Fishing Tips


Posted 5/29/2009

During the recent Bassmaster® Elite tournament on Alabama's Lake Guntersville, Yamaha pro Michael Iaconelli spent each day fishing four different crankbaits to post spawn bass moving from spawning flats to summer structure. Each of the lures had slightly different wobbling actions, but Iaconelli retrieved all four the same way: as fast as he could reel them.

Even though he finished fourth, the New Jersey angler still boated 101 pounds, one ounce of fish, an impressive catch on any lake at this time of year. Speed, he explains, is one of the primary presentations he uses to get bass to strike in late spring and early summer.

"The faster you can retrieve, the better," he emphasizes. "Post spawn bass are lethargic and don't chase lures very actively, but when your 
crankbait comes racing past them, hits something and suddenly deflects off in a different direction, it seems to trigger a reflex strike.

"You won't accomplish this with a slow retrieve, because the crankbait just sort of slides around the cover and it doesn't interest the fish."

The Yamaha pro believes changing lure direction can be so important with crankbaits that he also changes his rod positions as he reels. He'll raise his rod tip to make the lure climb, lower it so it dives, and then point it right and left so his crankbait zigzags from side to side.

"The lure looks completely erratic as it moves through the water like this," Iaconelli points out, "and that's what gets the attention of a bass. It doesn't look natural so the fish must instinctively think it's injured and can be an easy meal.

"We don't really know any of this for certain, but I do know speed and change of direction have certainly caught a lot of bass for me over the years."

Iaconelli also advises using crankbaits that run slightly deeper than the actual depth being fished so they will hit bottom cover, and he recommends using fluorocarbon line, which will not only help a crankbait dive to its maximum depth but also enhance the lure's action.

"I have tested crankbaits with different lines in my uncle's swimming pool and retrieved the same lures with 10 pound fluorocarbon and 10 pound monofilament," says the Yamaha angler, "and the difference in lure action with fluorocarbon is immediately noticeable."

"Depending on the size of the bass you're after, 10 to perhaps 15 pound fluorocarbon should be fine."

At Lake Guntersville, Iaconelli fished eight to 12 feet of water, and all four of his crankbaits would easily hit the bottom on a long cast. Even though the rocky bottom was surrounded by vegetation, he's convinced deflecting his crankbaits erratically off the rocks was the most important aspect of his pattern, and he accomplished this by reeling as fast as possible.

With total catches of well over 60 fish each tournament day, it's hard to argue with his success. Post spawn bass are notoriously hard to catch at times, but the Yamaha pro's speed and change of direction tactics are certainly worth remembering.