pounder came flying out of the laydown. I brought her in and she was 22in.
The most important part of flipping heavy cover is the set up. You don’t want to use light tackle when wrestling with these big fish. I was using a 7’ 10” heavy action flipping rod from Ardent. I paired it with an Ardent Apex Tournament reel. You want to make sure you have a reliable reel that won’t lock up on you when you apply that much pressure. Finally I used 20lbs fluorocarbon line, so that I can pull those big fish out and not have to worry about breaking off in the process.
I also picked up my 6th fresh water species trophy. I was pitching a wacky rigged senko under bushes when a giant sunfish grabbed it and ran out of the bush. It measured out at 11” and I released her back to the lake.