Bass are the top freshwater game fish in North America and with good reason—they are challenging to catch and extremely fun. With a wide range and an aggressive nature, bass are the fish of dreams for weekend warriors and seasoned professional anglers alike. Having the right gear is vital to putting fish in the boat—and Cabela’s is a great place to get that gear.
One of the aspects of bass fishing that is so much fun is the many different ways you can catch them. Sure the old standby of a worm on a hook under a bobber has produced more than a few bass, but when you’re working a specialized lure and get that thundering hit that bends your rod in half while the fish comes screaming out of the water in an effort to escape, well, it’s not just the fish that’s hooked.
Everyone knows that a frog represents a meal to a hungry bass, and this four-inch-long, soft plastic bait has that unmistakable frog shape that rings the dinner bell for any bucket mouth. Fish it on the surface at a slower pace to finesse a crushing strike, or speed things up to take advantage of the spray being kicked off the legs like a buzz bait. You can also rig it to slowly sink, mimicking a frog diving for cover. A wide range of colors lets you match water and weather conditions.
Is there anything that screams bass fishing more than watching a lunker burst from the water to crush your top water bait? When the conditions are right, this is not only one of the most effective ways to bring fish into the boat, but also one of the most addictive. This bait builds on the tradition of the original Zara Spook introduced back in 1939. Fish it in the traditional “walk the dog” pattern, or rip it over weed bed edges and you’ll see why bass don’t simply bite at the Spook, they attack it. Vibrant colors and oversized eyes make this 5-inch, 7/8oz lure one that you’ll go to when the bass winds whisper “top water” in your ear. Easily a bait every bass angler must have in his/her tackle box.
They say everything is bigger in Texas and that might also apply to the Texas rig system for bass angling using soft-plastic worms. Zoom created this bait to work well with a Texas rig. How big is it? How about a whopping 10.5 inches! Let’s face it, big baits land big fish, and a monster largemouth won’t be able to resist when it sees one of these worms with its long, curly tail whipping around behind it as it snakes its way along the bottom. When the bass have seen everything, you may very well play the old “go big, or go home” card.
One of the things we’ve learned about bass is that they not only feed heavily on baitfish, but that the erratic actions of a wounded bait fish creates an instinctive need in the bass to feed, even when it’s not really hungry. These updated versions of the classic crankbait dive down deep to bring those bruiser bass that are holding on deep-water structure. Available in five sizes that run from depths down to 24 feet and in a plethora of fish-catching colors that you can use to match the natural baitfish of the body of water you’re fishing. 3D eyes add additional life-like appearance that will catch the light just so to bring about heavier strike.
Fishing conditions can often cause bass to hold up tight and not want to come chase something swimming past its lair. That’s when you pull out the jigs and go to work. This hand-tied jig whips and flutters its rubber skirt with just a simple twitch of your wrist. The weedless-rigged jig lets you work it into tight cover and catch the attention of that one hawg that just doesn’t want to budge. The dual rattles draw the fish in with vibration and noise. Bass simply can’t resist.
Rods and reels
The bass fishing rod is a glorious piece of fishing engineering. Anglers want sensitivity, strength, and light weight in the modern bass rod and this one delivers. HM64 graphite. You see that and think it sounds good. What it means is the rod blank is constructed of the latest high-modulus graphite, which has high tensile strength, light weight and it transfers every nudge, bump and strike directly to your hand. Combine that with a thin, ergonomic grip and stainless-steel framed line guides and you get the whole picture. With different lengths and strengths, there is a ZX for every angler.
When you were little, a fishing reel was just that—a reel. You never really had to think of it as being much beyond that. The modern bass fishing reel is closer to a winch mounted on the front of your truck. As the quality and price go up in a bass reel, you start looking for certain things that set them apart. That’s what’s so special about this reel; it is definitely set apart from other reels. Twelve bearings mean this is a smooth reel, both in the initial cast and the retrieval. The backlash control system helps keep you from ending up with a nasty bird’s nest of line. It’s when that lunker grabs your bait that you feel the rest of it—the durable gear drive and the sturdy drag system. He can run and hide, but he’s not getting away. That fish is coming to the boat.
A rod is only as good as the reel and vice versa. That’s why it is so important to have one that matches and compliments the other. It’s a good reason to take a look at a rod and reel combo that is put together for you—you know it’s going to work together. In this case, you get an outstanding and sensitive rod, and have it paired with a 10 bearing reel with a solid drag system and tough, tournament-proven construction. Oh, and the best part of a rod and reel combo—you save a little extra than you would buying them separately. How cool is that?
When you’re fishing a bass tournament, from your local one run by a mom-and-pop shop, all the way out to the big, nationally televised events, there is one thing that is the same. It’s the big pay-off at the end: the weigh-in! It’s the part that everyone comes to watch. They want to see your catch and know that you’re going to get it back into the water to fight another day. That’s where weigh-in bags like this come in. Strong, durable, and leak-proof, this bag will not only get your fish to the scale, but will let you look like a pro doing it.
So you’re in the tournament and you’re closing in on the money. You’ve got a limit in the livewell and now you’re looking for bigger bass. Boom! You catch a bass and you think it weighs more than one you already have. This beam makes finding which bass is bigger so easy. Tip the scales in your favor and know that of the fish you caught, you didn’t accidentally let that one go that could have put you over the top.
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.
Images courtesy Cabela's