(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
Labor Day may mark the unofficial end of summer, but throughout much of the country Indian Summer conditions will persist for a while, keeping bass deep and offshore and looking for an easy meal. For Gerald Swindle, that means keeping lots of rods on the deck.
“I can’t say there’s just going to be one bait everywhere I go, this is what I’m going to fish. No, I’ve got a lineup, lineup lake a baseball team. One through nine. I’ve got a batting order.”
Not every deep place is the same. There are differences in cover, current, and of course water color, even on the same lake just a short boat ride from one another. That’s why Swindle has a system that covers all bases.
His leadoff hitter is a Zoom Trick worm, usually fished on a half-ounce Buckeye standup head. It’s ideal under calm, still conditions when bass are inactive. He’ll make a long cast and drag it back through the juice, using a Quantum 7’4” rod with plenty of backbone and a limber tip. He typically spools his 6.6:1 baitcasting reel with 14-pound Sunline fluorocarbon, although he cautions that in super-clear water he might drop down to 12. “Line size is critical,” he explained, especially when the current is moving because heavier line has more drag. On ledge lakes like Kentucky Lake, which often have lots of open water, 12- to 14-pound is usually plenty, even for subduing a big fish.
His No. 2 hitter is a crankbait, most often a Rapala DT 20, fished straight out of the package with stock VMC hooks. His key tackle choice here is a 5.3:1 Quantum baitcasting reel, which must have “a giant spool so I can cast it a long way.”
Next up is a newcomer, the VMC “Tokyo Rig,” which hangs the weight in front of the hook. It embodies much of the appeal of a hardhead, but with a different twist, and Swindle most often employs a Zoom Z-Craw in this scenario, paired with a 3/0 VMC worm hook.
He never goes anywhere without a Buckeye Ballin’ Out Jig. “It’s on the deck at all times,” he explained. In current, fished deep, he likes a 3/4-ounce version, often brown with a green-pumpkin Zoom twin-tail grub as a trailer. “I keep it simple. Brown and green jigs 99 percent of the time.”
Those are his power-fishing selections. In known community holes, or when fish are otherwise heavily pressured, he’ll add some finesse options. The first is a dropshot, and he imparts minimal action when he fishes it. “You don’t always need to shake it …like you’re trying to feed popcorn to the pigeons,” he explained. Next up is a small Zoom boot-tail swimbait on a 1/4-ounce Ballin’ Out jighead. He fishes it on a 6’10 spinning rod and a 10-pound main line with a leader of 8-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon. “Why would you have that at Guntersville?” some might ask. Swindle’s response is that there are times when bass are keyed in on young-of-the-year threadfin shad and the swimbait matches the hatch perfectly.
If you want to learn some of the other keys to Swindle’s hot weather offshore success, including his favorite colors for various situations, check out his full video, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.