to the right presentation. “Try to imagine where a bedding bass would be sitting,” Green advises. “Look for spots where a fish can feel protected but still ambush (prey). You let the Senko flutter to the bottom, twitch it a couple of times and then move to the next spot.” Other productive tule presentations include wacky-rigged Senkos, shaky head worms and dropshots wiggled around the base of tule clumps. Aaron Reitz of Soda Springs, Calif. is partial to the latter. He favors a dropshot sporting a 4-inch Ro- boworm in the Margarita Mutilator color. Appearance counts, he said, but it’s his meticulous technique that brings big bass to the boat for him. “I pick apart every tule clump I pass,” Reitz said. “I don’t just throw one time at a spot, I work every inch of it.” Newman said his favorite tule pattern is cranking clean lines with a Laser Lure 2- to 3-foot diver. “When the fish get on that bite, it gets silly. I can catch 40-plus fish a day. That bite usually starts mid-spring and can go for the rest of the year until about October.” Most any time of year, but especially during the spawn, California tules see lots of swim baits. From modest soft plastics on lead heads or weighted wide gap hooks, to
the full-bodied molded models up to a foot in length, long casts parallel to tule lines can take you straight to toad town. Topwa- ter plugs and buzzbaits will draw ferocious morning strikes, especially where current flows around tule points. As the sun rises, bass often retreat to the shady side of tule stands, or duck under mats of wind-blown grass or hyacinth that stack against tules. When summer warms the skinny water, Green looks for Clear Lake bass around the deeper tule edges – those abutting rocks of- fer great promise. Jigs, Texas-rigged plastics and Carolina rigs are most effective here.
One of bass fishing’s most exciting tactics is the topwater game. No doubt, largemouths lurking within the stalky shadows will readily attack a topside meal, but how do you get a surface bait into the sweetest little hidey holes without snag- ging those dangling trebles? Simple – you throw something without trebles. Some- thing like a frog. Barrack, a man whose frogging skills merited a signature Snag Proof model (Bob- by’s Perfect Frog), likes fishing the amphib- ian imposters around tules with adjacent
HOP TO iT
wood. A little notch in the contour where floating tules form a “roof” for snoozing bass is a prime target for the frog. Unlike matted grass where bass may track a frog for several feet before attacking, tule shots are sudden and violent. “Most of the strikes will occur within 10 inches of where the frog landed,” he said. And if you think largemouth bass are lazy clods that wait for an easy meal, consider the story behind Snag Proof’s “Tweety” color. With a black body and yel- low head, this color option looks a lot like the yellow headed blackbirds that com- monly roost in Clear Lake tules. Having observed bass attacking birds that wan- dered too close to the water, local pro Scott Green suggested that Snag Proof design an imposter. A little black and yellow plastic later and it doesn’t take much convincing to draw crushing strikes. Regardless of what you chose to throw, California tules represent the kind of structure that allows bass the cover they seek and fishermen the access they need. So flip, cast or swim your bait in tule territory and get ready for a big fish with a big attitude to drop a big hammer on your bait. BW