Lake Fork Fishing Tips
From Lake Fork Guides
Specialized Gear for Special ApplicationsArticle: February, 2011
I recently wrote an article about “jack of all trade” rods that are versatile enough to work well with a wide range of lures. Although versatility is an asset a lot of times, a specialized setup will maximize your casting distance, accuracy, feel, plus hooking and landing percentages in certain situations. Following are a few technique specific rigs that I’ve found highly efficient for my style of fishing.
Lipless Cranks: Lipless rattling crankbaits like Lucky Craft LV’s and LVR’s are top producers anytime bass are shallow, especially in the spring. I use an 8’ Dobyns Champion model 804CB rod for these because it casts an absolute mile and it has a soft tip to keep barely hooked fish locked up. This long rod plays fish out very well and minimizes lost fish, yet when I pair it with 50 lb FluoroBraid from Lake Fork Trophy Lures I can still snap my lure free from grass with the flick of my wrists. With lipless cranks, more miles fished and less lures fouled in grass equal more bites, and the 804CB not only helps me get more bites, but keeps them on once I get them.
Deep Diving Cranks: Simple math and science dictates my choice here—the longer the cast and the smaller the line, the deeper your crankbait will go. Longer rods not only cast way farther than shorter ones but they also play fish better, an important consideration anytime you use treble hook lures. Therefore, I use another 8’ cranking stick from Dobyns, the 805CB, to launch my bait out. A small diameter line with low memory makes for longer casts and deeper running baits so I spool up with 10 lb PowerSilk copolymer line. 6 or 8 lb test would go even deeper but they just don’t hold up to the abrasion of scraping the bottom and cover constantly and then fighting big fish in.
Square Bill Cranks: With square bills, I’m fishing shallower and casting these around wood, grass, or grass cover and docks. I don’t need as long of a cast as with lipless or deep divers, but I want to maximize my landing percentage. A 7’ fiberglass cranking stick like the Dobyns Champion 705CB Glass MF has a slow reaction and deep parabolic bend that allows bass to take the bait deeply and the soft tip keeps them buttoned up while fighting big fish out of heavy cover at close range. Unless I’m trying to get these baits deep, I’ll normally rig up 17 or 20 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line for a bit of extra feel with the fiberglass rod.
Casting Jigs & Worms: Anytime I’m throwing a contact bait like a worm or a jig, I want to maximize my feel with the lure. Not only does an ultrasensitive setup allow me to feel more bites, but it also helps me detect bottom composition and underwater cover, often the subtle keys to getting bit. In this case, I splurge for the best quality rod that I can afford, like the 7’4” Dobyns Champion Extreme DX744C rod. Longer rods take up more slack and correct for being out of position when a bass bites, plus it’ll keep pressure on them when they make power runs at the boat or big jumps. Since I’m normally around lighter cover when casting worms and jigs, I go with a sensitive and invisible fluorocarbon line. Lake Fork’s FluoroHybrid Pro line has the feel and invisibility of fluoro, yet it mixes in the easy handling and strength of mono to make it a perfect choice for this rig.
Pitching Heavy Cover: When I put my worm or jig into thick snags, docks and heavy weeds, I still want all of the attributes of my casting jig/worm rod, just in a beefier package. I upgrade to the DX745C Extreme rod, still 7’4” and very sensitive but a bit heavier duty. Despite being a Mag Heavy power rod, the Extremes are made from space age graphite resins that are tapered to make it well balanced and easy to fish all day without getting heavy. Top end rods like this not only help you feel your bait better, but they also take it easy on your joints, a major consideration if you’re pitching a jig all day long. Instead of fluoro, I upgrade to 50 or 65 lb FluoroBraid—an innovative new braid with a fluorocarbon coating to reduce wind knots—to be able to winch the fish out.
Punching Matted Grass: In this most demanding of applications, I’m penetrating matted grass with Texas rigs and 1- 2 oz Mega weight tungsten sinkers. Normal worm rods and even flipping sticks can’t stand up to this application, either resulting in broken rods or lost fish that bury up in the weeds and pull off before you can turn them. For hand-to-hand combat like this, I use the 8’ Champion 805C Flip/Punch rod from Dobyns, a telephone pole with guides, spool up 100 lb braid, and let it rip. Not for the faint of heart, this will bring bass back from the weedy abyss.
Carolina Rig: Very similar to casting jigs and worms, yet I want an even longer rod since I often need to make very long casts to cover long tapering points or big rocky flats. Furthermore, a long rod makes casting 3’ to 5’ long leaders a lot easier. The sensitive and lightweight 7’8” Dobyns Extreme DX784C ML has enough power to handle big 1 oz rigs with 10” Fork Worms, yet enough tip to throw Hyper Sticks on a ╝ oz light Carolina rig too. As a bonus, this is also my favorite rod for throwing big Fork Flutter Spoons, so it’ll do double specialized duty.
Just like a mechanic has a box full of tools for every application, try a few of these specialized setups for your most demanding applications and your results will improve.
Fishing Tip by Lake Fork Pro Tom Redington