By David A. Brown
Special to BassFan

Ask Cooper Gallant his thoughts about power fishing and he’ll ask you which one? And not only which bait – which form of power fishing.

As the second-year Bassmaster Elite Series angler explains, he takes a broad view of the power-fishing concept and applies the general notion of an aggressive, go-get-it approach to multiple areas of his game.

“Some people have a different view of what power fishing is,” Gallant said. “It can be fishing quick and making lots of casts, but it can also (apply) when I’m fishing with LiveScope; when I’m not even making many casts, but just moving around and looking for fish. There are times when I have the trolling motor on 100 and I’m just looking for suspended fish.

“Power fishing is not only about making casts, but I think that can be part of it.”

Further clarifying his viewpoint, Gallant said he has options even when he's in that rapid casting mode.

“You could be making a lot of casts and staying in one spot, or you could be making lots of casts and quickly moving down the bank,” he said. “It all depends on the scenario, but I believe in taking a broader view of power fishing.”

To crystalize his position, Gallant gave us a look at what’s in his rod locker, as he explained how he approaches the power fishing game.

Holding Steady

Remaining in one spot requires a belief in that location, but when Gallant finds something that fits the bill, a straight-up power fishing strategy allows him to thoroughly cover his target area with a variety of baits and presentations.

“It could be something like fishing a rock pile that’s 50 feet by 50 feet and you’re Spot-Locked and making repetitive casts to cover water and making sure you fan-cast that entire rock pile,” Gallant said. “Whether you’re hover strolling, throwing a topwater, a jerkbait, a Damiki rig, or a crankbait; something where you’re really moving that bait over the piece of structure you’re fishing.

“For example, you come to a point and you know there are fish there. LiveScope is such a game-changer, but when they’re on the bottom, a lot of times, you can’t see them. So that’s when I’ll SpotLock and start by throwing a Spook out there until I find them.”

He employs a 7-foot-1 medium-heavy G. Loomis IMX Pro 853C JWR with a Shimano Bantam MGL 7:1 reel.

“If I had to chose one rod for everything, it definitely would be that rod,” Gallant said. "I like those shorter rods. I could go 7-5 or 7-1, but for topwaters, I go with the 7-1 because you’re going to be able to work that bait a little better, because your rod’s not hitting the water.

“Also, you can do a lot with that medium-heavy rod; you can throw jerkbaits, ChatterBaits, spinnerbaits and those big topwaters.”

Gallant considers the 7:1 gear-ratio reel a happy medium between too slow and too fast.

“That 7:1 is just a perfect all-around (speed) where you’re not picking up too much line when you’re fishing a topwater and you’re not having to really turn the reel handle to keep up with the bait,” he said. “With that 7:1, between the twitch in your rod and those small turns in your handle, it just feels right.”

David A. Brown
Photo: David A. Brown

When covering water with offerings such as spinnerbaits, Gallant selects his tools based on his proximity to the shoreline.

Gallant offers this tip for stationary power fishing: To his 30-pound Power Pro braided main line, he adds 7-15 inches of 20-pound monofilament leader. For one thing, the stiffer monofilament creates a buffer between his bait and the braid to prevent his hooks from grabbing the limp, floating main line.

Also, mono provides a shock absorber that helps keep head-shaking fish connected.

Running the Bank

Between the sweet spots, covering water is the name of the game. Here, Gallant said he selects his tools based on proximity – fishing tight to the bank and skipping baits under trees and docks, or working just off the bank where he could be fishing anything from a shell bed to flooded timber.

For the close work, he’ll use that same 7-1 outfit he’d use for stationary applications and adjust his line choice with his baits. If he’s out a little father in open water, he likes the 7-5 medium-heavy G. Loomis IMX Pro 893C JWR with a Shimano Bantam MGL 7:1

“It’s the same rod, just 4 inches longer,” Gallant said. “I like the longer rod because when you hook a fish, it keeps them pinned better.”

Noting that he’ll throw spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, ChatterBaits and Carolina rigs in this power fishing scenario, Gallant said one of his favorites is a 1/2-ounce Outkast Tackle Stealth Feider Tungsten Casting Jig fished on 18- to 20-pound Shimano Mastiff FC Fluorocarbon.

Stressing the wisdom of properly paired tackle, Gallant offered this tip: “If I’m fishing really heavy cover with a (bigger bait), I’ll use the 894, which is the heavy power rod, but if I’m fishing sparser cover or isolated targets like stumps or laydowns, that 893 is perfect.

“You have to match the rod action with the strength of the hook. You don’t want a hook gauge that’s too thick for the power of your rod.”


Gallant has numerous examples of when “traditional” power fishing has served him well – a 16th-place finish at the 2023 season-opener at Lake Okeechobee, for example. However, he complements that big rod drama with a textbook example of the more finesse application predicated on forward-facing sonar.

“Last year at Lake St. Clair, I kept my trolling motor on 100 and I just kept running a big flat,” Gallant said. “I’d see a blob on LiveScope and I’d make a cast. I wouldn’t mess with the ones that wouldn’t eat; I’d just keep moving, looking for fish and pitching at them. That’s all I did for four days – just moving, moving, moving, looking for active fish, and I finished 4th.”

That setup consists of a 7-5 G. Loomis IMX Pro SJR 892 or 893 with 10-pound Power Pro braid and a 10- or 12-pound Shimano Mastiff FC leader. Depending on what he’s fishing and the weight of his bait – Damiki rig, Neko rig, Shimano Zumverno Jerkbait 95 SP, shaky-head, or dropshot – Gallant alternates between the 2-power and the 3-power rod. Spooling with 10-pound Power Pro, he’ll add a fluorocarbon sized appropriately to his bait.

“For example, if I get into an area where throwing a Damiki rig around timber, I’m going to go with the 3-power (893) because I want a little extra beef in my rod to steer those fish as needed.

“But if I start getting into open water and there’s nothing around (for the fish to get into), I’ll throw the 892, which is a medium rod. I’d rather hook a big largemouth or a big smallmouth on a softer rod that’s more parabolic, because the bend in the rod absorbs all the head-shaking and that keeps the fish pinned better."