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Sharing Brandon Lester's thoughts on topwater bass fishing.
In order to get an idea of how far you can push topwater fishing, you first need to figure out when it’s at its best. Lester said his favorite time to fish topwaters is in the spring, when the water temperature is about 65 degrees. Most years that happens about mid-April on his home lakes. That’s when anglers historically go to shallow flats, rig up small, soft-plastic baits and start looking for bedding bass. But he said getting locked into fishing that one way can be a mistake. Other shallow-water cover such as laydowns, docks or grass beds can hold bass that are going on or coming off beds. Topwaters can be a great way to catch those bass, because they can be fished faster, allowing you to cover more water. And many represent vulnerable prey, igniting neutral bass to feed.
FISHING THE CAROLINA RIG - ALL YEAR ROUND
1. Rod Size: 7-8 ft Medium/Heavy
2. Reel Size: Spring/Fall 5.2 ratio
Summer/hot 6.3-7.1 ratio
3. Line Size: Main line #50 lb. spiderwire braid
Leader line Clearwater: fluorocarbon 8-17 lb.
*Note: remember fluorocarbon line sinks (sometime you have to use monofiliament to keep your bait off the bottom
All other: Trilene XT mono green 8-20 lb.
Length of Leader: Clearwater : 30 inches to 4 ft.
All other: 1-3 ft.
*Note: If there is grass, you will need to adjust length of leader and sinker size
*Note: Water temperature also determines line/leader/weight size
*Note: Wind/Weather, also determines line/leader/weight size
4. Weight/size and shape: 90% of the time I use 5/8 zoom barrel weight
Note: How deep you are fishing/wind force/water clarity is a BIG factor in
weight/size/shape (examples on the display board)
5. Some of my secrets:
a. I use crankbaits on Carolina rigs 20% of the time. These are great from March through June. *Note: I only use shallow running baits
b. I throw a fluke or minnow plastic bait on Carolina rig especially if the is a heavy amount of shad or when baitfish are done spawning.
c. I use a floater worm or creature bait on Carolina rig especially if there are big rocks, timer, brush and/or grass. The bait is always off the bottom.
d. Once water temperature reaches 75-80 degrees, I throw a big worm (71/2 to 10 inches). The best color everywhere is red shad. *Note: If the lake is 80% spots, I throw a tick worm. The best color in summer is junebug
e. Use a ½ oz. to 1 ½ oz. jig with trailer as the main line weight, followed by small dead ringer (zoom) worm. *Note: Dead ringer should be the same color as jig and trailer.
f. Paint your sinkers: My favorite colors are black, red, greenpumkin
g. Swivels need to correspond with what you are fishing with. ( Diagrams on display board.) For example, if I’m throwing a fluke my swivel is bright silver.
h. Beads: Color also makes a difference as well as sound. Sometimes you need to double up or combine brass bead with a glass one. I use green and red most of the time.
i. Hooks: Always use the smallest hook you can get away with so bait stays off the bottom. All my hooks are black offset.