NORCAL Drop your rod tip down after the lure lands, then raise it slightly and pop it down a few inches. Reel the slack to keep the line tight while watching the lure. Let it correct itself before twitching again. It’s designed to walk, so don’t overpower it. You’ll ﬁnd rhythm. Topwater is addicting. Strikes are visual and big and small bass can be fooled.
SHAKE IT UP
Zip Decker caught this nice smallmouth with a Zara Spook. Walk-the-dog topwater baits allow anglers to really cover water and search. (STEVE ADAMS/BASS ANGLER HEADQUARTERS)
My tournament partner’s pops, Mark, honed his skills on a river. He coined the phrase “shaking the hell out of a worm.” We all laugh, but it works! Bass can go deep, even towards the end of spring, during a prespawn cold front or postspawn sun/high pressure. You may have to go 30 feet deep with ﬁnesse baits. Try 6-inch straight-tail Texas-rigged worms with tungsten bullet heads and ﬂuorocarbon. Carbon is invisible under water
68 California Sportsman APRIL 2018 | calsportsmanmag.com
and has less stretch. Tungsten offers a smaller proﬁle and provides a better feel for those subtle bites at depth. Get your bait on the bottom and reel the line tight. Gently lift up and feel what’s there. Sometimes there’s a tap, but often something just feels wrong. Reel the slack out slowly as you lower the rod. Jerk! That’s all there is to it. You may have to shake the bait in place rapidly rather than slowly pulling up. You’ll feel the bottom clearly as you gain conﬁdence. Shake, shake, shake – all the way back while working your way through whatever lies below. If you don't have electronics, this technique is a great way to mentally map out the bottom. You’ll distinguish hard from soft bottoms, rock piles, trees, etc., and can target the habitat from there.
SET YOUR SIGHTS Many anglers live for spring so they