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Mixing crankbaits, soft plastics will help ensure success


By Kevin Forrester



The hot days of summer tend to make fishing slow. 


I look at summer bass fishing almost like winter time. Even though the water is warm and the metabolism of the fish is high, the fish don''t go chase food all day. 


Soft plastic lures are usually the best all-around lure for the summer months, but with the bite being slow using them sometimes isn''t much fun. 


I love using crankbaits, and this year has been a challenge to get the fish to react to them. Crankbait fishing involves a lot of casting and winding and is much more active. The problem is that when you make a lot of casts and don''t get results the presentation can make it seem like the fish aren''t biting. 


I prefer to mix it up and use crankbaits and soft plastics. There are very few "fishing holes" that allow an angler to use both methods, unless you are fishing ledges and points. 


The shaky head presentation hit the professional bass circuit a few years ago. Kevin Van Dam won a tournament on Lake Lewisville in Texas using the shaky head. He even broke the lake record with an 11-pound, 13-ounce largemouth bass. 


This presentation started in the state of Alabama. Anglers had been using it to catch spotted bass on the Coosa River when the weather was off and the fish were feeling pressure from anglers and tournaments. Since then, you can look in every pro''s bass boat and you will find at least one rod equipped with this finesse presentation. 


I have seen several anglers fish the shaky head on different rod and reel setups. Most anglers accepted the original Alabama way of fishing a shaky head worm by using a spinning rod and reel on light line. 


I started trying this a few years ago in the winter with a good friend. We purchased a spinning rod and a decent reel and some 12-pound test line. We bought a few lead head jigs and some finesse worms of different colors and went fishing. We were faithful each weekend, no matter how cold it got. 


The shaky head became a go-to presentation for us both, catching several fish each outing when we couldn''t get a fish to bite anything else. In the spring, we were well versed on using the spinning rod setup. 


For those who haven''t used a spinning outfit, there is a learning curve much like when you start using a baitcasting reel. You can''t backlash the reel, which is a big advantage, but be prepared to retrieve several jig heads out of the tree branches. 


Other anglers will continue to use baitcasting outfits and lighter line to fish shaky heads, but I have grown accustomed to the spinning outfit and I feel it is a better setup. I have seen a friend skip a shaky head 20 feet under a dock and reach fish most anglers could never get to. Without a spinning outfit, it would be impossible. 


Thirty boats competed in the Thursday Night tournament. Ed and Josh Thrasher won with 6.89 pounds. They also had the big bass (4.02 pounds). Chase Harris took second (5.27), Justin Hildreth and Steven White were third (4.98), Will, Dusty, and David Wesley Dupler finished fourth (4.97), and Justin Atkins and Matt Johnson rounded out the top five (3.98). 


On Thursday, everyone said farewell to Red Lavender, who died Jan. 11. Lavender fished in the Thursday Night tournaments since they started several years ago. He will be sorely missed. 


For more information on fishing the tournaments, contact Parson at (662) 386-9629. 


Good fishing and God Bless... 






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