Hey folks, Glenn May here with BassResource.com. Today, I'm going to talk to you about fishing the Zara Spook or the Lucky Craft Sammy, any of those type of cigar type baits. Just so you know what we're talking about here are these baits right here. We've got a Zara Spook here and a Lucky Craft Sammy over here. These are the types of baits we're talking about today. What we're going to do here, I want to take you through the types of equipment to use for them, times of year, how to rig them and especially how to walk the dog, how to fish it.
First of all, we'll talk a little about when to fish them. Best time to fish this bait is late spring say just after they spawn all the way through the fall, so the warmer times of the year. That's not to say it won't produce in the winter time. It can but there are other baits that are more productive during that time of the year. It really shines during the warmer months of the year. That's when you want to be throwing this thing. Throw it across points, throw it across shallow humps, throw it across drop offs, rocky areas, places that have...if there's submerged weeds just under the surface. That's actually the best time or best place to fish, that's what you want. That hump has some weeds on the top of it, man that's a prime location. Throw it over the top, I'm telling you what. Fish are going to clobber it.
Now, the different colors that I use. This floats on the surface so the fish, they're looking up and all they see is just a silhouette really. So colors don't have as much of an impact. What I look at is the color of the belly because that's the bottom of the fish and you want to make it look natural. Most bait fish, they're white on the bottom, just like that. They're just white. It's got a neat a pattern on the top and everything but the fish really isn't going to see that. It's the bottom that I care about. White bottom, that's my go to bait. In really ultra clear water where I can see the bottom and say, 25 feet of water or more -- and I do fish water like that -- I go for a little bit more of a translucent color. I don't know if you can see that very well but you can kind of see through it. It's a semi transparent color. Sometimes I'll go and even go and do a completely clear bait for those situations. In my neck of the woods, the forage base is primarily perch. For those, I've got this perch pattern, it's got a yellow belly to it. Again, I'm just trying to match the forage of the lake I'm fishing in and that's about it. Don't go really hog wild with a whole bunch of other colors because you really don't need them all. That's the basics of it.
One thing I want to tell you about is the hooks. On the Sammies, you'll see they're attached by a split ring whereas on the Zara Spooks, they got a hanger right here that they attach to. There's a couple of schools of thought to that. Some people think that by having it by a split ring there that the fish are less apt to throw the bait. They feel like here, it gives them a little too much leverage and the fish can throw the bait. Honestly, I don't think that that's the cause of why people lose this bait sometimes.
It's a top water bait, so it's a different kind of strike. A lot of times especially with smallmouth, they just slap it. They come out and smack them on the side of it. So if you don't hook them very well, they just suck it in. You don't get a good hook set. And a lot it is to blame on the fisherman himself. Sometimes the fisherman, you see that strike and boom, you just set the hook right way. With this bait, you have to wait. You have to refrain from doing that. When you see the fish hit it, wait until he it pulls it under the water and he's got it in his mouth. Wait till you feel the weight of that fish then set the hook. A lot of times, that's why these baits get thrown is people set the hooks too soon. You only got them by the skin of their lip or you only got one hook in them, you barely got them and they just pop off. I don't think it's so much whether or not this hook is hanging here or attached this way, it's more so setting the hook and also making sure your hooks are ultra, ultra sharp. I sharpen my hooks right out of the package. Most of the time, hooks aren't sharp enough for me so I sharpen them right out of the package. I can get them sharper than they were when they came right out of the production facility.
I've got a video on how I do that and how I sharpen those hooks, I'll link it underneath this video for you so you can check it out later but I sharpen ultra, ultra sharp. So when those fish come out and just slap at it, I have a much greater chance of hooking those fish and getting it past the barb so I don't lose them when I bring them back in. Sharp hooks, wait till you feel the weight of the fish before you set the hook, those two things will save you a lot of heartache.
As far as rigging it, here's the thing. I don't see a lot of people talk about this. I don't feel like it's a secret or anything. I don't know why I don't see a lot of people talking about this but here's the thing. Don't tie directly to the eye of the bait. A lot of people do that and you can walk the dog doing it that way, don't get me wrong. But it's a lot easier if you have a little loop knot in the front or if you've got a split ring or a snap, that allows the bait to swing freely and it's a lot easier to walk the dog that way.
So what I do, I use a snap. I'm just using a snap on this bait today and that's the way I rig it. I don't use a split ring because split rings, they've got those wires that come right close together. Eventually, your line's going to find that notch and settle right in there and when you're walking the dog, that line’s going back and forth through that little notch. Eventually, you're going to get a little nick in there and wear that line down and the line can break off right at the worst moment. That's why I don't use a split ring. I don't use a loop knot primarily because when you see all these tests about different knot strengths, a Palomar knot or a Uni knot, much more stronger than a loop knot. So, here I've got a Uni knot tied to my snap and this is the number one snap, there might a number two snap. I think it's a number two and it's tied right to the Zara Spook right there. That's my go to way of rigging it, works fantastic.
This line here, I'll tell you a little bit about the line I'm using. This is 15 pound copolymer line. It's not fluorocarbon nor is it braid and I'll tell you why. Fluorocarbon absorbs water and it tends to sink. That goes down underneath the surface and it's a bit harder to walk the dog when the line is trying to get down underneath the water and pull the bait down underneath the surface. I don't use fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is also a little bit wiry, it's got a little bit spring to it and it's a little bit more difficult to work the bait that way. Braid, a lot of people love to use braid for top waters because it's more buoyant and tends to stay on the surface better. Not a problem. You want to use it, knock yourself out. I don't use braid because it's not as supple, it's not as flexible as copolymer line and so I don't get that back and forth. I like to swing it, I like to make big sweeps back and forth and I don't get that as much with braid. I don't feel braid's got enough flexibility to allow it to do that, just holds it back a bit. That's why I use copolymer and heck, you're going to see the bite so the whole sensitivity thing is out the window as far as braid is concerned. Doesn't matter, you're going to see the strike, so I use copolymer line.
I have that tied on to a medium fast action rod and that's critical. See that bend in there? It's got a fast tip to it, medium fast action rod. Couple things about that. First, it allows me to fling this bait way out there. It's a fairly heavy bait so you can shoot it out a country mile. Plus with that soft tip, it helps in walking the dog. It has that spring to it and allows you to work it really well. If you have a really stiff rod, it's a lot harder to walk the dog that way. The rod has to have some give in it in order for it to work well. Plus with these treble hooks, I always like having a rod that's got a lot of give to it because treble hooks have a tendency to rip out if you're using a real stout rod. So that rod's got that give as you fight the fish back to the boat, he's not going to tear these hooks out of his mouth.
Now, the rod's length is actually less than seven foot. This one's actually a six ten. Excuse me, it's a six eight rod and there's a real distinct reason for that and that's because when you're walking the dog on the boat or even on the shore but you're pointing the rod tip down to the water and getting it right near the surface and with the seven foot rod, it's hard to get it pointing down far enough. You've got to stick it out a little bit further then the rod tip tends to hit the surface. So, six eight or six ten depending on how tall you are. If you're a real tall guy like six four or higher, hey, seven foot rod might be just fine for you but for me, us short guys, something under seven foot is an ideal rod for walking the dog.
Alright, there's the colors, there's how you rig it, there's the different size baits, the different line, now let's go fish it.
So what I'm fishing here is I've got a point right out, tapers out nice and slow and there's some weeds right underneath the water. The fish are probably right up in there, so let's see if I can't call them out. First thing you want to do when you're casting these things, throw it out there, just engage the spool and that's it. Just let it sit. Let the rings dissipate. I can't tell you how many times I've caught fish just letting the lure sit like that and sometimes that's all it takes. You just wait and bam, they'll blast it. Let the rings dissipate, we've done that.
Now, reel up to the lure but not till you're moving it with the reel. Just get the slack up and then also, what you'll do is get a little pop, that's it, just a twitch. Let it sit for a second, give it another pop. Start practice doing that. What you're going to do is you're popping it with your wrist and letting it come back up. You're just putting slack in the line. That's the key to this bait is slack, letting it go back and forth. Don't think of it in terms of popping it but instead, think of it in terms of putting slack in the line. You pop it, reel up, a little bit slack, pop it, reel a little slack, pop it, reel a little slack, it's just that simple.
What you've got to do is get a cadence with it. We're going to throw it out, let it engage the reel, let it sit, let the rings dissipate. All you're just going to do is keep the rod tip down, point it down by the water, let those rings dissipate, reel up that slack and then just pop reel, pop reel, pop reel. It's a very simple little cadence but it'll sashay back and forth. The key to fishing this bait is you don't want to reel the bait or move the bait with your reel. You want to move it with the rod tip and then a couple of other things. When you cast out there, cast past the target that you want to bring it by, don't cast at it, cast past it.
You want it to be sashaying back and forth as it goes past the target you want to fish. Cast beyond it, let the rings dissipate and get the cadence going. You can do it really fast, you can do it really slow, you can even pause it in between but the key is to experiment with this. One other thing you want to keep in mind here when you're doing the back and forth here . . . Ooh, I just had a fish follow it. It's all with your wrist. Notice, I'm not using my forearm, I'm not using my arm, I'm not pulling it to one side, you're popping slack in the line. That's the key thing you've got to keep in mind. Slack in the line, reel up the slack between jerks and then pop slack in the line again. It's all in the wrist, that's all I'm doing. Notice I'm not moving my forearm, not moving my arm or shoulder or anything, it's just light pops with the wrist. That's all it takes and it just takes a little cadence. A little bit of practice but not that hard to do. It really isn't all that hard to do. Keep these things in mind and you'll have a great time in the water.
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