Tips and techniques by pro angler Lee Bailey jr

An excellent collection of fishing tips, fishing tactics, and fishing tricks for bass, by Lee Bailey Jr

 

 

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Shakey Head Fishing

January 6, 2021 by lbailey

The popularity of shakey head fishing has prompted tackle manufacturers to create a wide array of jig-head sizes and styles. The key to shakey head fishing is using as light of a jig-head as possible. You must still keep the bait in contact with the bottom. A 1/16- or 1/8 ounce jig-head works best for shakey head tactics with a finesse worm. But you might have to upgrade to a 1/4 ounce head on windy days. As well as in current to prevent your line from bowing and losing the feel of the bait.

Anglers around the world have been consistently winning tournaments with it for years. It works great For those days when the bass prefer a small appetizer instead of a full course meal. Knowing how-to fish a shakey head well can improve that day’s fishing.

Shaky Head Fishing has several different presentations for all conditions

The shakey head presentation excels when certain criteria are met. Clear water is one such case. The clearer the water, the greater the chance of bass becoming extremely finicky or spooked. During these tough times, regular baits often won’t cut it.

The shakey head can be thrown to a wide variety of places. They definitely excel when tossed alongside weed-lines and clumps, rip rap and humps, beaches, docks and lay-downs. Depending on the severity of vegetation will play a part on whether to go weedless or not.

A shakey head and finesse worm, subtlety twitched and quivered on the bottom can illicit strikes. These non-takers get switched on and into biters. If you can see the fish clearly in the water below, or if you have frequent follows and short strikes, then a shakey head needs to be next out of the box.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with several different shakey head presentations. It is difficult to fish a shaky head wrong. With a few intricacies will improve your ability to catch more fish during those tough days on the water.

Drag it:

The name “shakey head” fools many anglers. Although the name implies that you should shake your arm out of socket, don’t fall into the “one-retrieve” trap. Dragging a shakey head along the bottom often yields better results.

If you don’t get a bite in the first ten casts, simply leave and continue the search elsewhere. When implementing the dragging technique, you can hit dozens of areas while making mental notes and way points on your GPS device. This allows you the opportunity to hone-in on the most productive areas. This also makes dragging a shakey head an outstanding technique to use when practicing for that big weekend tournament.

Hop it:

Although it sounds as if we’re splitting hairs with this. There is a huge difference in shaking a shakey head and hopping a shakey head. Differentiating your presentation from what the bass see every day usually leads to more bites. You will also have the opportunity at catching those bigger, more educated and conditioned fish.

When implementing this presentation, it isn’t necessary to rip the shakey head. Beginning with your rod tip at a 3 o’clock angle, twitch upward to a 1 o’clock position to trigger reaction strikes. Craw-fish aren’t Olympic high jumpers, so hopping the bait too aggressively can appear unnatural to surrounding bass.

Anglers must watch their line with this presentation. There isn’t a quicker way to lose a fish. Twitching your rod tip upwards when a bass already has your shakey head in its mouth. To combat this, be sure to let your bait fall on a semi-slack line. Do this while watching for any jump in the line. If you notice any movement whatsoever on a slack line, it is important to set the hook immediately.

Shake it:

We know it sounds fairly obvious, but shaking a shakey head along the bottom of your favorite fishery is an outstanding way to catch a lot of fish. Knowing when and where to do so will yield the best results. Let’s draw a quick parallel to human behavior for a better understanding of this presentation:

When bass are in large concentrations on ledges, in ditches or off the end of a main lake point, this presentation will catch them. When you feel bass are roaming up and down a stretch, shaking a worm in place will give the bass time to wander in and find your offering before you move it out of their feeding zone. If you’re having trouble getting bites, don’t be afraid to switch your color or weight size—sometimes the small things make a huge difference. Just remember to use small, subtle twitches of your rod tip while letting the bait do the rest of the work, as over-doing it can spook larger fish.

Swim it:

This is a presentation in which I’ve had recent success. Reel this bait across chunk rock and other hard bottom compositions, swimming a shakey head can be a deadly approach around active fish especially spotted bass.

Maintain bottom contact when swimming a shaky head. If you are unable to feel the bottom, simply changing to a heavier shakey head or a slower retrieve should help. Keeping your rod tip down and to the side will aid in the detection of bites, while also keeping you in position for a strong, sweeping hook-set. While it will take a little practice to get a good feel for the bite with this presentation, it is important to stay vigilant and observant. During the hook-set, make sure to reel until you feel the fish and sweep your rod to the side, just like a Carolina rig hook-set. If possible, avoid any slack in your line.

Shakey head fishing can be one of the most versatile techniques in an angler’s arsenal. Thinking outside the box and trying different things can lead to some really fun fishing throughout the entire year. Whether you’re dragging, hopping, shaking or swimming a shakey head, it is an extremely effective technique for anglers of all skill levels.

Fish Tidal River Currents

August 2, 2020 by lbailey

There are ways to fish and ways not to fish tidal river currents. One thing is that the only way to fish and be consistent on tide waters is to truly study and understand their effects on the fish that live in them. The tide is what for many anglers makes river currents the most difficult to learn and locating the fish even more so. One factor about tide water fishing that rarely changes is the predictability of patterns. Once you realize the significance the tide influences are on how the fish behave, locating the them will become more precise. This is the true secret to becoming a consistent tidal fisherman.

Fish tidal river currents

Understanding how to fish tidal river currents can seem tough, but when you keep focused on a few items your tidal experience will be a lot easier, and more productive. When fishing in current active fish are going to be shallow and I am after those active fish. A great location to find active bass throughout most of the tides is on a migration route. Especially if that migration route intercepts a major backwater. This could be a row of stumps or pilings, a weed line, a channel or ditch that leads from the flats or feeding shelves to the deeper or calmer water Once you find this type of water, you need only to concern yourself with what the actual tide is when you catch your fish. This will help you pinpoint fish catching locations on the river that will hold fish for you at the different stages of the tide.

Bass will be more eager to hit a lure during the moving tides while they tend to be less aggressive during the dead tide periods. You should try to fish your good cover areas during the periods 2 hours before and 2 hours after the dead tide change. At this time you will encounter aggressive fish and a moderate current pinpointing more for you where the fish should be holding. During the extremely fast moving times of the tides you can also encounter aggressive fish, but lure placement and boat positioning will be very crucial not to mention difficult.

River bass will hide in the eddies while traveling a migration route such as a typical creek leading to a backwater pond.

  • behind fallen trees
  • inside cuts
  • below the current side of points
  • under bushes (especially with an undercut bank)
  • on rocky shelves or underwater points.

Shallow Summer Lilly Pads

July 7, 2020 by lbailey

As the sun rises higher later in the day, bass seek the shade of Shallow Summer Lilly Pads and move deeper into the pad canopies. The best way to catch bass burrowed into these pads is to cast a Texas rigged Zoom trick worm on a 1/8 oz un-pegged tungsten weight. I like to look for little channels or openings in the pads when fishing this way. The real key to this types of fishing is to work the worm as slow as possible with frequent stops, letting is just sit there. It is truly hard to beat a straight trick worm around and in lily pads.

Shallow Summer Lilly Pads

Giant lily pads in water as shallow as 1 foot can be productive in the summer because the plants create a lot of shade for bass to find cooler water. Most natural lakes have shallow lily pads and some reservoirs with mud bottoms are loaded with the aquatic shallow summer lilly pads.

This type of cover can be productive most of the year, it’s when the pads have lush green bonnets in warmer months that they produce best.

I will use the technique I mentioned above in this shallow of water. However pitching a creature bait of jig using a 1/2 oz size works great in summer when the lilies are a little deeper up to 6′ – 8′ of water. I use a 1/2 oz size weight because most of the bass hit the bait as it falls. Pay close attention most of the bites you will hardly know a fish has it other than feeling the line scratching the lilly stems as it moves off.

Although all lily pads look fishy, it’s best to avoid fishing large sections of the floating plants. Concentrate on key areas such as unusual features along the pad line. Some features to look for include a point jutting out from the pad line, an isolated clump of pads, a log or stump protruding from the pads and isolated openings and cuts in a field of lily pads.

feeding on baitfish, crawfish or real frogs

If the weather is cloudy, you can throw plastic frogs and toads in the pads all day long since bass will be cruising through the weeds feeding on baitfish, crawfish or real frogs. Other weedless lures that trigger strikes when bass are inside the pads include spoons, Baby Buzzbaits and floating worms.

Water clarity is the very first thing I notice anytime I’m targeting aquatic vegetation. When fishing lily pads, you really want to have clean water. Of course that’s a relative term, but if I can see 10 inches or more, I’m not concerned. It’s when real muddy water blows into a pad field that you probably need to look for a new area. The bass very well still may be there, but it will be nearly impossible to get them to bite.”

Best tips for buzzing wood

June 21, 2020 by lbailey

Best tips for buzzing wood by Lee Bailey Jr. If both bass and Buzzbait fishermen have a magnet, it is a strategically positioned piece of wood. That can take many forms: a fallen tree with its roots on the bank and its branches extending well underneath the surface;

Best tips for buzzing wood

a stump row situated on the edge of deeper water; shoreline bushes freshly flooded by rising water; a forest of standing timber; the extensive root system of a cypress tree; a brush-pile anchored in a secret spot or a dock piling.

Those are just a few examples of the types of wet wood that attract both a buzzbait angler and prey. They are features of a lake, reservoir or river where the proper approach will usually produce a strike.

Here, then, are just a few of my Baby Buzzbait™ tips for fishing wood.

Buzzing a lay-down:

I always go right to the middle of a lay-down, even if I have to throw over and thru a lot of limbs and stuff, because I believe my best chances of catching the biggest fish living in that tree are with that first cast. If you can get a Baby Buzzbait™ in there real quietly and gurgle it across his head the very first time, your chances are a lot better (in that shallow water situation) than if you fish it from the outside and work your way in. Reason being; the bigger fish are usually in the heaviest cover of the main branches. If you catch an average bass on the outer branches, your chance at those bigger fish are done.

Bump the wood:
Best tips for buzzing wood especially stumps

My best tips for buzzing wood is to keep your buzzbait in contact with the wood. When buzzbait fishing make sure that gurgling bait bumps as much of that wood as possible. Bang your buzzbait against it and let it deflect off. When throwing this topwater bait, make sure it knocks the side of the wood. That little bump and deflection can produce a strike that you might not otherwise get without making contact with the cover.

When doing that, you need to make sure your line is strong enough for the task. Not only to fish the heavy cover but to also get that lunker bass out of the cover.

Focus on horizontal wood:

I love to focus on wood that lies horizontally in the water, especially if there’s a limited amount of horizontal cover in the area. If you’ve got a standing tree with one horizontal limb on it, key in on that limb. Bass want to orient to the horizontal part of the cover. It gives them better camouflage.

It’s crucial that you make the right Baby Buzzbait™ presentation the first time when fishing a horizontal piece of cover. I was fishing a backwater area that had a lot of lay-down logs. I knew the fish were around those logs. I was fishing a Baby Buzzbait™, and I soon noticed that I never caught a fish if I made a presentation that crossed the log. The first cast had to be made along the shady side of the log, or I wouldn’t get a strike.

Understanding flooded brush:

The flooded brush lining the shoreline of a reservoir is a classic American bass scenario that even the most hardened pros eagerly anticipate each spring.

When the water rises enough to cover the shoreline bushes, the bass move into this freshly inundated cover, where they are accessible to topwater buzzing and remember they are very aggressive.

Best tips for buzzing wood shows that depth is a key consideration for fishing flooded brush. If you locate fish in 2 to 3 feet of water, for example, most of the active bass in that area or on that flat will be at the same depth. But, be aware that bass may move to various depths throughout the day, especially with changing weather conditions. Bass have a tendency to migrate heavily toward flooded bushes early in the morning and late in the afternoon. This makes them prime candidates for some fabulous buzz bait fishing.

It’s been my experience that the fish tend to be in tight to the brush during the midday hours, when the sun is at its brightest. They will also move out a little deeper to take advantage of any shade that’s available. Another thing to remember is that it’s not uncommon to find all of the bass positioned on one side – the same side – of the bushes. The fish may stray a few feet from the main section of the brush, but this movement is usually restricted to the low light hours, as well as cloudy conditions. Those are the times when the shade line extends farther out from the brush.

Good Fishing, “Catch The Dream”
Lee Bailey Jr

Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm

June 10, 2020 by lbailey
Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm 4 ways to fish.

Simplifying soft plastic selection is something that can drastically reduce your amount of stress throughout a day of fishing. While plenty of soft plastics do, in fact, catch fish, there’s one bait out there that can be used in so many different situations and catch some really big bass—the Zoom Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm. Whether you like to flip and pitch, throw shaky heads, fish shallow or fish deep, this soft plastic will catch more fish than almost any bait in your boat.

Fish it like a regular TX-rig or C-rig worm:

Let’s face it—the Texas rig is the “old faithful” of bass fishing. On any lake throughout in nearly every condition, it’s always a safe bet to toss a Texas rig around. If you add an Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm to this time-tested rig, however, you’re dealing with a deadly weapon. When using this bait with a 1/8oz weight, I like to target shallow cover such as lay downs, grass lines and docks in less than 6-feet of water.

The Ultravibe Speed Worm is a perfect complement to the C-rig, as its smaller, non-threatening profile tempts even the most suspicious bass. As the water cools, use a long, 5-foot leader with the UV Speed Worm rigged on a 3/0 Gamakatsu Offset EWG Worm Hook. Because the Speed Worm makes its way through cover with ease, don’t be afraid to throw it in some of the thickest weeds you can find.

Fish it like a spinnerbait (medium steady retrieve):

Keep the rod pointed at a 45 degree angle to your target. The rod will very simply load up when the bass eats it. Set the hook with a sweep of the rod to the side and aft. You can very the retrieve speed to help determine the mood of fish. There are some days they’ll want it moving at a snail’s pace and other days on the faster side.

I personally like a medium steady retrieve when fishing it in and around submerged grass. I will adjust my speed to be sure I am occasionally ticking the tops of the grass. Normally, (for me anyway) I usually feel a slight bump before it loads up.

Fish it up top weightless:

Perhaps the most popular application for the Ultravibe Speed Worm is for shallow and submerged grass, weightless fishing. With its uniquely shaped tail buzzing across the water’s surface, it is well known for producing huge bass throughout the early summer thru the fall months as the bass inhabit the shallow water submerged grass. you can work the Ultravibe Speed Worm with a continuous retrieve stopping momentarily over holes in the grass.

Fish it with a Shaky head:

When an Ultravibe Speed Worm rigged on a shaky head is at rest on the bottom, the cut tail floats, causing it to sway back and forth with the motion of the water. Although it may seem as if it’s not doing much, every time water passes by the tail, it emits that special thumping sound that bass love. Upon closer inspection of the UV Speed Worm, you will also notice the tail’s resemblance to the pincer of a crawfish. As the tail floats, we believe that bass often mistake it for a threatened crawfish, triggering their predatory instinct to strike.

Good Luck and “Catch The Dream” Lee Bailey Jr.

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