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TRY MIXING LURES AND TECHNIQUES TO FOOL LATE SUMMER BASS

Posted 8/13/2010

Most of the time, the deck of Dave Wolak's bass boat looks like a tackle store. The Yamaha pro covers it with a wide assortment of rods, all rigged with different types of lures.

"Of course, it's about having the right lure for the right conditions and situations," laughs Wolak, "but just as importantly, I also have them available to take advantage of that single moment when a bass does strike, but misses.

"I'm a strong believer that casting a 'follow'up' bait immediately back to the same spot can bring another strike instantly. I've seen it happen too many times."

Wolak's two-lure approach is not unusual among bass fishermen, but what makes his technique more successful than most is that he not only changes lures but also presentations. Basically, he switches from a fast-moving power fishing approach to a slow-falling finesse presentation.

"One of my favorite summer lures is a white jig that I often swim around boat docks," continues the Yamaha Pro. "I do catch bass with it, but I use the jig more as a search bait to locate fish. I use white so I can see it easily, and I reel it fast just under the surface just to make the fish react instinctively."

"All I'm really wanting to do is make the bass give away its location."

When a fish does react this way, simply flashing by the lure or even nipping at it, Wolak immediately casts a small shaky head worm to that very same spot. The worm is small and falls slowly and vertically, in contrast to his jig, which was moving fast and horizontally. Follow-up strikes come almost instantly.

"If I used the little worm exclusively, I couldn't cover nearly as much water because it's a target-specific lure," says Wolak. "I know I would catch fish with it, but certainly not as many as I do by swimming the jig first."

The jig-and-worm combination is one of several two-lure approaches Wolak uses. Water, weather, season of the year, and even the species of bass he's after each help determine his choices. On the Great Lakes, for example, where he targets big smallmouth, his search bait is a heavy one-ounce spinnerbait that he follows with a ¼-ounce plastic tube jig. For autumn largemouths in the backs of large tributaries, he may start with a topwater buzz bait and follow by slow-rolling a spinnerbait near the bottom. On lakes with heavy vegetation, he often begins with a frog that he reels continuously through the greenery and follows with a worm.

"My strategy is to use the right search bait for the location and conditions I'm fishing," the Yamaha Pro points out, "but it's almost always going to be white or a bright color just so I can see it. Then I'll try something very different when I get a missed strike or even just a follow.

"I have a complete arsenal of follow-up lures, including worms, small jigs, and tubes. I prefer single hook lures because they give me a higher hook-up percentage."

Winter is the one season of the year Wolak's follow-up technique does not work well, and the Yamaha pro believes it's because bass are relating more to the bottom then and simply don't chase a lure to the surface where he can see them.

"The fish just aren't as active then," the Yamaha pro concludes, "but throughout the rest of the year—spring, summer, and fall—using a follow-up lure with a different presentation nearly always brings another strike.

"That's why, when you see me on the water then, my boat deck is covered with all those different rods and lures."