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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