Bass fishing tricks of the trade

There are many ways to tweak lures so they will catch more bass. On topwater plu

Tweaking bass fishing lures is nothing new. It’s a tactic that’s been done for years. And whether modifying a lure actually makes it catch more bass is anybody’s guess. But it’ll sure up your confidence.

Lonnie Stanley is a bass fishing pro that I’ve spent a good deal of time with on the water. One day we were fishing on a big Texas lake. We were working a stump flat in about 4 to 5 feet of water. I looked up on the front deck and Stanley was trimming the skirt of a jig.

“Well, we’re in classic jigging water,” he said. “We’ve got stumps all over the place and lots of logs. I’m going to trim about a half inch of the skirt off to make it flare out faster. Most jigs are made with skirts that extend out about 1-½ to 1-¾ inches past the bend of the hook. I can trim the skirt down just a bit and it’ll flare out. Sometimes that’s all it takes to trigger a reaction from a bass holding next to a stump, or on the shady side of a log.”

Stanley said it’s best to trim the skirt at a 45-degree angle. That way it flares up and out as it’s falling through the water column. He also said that it’s not a trick you want to do during the wintertime. That’s when the cold water slows the reaction of the skirt. You need more bulk in that situation.

Will Kirkpatrick has been a professional bass fishing guide for decades. One of his favorite tricks is to paint a lure’s belly so that it flashes more.

“A Rogue is a great lure. And my favorite color pattern comes with an orange belly. But it’s a dull orange. What I like to do is take blue painters tape and stick it to the orange belly of a Rogue. Then I’ll brush on hazard beacon orange paint. It’s like a flashing light moving through the water. I’ll put about two coats of that on the lure and it really stands out.”

Another Kirkpatrick trick is to take sand paper and take the paint off the body of new lures. It makes them lighter and they have more action and buoyancy. They float higher in the water. Once you sand the factory paint off you can use a waterproof marker to add colors. Kirkpatrick says he’ll use a white undercoat before applying the final color.

One day while fishing with Kirkpatrick on Sam Rayburn we were using topwater chuggers to catch bass in some very murky water. He picks up a rod with a spinnerbait, makes one cast and connects. I get to looking at his spinnerbait and notice that the blades are different colors, as in orange and white.

“Well, in murky water, I like use blades with lots of flash, but not in silver,” he said. “I paint the blades for added flash. Believe it or not, you can use one bright orange blade and another in chartreuse and do pretty good in murky and muddy water.”

If you use a lot of crankbaits and lipless crankbaits in and around grass, you might consider snipping the part of the treble hook that rides down. If you look at treble hooks, you’ll notice that on most, two of the hook points are on one piece of wire. The other is usually welded on. Cut that one off. Then you’ve got a snag free lure, because the two remaining hooks ride up against the body of the plug.

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