June 29, 2008
Texas Rig Works in Minnesota
By Doug Monson, The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.
Jun. 29--Last year I set a goal to land 100 bass throughout the fishing season.I didn't reach that goal, but settling in at 77 wasn't all that bad either. This year, with the late spawn and the now-steady action on area lakes (especially the shallower lakes that spawned early) I've already landed 51 largemouths.
People always ask me why I stick with the Texas-rigged worm when the fishing pace is slow and it is harder to cover a lot of ground than say, a buzzbait, spinnerbait or crankbait. Well, of the 51 I've landed, 28 of those fish have come on Texas rigs, including a 6-pound whopper on opener with fellow Free Press staffer Tanner Kent and his father, Rex.
The breakdown goes like this: 17 on a pumpkinseed/chartruesse worm, six on blue-fleck worms, four on watermelon/chartruesse worms and one on a tequila sunrise worm (all worms were 7-inch PowerBait worms); six on 1/4-ounce, rainbow Mimmic Minnows, seven on a white spinnerbait, eight on a white, triple-blade Strike King buzzbait, one 4-pounder on a firetiger Rat-L-Trap, and one on a brown/orange, 1/4-ounce jig tipped with an Uncle Josh jumbo frog pork strip.
The slower I fish, the more I seem to consistently land. Another bonus to fishing the Texas rig is the high ratio of hooksets, as opposed to say, a buzzbait where the misses can mount quicker than the fish caught.
Now, even though I am a die-hard finesse fisherman, I never squander the opportunity to adapt to a given day's patterns. For instance, while fishing Thursday at an area gem-of-a-lake that is private and requires permission to fish, I noticed the bite was limited on the worm early in my outing, and lacking the ability to fish longer than two hours, I switched over to my buzzbait.
Within minutes I started pulling in bass. Occasionally I would see a bass buzz beneath the surface toward a log or brush pile, and I would try to finesse them into the boat with another worm presentation, and again nothing. So away went the finesse pole and out came the spinner, and before I knew it, I was walking away from the lake with 12 largemouths total. Only one of those 12 came on a worm, which only furthers my belief that the need to adapt is just as important as your money lure.
Snags and hookups
On a side note, long before Tanner Kent became the education reporter here at the paper, he and I worked the area lakes each season for hawgs. He was with me when I caught my 7-pounder, and I give him credit for helping net it.
But Tanner and I have another tradition that went by the wayside when he went south to work for a paper in Missouri -- the Kent-Monson classic. Each year we'd try to see who could catch the most bass, with the winner holding bragging rights until next season. I haven't held many of those bragging rights, but after two outings, I hold a slim 9-8 lead. Let me just tell you, I'm feeling it this year.
Doug Monson is a Free Press copy editor. Reach him at (507) 344-6352 or by e-mail at [email protected]
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