BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 58

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“The s I use han tackle o different t west,” Peter ting trophy n e ge e other here is e I used in th its when tar re throws th t kl wimba yone else he work fine, bu s the tac r e f e os ver I pr ait, said. “ ly because e ks and Senk afied swimb in n an fish ma s, big jigs, cr ing a real bo Ye ow e. e stuff. I’m thr fish increas r me here ar n e h w o ig I know at a really b ne the best f the 22nd- at do ds n, my od ts that have e Huddlesto ry Nezuma R h ai e tu “The b standards. T e 22nd-Cen lammer. Th S n , th wester Triple Trout ) and the MS epths while d y re Centur lable anymo n the deeper reat as wake i i g a t (not av ts work grea ammer work ght rods, i l a S the ri ’t o t swimb ma Rat and e v a ou can h y o – u t z g e e n v i ha sh the N o, you his type of fi trophy s l n A e h . s w r t bait line fo shotty tackle d n a s reel with s have fish r d e l n g u o n r e a hy mess a ms I se contain trop hese big e l b o r . fishing the biggest p e lakes that inking that t d. “Another es f small th dde h t a i e w h s “One o ey go fish th ld methods ” really t, ck i a a a b b e e k o h v u t n a l r here is stick to thei ina rig or cra sh busting b fine but to h tage baits. ol ey f fi nd fish high-percen u and th eat their Car he schools o o p - 5 the the ll e t lies or be throwing fish wi y do is chas o o h c s o he he have t thing t ey’ll catch t y e h t , hy Th baits. t a trop a e c n ha good c

Tactics in the west differ a lot compared to the east and that’s due to one factor – everyone in the west already knows which lakes produce trophy fish. In the east, though, most an- glers focus on tournaments and guiding and, therefore, don’t have the focus and approach to trophy fishing. This fact makes it difficult to know which lakes actually have a shot at producing a fish over 10 pounds but Peters has figured out a method which puts the odds in his favor tremen- dously. It’s the age old adage called – doing your homework. “When I first arrived here I didn’t know the waters at all,” he said. “So I got online and did some research on lakes that had big largemouth records coupled with plenty of forage fish and started there. I also paid attention to fishing reports to determine if any lake consistently kicked out fish over 10 pounds or tournaments that took 30-plus pounds to win. Those are the lakes that have the potential to produce numbers of big fish and the lakes best suited for the swimbait fishing. “From there I began researching which lakes had clear, deep water – a winning signature for a lake that will produce big fish consistently. “Bait is also a concern in the production of trophy bass so I then whittled down my search to lakes that had all of the above stated properties, coupled with a good forage base of blueback herring and/or gizzard shad.”

Recognizing SoutheRn tRophy LakeS

“Big fish tactics are the same no matter where an angler lives,” Peters said. “The number one thing is to figure out where the big fish in a lake reside and then figure out how to get them to eat.

SoutheRn tacticS

“But one of the most im- portant aspects of hunting trophy bass is not spooking them,” he said. “I see so many anglers here in the east pulling into a spot at full throttle, throw- ing down the troll motor and then they expect to catch a pig. Big fish hear that commotion and instantly go on the defense. Stealth is the only way you put the odds in your favor, even with the right techniques and baits. “Another key aspect about correctly fishing a given spot is boat position – in fact its tantamount,” he added. “I position my boat as far off my target as possible and use the wind to blow me in. By using the wind, you don’t have to use the troll- ing motor as much, which creates less noise in the water. It’s also important to turn off your graphs and GPS too. Be quiet and be more like a hunter going after big game. This works no matter if you’re fishing docks, brush piles or laydowns.” His approach to fishing docks and laydowns is pretty stan- dard but has a western twist. “I pick the docks and laydowns that have deep water close by or sit in key locations on the lake,” he said. “But one thing I do differently from most eastern anglers is I fish them uphill a lot of the time. For example, I’ll hug the shoreline and use the wind or my troll motor to quietly get into position and then I’ll fire a cast at an angle that goes past the dock into open water. If possible, I want the cast to guide my bait under the shady side or end of the dock. “Many of the docks in the east have brush piles located off the ends of them that homeowners place there for crappie fish- ing,” he added. “These brush piles also hold big largemouths and spots. “But there’s more to fishing a dock uphill. For ex- ample, if you fish a dock from the outside in, you’re presenting the bait differently than they see it 90% of the time. On the other hand, if you run a big bait from deep to shallow, it illicits a killer-instinct bite because big fish will chase bait shallow to pin it against the shoreline. “Brush piles are the same,” he said. “The main difficulty with these brush piles is locating them and setting up prop- erly on them. Once you find them, though, I make sure to cast from the shallow side to the deep side. Each brush pile seems

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July/August 2009