Posts Tagged ‘bass baits’

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 – The Color Shift is On 2010

June 4, 2010

If there was ever a creature on this planet that was color selective it’s has got to be the smallmouth bass. This fact isn’t lost on seasoned smallmouth bass anglers who see firsthand how a subtle shade or even the size of flake in a plastic bait can make a difference on any given day. This tendency becomes hyper color selectivity during the summer bite so get ready but for right now we are in transition and a preference for certain colors is emerging.

This smallmouth didn't make it easy but Maxine didn't make it easy on the smallie either

Slither™ has been a top producer for the early season and this is no surprise. Every year this color dominates early on. It will continue to produce on those days the bass desire nothing else but the all time #1 top color, Canadian Mist is making its move. This bait is never a bad choice but it’s starting to become the bait of choice for smallmouth on Lake St. Clair. I was able to get out on the water for a few hours with mom and see it in action. I rigged her up with a drop-shot rig and a Canadian Mist drop-shot tube and she did the rest. The first smallie was taken in 10 feet off of a rock pile, jumped, fought, then fought some more while she finally wrestled it boat side to be greeted by the net. It was 17″ but the most significant feature was the large belly. It was heavy.

The fight started on the starboard side

After working through other fish she connected again with a smallmouth that ran even bigger but didn’t quite have the heft of the first. Again a Canadian Mist drop-shot tube made it happen. We were drifting in 13 feet of water when she cast out then waited for the line to stop spooling off of the reel. I asked about what was going on and she said, “The line hasn’t stopped yet.” I suggested she go ahead and cock the reel anyway and as she did this a smallmouth came flying out of the water about 30 yards away.

Now we're on the port side where the fight was finished. You can see the bass in the water and some friends looking on in the distance

Another suggestion was made that it would be a good idea to start reeling and then the fight was on. For those of you who know the power and attitude smallmouth display when hooked you can relate to her epic battle as the smallie sounded, then sounded again and again. Both of the quality smallmouth she caught this day were full of strength and energy and ready for good scrap.

The Mayfly tube continued to produce with regularity but on this day Canadian Mist was king!

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 – Memorial Day 2010 Wrap-up

June 1, 2010

It was two and a half days of absolutely perfect weather that brought big numbers of bass out to play. Much about the bite has changed since last week and the bite on bigger bass has slowed down. One thing for sure though is that the rock bass were dominating the action.

The word on this one is that the photo really doesn't do it justice. Scott got this on a spot known for 4 lb. smallies and this one was pushing the high side of that average

Scott Hayes and his father Ron both experienced the rock bass explosion first hand. After the trip he prefaced the entire fishing report with, “You might as well assume that we caught rock bass everywhere we went today.” The father/son team made its way down the U.S. coastline toward the Detroit River, all the while picking up good numbers of average bass on most spots. The big highlight came when Scott hooked a black looking smallmouth that was pushing five pounds. It was caught in an area packed with keeper largemouth. The active fishing trip on Monday went smoothly right down to putting the boat on the trailer just before the T-storms came.

I got out Sunday afternoon and worked the U.S. shoreline north of where Scott was the next day and found the smallmouth action to have slowed a bit. It’s another banner year for largemouth though. St. Clair Crayfish and Mayfly tubes really produced. Click here to see a blog about the trip

It’s always assumed that Lake St. Clair will be overrun with both anglers and recreational boats but the odds are 50/50 that many folks head “up north” instead of the Lake. Two major launches still had spots left in the mid-afternoon on Sunday so it wasn’t as congested as it could have been. The boating activity on the water was much like any beautiful weekend during the summer months.

To order Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits:

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

XBT on Ebay (click here)

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

Lake St. Clair – First Smallmouth

May 31, 2010

It was a new experience yet Linda put the first five bass in the boat like an expert

(We do get spoiled fishing Lake St. Clair. Smallmouth bass are the dominant species and the action on all species is going to keep things interesting. Some anglers come from out-of-state with a full array of largemouth skills and leave with smallmouth fever, more skills and plans to come back and do it again. Other anglers have the desire to get out on the big water but would like someone to build their confidence in spots and navigation then they take it from there. Another type of angler would just like to get out on the Lake with someone who has the knowledge and equipment to experience the best Lake St. Clair has to offer. Linda Bieschke had been talking about this trip for awhile and now the time has come for her to begin the narrative of the story about fishing Lake St. Clair that will start with her first smallmouth bass.)

To avoid the unstable weather forecast for Monday, Linda and I decided to set sail for the big lake on Sunday afternoon instead. Getting out on Lake St. Clair on a beautiful day when the fish are biting is something to look forward to and this day was no exception. Along the way we stopped off at “Jimmy’s” tackle shop to get a license for her and to pick up some terminal tackle. Memories of a long line of boats lined up outside of the launch waiting to get in (at Harley Ensign) were playing in my head until we pulled up to the entrance and saw that plenty of empty spots were available. It can be a struggle to negotiate the launch area at that point in the afternoon but we were able to get the boat in the water right away. So far, so good.

On our first spot I rigged up a 4″ St. Clair Crayfish tube for Linda and we began a slow drift as the winds pushed us toward shore. Linda picked up the mechanics of casting and retrieving an open faced spincasting outfit quickly even though this type of fishing was a new experience for her. The sparse weed on the flat did present a challenge though. Right away she was talking about the difference between the bait grabbing the weeds (a stalk of cabbage) or a bass grabbing the bait. It turned out to be a moot point though since she boated her first five bass without incident. The first bass was a largemouth which was fun but there was another species lurking out there which would put her new skills to the test: smallmouth bass.

She didn’t have to wait long until the smallie took the bait. It was clear something was different but what? The excitement of managing the bass began to sink in as the smallmouth broke the surface then continued to pull away from her. “It’s heavy,” she said with a raised voice while the pole bent closer to the water. She kept the rod tip high and kept the thrashing bass hooked long enough so that we could get a net on it. That’s the smallmouth in the photo: Linda’s first smallmouth bass May 30, 2010. It wasn’t her last one either as we stayed awhile longer to work the spot.

A second spot brought on more action but the rock bass had taken over. As we were about to pick up and leave Linda puts the St. Clair Crayfish tube to work once again and connects with a largemouth which led to another largemouth and so forth.

It would be nice to finish the evening out at one more spot so off we went. This was a deeper flat with sparse weed with bigger largemouth yet. The wind was dying down, the boat traffic was thinning out and the beautiful day was turning into a perfect evening. Right away I hooked up with our best largemouth of the day which took a 4″ Mayfly™ tube with a rattle jig. It took some time but Linda finally relented and gave up on the St. Clair Crayfish™ tube as Mayfly™ continued to put bass in the boat on back-to-back casts. It was a great ending to a very good day on Lake St. Clair.

For Linda, the adventure is just beginning…

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

Lake St. Clair – Entering the Mayfly Zone May 2010

May 31, 2010

One of the most important seasonal INDICATORS to watch for is the advent of the mayfly hatch. It changes bass behavior by flooding the food chain with an overabundance of forage. Bass caught during this period look like pre-spawn females because their distended bellies are stuffed full. They tend to release partially digested mayfly pieces into the water when brought up to the boat. From Fishing Spots Specs™ reports we know that the first sign of a mayfly hatch came on or about Monday May 24th.

These early mayflies are generally smaller (about 1/2 the size of the largest), darker and aren’t known to generate a lot of excitement amongst the bass populations that we know of. As of this writing we have found them as far up as Anchor Bay and down to the Grosse Point Club. A report of a hatch of larger mayflies in the 9 Mile area is in. What remains is to see how strong that hatch will be.

It’s the larger species of mayfly that inspired the new Xtreme Bass Tackle™ Mayfly™ tube. The base color for the tube is a cream/gold color which mimics the color of the mayfly that gets the bite going. This bait has already been a top early producer on Lake St. Clair this year now the time has come for it to show what it can do during a seasonal period where anglers are working extra hard to get few fish.

For product specs on the Xtreme Bass Tackle™ Mayfly™ tube click here

To order Xtreme Bass Tackle™ baits:

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

XBT on Ebay (click here)

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

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

May 26, 2010

Every fish has its moment where they will bite anything you throw at them yet there seems to me to be something special about smallmouth bass and their propensity to turn off just as fast as they turn on. Tournament anglers work under the pressure of a ticking clock and are most likely to get the broadest look at the phenomenon. The pressure that is on them to produce at the highest possible level during each hour of a tournament produces a kind of tunnel vision toward smallmouth behavior. Different behavior = different bait or presentation.

On a macro level bass have semi-predictable seasonal trends which clue us into their position in the ecosystem and what type of bait selection might be the most effective. A pre-spawn smallmouth has a wide range of movement and a wide range of appetites. A summer bite smallmouth holds tight to structure and may only bite one style of bait presented in a very specific fashion. In both cases an angler can make good general judgments about where to fish based on very little information.

There is probably nothing more fun than just going out with friends and “winging it,” taking stock of “the moment” with each other and accepting whatever a beautiful day on the water will bring. Some anglers though thrive on expanding their knowledge and build on each success or failure then apply that knowledge to a future trip. On a micro level general information is used to isolate tight spots and presentations which then in turn become a strategy or “game plan” for a successful day on the water.

This was one of those 'big fish' moments on the St. Clair River

So being “in the moment” is that place where every factor that led up to getting on a hot bite comes together. A west wind in the summer with cloudy skies becomes a trip out to a weed flat where you just know they will be waiting for you. A mayfly hatch means that only certain rods and baits come out of the rod locker to press the attack. You catch a nearly undetectable swirl out of the corner of your eye and make a cast to it for a sure hook-up. It’s those moments that keep us coming back for more and it’s the time on the water plus knowledge and information which makes more moments like these possible.

For Lake St. Clair, Marked Maps Live!™ and Fishing Spot Specs™ delivers exactly the kind of information that can help make your trip out to the big water the best it can be. Both internet products work side-by-side with laminated Marked Maps, books and downloadable spot specific reports which carry both Live! and historical data. These tools and the knowledge and experience you already have can help to make this the best bass fishing season possible.

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

Lake St. Clair – With Professional Angler, Bob “Jigger” Mann Sr.

May 23, 2010

It was a trip between two friends who are both busy in the industry, love to fish but rarely get a chance to be on the same boat together. We were both determined to make it work in spite of the early sour predictions about rain, thunderstorms and stiff east winds. As the day approached weather reports started to moderate and first the thunderstorms went, then the numbers began to drop for the east winds. We figured we would have to contend with murky water left over from recent heavy rains and east winds but with rain suits in tow we set out for the launch anyway, all the while watching the flags and the trees as we approached.

Bob Mann Sr. had made the trip over from Windsor, Canada and our plan of action was to launch from Harley Ensign and head into the bay at Selfridge. Immediately we could see the winds were mild but there was plenty of time for that to change. Also, the radar showed huge gaps between the heavier rainfall which wasn’t going to make it our way. It wasn’t until we struck out from shore that we saw how good the water clarity was. The first spot had an infestation of rock bass as did the second but Bob did manage one nice smallie. The next spot yielded one of our best smallmouth of the day then it was off to community water where the action was slow but steady. Our best bass came from there.

Our next stop in the bay at Selfridge was a shot-in-the-dark and dark it was with heavily stained runoff from the Salt River. A small change in position got us out beyond the mud line and into some quality largemouth. The best of the bunch was this big female that took a 4″ Mayfly tube as it was worked through the weeds.

It was the next spot where Bob began to really pick up some steam. Watching him pick apart a rock/sand combination with some weed with a Carolina Rig or a lightweight 4″ Canadian Mist tube made me realize how tough it would be to fish head-to-head against him. He was making quick, efficient casts and seemed to know he was going to get bit before it even happened.

The rest of the day was spent catching more but mostly looking over structure and visiting new areas. We did catch more bass but the rock bass were dominating the action. At one point I hooked up with two nice drum in a new spot where we expected to find smallies.

The ride back was eventful as some rain greeted us then we saw the DNR survey nets though our water covered masks. Two we saw in plenty of time but the third one snuck up on us. It was avoided without an official recorded incident unless someone hooks up a diagnostic computer to my heart and downloads the historical data.

The day was full of everything two good friends could want in a fishing trip: catching up on each others busy lives, some friendly banter on the boat and hooking up with plenty of Lake St. Clair bass then getting back safely. Hey Bob! Let’s do that again soon!

To order Xtreme Bass Tackle baits:

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

XBT on Ebay (click here)

Click here for more on Bob Mann Sr.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

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

May 17, 2010

This smallmouth bass is absolutely amazing and was caught with an Xtreme Bass Tackle Slither tube. It also seems appropriate that the smallie was caught during our recently introduced catch and release season and posted on the Great Lakes Bass website. The owner of Great Lakes Bass is Dan Kimmel who was one of the individuals that kept the science about having a catch and release season before the DNR for years to make it happen. Thank you Dan and way to go Tim!

To see this behemoth click here: St. Clair Monster Smallie

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter