(Editor's note: "Catching Bass with Dustin Wilks" airs five times per week on the Outdoor Channel – 2 p.m. ET Sunday, 4:30 a.m. Monday, 6 a.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. Wednesday and 5:30 a.m. Saturday. The six-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier provides BassFans with additional insight about each episode in these submissions.)
Last Week’s show featured late spring conditions and post-spawn fish.
The show was shot during a full moon in the first part of May. Usually I find the threadfin shad spawning heavily this time of year and I can catch a lot of bass early in the morning. This time, however, I didn’t see the first shad spawning.
If you put yourself in my shoes, I’ve hired a camera guy and made him show up to the lake at 5 a.m. By 7 a.m., I’m thinking this is a disaster – no shad are spawning, I’ve run all over the lake thinking I needed to be in the right region of the lake for it to happen and on top of all that, I’ve paid my cameraman a small fortune.
So, not about to give up, I went into a pocket and wham! I caught a fish, and then another and the same thing happened. I was also missing a lot of fish. So I remembered a cool little bait that Yo-Zuri sent me in their new 3DR-X series – a tiny little walking bait called the 3DR-X Pencil which is only 75 millimeters long. or slightly under 3 inches.
This new bait proved to be the perfect thing to adapt to the conditions. I was no longer missing fish, and I was now catching 2-3 fish per pocket or cove that I ran into.
A month or so earlier, when I first received the bait, I tinkered with it quite a bit, thinking this was gonna be a really strong lure for me. I determined that in order to fish it on a baitcaster, like I like to do, it needed some adaptation. So I went all Zell Rowland on the thing. Zell is known for adapting his old Pop-R baits and really got fishermen thinking about making little changes to the action and weight of a lure to meet their needs.
I started with just putting bigger hooks on and a feather tail. I really like a feather in spring to tease fish into biting, but it threw the action of the finesse bait off a little, so I added a SuspenDot to the back. Still not enough. I ended up adding three for the perfect action. With the feather, I could now fish it on a baitcaster accurately and the posture of the bait was now slightly tail-down.
The perfect rod is a 7-foot Falcon Cara All Around. You need a longer more flexible rod to cast small lures. This combined with 12-pound Yo-Zuri hybrid line and I was in business.
I do keep a couple of the baits just completely stock in my boat too because they are really lively and crush smallmouth bass, but I use a spinning rod with 15-pound braid for that.
So back in the boat filming, I was ready and I knew this day would come when I needed the little finesse walker.
So if you caught the show. that is why it was titled "Tiny Topwater", dedicated to the little Yo-Zuri 3DR-X Pencil. This bait has gone on to puit fish in my boat all year whenever fishing was tough.