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Fished Cass Lake for Smallies today. I caught a few, but had lots of "follow ups" (fish were 1-2 ft behind the bait) on a spinnerbait. Was running it at a moderately fast pace. What change do you make to turn "follow ups" into fish in the boat?

BTW, the surface temps on Cass were 56-58 deg on the main lake. I saw a few fish on beds, probably males.
 

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Few things: Use a Tournament Stength Berkley Power Grub,on the trailer hook or the hook if not using a trailer, or use a Bass Scent and soak the bait with it. Change up the retrieve,go lighter line, slow it down. Try that and let us know if it works. Get lower in your boat might trigger them also.

h2o<---bass follows give headache's lol
 

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Follow-Up Tactics for Bass -- Wade Bourne
How to clinch the deal when bigmouths swirl at your lures but don't strike.

Change lures and fish a location thoroughly, and other, more reticent bass may bite.

Bass fishermen can learn a good lesson from salesmen who peddle vacuum cleaners or insurance door to door.

These latter "pros" always have a good follow-up. If they get a bite from a prospective customer, they know what to come back with to clinch the deal. If they don't make a sale on the first try, they frequently will on the second.

In essence, bass fishermen are also salesmen, trying to convince fish to "buy" their lures. They make their deals as attractive as possible, hoping for a quick, positive response.

Sometimes, though, the fish require an extra measure of persuasion. They may rise to a lure -- even bump it, but they're just studying the wares. They still have some hesitancy, and they need an effective follow-up to induce them to bite.

For instance, a bass may blow up on a topwater bait but evade its hooks. Then, leery of this same lure on a repeat cast, this fish might gobble a slow-sinking tube bait or plastic worm that appears in the same spot. No question, anglers who are ready with such follow-up baits will bag more fish than those who aren't.

"I'm a big believer in follow-up lures," says pro angler Mike Terry of Obion, Tenn. "As a tournament fisherman, just one more bass can make a major difference in how much money I win or in qualifying for the BASS Masters Classic. And I'll guarantee you, I catch several more bass a year because I'm ready with follow-up lures when I need them. This is something all serious fishermen should do."

Anglers often bypass big concentrations of bass without knowing it, says tournament pro Randy Blaukat.

Another type of follow-up is changing presentations (lure and retrieve) to rework a spot where a bass was just caught, or lost. This may have been the most aggressive fish in a large school. Change lures and fish the location thoroughly, and other, more reticent bass may bite.

"I remember a tournament on Lake Livingston, Texas, when I'd made a couple of passes down a bank with a jig-and-frog, and I caught a fish both times," says pro angler Randy Blaukat of Joplin, Mo. "I didn't get a fish on the third pass, so I changed over to a 4-inch Ring Worm and came down that bank again. This time I caught three good keepers. Sometimes fishermen bypass big concentrations of bass by failing to try another presentation."

Take it to the bank: follow-up lures and methods can increase your bass fishing tally. Plan ahead, then be ready when follow-up action is called for. In the sections below, Mike Terry and Randy Blaukat offer time-tested advice for turning missed chances into fulfilled opportunities.

Mike Terry: Following Up Missed Strikes
Again, the first follow-up strategy is quickly casting back to where a bass missed a lure or swirled behind it. Odds are, that fish is still there and in an aggressive mood. Drop another lure in front of it, something that's an easier mark or which has more enticement, and many times the bass will nail it.

"In some ways, a bass is like a cat," Mike Terry begins. "If you get a cat riled up, then jiggle a string in front of him, usually he'll pounce on it.

"You do the same thing with bass. A lot of times an initial pass with a lure gets a fish's attention. He may swipe at it without taking it. Then you come back with a follow-up presentation, and he'll eat it."

Terry matches his follow-up lures and methods to his style of fishing. He explains, "I fish Kentucky Lake a lot, and sometimes I run the gravel banks with a buzz bait. When the fish are up shallow feeding on shad, I'll make continuous casts while trolling down long stretches of shoreline.

Follow-up tactics are important because they maximize an angler's odds of boating fish that are already located.

"When I'm doing this, I've always got a rod rigged with a popping bait (Rebel Pop-R, Rico, Storm Chug Bug, etc.) laying by my feet. If a fish rolls up on the buzz bait but doesn't get it, I will immediately pick up the other rod and make a follow-up cast with the popper. I can leave this floating bait in the strike zone longer, and it's an easier target for the fish to strike. I'll just let it sit motionless until all the ripples disappear, then I'll twitch it ever so slightly. Usually this is when the bass will rip it."

But, if the popper fails to draw a strike, Terry switches immediately to a second follow-up option. "I won't make but one cast with the topwater lure. If the fish doesn't hit it, I'll put that rod down and pick up another one rigged with a weightless plastic worm or a tube lure, something that'll soak in slowly. Both these baits sink down in front of the fish with a crippled look. Every few seconds I'll twitch my lure like it's struggling to get away. This is a great action for triggering bites."

Terry's favorite "soak in" lure is an 8-inch V&M Super Needle Worm, which he rigs with a 3/0 Owner offset hook only (no lead weight). He notes, "I match my color selection to the water clarity. If the water is dingy, I'll use white, yellow or bubble gum. But if the water's fairly clear, I'll go with more neutral colors -- shad or black and gold."

Terry says anglers must use the right tackle to cast this weightless worm. He prefers a casting rod, specifically a 6-foot, 6-inch medium-action model and a reel rigged with 12-pound-test monofilament. "Also, you've got to have a limber rod tip," he intones. "If you use a rod with a tip that's too stiff, you won't be able to cast this worm very far."

Terry adds, "One trick when rigging a weightless worm is to insert the hook farther into the head of the worm than normal. I rig it so the eye of the hook is at least a half-inch into the worm. When you twitch it, this gives more action than a normal rig with the hook eye barely inside the head of the worm."

Terry's other "soak in" lure is a tube bait rigged with a 1/32 or 1/16 ounce weight. He prefers this bait when water color is clear. He typically uses tubes in natural colors -- smoke, firecracker and motor oil.

"I fish a tube lure on spinning tackle and 8- or 10-pound line, depending on the presence or lack of cover. I'll cast it to where the fish rolled, then let it drop a few seconds on a slack line. Then I'll engage my reel and twitch my rod tip to make that tube just barely jumps. If the fish is going to get it, this is when the strike will come."

One secret to successful use of both the weightless worm and the tube lure is watching the line. "You've got to work at spotting any little jerk or sideways movement in the line," Terry coaches. "More times than not, you won't feel a strike. But if your eyes are glued to the spot where the line enters the water, you'll see that line move and know a fish has the bait."

When fishing bare banks or flats where cover is sparse, Terry says one secret to success is getting a follow-up bait into the strike area with little wasted time. "The faster you can get it in there, the better your chance of having the bass see it before he swims away."

However, when a missed strike or a roll occurs next to a cover object -- log, treetop, flooded bush, open hole in grass, etc., a speedy follow-up cast isn't quite so critical. "In this case you can be pretty sure the fish is sticking close to the cover or hole. It's probably not going to run off, so you've got plenty time to pick up your follow-up rod and make a precise cast back to where the fish struck."

Around cover objects, Terry normally makes his first follow-up cast with the weightless worm. "It's too risky casting into thick cover with a topwater lure with a lot of hooks hanging. Instead, I'll go with the worm, and I'll leave the hook point embedded in the body. Then I can cast it wherever I want without hanging up. From that point the technique is the same. Let it sink 3-4 seconds, then twitch it, and hold on!"

Randy Blaukat: Follow-Up Tactics for High-Potential Areas
Usually, when an angler catches a fish or gets a bite, he tries another cast or two in the same spot with the same lure. If there's no repeat bite, he moves on, oftentimes not realizing that a big school of bass was present, and a different presentation could have produced several more strikes.

"I think anglers fish through bass unbelievably often," says Randy Blaukat. "I know I've probably done this dozens of times through the years. But now that I've had more experience in evaluating a spot's potential, I don't think I do it as often as I used to. Now I understand when a spot deserves more attention. Also, I know that by changing my lure and method, I can frequently milk an area for several more bass that I wouldn't have caught if I'd stayed with my original presentation."

When Blaukat boats a fish or gets a bite, he goes through a quick mental process to decide if he should stay on the spot or leave it. "I ask myself, 'What is the likelihood that this spot is holding a lot of fish?' How close is the spot to deep water? Is good fish-holding cover present? Is this a spot other anglers might overlook?

"Then, if I decide it's worth extra attention, I'll start working the spot with any of several follow-up options," Blaukat continues. "I might try casting the same bait from a new direction or angle. Or, I might choose another lure with a different look, speed, vibration pattern, etc. In many cases, I'll try both these options."

Blaukat says many anglers fish the same way along a shoreline or drop-off because of how the structure lies, wind direction, etc. "Sometimes I'll follow-up an initial pass down a bank by turning around and working it the opposite way. The fish are conditioned to seeing lures coming from one direction, and a lure coming the other way is enough to get 'em to bite. I may fish up a drop-off, from the back side of a grass mat, from the back of a pocket to the mouth. I'm simply looking for some way to show the bass a look -- a retrieve angle -- they're not used to."

The next option in follow-up tactics is switching baits. Blaukat continues, "In dingy water, I make my changes based on vibration patterns, since the fish feed more by sound than by sight when water clarity is poor. For instance, say I'm working a big-bladed spinnerbait through a submerged stump field. I've had a bite or two, but that's all. I decide the area should hold more fish, and I need to change lures. If the water is murky, I might switch to a lipless crankbait, which makes a lot of sound, but which has a totally different vibration pattern from the spinnerbait.

"On the other hand, if the water is relatively clear (visibility greater than two feet), I'll make lure changes based on color. If I've had a bite or two on a blue/black Guido Bug, I might follow-up with a pumpkinseed or black/chartreuse Bug in the same size. Nothing changes but the color."

Still another follow-up option is changing lure size -- normally from a bigger lure to a smaller one. Blaukat says this can produce dramatic results. For instance, "I was fishing a tournament on the Potomac River (in Maryland) a few years back. On the last day of practice, I got a good bite on a jig that I'd flipped into a treetop. I shook the fish off, then I went back there the next day (first competition round) to try to catch it.

"I used the same jig as the day before, and I must have made 30 presentations without a hit, so I decided to scale down. I switched to a 4-inch Ring Worm, and the bass inhaled it the first time I dropped it in. I'm sure he was there the whole time. On this day he didn't want the jig, but that little worm was the ticket."

Blaukat uses one follow-up trick in particular when fishing dingy water areas that are heavily pressured. "If I decide to work back through an area, I'll downsize my lure -- say go from a jig to the Ring Worm, but I'll use a dark-colored worm. This lure is more visible than one in such typical finesse colors as salt and pepper, watermelon or pumpkinseed. I've had great success with small lures in dark colors."

Blaukat works at avoiding mindsets in fishing, with follow-up tactics and otherwise. "Most people follow-up with smaller, slower baits, but these aren't always best. Sometimes the fish may want something that's bigger or faster. Burning a Rat-L-Trap or a diving crankbait through an area may work better than dragging a finesse worm. The idea is to try various options and let the fish tell you what they want."

Blaukat reviews, "First, decide whether or not a spot merits further attention -- if you think it could be holding a concentration of bass. Then, if you feel it may be, try several different follow-up options before moving on. Sometimes you'll come up empty-handed, but other times you'll catch bass that nobody else would have caught."

Summary
Bass fishing has been described as 95 percent looking and 5 percent catching. This is why follow-up tactics are so important. They maximize an angler's odds of boating fish that are already located. Simply stated, they make him more efficient.

"As a professional fisherman, my goal is to take advantage of every opportunity I have to catch bass," says Mike Terry. "Being ready with follow-up lures and tactics helps me do this.

"It'll do the same for weekend anglers who are fishing for fun instead of for a paycheck," Terry continues. "It's really satisfying to catch fish that are reluctant to bite. Getting one on a follow-up bait is a bonus -- a second chance, but you can capitalize on it only if you know what to do and are prepared to do it."

Wade Bourne is the host of Advantage Outdoors on TNN

h2o<---says good article
 

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h2o Great article and great info. Hell I was gonna say have a jerkbait rigged on another rod or a tube or plasic swim bait and cast out. That has been successful for me from time to time.

Gregg
 
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