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Tim Cox

Beginner Angler

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Good morning folks!

 

   Beginner angler here, looking for some advice.  In two weeks I'm going on a camping trip where the main draw is fishing the lake inside the state park (Meridian State Park in Meridian, Texas).  This lake is a 50 acre lake, with little fishing pressure, known for largemouth.  GREAT- this is the first time I'm taking a camping/fishing trip focused on fishing, so I'm starting to figure out my best plan to be successful.

 

   According to the state parks and wildlife website, "Largemouth bass can be caught using spinner baits, buzz baits, and plastic worms fished through and around vegetation at 1- to 4-foot depths. Shallow-diving crank baits can also be productive."  I've got a few shallow-diving crank baits, even some square billed and deeper diving crank baits (I'll try out when I rent a kayak to try out the area around the dam), so that's taken care of.

 

   I could use some recommendations for spinner baits and plastic worms.  The only spinner baits I have are a few rooster tails, Panther Martins, and beetle spins, which I know could use some improvement.  As far as plastics go, I have some senkos and a few plastic worms, but I wouldn't mind improving my plastics selection in order to be more successful.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated- thanks folks!!!

 

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17 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

A-Jay has given you sound advice for your first outing.

Depending on the method (weighted or weightless) you can fish the Senko in the Top, Middle or Bottom of the Water Column. Don't avoid the grass. :thumbsup:

 

Good luck and enjoy!

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Trickworms are good, also. Creme scoundrel and Mann's jelly worm.  I like Gamakatsu hooks.  Offset round bend 3-0.   Try weightless to 1/4 oz bullet wt.  I use braid with hybrid leader. Join with Alberto knot.  Palomar knot on hook.  You can wacky or TX rig Sendo or trickworm.  Can use straight braid if water is murky.  Use a leader if fishing in rocks as they will fray braid. Use mega bass scent.

 

Also, I recommend a white or white and chart spinnerbait, 3/8 to half oz with willow and Colorado blade in silver.

 

For plastics color, you cannot go wrong with green pumpkin pepper, Junebug, black, watermelon red flake or purple like Candybug.  Also black  red flake or blue flake is good, and something bright like bubblegum or merthiolate. Pick a few different colors.  You don't need but a few  one dark, one green and one bright.  

 

Slow down.  Really slow.  Unless they want it fast.  Vary your retrieve  until you get bit.

 

If you are dragging up muck, go weightless or dropshot.  I you have wide flats, go Carolina or split shot  rig to cover water.  

 

For top water, I like an old school jitterbug or Rebel popper near vegetation.  Frogs and toads,  IN vegetation.  Or weightless trickworm.

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Take @A-Jay advice fish that senko and if you don’t get bet Texas rigging it, wacky worm it. 

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For somebody new to fishing I think it is easier to fish something that is out and back. Crankbaits are good, most topwaters are easy to fish, spinnerbaits are very productive, but I would say use a trailer hook(some guys don't like using them, but they help catch more fish for a beginner). There is less skill involved in catching a fish. I have limited experience with fishing plastics, so therefor, I am less productive with them. It is actually very hard for me to tell when I get a bite. With spinners, topwater or a crankbait you know immediately when you get a bite.

 

As for specific baits, I like strike king or booyah spinners, they are like $5-$7, however I have caught fish on the Walmart $1 also. I have always been a fan of white. Lipless crankbait, the Cotton Cordell super spot is actually a very good lipless especially if the water isn't clear, and walmart has them for less than $3. And for topwater you can get a generic buzzbait for less than $2, but my go to was always a hula popper, by Arbogast. They are like $6 and you basically just cast it out, hold your rod tip low and jerk it a couple of time, let it sit, and then reel it in. Change up the stop and jerk pattern each time, it has always been productive for me.

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Thanks for all the advice gentlemen, hopefully in a few weeks I'll be adding some pictures of catches to this thread.  If you guys don't mind, I have a few questions regarding plastics:

 

1. Weighted vs. weightless texas rigs- when to go weightless?

2. Pegged weights- is there a specific circumstance where I should peg the weight?

3. Like bobbyg, I struggle distinguishing a bite from something in the water when using plastics.  I'm not sure if I've NEVER found a fish with plastics, or if I just can't tell when/if I'm getting a bite.  Hoping to have some better luck.

 

I know when bank fishing you should remain mobile- how long would you guys recommend working a single spot without moving? I've found a few spots that have a lot of lily pads/vegetation, so my plan was to work them early in the morning via topwaters, perhaps a frog.  Once it was post-breakfast I was going to work the same spot first with plastics then spinner or crankbaits.  Am I too committed to one spot?

 

Thanks again!

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13 minutes ago, Timothy Cox said:

  Am I too committed to one spot?

 

It depends on if you are catching bass in that one spot. . . .If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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2 hours ago, Timothy Cox said:

Thanks for all the advice gentlemen, hopefully in a few weeks I'll be adding some pictures of catches to this thread.  If you guys don't mind, I have a few questions regarding plastics:

 

1. Weighted vs. weightless texas rigs- when to go weightless?

2. Pegged weights- is there a specific circumstance where I should peg the weight?

3. Like bobbyg, I struggle distinguishing a bite from something in the water when using plastics.  I'm not sure if I've NEVER found a fish with plastics, or if I just can't tell when/if I'm getting a bite.  Hoping to have some better luck.

 

I know when bank fishing you should remain mobile- how long would you guys recommend working a single spot without moving? I've found a few spots that have a lot of lily pads/vegetation, so my plan was to work them early in the morning via topwaters, perhaps a frog.  Once it was post-breakfast I was going to work the same spot first with plastics then spinner or crankbaits.  Am I too committed to one spot?

 

Thanks again!

1. The vast majority of anglers today would start with a Weightless Senko either T-Rigged or Wacky Rigged. T-Rigged in cover and wacky rigged in more open water .... There is always exceptions to the Rule.

As it quivers, a Senko falls slowly through the water column .... always watch your line for movement not caused by your bait or you. Not sure, set the hook it's free.

If this is not working, add weight so that you can keep the Senko in contact with the bottom as you retrieve it.

 

2. There is probably no need unless the cover (branches etc.) force you to keep the weight close.

 

I hope this helps.

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With fishing, if the weather and other conditions are "friendly", there's more than one way to skin a cat so while certain baits and techniques can be recommended, you don't have to get hung up on details.  Try it 'til it works (or until it doesn't) and don't be afraid to try something else.  It's more about the location than anything, anyway.  Vegetation and weed edges (especially), shade, drop offs, rocks, wood, etc. are always good places to target.  Countless volumes  have been written about the nuances of bass fishing but, too me, anyway, the "big three" for location are 1) food (availability), 2) safety/comfort, and 3) reproduction.  Pretty much everything else falls under those three things.

 

Except swim jigs, most soft plastics are not good "search baits."  This is not to say they aren't good/effective baits.  You just can't cover a lot of water with them.  The more active fish are (depending upon weather, time of year, etc) will often determine how inclined they are to "chase" a food source.  To complicate things, sometimes ALL you can get a fish to bite is something they have to react quickly to.  But all this you have to let the bass tell you.  Try NOT to get fixated on something UNTIL the bass tell you that's what they want-and even then, be willing to change if the bass change.

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Weightless senko 

Weighted zoom trick worm (1/8-1/4)

Dirty water = black and blue, junebug 

Clean water = watermelon, green pumpkin 

 

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Weightless first.  Use as light weight as you can get by with.  Use weightless if you are dragging up muck.  Peg in heavy cover or wood so that your bait doesn't  wrap around stuff.  I usually try not to peg, though so the bait slowly follows the weight.  Pegged, it drops fast with the weight.  Keep swinging at every tap or line twitch.  You will catch one and have that a hah moment.

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13 hours ago, Timothy Cox said:

1. Weighted vs. weightless texas rigs- when to go weightless?

2. Pegged weights- is there a specific circumstance where I should peg the weight?

3. Like bobbyg, I struggle distinguishing a bite from something in the water when using plastics.  I'm not sure if I've NEVER found a fish with plastics, or if I just can't tell when/if I'm getting a bite.  Hoping to have some better luck.

 

I know when bank fishing you should remain mobile- how long would you guys recommend working a single spot without moving? I've found a few spots that have a lot of lily pads/vegetation, so my plan was to work them early in the morning via topwaters, perhaps a frog.  Once it was post-breakfast I was going to work the same spot first with plastics then spinner or crankbaits.  Am I too committed to one spot?

 

Thanks again!

 

1. go weightless first, switch to weighted if necessary.

 

2. I would not worry about pegging. Free-sliding weights are best most of the time, while pegging is better in specific situations, like vertical presentations in heavy cover.

 

3. It is very hard to put into words precisely what strike-detection is like. often it is a distinct tap. Sometimes it is just a mushy resistance. Sometimes it is a sudden loss of resistance. Sometimes it is purely visual -- just line movement. Remember, hooksets are free. You only get better with practice.

 

Mobility:  I know it is time to move when I have given a cast or three to each piece of cover or area, and have covered the top, middle and bottom of the water column.  Once I catch one or two, I narrow-down and try to repeat the bait/speed/depth/cover type whenever I move.

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I really appreciate all the advice.  I've struggled with plastics and not being able to distinguish bites.  Well, I know the difference now, I missed a few bites (tried setting the hook without reeling in slack first).  Although I now know that I've spent probably 20 hours trying to learn how to work a soft plastic, all WITHOUT a bite at all.

 

Good to know- pick better spots and SLOW DOWN.

 

I tried to do the right thing today by working the water column.  I picked a spot that seemed likely to have bass and fan casted with a TX rig senko (missed the fish, but at least I know what a bite is).  After I exhausted the senko, I tried a shallow diving crankbait, but it was just too grassy for even a shallow diving.  Then, I tried a top water shad, and a fish ate it after the first pop!  It was a tiny little thing, but exciting none the less.

 

I just wanna say thanks again!

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