Sight Fishing Part 3
Published on Bassmaster.com June 7, 2010
I'm sure the spawn is going strong in some of the Northern states, but here in Texas the majority of the bass have finished their spawn and are already on their summer patterns. Therefore, after this article, I will pick back up on sight fishing before the next sight-fishing season.
This year, the fish didn't move up on the beds until around March 29, which is nearly a month late because of the unusually cold winter. I caught fish on beds every trip from March 29 through May 18. I'm sure there were still a few on the beds after that, but the only bass I saw after that time were hanging around bluegill beds (which was a productive pattern for me this year). I had a great spawn this year. I boated four fish over 11 pounds and 10 fish that went around 10 pounds or better. Our biggest was over 12 pounds.
Once you've found the fish, the most important part of sight fishing is bait presentation. Since the sweet spot is only about a foot in diameter, it's critical that you are able to get your bait there. In most cases, you will need to make many casts to the exact spot to get the fish excited enough to bite. If you don't hit the exact spot every time, you may not succeed.
If you get close enough to flip, you will probably be too close to catch a giant bass. You will have a better shot at catching her if you're 20 feet away. Pitching is definitely the best technique, and baitcasting reels are best for pitching. The object of pitching is to get your bait to make a straight line to the target, glide as close to the water as possible, and land with the slightest splash.
Most beginners instinctively make two common mistakes when they try to learn to pitch. The first is they start with too much line out. My rule of thumb is never to go past the reel. If you have a 7-foot rod and you have 7 feet of line out, you have too much. You would do better with 5 or 6 feet of line out.
The next common mistake is to try to do too much with the hand that holds the bait steady. Many people try to throw the bait or bend the rod with too much pressure. The only thing the other hand should do is hold the bait and release it. Do all the work with your dominant wrist. My favorite bait for sight fishing for giant bass is a Texas rigged tube with a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce weight. Not only is this an effective rig, but it is also very easy to pitch. If you are using a Texas rig, be sure to hold it by the weight. That way you are not as likely to hook yourself or put any odors on the bait.
I prefer at least a 6 1/2-foot rod that is fairly stiff, but not a complete broomstick. I use 7-foot Kistler Helium rods for sight fishing. I use heavy action with 25-pound test for the big females. I use Ambassadeur Revo baitcasting reels for pitching. There are many reels that work well for pitching and several that do not work so well. My rule of thumb is that if you can throw a light weight without backlashing, you probably have a good pitching reel. Spinning and spin cast reels are not as effective for pitching.
I recommend practicing in your home if your ceiling is high enough and your spouse will let you. I recommend setting up a coffee table or something similar with a plate or Frisbee underneath and to the back of it. Then, measure off 20 feet and set up a chair. You want to stand on the chair and pitch the bait under the coffee table and land in the plate or Frisbee.
The reason for going under the obstacle into a plate or Frisbee is twofold. For one, it helps you prepare to pitch under docks, trees, etc. The other reason is that you want to get the bait as close to the water as possible so you do not make a splash. If you are throwing into a bucket, your bait is going up. When it comes down it will make a splash.
Keep in mind that when you are pitching for real, the boat may be moving, the wind may be blowing, and you may have obstacles in your way. You need to keep practicing until you can consistently hit your target at 20 feet. You will need to do it many times in a row to be successful at sight fishing for giants.
If there's nothing but water behind the bed, you want to take advantage of the situation and pitch the bait past the bed. The bed itself will usually be swept clean, but there will likely be vegetation around the bed. So, it is important to bring the bait into the bed and back out of the bed without touching the bottom anywhere but the bed.
To see how to do this, click here and then click on the "On The Lake" menu. Then click on "Pitching Well Past the Bed" under the presentation submenu.