Follow the Leader

A unique presentation is a fairly simple set up. I employ a homemade leader to give an old bait a new look. Soft plastics can be deadly effective and rigged in multiple ways. The leader is used make the baits weightless and weedless. Similar leaders are used in salt water, sometimes referred to as shock leaders. On the freshwater bass application, because of the minimal amount of weight of the bait it is cast on an open faced spinning outfit. The leader serves to avoid line twist. Twist avoidance is accomplished with the first component of the leader system a high quality swivel which allows the line to turn freely. A section of line, 10 -15 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon is used, I prefer 10-12 inches of line for ease of managing the cast. I also like camouflage line for this technique making it less likely to be spotted by the fish. If you can’t find a camo line try marking one inch alternate increments of your line with a green or brown permanent marker to give the line a disappearing, less obvious look and minimal visibility. Depending on the size of the soft plastic I intend to use I will vary the size of the hook. For straight tail floating worms or minnow imitators a 3/0 hook is preferable, for thicker bass tube type baits I opt for a 5/0 hook. The point of this is specific to fishing around aquatic vegetation, boat docks, wood and shoreline cover. The soft plastics float, are rigged weedless and the weightless quality allows for the baits to dart and slowly fall in a completely random action. One trick I use for the tube is to stuff a Styrofoam “packing peanut” into the cavity before “skin hooking” the bait. (See photo) The Styrofoam keeps the bait buoyant and floating all day.

Follow The Leader | Kayak Fishing
Cast past the target, the perceived fish holding spot, and give the bait a twitch, pause, twitch, rest and continue until you get a reaction from the bass. The float, dart, dive retrieve and action incites strikes from otherwise inactive fish. This set up gives the appearance of an injured forage food source and also because of the slow speed looks like an easy meal. On a worm I count on primarily two colors, white (clear water) and bubble gum (or pink) (stained water). The minnow / shad / fluke style body is generally most effective for me in the pearl color, for the tubes, black neon or pumpkin pepper produce well. This technique is well suited for working lily pads, cattails, hydrilla, coontail moss, boat docks and around partially submerged trees.

Follow The Leader | Kayak Fishing
A seven foot long medium heavy spinning rod allows for longer casts, a sure hook set and the ability to play any size fish. Attached is a 6.3:1 gear ratio retrieve medium size spinning reel spooled with eight pound test is my personal preference. Surface water temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees is where this tactic shines. Heavy vegetation and thick cover which are often the hideouts for trophy fish are ideal again because of the weedless and weightless capabilities. A good pair of sunglasses allow you to track the path of the bait, and often before you feel anything it looks as if the bait just disappears. Time to lean on em. Set that hook.
Just follow the leader.

Follow The Leader | Kayak Fishing