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I/MBasser

Bigger baits....

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Most 10 lb bass tend weigh 7 lbs on a scale.

Congratulations on a 8 lb in Illinois.

Tom

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

What Catt is saying is spot on, it's always location before lure selection. Thinking there is a panacea lure that a big bass will seek out and strike is misleading.

Spring to me means the spawn cycle and definately prime big bass periods. I have no idea what spring means to the OP?

If the pond is a power plant discharge with year around warm water then that creates a different spawn cycle period then a natural ice out pond that far north.

It comes down to location and abundant high protein prey sources, select lures that represent what the bass are eating. Big lure equals big bass is often a myth along with 9 lb LMB in a northern pond.

You can use jigs and big worms using standard bass tackle, big swimbaits you need swimbait tackle.

Tom

 

 

I’d say the only myth is that 9#ers don’t exist in the north.  There may not be many, but they are here.   For me, seeking them out is half the fun.   And I’m not looking for a magic lure. Just something that may give me an edge.  Other than that I do appreciate the input.   

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5 minutes ago, I/MBasser said:

I’d say the only myth is that 9#ers don’t exist in the north.  There may not be many, but they are here.   For me, seeking them out is half the fun.   And I’m not looking for a magic lure. Just something that may give me an edge.  Other than that I do appreciate the input.   

9 lb bass are extremely rare in SoCal ponds but depends on what you call a pond vs a small lake and it's abundant renewable prey sources.

Tom

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6 minutes ago, WRB said:

9 lb bass are extremely rare in SoCal ponds but depends on what you call a pond vs a small lake and it's abundant renewable prey sources.

Tom

I have no doubt they are very very rare in my region.  

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25 minutes ago, I/MBasser said:

I have no doubt they are very very rare in my region.  

Same here. I’m lucky to have caught a 5 1/2.

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On 12/10/2018 at 8:48 AM, I/MBasser said:

Well, that's the hope.  And if it takes three or four years I would be fine with that.  I enjoy the chase and simply being out there.  I'm not saying these Chicago lakes are littered with lunkers, just that they exist.  Half my enjoyment comes from exploring new places and learning what's out there.  Most of the ponds near me hold 2#ers or less.  Buddy and I randomly stopped at a little pond that we drive by all the time and decided to give it a shot.  Spent the next two hours catching a couple dozen and a handful of 4#ers.  One of the best days fishing I ever had.  

 

This spring I plan on targeting a few of the ponds/lakes that I was told hold big bass.  Just want to be prepared with some bigger baits.  You mentioned swimbaits.  From reading these forums I might pick up a Huddleston 68, Savage Gear 3D Shine Glide and a Spro BBZ-1.  Which swimbaits do you use in our region?  Thanks for all the input!

Thats the beauty of fishing, it might be your 3rd cast or your 3,000,000th cast.  Hudd 68, Swaver 200, Spro Rat 50, Jackall Ganterel (like someone else said), and maybe (if you really get into it) a DEPS 250.  Message me for a good swimbait resource if interested.  I am not that serious a swimbaiter compared to hard core swimbait guys, but the Swaver, spro rats, and jackall ganterels i have done great on...  Also, dont forget big Keitechs.

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I tried getting into bigger swimbaits two years ago. I heard a lot of people talk about not being afraid to throw them because smaller bass still will strike larger baits. I got a few bites but nothing bigger than I was getting on other lures. The big thing for me is I was limited in how much time I can spend fishing and I was catching so few fish on the swimbaits that I got burned out on them.

 

Unless you have a ton of time to sink into fishing bigger baits, I would start off with some smaller swimbaits and work your way up. I really like the 5.25 inch Shine Glide from Savage Gear, it doesn't cast the best but it caught my second biggest fish. You can work it a bit more like a jerkbait if you want too (which has worked better for me). I have seen the Osprey Tournament Top Talon produce pretty well as well.

 

If your targeting bigger fish, I would highly recommend the Whopper Plopper 110. It caught my PB and more larger fish than anything else I have thrown. You could try up sizing to the 130 also. Jigs in heavy cover also has produced bigger fish for me.

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On 12/11/2018 at 2:20 PM, JeepFisher said:

  I am not that serious a swimbaiter compared to hard core swimbait guys, but the Swaver, spro rats, and jackall ganterels i have done great on...  Also, dont forget big Keitechs.

 

Im in the same boat, I throw those three lures plus assorted soft Bluegill swimbaits in smaller ponds and do quite well on them. I almost never see anyone fishing them around here.   

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Barry St. Clair's Texas state record 18.18#

 

Caught on a Crappie jig 😉

 

OUTDOORSCOL_0201SPO_41967541.jpeg

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9 hours ago, Catt said:

Barry St. Clair's Texas state record 18.18#

 

Caught on a Crappie jig 😉

 

OUTDOORSCOL_0201SPO_41967541.jpeg

That's Mark Stevenson's 17# bass, "Ethel."

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9 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

That's Mark Stevenson's 17# bass, "Ethel."

 

Sure is!

 

I was looking at that picture thinking something aint right & your post popped up!

 

FB_IMG_1501704211565.jpg

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15 hours ago, fishwizzard said:

 

Im in the same boat, I throw those three lures plus assorted soft Bluegill swimbaits in smaller ponds and do quite well on them. I almost never see anyone fishing them around here.   

I need to throw more bluegill baits... especially soft baits.  I have the hudd gills, just didnt like the weeds they kept gathering.

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58 minutes ago, JeepFisher said:

I need to throw more bluegill baits... especially soft baits.  I have the hudd gills, just didnt like the weeds they kept gathering.

The Hudd Gills get the most hits but have the worst hookup:landing ratio for me.  It's very very demoralizing.  I think I was both not setting the hook hard enough and not getting them in fast enough, both things I am going to work on. Snapping turtles also love them so it's an expensive lure to fish in a lot of the ponds that I like.

 

But man, they by far got me the most hits of any "big bait" I threw last year.  I think the S-Waver was the over all best in terms of both number of hits and hit/landing ratio.  

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There have been some 8 lb and 9 lb bass caught locally, but it seems that those bass are hitting baits that they haven't seen in a while.  The bigger baits seem to be more productive in the fall when the bass are feeding for winter. 

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My big fish thoughts in regards to lake/pond fishing for green bass, and I’m not far from Chicago often fishing southern Illinois 

 

1. 4# and 9# fish will both eat “big” baits

2. Big soft swimmers in cooler months

3. Hard swimmers or chatterbaits in warmer months up until it gets too warm

4. In the dead of summer, a large t rigged worm or mag Shakeyhead is king

5. Jigs catch big bass all year long

6. Don’t get too hung up on the big bait=big fish thing. In some lakes, the big fish just don’t want a 10 oz glide bait

7. Experiment and see what works best for you, every lake is different 

8.Don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t succeed 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 12/13/2018 at 2:09 PM, FCPhil said:

I tried getting into bigger swimbaits two years ago. I heard a lot of people talk about not being afraid to throw them because smaller bass still will strike larger baits. I got a few bites but nothing bigger than I was getting on other lures. The big thing for me is I was limited in how much time I can spend fishing and I was catching so few fish on the swimbaits that I got burned out on them.

 

Unless you have a ton of time to sink into fishing bigger baits, I would start off with some smaller swimbaits and work your way up. I really like the 5.25 inch Shine Glide from Savage Gear, it doesn't cast the best but it caught my second biggest fish. You can work it a bit more like a jerkbait if you want too (which has worked better for me). I have seen the Osprey Tournament Top Talon produce pretty well as well.

 

If your targeting bigger fish, I would highly recommend the Whopper Plopper 110. It caught my PB and more larger fish than anything else I have thrown. You could try up sizing to the 130 also. Jigs in heavy cover also has produced bigger fish for me.

I fish both big baits and standard equipment most every trip. I throw the big baits on high percentage areas most days but I will fish them all day long too. It's a different mindset, kind of like muskie fishing, it's not for everyone for sure but it's addicting for some. I've caught so many fish in my life that I've got to the point I'd rather try to catch a big one instead of a bunch of little ones a lit of the time.

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23 hours ago, fishwizzard said:

The Hudd Gills get the most hits but have the worst hookup:landing ratio for me.  It's very very demoralizing.  I think I was both not setting the hook hard enough and not getting them in fast enough, both things I am going to work on. Snapping turtles also love them so it's an expensive lure to fish in a lot of the ponds that I like.

 

But man, they by far got me the most hits of any "big bait" I threw last year.  I think the S-Waver was the over all best in terms of both number of hits and hit/landing ratio.  

Hudd Gill isn't a big lure. Agree the strike to hook up ratio is horrible. I use a modified Butch Brown style top treble hook to solve the problem.

Tom 

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   I live in SW Michigan and have known of legit 8 plus Bass being caught and yes weighed on an accurate scale, not a common occurrence but they are there in our part of the country and  I would imagine in Illinois as well  . In my opinion in this part of the country when fishing for largemouth on our inland lakes in most of our lakes you've caught one of the biggest oldest Bass in the system when you run into a 6 lb plus fish . 

 

  I don't claim to be God's gift to fishing but because of time on the water & opportunity I've been fortunate to have caught more than my fair share of the 5 plus Bass the past 20 years or so with a decent number of those 6 lb plus fish as well. So I will share my observations on what has worked for me which I think would be pretty applicable to the OP fishing in Illinois since it's in the same part of the country. 

 

 As others have pointed out location & presentation are by far the most important ingredients to catching bigger fish whether a big fish in your part of country is 6 lbs or you live in an area where 10 lbers are big fish. This will always apply no matter where you fish or even what you fish for. 

 

  There is no doubt that average size baits or on occasion tiny baits will catch trophy class fish . That said If 2 fisherman of similar ability were fishing a season at the same lakes with a Crappie jig verses a medium to large size swimbait I'm confident the swimbait fisherman will likely catch a lot more of the bigger fish that are available in their area. 

 

  Though I'm a believer in swimbaits I have also have had success with conventional tackle which is what I 've cut my teeth with and still use as an integral part of my fishing. Though I don't believe this applies as much with small mouth I tend to do better using larger versions of these baits in most situations though they don't have to be huge to be effective. As an example , when using a walking stick bait I tend do better with a 5" bait verses a 3 " walking bait. My favorite size of the Whopper Plopper is the 130 , not a huge bait but it catches almost as many as the smaller versions but my average size fish tend to be a lot bigger and more likely to catch a 5 plus Bass in my opinion. When slow rolling a Kietech or a hollow belly on a jighead in deep water I tend to  do much better with say 4.8 or larger size  verses the 2.8 as another example . 

   

In the category of conventional tackle Jigs have been my most consistent producer of bigger fish but really just about all the major category of lures will produce at the right time. Deep diving cranks in the summer are probably a close second. 

 

   So I definitely still use conventional tackle. However , there is a place for big baits even in Northern states and at times they can be special and a blast to fish. Keep in mind if you are price conscious and have a limited amount of discretionary income they may not be right for you. Also, you will need to be bullheaded and be willing to go through a learning curve with these baits and if you can only fish once a week for about 3 hours it probably won't be worth it . That said if you are already a successful fisherman with conventional tackle then it can be an exciting addition to your arsenal. If someone is still a novice fisherman  then start of with conventional tackle and learn the fundamentals before you even think about fishing larger swimbaits .

 

  The cool thing about adding this category of lures to your arsenal is that it is a great way to show the fish on heavily fished lakes something different and even when they are not getting bit they will show big fish.  They also tend to catch nice bonus fish , especially on lakes where Muskies are available. Even when Muskies are not part of the system they tend to attract bigger Pike over those pesky hammer handles. Big Walleye also like these baits. 

 

 On a lot of our inland small lakes especially the smaller ones under 500 acres Bluegills and Perch often times are the dominant forage so don't believe those who say you should only throw Bluegill swimbaits in the spring. There have been some real nice Bass that I 've caught in the summer & fall that will argue otherwise. In addition to Bluegill & Perch I also like Golden Shiner, Baby Bass,  Carp patterns  and even Trout colors on non Trout lakes. 

 

So here some of the baits that I'm confident will produce...

 

Topwater Wake style baits - The 7 " & 9" MS Slammer & Spro Rat 50 size are readily available and work well especially at night or low light conditions. That said I love the 3:16 Wake Jr. , the problem is they are expensive and hard to get. The best way is through the buy/sell pages of the swimbait forums. They are a special bait when used in the right situation. 

 

  Bluegill style topwater bait. - The Matt lures Hardgill is an awesome bait , it will flat out catch numbers and big ones as well. I absolutely love this bait and it will work in shallow water when the others get ignored. Besides a slow steady retrieve try mixing in shorts rips. Think prop bait without a prop. The Got' em Coach Gill can be had for a reasonable price and had produced a 7lber for me a few years back. I tend to use the Matt LURES when I want to finnesse the fish more and go the GEC when I want to fish a little more aggressively. 

 

Glide baits - The River to Sea S Waver 168 & 200 size. Don't waste your time with the smaller sizes. Tactical Bassin' has excellent videos on how to fish these baits . The Gancraft 178 Jointed Claw in the Perch color is one of my favorites and are readily available like the RTS baits though they are pricier. That said shad/ golden shiner profiles have been very good to me especially in the spring. One bait that doesn't get talked about but has been very good to me is the Evergreen ES Flat, you can usually find them on Ebay and they aren't terribly expensive. Last year was my first with the High Power Herring 8" glide bait. I'm very impressed with this bait though I did much better fishing fairly fast with quick stop and go turns of the real handle and jerking the slack. That said if you want one they are fairly hard to get and expensive. You will also hear a lot of recommendations for a Deps 250 , for whatever reason I have not caught any on this bait but it's success throughout the country speaks to it's abilities I just need more time with it. 

 

Crank down bait - the Pat's Perch is a great bait.  I was lucky enough to get a few before they became hard to get and very expensive . I caught some on the Bull Shad 4 x 4 last year though I need more time with the bait. It is more readily available and affordable than the Pat's bait. A lure that I 've experimented with last year is the Musky Armour Krisco Jr which caught me enough fish last year to make want to give it more time on the water next spring. It is mass produced and under 20 $  so it might be worth a shot . Though these are crankbaits the Rapala Super Shad Rap and especially the Strike King Mag 8.0 squarebill will catch big fish. I love that SK 8.0 squarebill .

 

Multi Joint sinking baits. - some of the ones that have excelled for me include are the sinking versions of the Matt's Hard Gills, Bull Shads & Bull Gills also produce. The Jackall Ganteral would be a great bait to start with as it's readily available with an affordable by swimbait standards price tag. Fish these baits,  sometimes slow or even twitch them.

 

If I had to sell them all and can only keep one it would be the 7" 22nd Century Trout in the Baby Bass color. It was already one of my better swimbaits before I knew what I was doing with it as it will produce with a steady retrieve. That said when I started fishing it with a stop & go fast retrieve along with some twitches then it became my favorite hard bait style swimbait. That said don't over do the twitches as the line can wrap around the hook as it is a lipless bait. Think of this as combo swim & jerk bait and it will absolutely produce. These tend to be a medium priced for swimbaits but the good news is they are not hard to get. 

 

Soft swimbaits are also a staple of swimbait fishing , especially when dealing with grass or cooler water.  Slow rolling heavier style Hudd baits , kietech/ bass trix style baits attached to jigheads are also a great way to have fun swimbait fishing. I've had bass as small as 2-1/2 to 3 lbs choke on an 8" Hudd so don't be afraid to try these baits. If you made it this far and due to the length of my post I will stop right here . This is a terrific website and at times has good info for swimbait fishing, that said I think the majority of the info and fisherman on this site tend to rely more conventional tackle which should be the foundation of any Bass fisherman . I would also suggest you that if the OP was interested in swimbait specific info that he may also want to check out some speciality swimbait sites in addition to the great info on Bass Resource. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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The OP said he is targeting big bass in ponds. We can debate what a pond is and never come to aggrement the difference between a small lake and a pond. Technically a pond is shallow enough for depth of light to reach the bottom allowing aquatic plants to grow.

In northern climates ponds freeze over and without deeper water the bass can die off depending on the extended time period it stays iced over, severely reducing growth potential. Bass need a constant source of food from the time they are fingerlings to adults to grow big, few ponds have a sufficient food supply to support bass over 5 lbs. There are exceptions but they usually are deeper small lakes like a quarry lake with a stream replenishing the food supply.

Tom

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I have caught some very nice Bass in ponds along with lakes as well using what most here consider big baits. Bluegill baits in particular slay 'em in ponds .

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55 minutes ago, WRB said:

The OP said he is targeting big bass in ponds. We can debate what a pond is and never come to aggrement the difference between a small lake and a pond. Technically a pond is shallow enough for depth of light to reach the bottom allowing aquatic plants to grow.

In northern climates ponds freeze over and without deeper water the bass can die off depending on the extended time period it stays iced over, severely reducing growth potential. Bass need a constant source of food from the time they are fingerlings to adults to grow big, few ponds have a sufficient food supply to support bass over 5 lbs. There are exceptions but they usually are deeper small lakes like a quarry lake with a stream replenishing the food supply.

Tom

Well, actually, I said I’ve been catching 4# bass in local ponds but have learned of a few lakes that have bass as big as 9#s.  But the point of the original post was just to learn what folks have been using to target the larger bass.   

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4 hours ago, WRB said:

Hudd Gill isn't a big lure. Agree the strike to hook up ratio is horrible. I use a modified Butch Brown style top treble hook to solve the problem.

Tom 

They are big for the 4lb bass I am trying to catch with them. ;)  Most all my big bait fishing is in small surbaban ponds. I wanted to see if using larger lure would produce larger bass then the ones I would catch on my usual finesse presentations.  I figured focusing on smaller spots where I knew there is a population of 3-4lb bass was a good place to start. The results after a season is a solid “maybe”, but that is beside the point. 

 

In any case, when you BB rig the hudd gills do you clip the top hook off or leave it?  I have though about trying it but I really like how weedless they are. I am going to work on my hooksets, I am usualy a “10lb line and fine-wire hooks” kinda guy so it’s a big transition when I spend a day fishing the Hudds.  

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2 hours ago, I/MBasser said:

Well, actually, I said I’ve been catching 4# bass in local ponds but have learned of a few lakes that have bass as big as 9#s.  But the point of the original post was just to learn what folks have been using to target the larger bass.   

Illinois state record LMB is 13 lbs from a quarry lake caught on a inline spinner, giant bass that far north and tiny lure. I have caught a few giant bass over the years and use whatever replicates what the bass are feeding on at the time period.

If there is a crawdad migration the bass feed on crawdads for example. The big lure = big bass theory works if that is what you use 90% if the time, but it doesn't work well if the bass are feeding on crawdads. The 1st task is to determine what the big bass are eating, not an easy task. What most bass anglers do is try various lures until they have success and this works if you are fishing in the right area at the right time. 

Bass are opportunist predators at times and that is why anglers catch one big bass by blindly putting a lure in front of a active bass. Your goal is not to fish blindly but to learn big bass habits and the prey they target where you fish.

Tom

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1 hour ago, fishwizzard said:

They are big for the 4lb bass I am trying to catch with them. ;)  Most all my big bait fishing is in small surbaban ponds. I wanted to see if using larger lure would produce larger bass then the ones I would catch on my usual finesse presentations.  I figured focusing on smaller spots where I knew there is a population of 3-4lb bass was a good place to start. The results after a season is a solid “maybe”, but that is beside the point. 

 

In any case, when you BB rig the hudd gills do you clip the top hook off or leave it?  I have though about trying it but I really like how weedless they are. I am going to work on my hooksets, I am usualy a “10lb line and fine-wire hooks” kinda guy so it’s a big transition when I spend a day fishing the Hudds.  

I use Owner Hyper Weld snap and attach 1" long finished wire leader, size 2 treble hook on one end a small loop on the snap end with crimp sleeves. The treble hook can be added or taken off as needed. Mustad 3551W weedless treble hook and cut the wire gaurd off the point inserted into the swimbait in front of the dorsal fin, leave the original hook on the Hudd Gill.

Tom

 

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