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Tournament & Bass Fishing Tips

Have a Hot fishing tip in any of your fishing experiences across the Great Lakes Region that you'd like to share? Submit your own tips for consideration by Contacting Us. Or email your tip directly to .

Tips on This Page
Top Tip - Snap Jigging
Tip 1 - Hot Spots from Above
Tip 2 - Fishing Resume Photos
Tip 3 - Speed Triggers

Want more bass tips, advice & info?
Check out our Bass Forum

Online Articles Here

Good Advice on Making Sacrifices –
A Quote by Roland Martin

Over the years, many young people and aspiring pros have asked me for the best career advice I could give them. My answer has always been simply "come early and stay late."

Fishing is like anything else - you get out of if what you put into it. In this sport, there is no substitute for experience. And you only get that from spending time on the water. I see fishermen shortchange themselves by not spending enough time on the water or in tournaments not using the whole practice day.

But another way fishermen shortchange themselves is by not really using their time on the water. By that I mean not concentrating on what they're doing enough to learn from every hour that they spend on the water, whether they're practicing for a tournament, guiding or just fun-fishing.

Top Tip – Snap Jigging - Tube & grub fishing for the (hyper) active angler

Personally, I prefer to fish spots by casting. I only drift and drag when someone forces me to. That's why I like snap-jigging so much when tossing tubes and other jigs.

Things are rarely boring with this aggressive retrieve. It doesn't work just on active fish either. Smallies especially are like cats when resting - they can't help but take a swipe at something that jumps past them.

Often, the main trick to getting smallies to bite is just getting their attention. Snap-jigging really gets their attention – sometimes so well that they virtually ignore other nearby lures. I’ve out-fished anglers many times with this varied technique.

 Along these lines, consider the weight of the jighead also since a heavier jig will fall faster and possibly trigger more reaction strikes. You can hook bonus bass out of schools this way after you get the initial strikes from the more active bass.
One thing my underwater camera has taught me about smallies in particular, something I was suspicious about, is that there are almost always more bass on a spot then what you catch.

The trick is to figure out how to get them biting again after the bite slows, especially during those times when they aren’t biting everything that passes by. I use various snap-jigging methods for this often. It works and it keeps me on top of my game too.

 There isn’t a single retrieve that I call snap-jigging, but any active, aggressive tube retrieve. The one I use the most is simply to let the tube with a ¼ oz jig fall to the bottom and sit for a couple seconds. Then snap your rod up from 9 to 11 o’clock to pop the tube off the bottom. Let the tube fall back to the bottom on a semi-slack line. Watch for line jump signaling a strike. Let it sit on the bottom for a couple seconds again and repeat the snap. Watch for followers. I catch many smallies right under the boat this way.

Tip #1 - Find Hot Spots from the Air by Dan Kimmel

Over Hay Lake
I like this shot of Hay Lake on
the Crooked River near Alanson, MI.

Photo by Dan Kimmel

You read about the big name professional anglers doing it all the time, but rarely hear of other anglers, tournament or especially non-tournament, doing it. I'm talking about flying over lakes. It's not that expensive when you consider how much it costs to travel to a new (large) lake and spend days, weeks, or longer (if at all) learning what you can in a couple hours flying over.

Underwater structure and objects immediately become visible from the air...and contours easily overlooked at water level really stick out. I've flown about a dozen lakes and figure I saved myself untold months of searching empty water in the process.

This has been especially critical when you consider how large my usual stomping grounds are - the Great Lakes. Talk about some water to search. In the past, I flew Lake Erie - Bass Islands since I'd never been there. I took a camera, notebook and portable GPS. I marked many spots and recorded the sites with the camera. One in particular looked very promising. Derek immediately singled out the picture and said we had to visit there one of our first stops.

We pulled up directly on the spot using the GPS coordinate. It didn't look much different than surrounding water at first, but (and this is the truth absolutely) we caught 7 keeper smallmouths in 7 casts. Over the years, that spot has produced lots of bass for us.

This type of situation has occurred numerous times on other waters since. I won't go into further detail here since I only wanted to pique your interest. Eventually, I plan to add an in-depth work on this topic to my articles page.

Tip #2 - Sponshorship Resume Improvement for Aspiring Pro Anglers
by Dan Kimmel

Dan CastingKids
Giving instruction at the Michigan BASS Federation CastingKids state championship.
Photo by Wayne Carpenter

Before Professional Angler magazine closed shop, they reinforced a great tip for improving a resume to prospective sponsors. Many sponsors said they see very few pictures in resume/portfolio's from anglers asking for sponsorship that show the angler working with the public - especially with kids. Next time you work a show or help out a youth event, take a camera and have a friend get several quality photos for that purpose. These photos in a resume can really set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

For general use to copy into a resume, shoot glossy photos with a good inside speed such as 400 – which can handle some movement if you have a flash and aren’t too far away from the camera. You can scan the photos for a website or you can use a digital camera to simplify this. You’ll need lower speed film and a good flash for photos you want to blowup. If there’s any chance you need shots for a magazine, at minimum, you may need to shoot slide media such as Kodachrome 64 or Fujichrome 100  although high quality digital photos are becoming the norm now

depending on requirements of the magazine. More magazines are accepting higher quality digital photos now too - find out before you use a digital what their limits are (most magazines have writer and/or photographer guidelines you can request by SASE). Always contact any magazine editorial staff and ask for their writer/photo guidelines before trying to submit anything - that will put you ahead of the game from the start. Want more sponsorship tips? Go to Tournament Strategy and Sponsorship Articles.

Dan Kimmel with Big Largemouth Bass
This big, old largemouth bass couldn't resist a fast buzzbait.
Photo by Mark Gomez

Tip #3 - The Need for Speed -
Speed up to Trigger Reaction Bites
by Dan Kimmel

If the bass give me a choice, I'll throw so-called power baits - spinnerbaits and crankbaits. When the bite gets tough, I don't always immediately switch to slower or finesse presentations. Bass that seem less active can still be triggered into biting a spinnerbait if you go for a reaction bite.

The trick is to speed up your retrieve. I mean really speed it up so you're forcing the bass to react in an instant. At times the difference can be catching nothing at other speeds while the high speed approach bags bass after bass.

I recently returned from Lake Hamilton (Hot Springs, AR) It was the first week in December with water temps in the low 50's. Since I was pre-fishing, I moved along at  a brisk pace which made slow presentations difficult. I didn't get bit at all at first. A local angler mentioned he was getting bit fishing a spinnerbait fast.

This goes against the grain for cold water bass fishing, but one of my first few casts at warp speed produced a 16" largemouth. The bass barely got the long trailer hook I

was using, but I saw the whole attack. It was obviously a reflex/reaction strike from a bass whose heart wasn't totally in the attack, but just couldn't let the (blurred) prey get away unmolested. I caught a number of bass each day with this approach even though many local anglers told me they weren't getting bites on spinnerbaits.

Next time your bass fishing slows down, try speeding up instead of slowing down with it. Your bass catching may not slow down. Good luck. More Fishing Tips and How-to Articles.

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