Who here doesn't like to catch a lot of fish?
As much as we love to catch trophies, catching a lot of fish from a wide spectrum of sizes is always fun. Besides, a small lure doesn't just allow you to only catch small fish - big fish will be caught, too.
Some of you may be familiar about the Ned Rig. A very finesse technique that is sure to catch you numbers. But what about a rig that's more weedless, cheaper, and a tiny bit more finesse?
Above: The Ultra-Dink Rig, a 1" version of the original. Small Bass and Big Bluegill.
Created by a YFS member who loved to catch lots of fish, and nicknamed the "Dink Rig", here is a rig for slow days or for very fast action. Making this rig is quite simple.
1. First, buy a pack of soft stickbaits. Buy something cheap; straight off the clearance shelf. No need to spurge on the expensive stickbaits; action really doesn't matter too much in this case. Finesse doesn't mean high action.
2. Next, cut the stickbaits into little 2" or so chunks.
3. After that, go through your tackle box for some 1/0 worm hooks. Round bend hooks are preferred over EWGS in this case.
4. Then, texas rig the worm chunks with your 1/0 worm hooks.
To fish this, fish it like a Ned Rig. I like to fish this on a spinning rod with 8 lb or 10 lb line and cast to cover. After letting it fall and giving it a few jerks, I reel it back up and cast to some more cover. You can cast to cover because this rig is weedless.
The ned rig. The last resort bait for many fishing lakes, a bit for post-front conditions, or when the fish just have lock jaw. But in some places, it's the only bait that works.
There are some places, such as tiny ponds and creeks, that pond bass,, but these bass are small bass, so small that the 1/2 oz jig you purchased isn't going to worm. You got to think finesse, and REAL finesse. Sometimes, you got to use ned rig. In some waters, you even up to downsize that.
Above: A 1 pound, hard fighting creek smallmouth on a 1.5" inch piece of stick worm. The king of the trickle of water that flowed near my garden. I expected smaller fish; this was a pleasant surprise.
Yes, downsize a finesse bait. But the last thing any fisherman would want to do is to get himself skunked. Really small waters, such as tiny ponds and creeks, are a blast to fish, only if you had the right tackle. Think really small baits (1.5" grubs, 1.5" minnows, micro jigs, etc), and ultralight tackle. We are talking tackle for really small water here, folks.
First, get yourself a sticky that you have no use for. Everyone these days has more than one brand of stickworm, and a bag or two of stickworms that they just regretted buying; stickworms with no actions or otherwise appeal to fish. Time to get that stuff out, folks.
Next, cut off some chunks of that stickworm, about 1.5" long. Put it on a sufficently large light wire hook more suited to panfish than bass. The horizontal fall of the ned rig is what gets them. Then crimp down a light split shot about 18" up your line. You are all set. Fish the bait like a traditional ned rig, and if you don't get any bites, or only get nips, it's time to trim the bait down a bit.
Fishing tiny creeks allows you to sight-fish; the water in most creeks flows quickly, so that the water is clear. Look for underwater logs, large rocks, and overhangs; chances are, fish will congregate there. You may see the fish underwater, too. Make sure not to make excessive noise while looking for a better view; the consequences are obvious.
To fish the grub, there are a variety of retrieves; my favorite is casting it out near structure, let it sink near the bottom, and slowly retrieving it. Other times, quickly reeling the grub back is the way to go; you decide, based on the mood of the fish.
Above: While fishing a finesse rig like the split shot rigged grub, you may come across catching these.
Sometimes, you may just jerk the grub in the water, like a wounded minnow, or just cast it out, and let it sit there. It all depends on how the fish feel. Fish are weird, and you need to experiment at times.
This rig sometimes catches me trout. I also sometimes catch small creek suckers on this. But the most common by catches by far are creek chubs and various species of sunfish.
The good things about the tiny creeks are: one, it's shallow, so you can see the fish easily. Two, it's clear water, so you can see the fish even better. Strikes on the grub can be easily seen, and you can easily see where the fish are two. Creek fishing for "big" bass is really fun.
Have you ever passed by a tiny creek, whether you're running, cycling, or driving home from work, and looked by and wondered whether there's bass in there, and how big it would be?
As fishermen, we are instinctually drawn to the biggest bass in the lake, the alpha, the apex predator. In tiny creeks, however, you don't know if there's even bass; would the creek be big enough to support them?
I've fished creeks all my life for bass, and I have gotten to two conclusions; one, yes, they mostly have bass (be reasonable here, folks. That trickle of water after the rain won't have bass).
Above: Here's the apex predator of a creek that I could spit across at any section.
Two, the best tool for fish for small creek bass, and especially the alpha bass, is a 2"-2.5" grub on a split shot rig.
Get the grub to be in a natural color; anything that imitates small creek minnows is fine, shad colors work great. Make sure that the tail has plenty of action; too often I have seen grubs to have tails that never flutter or corkscrew - terrible action! The split shot should be 12" or so up your line, and should be light, and preferably dull (so that fish don't nip your shiny silver split shots instead). For the hook, a simple yet sharp light wire hook is fine, and there's no need to texas rig, since most creeks are swift moving, thus not really growing any weeds, so you won't really snag.
Get yourself an ultralight spinning rod and reel, with some 4 lb line. For this kind of fishing, an expensive setup really isn't needed; just get some things that are good, but not top of the line. Make sure that the ultralight rod isn't some wimpy noodle rod that can't set a hook; if you have to, a medium action sinning setup is fine. If you can't set the hook into the fish's mouth when he strikes, you only have succeeded in spooking him away. "Big" (for the creek, anyway) small creek bass aren't big for nothing. They are easily spooked, especially if your creek is in a public park.
To be continued.....
Let's stroll down memory lane. Back to the days when your grandpa brought you fishing down to the pond with your trusty spincast combo, a cup of nightcrawlers, and an old pail, which you soon filled up with small and eager-to-bite sunfish, whom you would all invite to dinner. Sunfish hold many memories for us as a first fish, which started you off on a road to fishing other species, whether they be bass trout, or whatever. But sunfish holds a special memory in all of us.
I love fishing for big sunfish. Let no one tell you that all sunfish are easy to catch; small ones, maybe, but the big ones are no less cautious than a wild brown trout. At the slightest vibration, the big 'uns, especially in highly pressured ton lakes, make off like lightning. Make sure to approach the shore quietly when you fish. Big sunfish are also highly suspicious; I have seen them look at a well presented lure and ignore it. Maybe the pond minnows are bit silvery this time of the year, or some of your sunscreen got on your lure; they don't just bite on impulse, unlike their smaller brethren.
Above: Big sunfish caught on a topwater tube as part of the Buddy Program.
However, one way that I've found that drives big sunfish into a frenzy is a weightless be, fish topwater. Simply use a light line, put the tube on a small hook, and cast it out. I prefer the tube to be in a dark color, but the actual color doesn't matter too much. Once it is on the water, jerk the tube on the surface; pause; jerk; pause. Keep fishing it like that. This is very effective in the summer, early fall, and late spring. I think the tube resembles a struggling insect on the water. Fishing a topwater tube is a nice way to get some big sunfish.
Hi. I am Ian, an extremely avid bass fisherman living in Howard County, MD. I like to bank fish and fish at local ponds and small creeks. I will explore budget friendly options for people to use in this blog. I hope I can teach you something.