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For the Big Bite, Turn to Little Mouths
by Tom Lester

Earlier this month, one of my fishing buddies, Murray Fasken, and I decided to head out to the water for a bit of late afternoon and evening bass fishing.  We headed over to Lake Whitney, my favorite night time fishing spot.  The thing that I enjoy most about Lake Whitney, other than its beauty,  is that it is one of the few lakes in Texas where smallmouth bass live and prosper.  No other fish in the world fights like a smallmouth bass.  That’s why I love to go after ‘em. 

Murray and I rigged up three top smallmouth baits and headed out.  Early in the evening, just before dark, we caught a few fish on a red crawfish, ½ ounce, Rattle Trap.  After throwing next to the bank, we ripped the baits out towards deeper water and let it fall.  Using a “yo yo” action retrieve and allowing the bait to bounce off of the rocks on the bottom, the smallmouth couldn’t stand it.  They would nearly jerk the rod out of your hand when they bit the Rattle Trap.  I’m not sure if color really matters, but I think I catch more smallmouth on red Rattle Traps than any other color.  I like to use 17# test line with these baits. 

For a change of pace, I was also throwing a red, ½ ounce Bulldog spinnerbait with a large gold “superdog” blade.  This blade is the best blade on the market, in my opinion.  When fishing at night, you need to slowdown the retrieve of your baits and allow the fish to feel the vibration of the bait to find it and eat it.  With the tremendous thumping action the “superdog” blade gives you, its easier to tell whether or not the blade is still turning while making a slow retrieve.  You can literally feel the bait pulsating and vibrating through the water. If there is a smallmouth in the area, its going to run up and crush this bait.  17 - 20# test line is my choice.  It does not inhibit the action of the bait and gives you some help retrieving your bait if you should get hung up.  With the super sharp Gamakatsu hook that comes standard on this bait, the fish is caught.  

Seldom do I miss a fish with the Bulldog spinnerbaits due to the good hooks they put on their baits, but if I do, I’ll add a trail hook just in case the fish are “short striking”.  I prefer not to use one if I don’t have to due to the increased likelihood of getting hung up. 

I fish both the Rattle Trap and the spinnerbait in the same manner.  The “yo yo” action usually works the best since I usually fish points with bluffs and ledges on them.  Although the fish may not be on the bottom, they may be suspended.  The “yo yo” retrieve gets the bait down into the strike zone better than just reeling straight back to the boat. 

Sometimes the fish move out into deeper water.  This is when we go to  the DD 22 crankbait by Norman Lures.  It get down deep and has proven istself numerous times to be a good choice.  Here again, I use the red/black color when fishing for smallmouths.  I like 14# test on my 7’ Castaway cranking rod when fishing the DD 22.  It has a super soft tip which helps prevent ripping the hooks out of the fish’s mouth resulting in more fish in the boat. 

Murray and I boated a dozen or so fish in about three hours.  As I mentioned in my nightfishing article, I like to fish with the moon. One of the most productive spots for this type of fishing is at the state park camping area on Lake Whitney.  This especially true if there has been a south wind blowing during the day, which helps concentrate the baitfish in this area. 

Another good area is around Bee Bluff and Cedar Shores.  The river channel makes a big bend and has quite a few points and secondary points in these areas.  Look for large chunks of rock near these points and fish them hard, especially if you notice baitfish in the area. 

Often, it is necessary to switch between the Rattle Trap, the spinnerbait or the deep diving crankbait.  The fish move around if they are feeding, so don’t get stuck using just one of the baits.  If an area looks like it should be holding fish, give them a different look with a different bait. 

It won’t be long until we have enough moonlight to go give the Lake Whitney bass a try, again.  If you want the big bite, look for the fish with the little mouth, the smallmouth bass.  If I can be of any help, email your questions to me or contact me through the Daily Sun office.  Remember to practice catch and release. 

Until next time, enjoy the Texas outdoors.

Tom Lester

Author Information.

Tom Lester owns and operates Four Seasons Lawnscape, a landscape and lawn maintenance service, in Corsicana, Texas.  He has fished for most of his 36 years to some degree or another.  He fishes competitively in bass tournaments and is beginning his professional bass fishing career in the BASS invitational circuit and the Everstart Series.

Tom lives with his wife, Kelly, in Corsicana, Texas, only a few miles from Richland-Chambers reservoir, one of the hottest new bass lakes to open in Texas in the past ten years.  He formerly resided in Cleburne, Texas, where he guided part-time for largemouth and smallmouth bass.  Tom is currently on the field staff for Abu Garcia, Norman Lures, Inspiration Lures, and Bill Lewis Lures, and on the pro staff for Kalin's, CastAway Rods, P-Line, and Nuwave Products.

Tom enjoys fishing, hunting and writing his outdoor column for the Corsicana Daily Sun and freelance writing.  He is a former high school Agricultural Science instructor and animal health pharmaceutical sales rep.  He graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S in Agricultural Education and a Master of Education degree.  Tom likes being his own boss so he can take off to go fishing, whenever he likes, and leave his wife in charge of the business.

Email Tom at
Visit Tom at his web site: Fishing Pro Staff

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