Kayak Fishing Bass Bingo
In the old game of Bingo you win with making a straight line vertically, horizontally or covering the entire card. In bass fishing you can yell “Bingo” with a few carefully chosen lures. Lure types, lure colors and sizes all matter in the pursuit of any species of bass, Americas favorite gamefish.
Take It From the Top-
not always the best way to catch fish but easily the eye candy of bass fishing is topwater. Early spring through late fall bass will bust surface baits. In surface water temperatures ranging from 55 to 85 degrees any of the many bass species can be coaxed to slam topwater offerings. Almost forgotten are the minnow “plugs.” The earliest bass anglers recognized the need to mimic minnows to get bass to hit. Size is matter of preference as is color schemes. A silver shade bait to match the look of many minnow or baitfish family is preferable and can be cast great distances on open faced spinning gear. The old timers used to advocate castin’ it out and let it “set” aka sit. As the ripples disappeared you then gave it a slight twitch and repeat. This process and presentation isn’t for the impatient angler.
Another category of topwater would be the cup faced popper also described as a chugger. These are made to spit as the hopeful fisherman gives a hard downward snap of the rod making the concave face shoot water forward and create a disturbance that can be seen AND heard for quite a distance. Rounding out the surface baits on my Bingo card are buzzbaits. Buzzers in different forms have been round for quite a while. Two keys to catching buzzbait bass are casting and retrieve speed. I advocate casting past the target where you believe the bass are set up so as to not completely startle the fish. The speed is a matter of experimenting to see what the fish react to. This is dictated mainly by weather factors, among them water temperature, wind velocity, water color and moon phase. Temperature facilitates digestion, water color allows for visibility, wind can enhance or inhibit visibility so for me little wind equals smaller buzz blade, string wind BIG blade.
Moon phase influence the feeding mood of the bass. I love the full moon for all topwater fishing. Retrieve speed and cadence will help boat more bass than anything else. Experiment and be aware of change from day to day AND even throughout the day.
Mid-Level Baits and Bass –
This category of lures are the ones that are the most flexible in where and how they are fished. For the most part each can be worked in less than a foot of water or in 30 feet when the bass are located deep or suspended. Often viewed as cast out and crank back baits, they will catch fish that way but there are other ways to bet the bass to bite. At the head of my list is the incredibly versatile spinnerbait. The possibilities are endless, blade types and numbers are limited only by your imagination and willingness to experiment. There’s Colorado, willowleaf, Indiana, turtle back and more in terms of shape. The body will accommodate one to four blades, weights vary from a diminutive 1/8ths ounce to bottom dwelling baits weighing more than an ounce. Skirt colors and sizes are another variable and even the shapes of the heads add possible choices.
To simplify, in cold water a single Colorado blade is generally preferable, in murky to muddy water a willow leaf bladed bait is desirable, maybe even double willows for maximum flash. Waters that receive a fair amount of fishing pressure might call for a tear drop Indiana style blade. Skirt color is more a matter of preference for the fisherman than the fish. A standard weight for every day bass casting is 3/8th ounce models. While this is an oversimplification experimentation and individual success will help you settle in the best spinners for your waters and area.
Crankbaits again are made to run as shallow as 1 foot or with some effort past the twenty foot depths. The lip type and size is the determining factor as far as how far your cranking bait dives. The square lipped version are made to deflect off cover and run not quite as deep as their oval lipped cousins. The lipless / rattling crankbaits excel in winter water environments. Just about any color you can imagine is available. The only limiting factors are your tackle box and budget. Essentially three shades are necessary (tell your significant other whatever you want). A light color imitating shad is good for clear water, a crawfish pattern for stained waters and a brightly hued firetiger or chartreuse model for dirty water all will position you to catch crankbait bass.
Optional colors are variations of bait fish, chrome or blue, crawfish shades matching the stage of the crawdads locally and red is a good option for dark waters. Soft plastic swim baits have become popular and have a wide range of colors and sizes. Presented on just the leadheads or used as jig trailers swimmers are good for off shore bass, in the post spawn or deep summer.
Bumping the Bottom –
The biggest innovation in bass fishing was the plastic worm. Cast aside (pun intended) for the more sexy baits a plastic worm has been fooling fish for over seventy years. Again multiple rigging options are available, not to mention again sizes, colors and tail styles. Along with a family of craws, tubes and creature baits soft plastics are dependable almost anywhere and anytime, through ice being the exception.
Another variation is the curlytail grub the mother of fish catchers. Add the jig to the conversation and you have the biggest bass catching category ever. Again not much flash, just a proven bass bait. Rigging? How’s this, Texas, Carolina, wacky, shakey head, finesse and more recent inventive setups. Leadhead jigs are consistent bass foolers along with the soft plastics. Hair jigs came first then the rubber kegged baits. A pork frog or eel trailer gave way to the plastic version of trailers. Known as the jig-n-pig this combination rarely produced as many bass as plastics but it proved itself as a big bass bait.
Any of these lures cast toward normal bass cover and hideouts and presented differently by each angler it created a legion of largemouth fisherman who dedicated themselves to casting, flipping and pitching jigs almost exclusively. Every species of bas will inhale worm and jigs. The beauty of these baits is based off a few factors, they’re desirable because this classification offers 1. Silence. 2. Easily swallowed shapes. 3. Natural swimming motions. 4. Most important RANDOM ACTION. All these produce sensory effects that mean don’t catch on to the fact that the bait is not artificial.
Assemble your own collection of these baits, zip up your life jackets, grab your paddle and push off…you’re ready to play bass bingo.