BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 63

When you are not visually seeing them on the surface consis- tently that is when it is time to look to your electronics, and start looking below the surface for the school of fish. Again, they will still be actively feeding, just not on the surface as the ball of bait has worked its way back down to deeper water. During these instances using a under spin type bait, or a Strike King Sexy Spoon is my favorite way to attack these fish. Using a casting spoon allows you to cover a lot of water quickly and effectively, while still using a bait that will cause a reaction strike. This bait can be cast extremely far, and fished at virtually any depth from a few feet deep, all the way down to fifty plus feet of water. However, there are two distinctive baits which I would like to highlight that can be fished on breaking fish on the surface, blind cast when the fish are not breaking, and fished deeper when the fish are chasing bait balls in the depths. First, a bait and design that has been around for years, but is still extremely effective is a dart head, paired with a small ringworm. When fishing it on the surface, you want to use the lightest dart head that you can still effectively cast far distances. I prefer 1/8oz to 3/16oz dart heads. This keeps it from sink- ing too quickly, but still has enough weight to get in a good cast. Again, when casting on fish that are breaking the surface, I want to target the bait right on top of the boil. When fishing a dart head, I prefer a very light spinning set up, such as the 7’ rod combination with the 6lb fluorocarbon that I discussed earlier. Again, the fluorocarbon line helps increase the number of bites you will get, as it is less visible, but also eliminates line stretch to ensure a good hook set. The most effective technique seems to be a cast and slow retrieve. When retrieving this bait, you want to keep your rod tip down, in a position so that when you get bit, you have your rod in position to set the hook. Like other baits we discussed, you want to try to match the size and color of the bait to the forage that is in your local fishery. The second lure that is great for all aspects of fishing for breaking fish is a new lure to the fishing community, the Scrounger Head. This lure designed by Bassmaster Elite Pro Aaron Martens has proven to be successful in many applications since its release to the market. Schooling fish is no excep- tion, and again, this lure has proven to be successful in this application as well. With the option of a short or

long bill, the Scrounger Head is a modified dart head, with a bill. The bill provides a side-to-side wobble when being retrieved. Again, like a dart head, it can be paired with virtually any type of bait on the hook. Personally some of my favorites include baby flukes, a small slugo, or various types of ringworms. Like the dart head, this bait works great when casting on boils, or even blind casting around areas where the fish have been chasing shad throughout the day. Though the majority of your fish may come off of actual breaking fish, you occasionally will catch fish blind casting around the areas where the fish have been active. When fishing for break fish it is important to note that this can often times be a game of numbers. Frequently the smaller fish are the most active, so often times you may find yourself going through numbers of smaller fish before weeding your way through to the larger fish. Still, it is a very effective technique and method of fish- ing whether its fun fishing with a friend for a fun day on the water, or fishing your next tournament. Next time you head out on that hot summer day to the lake and are trying to figure out how to catch some summertime fish, look no further than schooling fish! They can offer numbers, size and a whole lot of fun to any day on the water. Use these tips to attack them from top to bottom, and you will be bound to have success. Never be afraid to try new techniques, colors, retrieves, or lures. Tight lines and good fishing to all! BW

Garrett Mercer is a Licensed Fishing Guide in Califor- nia and is sponsored by Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Strike King Lures, Falcon FTO Storage Systems, Dobyns Rods, KeelShield and www.

July/August 2009