Successful Fishing in Pressured Waters
2020 brought all kinds of challenges for the tournament angler. Uncertain travel, limited opportunities for gathering, health concerns, etc., but one thing that I didn't expect or plan for was the massive pressure that most bodies of water had experienced. Most lakes and rivers were packed with people trying to get out of the house in a safe environment and enjoy some much needed time on the water. Crowded ramps and pressured fish were the norms. When fishing water that had been pounded day after day, the choice of baits and the presentation of that bait, were more crucial than ever. One bait in particular that put a lot of fish in the kayak for me last year and proved to be just slightly different from what most anglers were throwing was the Z-Man TRD BugZ. There is no arguing the success of the creature bait in bass fishing. The creature bait can mimic so many different food sources and be presented in many different ways. That being said, the small TRD Bugz were just different enough to get bites on both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass on lakes across the country. These baits helped me achieve four wins on tour on the national and local scene and helped me cash many top 10 checks. To be fair, not all my winning bags came from the TRD BugZ alone, but rest assured, I had one tied on and landed fish in every event throwing this bait.
With a bait this small, your rigging options are sometimes limited. I have thrown it in various ways, from rigging it on the Zman NedlockZ with an exposed hook in the open waters of Lake Erie to using it nose hooked on a dropshot rig. But with the small size of this bait, the best rig, and my favorite, is Texas rigging it with a tungsten weight behind a bobber stop. My go-to setup is a TRD BugZ on a Mustad KVD Grip-Pin 2x Fine Wire Ultra Point Hook in size no.1. This hook will hold the ElaZtech plastic super stable, and the fine wire hook is just the right size to rig this bait weedless exposed style. My go-to weight for this and all my other applications are the FishOn Tungsten in black. For this bait, I tend to use FishOn Worm Weights in 1/16 or 1/8 oz for water with little current but will go up to 3/16 or even 1/4 in strong current.
The key for this bait for me has been using just enough weight to contact the bottom. The other key is using the FishOn Bobber Stops. If I am trying to skip this bait under docks or back under the brush, I peg the weight to the hook. When not skipping or throwing into thick cover, I like to slide the stop up the line 6 to 8 inches to let the floating action of the TRD do its magic. My rod and reel of choice for this bait is the 13 Fishing Omen Black 3 Spinning Rod in Medium Heavy 7'1" with a Prototype X reel spooled with 20lb Power Pro braid using a Seaguar InvizX 12 lb test leader. If I am fishing dirty water, I will often forgo the leader and go with the straight braid. This combination has proven to give me solid hookups and high landing percentages with this bait. The Mustad no.1 hook is relatively small but has proven to be very solid and super sharp. With any light wire hook, you need to be careful to not "horse" it in, but I have landed many 20-inch Smallmouth in current, and 20+ inch Largemouth in some thick grass and have yet to straighten one of these hooks. The most significant benefit to using this hook is the keeper pin on these fine wire hooks. These ElaZtech baits stay in place cast after cast keeping your bait in the water and out of your hands. The FishOn tungsten is affordable, and the black coating stays put and doesn't chip off like some other painted tungsten that I have tried in the past.
This year give this combination a try. From bedding bass to heavily pressured bass and everything in between, this bait can catch them all. Don't let its small size scare you; sometimes, big bites come in small packages, and this small package can be right at your door in no time. Visit Fishing Online and get yours now.
- Matt Ball
- FishOn ProStaff