Archive for the ‘Bass Fishing Tips & Techniques’ Category

Fishing, Baits and Bass – Key BTTF Blogs

May 2, 2012

Below is a short list of the best Bass to the Future™ blogs that can bring you up-to-date quickly on Lake St. Clair information, Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits, Fishing techniques and great stories:

NEW FOR 2012

NEW 4″ Tube for 2012: Triple Threat™ at Kentucky Lake

NEW Lake St. Clair Marked Map Series #1 HD™ Chart Book


Trenton, MI – The Bait and Tackle Box

St. Clair Shores, MI – XBT at Nautical Mile BP Tackle Shop


No Pattern at All

How To Fish a Tube Bait – Speedloading

Drop-Shot Tube Strategy

The Color Shift is On

Tube Trailers – Advanced  Bass Fishing Techniques

Bass Fishing Tips – More Bass with Rattles and Scent?

6/0 Hooks for 5″ Tubes – When to Move Up

High Percentage Baits – Discovering Laminates

Tackle Tips – Hooks I Use

FREE Internet Sources – The National Weather Service

FREE Internet Sources – Lowrance Sonar Viewer

FREE Internet Source For Fishing Information – Great Lakes Bass Forums

Making Your Move

Trigger or Upgrade the Bite with Bait Profiles

SeaViewer™ Underwater Camera – Collect Video Clips of Your Favorite Spots

Professional Non-Boater Tackle Tips

Professional Non-Boater Accessories

Rod Riot on Board

Tunnel Vision with Baits v.s. Making Changes to Adjust


Our Next Bass Bait – Building Confidence In It


Lake St. Clair – Get the Level of Information You Need

Lake St. Clair – Weighing the Value of Spots

Tournament Tune-up – Making Progress

Lake St. Clair – Bass in Canada v.s. the U.S.

Lake St. Clair Combat Bass Fishing™ – Bite INDICATORS

Lake St. Clair Smallmouth for a Change

Lake St. Clair – Smallmouth Bass “In The Moment”

Lake St. Clair – Local Names #1

Lake St. Clair – Safety First After Heavy Rains

Those Crazy Smallmouth – Crankbait Patterns

Lake St. Clair – Opening Day for Buzzbaits

Lake St. Clair – Aquatic Vegetation Maturation (weed growth)

Baits and Lake St. Clair Water Clarity

Develop an Area – It’s a Process

Gobies as a Food Source

St. Clair River and Channels – No Wake Zones

We Need a Bigger Boat for Lake St. Clair…Really?

My “Go To” Places for Fishing Information – The Short List

Lake St. Clair Chart – FREE Internet Access


Tube Bait Designs with a Pupose – Xtreme Bass Tackle™ Baits

XBT – Technology and Research = Knowledge and Success

Brown Craw

Muskegon Goby

Mayfly™ – Entering the Mayfly Zone

Mayfly™ – Fishing The XBT Mayfly Tube

Lake St. Clair 7.4 oz. Smallmouth Caught by Great Lakes Bass Member TCook

Formula G3™ – A Key Bait Color for Consistent Bass Fishing

Biggest Smallmouth Bass Caught On Xtreme Bass Tackle™ Baits

The Return of St. Clair Goby™ Classic

No Secrets on Lake St. Clair Vol. 1

Smallmouth Confidential™ – Guide Level Tactics for Smallmouth Bass

How to Fish the Xtreme Bass Tackle™ Skirted Twin Tail Grub


Good Friends and Good Suppliers Keep You on the Water

Combat Bass Fishing™ Guide Service – Grinding it Out to Success


Fishing Chart for Lake St. Clair by Waterproof Charts™


Lake St. Clair Bass Fishing – Awareness

Fun With Muskies #2

Those Crazy Smallmouth – Cast and Release

Lake St. Clair – You Just Never Know What You’ll See

Lake St. Clair – First Smallmouth

Lake St. Clair – A Very Nice Place to Visit

Bass Fishing Friends Find Success on Lake St. Clair

Lake St. Clair With Professional Angler Bob Mann Sr.

An Xtreme Bass Tackle™ Fish Story From Andy Buss (R&B Bass Circuit – Indiana)

Lake St. Clair – Those Other Fish (Multi-Species #1)

Lake St. Clair – Those Other Fish (Multi-Species #2)

The Lake St. Clair Experience – Spring 2010

The Best Fish Never Caught – The Power of Canadian Mist

Lake St. Clair – Back Home and Switching Gears

July 15, 2010

It was great to travel to Muskegon Lake and it is great to be home. If I had been home early enough on Sunday I guarantee that my boat would have been hitched and headed out to the big lake before my bags were unpacked. I got my wish a day later and found myself back on familiar water, but something was different.

I had just spent two days fishing bass that wouldn’t chase anything. They wanted the bait sitting there for them to find and to pounce on. After fishing for awhile it occurred to me…the boat and I are floating in Lake St. Clair, what am I waiting for? Out came the jerkbait and the spinnerbait and I was rewarded with a couple of 3 lb. smalllies.

It’s not that unusual to be fishing the memory of the bass we caught the last time we were on the water. This was the first time however that I “felt” the tempo that I was fishing and recognized it as moving at Muskegon Lake speed. Back on Lake St. Clair the bass will chase and be aggressive most of the time. This was just one time that I noticed how deeply ingrained muscle memory becomes while solving the bite on one body of water. How many times in the past did I ignore this phenomenon and not make the necessary adjustment in time? I’ll never know for sure but from now on I’ll continuously “switch gears” and watch what happens.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

How To Fish a Tube Bait – Speed Loading

July 6, 2010

For bass anglers selecting the right color in a soft plastic bait can make all the difference between a good day fishing and a great day fishing. One way to get a high number of colors in front of the bass quickly is to “speed load” tubes.

Speed loading is faster than inserting the jighead into the tube from the back, punching the eyelet through the plastic then retying. Instead you can penetrate the tube from the outside, force the tube head into the tube cavity without ever having to retie. This enables you to make quick changes and present as many as 10 different colors to the bass in as little as 10 minutes. Here’s how you do it:

Then another color…

Then another color…

…and so forth.

Call Xtreme Bass Tackle™ TOLL FREE – (877) 485-2223

XBT on Ebay (click here)

If you are interested in a guided trip on Lake St. Clair click here for brochure

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

The Summer Bite Emerges – 2010

June 30, 2010

It’s not hard to be grateful for the shear quality and diversity of this world class smallmouth bass fishery called Lake St. Clair. Each period during the season, the pre-spawn, spawn, post-spawn, summer bite, fall transition and fall pattern have their distinct characteristics but boy am I glad the post-spawn period is coming to a close.

Unless you have been on top of a specific group of bass, the last two weeks have been marked by long runs to multiple spots trying to grind out average quality bass. This period is filled with bass in moods that run from complete indifference to short periods of wild aggression with no way to plan ahead or construct effective patterns or strategies.

The most obvious way to detect the emergence of the summer bite is by how you see bass respond on the water. The summer bite response is everything that the post-spawn isn’t. The good news is that we can now begin to develop strategies and plans to increase our catch rate in numbers and size and get the most out of this world class fishery.

You can find more about Summer Bite indicators in the book, No Secrets on Lake St. Clair vol. 1 on page 47 or go to Fishing Spots Specs™ and get the latest, most accurate and best bass fishing reports available on Lake. St. Clair.

To order Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits or Combat Bass Fishing information products:

Call Xtreme Bass Tackle™ TOLL FREE – (877) 485-2223

XBT on Ebay (click here)

If you are interested in a guided trip on Lake St. Clair click here for brochure

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

No Pattern at All

June 26, 2010

Finding a successful pattern could be considered the basis for all bass fishing but what if there is no pattern at all? This doesn’t happen often and when it does it would be easy to think that we just didn’t find the bait they wanted today. When just getting started in bass fishing a day like this can really shake your confidence. Experienced anglers know this can happen but are still hard-wired to find a solution. Either way, knowing that the playing field is leveled (as in wrecked) helps to keep things in perspective. To experience any success at all on a day like this is the result of a lot of hard work and that may be a pattern of its own.

It helps to diagnose the symptoms early. A light bite is one INDICATOR but look for more. Seeing bass swimming around but not being able to get them interested almost seals the deal. The issue is pretty much settled when a single bait or presentation only works once or twice on the same group of fish then doesn’t work at all. If you are fishing by yourself the next step to take is to change baits and presentations often. When you have more folks on the boat it’s helpful to keep everyone on different baits until something works. Switching others quickly to the bait that worked may result in another bass or two being caught but watch for the bite to die quickly and be ready to go back to presenting multiple baits and presentations.

Bringing in an average sized catch on a day like this is an INDICATOR that as an angler, your work ethic and skill sets are well developed and can stand up to the toughest conditions…no pattern at all.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

Tournament Tune-up – Making Progress

June 13, 2010

Wayne, I rode your G3 to an $11,000 payday at the Canadian Open by Capital One. Thanks again for a great product. Dan M.

It’s no surprise that many anglers are attracted to tournament fishing. Thoughts of standing on stage with the biggest catch of the day while hundreds look on is a type of recognition that is appealing and says, “Job well done!” Tournament fishing is a lifestyle for some while others are content to do it at least once. Along the way anglers find themselves at various stages where it may seem like they are stuck in one place and not reaching their goals, but it’s all part of the process.

Fishing the first tournament – There are so many questions at this stage. Do I need to bring a life vest for myself, do we net the bass or do we have to lip them, how many rods do I bring, etc… It’s best to befriend someone who fishes tournaments on a regular basis who can help you prepare and get the most out of your first tournament experience.

Not getting skunked – Everyone wants to win and nobody wants to come back without any fish at all. It’s a great feeling to get that first bass under your belt, especially if it’s a big one.

Getting your first limit in a tournament – Many anglers reach a point where they have been fishing tournaments but seem stuck on bringing back three or four fish and can’t seem to get that fifth fish. Your first limit is a big milestone.

Your first tournament cash – Tournament fishing is a lot about pre-fishing, purchasing equipment and paying in fees for tournaments. Getting that first check for a high finish is a confidence booster but also pays back some $$ back into the kitty.

Your first tournament win – Some anglers fall into this early on in competitive fishing. Even after winning one it can be a long time before they get back into the winners circle. Others have been fishing tournaments for years and have yet to take first place. A lot of things have to go right to be the best on any given day so the only answer is to work hard and be patient.

Your first “big” tournament win
– This can be even more elusive but once you get it, you’ll want to do it again.

No matter what place you are at in the tournament experience, it’s all good. We battle work schedules, getting enough pre-fishing time, upgrading our equipment to be more competitive and more. It’s a journey with rich rewards in personal growth, friends and success.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

Xtreme Bass Tackle – Drop-shot Tube Strategy

June 10, 2010

Using a drop-shot rig might be different than what you are used to but it is one of the easier rigs to use and it is deadly. On some days smallmouth feed hard off of the bottom but when they are not, the drop shot rig puts your bait right into their strike zone. If you’re not fired up yet about the ability to reach a new group of bass that wasn’t previously available to you, there’s more…

The drop-shot rig lends itself to rapid bait changes which when it functions as a live bait rig isn’t much of an advantage. When using soft plastic baits however it gives you a tool with overwhelming superiority. What if you could present 10 different bait colors to a school of bass in 10 minutes? With the drop-shot rig and Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits you can. That short investment of time will tell you volumes about what color(s) the smallies prefer that day.

The way I do this is to set up on an area with a school of smallmouth and make two casts per color. The data gathered by that short experience is invaluable and useful anywhere on the body of water that day.

With Xtreme Bass Tackle™ drop-shot tubes you can put colors that have proven themselves through research and sales over a long period of time (high percentage baits) in front of the bass. As you can see from my drop-shot box the largest compartment is full of Canadian Mist. That color has proven itself to be the most consistent of all.

To order Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits or Combat Bass Fishing information products:

Call Xtreme Bass Tackle™ TOLL FREE – (877) 485-2223

Buy Xtreme Bass Tackle baits online

If you are interested in a guided trip on Lake St. Clair click here for brochure

(c) 2010-2014 Wayne Carpenter

Those Crazy Smallmouth – Cast and Release

June 9, 2010

In the annals of smallmouth behavior a situation exists where no matter what you do it seems impossible to hook them up. The day might start with losing smallies on topwater baits laden with treble hooks. You’ll try different hooksets, check your hooks and change baits but the results are the same. Even though the topwater bite is “on” a move is made to work jerkbaits and spinnerbaits but no matter whether the bass are jumping or sounding the big fish that are biting still spit the hook. We think, “We can still fix this” so we make a change and start throwing all types of soft plastics. They still get off.

This scenario differs greatly from the norm. Typically we work the problem by going through the type of rod, line or hooks we are using plus examine our technique for flaws then make the necessary adjustments. What we are experiencing in this case is atypical and has more to do with the way the bass are biting ANY lure presented to them. The cause is unknown at this time but the effect is not. A day like this can really affect your confidence.

I was working at my desk one day when a customer called me after they fished a tournament. He said, “Wayne, I’m telling you I had the tournament won with the bass I had on the line but I just couldn’t get them in the boat.” Getting bit wasn’t the issue, landing the bass was.

You are probably reading this waiting for the punch line, the intuitive “game changing” answer to the dilemma. In this case you may have to settle for some encouragement that you are not in this alone. As frustrating as the situation can be it’s important not to let it shake your confidence. It’s likely that you did everything you could to adjust but the smallies just wouldn’t cooperate.

As a trend that lasts for an entire day this scenario doesn’t come up very often. One unique characteristic of the event as I have experienced it first-hand and as it has been reported to me is the aggressive bite. The cause and effect of this could also track one other direction…

Most of us have had this experience: The other person on the boat is catching fish on nearly every cast and though we are throwing the same bait on the same spot with the same tackle, we can’t get bit. It seems possible to me that on the “Cast and Release” day I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and some intangible quirk in my hookset is the culprit.

The research continues…

To order Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits or Combat Bass Fishing information products:

Call Xtreme Bass Tackle™ TOLL FREE – (877) 485-2223

XBT on Ebay (click here)

If you are interested in a guided trip on Lake St. Clair click here for brochure

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

Lake St. Clair – Bass in Canada v.s. the U.S.

June 3, 2010

(This is an excerpt from the book No Secrets on Lake St. Clair Vol. 2 (page 77) about which side of the border is better for bass tournament anglers on Lake St. Clair.)

Question: Is it better to fish in Canadian or U.S. water?

There are some benefits to fishing in Canada that are impossible to ignore:

  • Lower boat traffic
  • Higher concentration of rock when compared with the U.S.
  • Walpole territory is part of the Canadian side
  • Generally less fishing pressure

Even with the apparent imbalance of positive factors that favor fishing the Canadian side, U.S. water can still be the place to be for a win. The most extensive and many of the most productive ares in the St. Clair River are in the U.S. portion of the channel system (North, South, Middle). The largest bass registered with the DNR in 2002 came out of Anchor Bay (U.S.). When the pro’s visit this body of water a large contingent of fish brought to the scales come from U.S. waters.

Graphic supplied by Bill (Mac) McElroy originator of the nationally known cartoon characters, Scales and Tales™

The answer lies in confidence, angling style, time of year, general bass location (weed v.s. rock, current v.s. no current, deep v.s. shallow, warm water v.s. cool water) and logistic limitations.

Opening day for…

To order Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits or Combat Bass Fishing information products:

Call Xtreme Bass Tackle™ TOLL FREE – (877) 485-2223

XBT on Ebay (click here)

If you are interested in a guided trip on Lake St. Clair click here for brochure

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

Lake St. Clair Smallmouth for a Change

May 28, 2010

It won’t be long until the spawn plays out, the post-spawn emerges then soon after that the summer bite sets in. What we are in for is change, change, change. What we have now is stability which is a heck of a lot of fun and a single presentation can produce big numbers of bass. Of course we will enjoy this time but it is good to keep the idea that change is coming in the back of our minds.

The first change will be the hardest: the post-spawn period. The bass have had a busy couple of months and are spent. Aside from that they have plenty of bass fry in close quarters they are protecting so once the urge to eat gets turned back on…let’s just say it’s hard to compete with a meal that easy. All the spawning hot spots cool off and small males are left to finish the work they started.

The next change will come in the form of a post-spawn feed which can yield big numbers of big bass for up to five frantic minutes in a single day. It’s a mentally challenging period that tests the best of the best, but the potential for a great reward for your efforts is there.

As the summer bite comes on some semblance of normalcy will return as bass settle into predictable patterns once again. In this case however they start becoming highly color and presentation selective.

Smallmouth Confidential is a book of proven techniques used for locating smallmouth bass and understanding their habitat and behaviors

This whole process is not without its effect on us. Smallmouth tend to teach us how to fish in patterns and a pattern that worked today may not work tomorrow. If you would like to know more about this period of change and what to do about it read the chapter about Reactive Logic in my latest book, Smallmouth Confidential. In that book I detail how we tend to hold on to these patterns even when they’ve stopped working then show how to break out of that mold and get back to exercising those finely honed fishing instincts we all have.

If you are interested in a guided trip on Lake St. Clair click here for brochure

To order Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits:

Call Xtreme Bass Tackle™ TOLL FREE – (877) 485-2223

XBT on Ebay (click here)

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter