By Rob Newell
Special to BassFan
In the world of professional bass fishing, the name Cody Meyer has become synonymous with spotted bass.
As a native of Northern California, Meyer is a spotted bass freak who forged his fishing education on spots. Since then, he has compiled an impressive FLW Tour résumé, including the Tour’s longest-running streak for consecutive limits caught (50), which was undoubtedly held together by a spotted bass or two. In addition, Meyer was also a potential spotted bass world record holder for a brief period of time with a 10.80-pound brute.
Given his penchant for the spotted species, Meyer is a great candidate for a rendition of Pros Pick Three in which Meyer’s three “must-have” lures will be for spotted bass.
When asked to narrow his spotted bass arsenal down to just three choices, Meyer had to pause for thought while selecting his baits.
“Well, on the surface that request might sound easy since it seems like just one species of bass to consider,” Meyer said as he picked through his rods. “But there are different species and even subspecies of spotted bass like the Coosa spot, the Alabama spot and Kentucky spotted bass. They’re each a little peculiar in their own right, so I’m factoring that into my choices as well.”
Meyer added that being asked for three staples in spotted bass fishing is almost an oxymoron since his overall strategy with spots is to always be showing them something new.
“Put it this way, as soon as a spotted lure becomes a staple, they quit biting it,” Meyer said with a chuckle. “Seriously, spotted bass are pretty crafty; they’re super quick learners. They adapt fast in learning what lures to avoid. And here’s the weird part: it’s like once they learn how to avoid a lure, even their offspring know how to avoid it, too.
“If you had pitched me this idea 15 or 20 years ago, I would have told you split-shot rigs, dart heads and grubs were my absolute go-to lures for spotted bass.
“When was the last time you heard of someone using those lures?” he continued. “I can’t remember the last time I used a split shot rig.
“The same thing has happened with a dropshot,” Meyer added. “For years, the dropshot was the deal for spotted bass. But now spots have seen thousands of dropshots and it’s like they are immune to them. In fact, I’m not even including a dropshot on my must-have list for this article because it’s too played out for me and it catches too many little fish.”
With that, Meyer jumped right into his three must-have spotted bass lures, starting with at least one age-old standby.
The dropshot may have been cut from Meyer’s short list for spotted bass, but the shaky head still holds the top spot in his go to list.
“The old shaky head still fools spotted bass pretty well,” Meyer said. “I think one reason for that is the shaky head is weedless – it’s a finesse presentation that can slide into cover and that stills fools a lot of fish. And it’s so versatile. From skipping docks to fishing rock to fishing deep brush piles to dropping on suspended bass – it does it all. I even catch a lot of bass off my graph video game style with a shaky head instead of a dropshot.”
Meyer’s primary shaky head set up is a Strike King Fat Baby Finesse Worm on a 3/16-ounce Tour Grade Shaky Head fished on his signature series 7-foot, 4-inch medium-action Daiwa Tatula Elite spinning rod. His line combo is a 15-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid tied to a 6- or 8-pound Tatsu fluorocarbon leader. He also admitted to being a fervent line watcher.
“Spots are so finicky,” he said. “A lot of times they’ll hit a lure on the sink, hold it for just a second or two, and then drop it. I’m always watching my slack on the water, looking for that that ‘tick’ in my line from the bite so I can set the hook before the lure is dropped.”
As for colors of the worm, he prefers green-pumpkin or any variation of it, including green-pumpkin sapphire.
Next up in is a Strike King Rage Swimmer ribbed swimbait teamed with a ½-ounce Squadron Head fished on 12-pound test Tatsu fluorocarbon with a 7-foot, 3-inch medium-heavy Tatula Elite casting rod.
“This bait is a killer on suspended spots along bluffs, in standing timber, around marinas and over brush piles,” Meyer said. “It has replaced a swimming grub that used to be my go to in these situations. There is something about the ribbed body and swimming boot-tail combination that really tricks spotted bass.”
He said the ghost shad, green gizzard shad and pro blue red pearl versions of the 3.75-inch size as good colors to start with. Meyer says the trick to this particular lure is a slow, steady retrieve.
“Don’t go higher than a 6.3:1 reel ratio for this lure,” Meyer added. “It will pull the bait too fast. This lure has a perfect speed at which it works best. It’s a slow, steady reeling – there is no need to twitch or jerk this bait. Cast it out, count it down to where you want it in the water column, click the reel in gear and wind slow and steady.”
Meyer’s most recent addition to his spotted bass must-have lure list is a swing head jig, also known as a swivel head jig, Hard Head or Biffle Head.
“I used to be a finesse jig fan for spots, but that swing head jig has taken over that role on the must have list,” Meyer said. “That thing is so versatile. It casts a mile; it comes through anything; it covers water fast. It’s like a jig and crankbait combined. It seriously is an absolute must have because it’s so efficient.”
Tommy Biffle was the first pro to expose how effective these jigs are with his own Hard Head and Biffle Bug combination made by Gene Larew Lures. Now, many companies make these swivel-head type jigs and their trailers are only limited by the imagination.
Meyer’s pick is a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Swing Football Head teamed with a Rage Menace trailer, usually in some version of green pumpkin. He fishes it on 15-pound test fluorocarbon on the same Daiwa Tatula he uses for the swimbait.
“Fishing those Ozark lakes like Beaver and Table Rock used to make me crazy because there is so much water to cover,” Meyer said. “Dinking around those lakes with a shaky head would take a lifetime – that’s where the swing head really proved its value to me. I can cover a lot of those big, flat gravely points fast – it’s the best of a jig and the best of a crankbait combined.”
When considering his three lures, Meyer said he wanted to give equal appeal to all three species of spots.
“Because the Coosa spot is so current oriented, that Rage Swimmer and the swing football head are great for targeting current seams,” he said. “The Alabama spot is bad about suspending, so the Rage Swimmer and the shaky head are the cure for it. And as for Kentucky spotted bass, those things are the devil of all spotted bass – you never know what in the heck they’re doing – so I need all three of these lures to catch those suckers!”