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Weedless

How to fish "drop-offs"??

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I fish a windy lake 2-4 times a week. I mainly fish thick/weedy flats (7'-14') with a texas rig black/blue flake senko worm. I have pretty good success in decent fish for the lake (i tourney fish it every other sat and usually place in 4th through 6th, except for last week I got my first 1st place!!! there are usually 30 fisherman in tourney) I consider my self a "grinder" cuz i will fish a weed flat all day.  Anyhow, black with blue flake works 10 times better then any other colors. Other colors work, watermelon, brownish, pumpkinseed barely, but nothing like junebug, black, and black with blue flake no matter water clarity and weather conditions. I finally tried to fish these some of the drop-offs from these flats and caught the lunker of the tourney at about 16' on a drop off, but i did it with a texas rig black/blue flake senko worm. I feel like there are better lures and rigs to fish these drop offs. Also, how to fish them, from deep up to flat or flat to deep??I believe that the bigger fish are deeper at the cooler water at this point in the season. Could some one give me some advice? Also, why do you think even on the brightest and sunniest days to the darkest cloudiest days the bass go for the black? To be honest, i just want to find another technique that is only half as good as what i currently do just to mix it up. There also is a veteran guy there that mainly fishes cranks and he rarely does well, and I hardly do well with cranking too.Thanks.

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I'll start with color preference by asking a twofold question. What is the main forage and what is the water and bottom color?  Color preference is normally related to one, or all of those 

Your presentation of choice would dictate how to approach fishing a drop off. With crankbaits, parallel retrieves will keep your bait in the strike zone longer than attempting to work them up or down the drop. They also work well when fish suspend just off the drop  

Working a jig or worm up the drop  will allow you to maintain bottom contact much easier than working down it. The other advantage is, once you contact fish, you can switch up baits and concentrate on that depth. The downside is if the fish prefer a falling bait. If you're confident the fish are there, try both up and down the drop. The fish will let you know what they prefer. 

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Thanks for your response.

As far as the baitfish goes, the population of shiners/ a minnow, is virtually non-existent because the Corp has lowered the lake from late fall to mid spring 4 of the last 5 years. The club raises money and restocks fish and so forth but hardly any small baitfish. The main bait fish would be sunfish and perch. I have been fishing that lake for 9 years and have not seen 1 minnow of sort for at least 3 years. (the club finally is addressing that). The water color is usually green blue with a clarity of 6'-10' average...it clears up very quick. The bottom is mainly mud bottom, there is one area that has boulders as the bottom, but 90% mud. most of the fish on these drop offs tend to be on the bottom of the side of the drops. Meaning the are where the drop meets the floor, just against the bottom at a certain depth.

I have quite a few jigs, and would like them to be more successful then they have been in the past. But I never fished a jig on these drop offs yet. Do you think bass would like a bigger presentation, i.e. using a trailer/"pig", when fishing deeper or smaller presentation since it is minimal cover at those depths? Also, color choice for deeper and less cover? When using a jig, is it more common to keep it moving more then letting it sit on the bottom like I do with texas rig?Thanks alot! (sorry for all the questions, but I know there is alot of experience here that will guide me in the right direction for me to find what works best in my specific application. 

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In addition to a jig, you can try a crankbait (if you can get one to run that deep), or you can trying a swinging rugby jig (Bifflehead) and try crawling that up the drop off. 

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I'd stick with dark colors like you have been. I'd venture a guess that bullhead make up a portion of their diet and that along with the muck bottom could account for your success with dark colors  

If you're going to use a jig and target where the drop levels off, parallel the drop for the same reason I mentioned about using cranks. 

Youll need to experiment with size  as too heavy a jig will burry into the mud. A mushroom/stand up style jig will help prevent that along with a trailer with big or numerous appendages. Start with small hops and experiment with retrieves. 

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You might want to experiment with some bluegill/perch colored soft plastic swim baits. Try and choose a size that matches the forage of the lake/size of the perch or bluegill. Probably 4 to 5 inch. Cast out, let it sink to the bottom, parallel to the drop off, and then slow retrieve it so it's just ticking the bottom. Incorporate some pauses, etc. Swimbaits are also incredibly effective at targeting suspending fish, you can change up your retrieve and cadence depending on where the fish are holding in the water column.

Swimbaits can be a hidden *gem* of a bait if no one on that lake has been using them. I have a local lake where you practically have to use a swim bait to get bit.. because no one is using them, and the fish aren't used to seeing them constantly. So I'd start with some paddle tails, and a pack of zoom flukes. See where that gets you. I'd reccomend using them with some gamakatsu weighted swimbait hooks, maybe 1/8oz just to give it some fall rate. The flukes can be fished weightless through the weeds too.

As far as brands are concerned, here are all the ones I've tried and can say for certain they are producers. Considering you're fishing these in weedy areas, I would recommend going with a weighted swimbait hook, like a Gamakatsu SpringLock, 4/0 to 5/0. 1/8oz perhaps. Skin hook the back of the bait for a pretty weedless presentation. For the zoom flukes, you can texas rig them either weightless or with a bullet weight. 

Yamamoto heart tails (pricey)

Jackall Rhythm Wave

Netbait BK swimbaits 

Keitech FAT Impacts (great scent)

Keitech Easy Shiners (my personal favorite, in bluegill flash color)

Strike King Rage Swimmer

Basstrix paddle tails (pricey)

Zoom 5" Swimmer

Gambler EZ & BIG EZ. (Good option. Affordable. Very popular in the south & Florida)

 

All of those, and more I haven't mentioned, have been successful for me. My favorites have been the Keitech brand, because the scent they use on them is very unique, and I have a lot of confidence that it's getting me more bites than I would get with an unscented plastic. They call it squid scent but I can't comment on the "accuracy" of that lol. Most all of those brands offer a black w/ blue flake color if you'd like to stick with that. I'd recommend some natural sun fish or perch colored tones though. As far as the flukes are concerned, they're just a classic bait that tends to work all year round. I like white/pearl colored ones but being that you don't have minnows or shad, you may want to opt for green pumpkin tones to try and match the pan fish.

 

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This might not work for obvious reason that i dont know about, but is using Carolina Rig or Drop Shot a viable rig to do with a soft plastic swim baits/flukes for bass at a deeper depth (drop-offs)?? Thanks guys for your info!!!

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I was fishing a point with a dropoff on the end two days ago . Caught thirty  fish on a T-rig jelly worm , homemade spinnerbait and a Strike King 6x crankbait  , between 15 and 18 foot . The crankbait was really nailing them .

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1 hour ago, Weedless said:

This might not work for obvious reason that i dont know about, but is using Carolina Rig or Drop Shot a viable rig to do with a soft plastic swim baits/flukes for bass at a deeper depth (drop-offs)?? Thanks guys for your info!!!

Carolina rigging a fluke down a drop off definitely works. Working it with retrieves that take 1-2 minutes is the way to go on them in my opinion. I don't drop shot, but I'm imagining a fluke could be used for it.

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7 hours ago, Weedless said:

This might not work for obvious reason that i dont know about, but is using Carolina Rig or Drop Shot a viable rig to do with a soft plastic swim baits/flukes for bass at a deeper depth (drop-offs)?? Thanks guys for your info!!!

Absolutely carolina rigging a fluke will work. Loads of people do this. As far as drop shotting, you can pretty much drop shot any soft plastic and get bites. The key is letting the water current impart the action on the bait, and don't get too crazy shaking the rod tip. You can impart some subtle twitches of the rod, moving the hook, not the weight... but let the fish tell you how they want it. Sometimes they'll want you to slowly drag it along the bottom, with some slight twitches, and other times they want it completely dead sticked. Throw it out, reel up the slack and let it sit and basically watch paint dry. Getting over zealous with a drop shot is one sure fire way to get less bites. I tend to stick with straight tail worms when it comes to drop shot fishing though. Roboworms and KVD dream shots are what I normally use, I just change colors for variety.

Another thing I haven't seen anyone mention yet is a lipless crank. Maybe more towards the start of the fall when water temps begin cooling down. You said you're fishing drop offs with grass. Well, ripping a lipless crank across  the tops of the grass is a fantastic way to get bit.

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