Flip The ‘Switch’ To Trigger More Bass

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

Do you depend on just a few lures and hotspots to boat the majority of your bass? Break out of your rut and trigger more strikes with help from three often-overlooked “change-up” lures.

WalkerSwitchLEAD 600Getting yourself out of a “fishing rut” is sometimes a difficult process; at some point or another most anglers (I’m guilty here too) can get in the unhealthy habit of fishing the same baits, the same colors, and going to the same familiar “honey holes” trip after trip. To bust yourself out of this type of rut or fool those “educated” bass (fish that have seen the same lures over and over), here are three smart lure changeups that can turn your bass fishing from stale and repetitive, to exciting and trophy-filled.

A flipping jig has been a tried-and-true staple for bass anglers for many years, yet for some reason, many anglers seem to overlook this lure while depending instead on Texas-rigging a variety of soft-plastic baits. Although the Texas rig may sometimes garner more bites, the jig is commonly considered a “big bass” bait. And that reputation is well deserved. A jig’s larger profile (compared to a Texas rig) makes it a great choice for anglers looking to switch-up lure presentations.

My preference for a jig is a ½-ounce War Eagle Custom Lures Flipping Jig, as its hand-tied skirt has a very natural, fish-attracting action in the water. I will tie on a heavier ¾-ounce jig if I’m fishing dense weeds or deeper water (12-plus feet). As for the best colors, black/blue is typically my “go-to;” I’ve found variations of green pumpkin also work well. Jigs are incredibly versatile; I can work a jig around a variety of cover, from flipping boat docks and laydowns to in and around various types of vegetation. Many anglers can lose confidence in the jig if they don’t get bit right away, or miss a few fish, but trust me, perseverance pays. Sticking with a jig and learning to fish it in a variety of conditions will pay off down the road; your weighty reward will be an abundance of above-average-sized bass.

WalkerSwitchPitch 600Having the correct gear makes jig fishing much easier, which is why I’ll typically use 20-pound Seaguar Flippin Fluoro, as it is very abrasion resistant and super sensitive, meaning I’ll be able to feel those challenging light bites, and not have to worry as much about my line getting damaged when fishing around nasty cover. Selecting a good jig rod will depend on your preferences; some anglers like to use a shorter 7-foot rod, whereas many depend on a 7-foot 6-inch flipping stick. Personally, I like the Wright & McGill Victory Pro Carbon Jig/Big Worm Rod as it falls right in the middle at 7 feet, 4 inches. Versatility rules. In the photo above, I’m using a light spinning combo and shaky head/worm to target shallow water smallmouths.

WalkerSwitch2 600To change things up even more with a jig, you can swap out a variety of jig trailers. I depend on a variety of Zoom plastic trailers, such as the UV Speed Craw, Super Chunk (above center), and Super Chunk Jr. (above right), which offer a more-meaty profile in contrast to a Texas-rigged soft plastic (above left). All of these trailers have a different action, and more importantly, different weights and profiles, which affect the fall rate and action of your jig.

Much like the jig, the topwater frog is a lure that some anglers will throw in a few “obvious” situations, such as when fishing around lily pads or matted vegetation. But if you are looking to change things up in your fishing patterns, try using a frog around other forms of shallow-water cover, such as near boat docks, under overhanging trees, and along grass lines.

A quality well-made frog lure, such as the Snag Proof Ish’s PHAT Frog, has a nice flat belly so it skips with ease under boat docks and overhanging trees, and is also very snag resistant so it will get hung up less while attracting more bass. There are certainly many frog lures on the market, but not all are created equal.

Again, much like with a jig, don’t get discouraged if you’re not fooling bass on every other cast. With this lure, once you find a pod of bass they’ll be exploding out of the water to get to your frog. This is another reason why you should keep working your frog all the way back to the boat. You just never know when a bass will want to hit it; another reason to go with a PHAT Frog is that it offers near effortless, and deadly, “walk the dog” action right out of the package.

Because most good “frog” cover is quite dense and abrasive, using a quality braided line is a must, as it will help deliver a rock-solid hook set, and hold fast even when wrapped in and around heavy abrasive cover. The best I’ve found is Seaguar Smackdown braid, a great choice for anglers looking for every possible advantage.

WalkerSwitchShaky2 600

If you commonly rig up a light drop shot or Texas rig to fish a weedline or other offshore structure, then switching up to a “shaky head” rig can offer a productive (even much-needed) change. With a shaky head (see a few examples above) you have the ability to match the weight of your jighead to a specific water depth, and also, choose the best weight to penetrate specific types of cover.

The majority of the time, I’ll use a 3/16-ounce jig and rig it with a variety of different plastics, from Zoom Finesse Worms to the Z-Hog Jr. that allow for anything from a thin-profiled finesse, to a fairly bulky presentation. The specific plastic I choose will depend on how finicky the bass are; if I need to finesse them into biting I’ll go with a small, natural-looking presentation. Conversely, if I’m looking for bigger bass or a stark contrast, I’ll thread a larger plastic on my shaky head jig as it will give the fish a very different look.

Many anglers will use the shaky head on the edges of weedlines or in submerged brush piles, but other forms of cover I like to probe with this lure include boat docks, rip rap stretches, and sand drops. Since the plastic can easily be rigged weedless on the jighead, this lure does well around cover and offers you another smart option to use in situations where you might typically depend on another lure. Switch it up!

WalkerSwitchBass 600Does “changing it up” pay? I know it does because I have plenty of proof: Courtesy of the ScoutLook Fishing app that I can access quickly and easily in my smartphone. The ScoutLook Fishing app helps me track and record my fish catches, and also helps record useful, detailed notes, quickly and easily. When you do the same, you will start to see important patterns form on specific bodies of water you frequent, or even, on certain stretches of your favorite lake. Taking the few seconds to record, and later study, this valuable information can have a huge impact on your continued angling success, and comes highly recommended.

As you prepare for your next fishing trip, take a few minutes and think about how you can use your lure arsenal to switch things up and trigger more strikes. Whether you’re aiming to make the most of your favorite hotspots or attempting to “jump-start” the action from an active school of bass that has suddenly gone cold, flipping the “switch” can get you back in the game.



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