(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
Bass anglers universally love to catch fish on a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper, and while they have their time and place, Scott Suggs said that day in, day out, a properly presented wakebait will outfish them both. “It’s way more versatile,” he explained. It’s a technique that many fishermen have tried, but few have stuck with it long enough to understand how “idiot proof” it truly is.
In fact, wake baits catch and reveal so many fish, he guarantees that if you give them an honest try “It’s going to disappoint some of the skills you think you have.”
Whether it’s calling up spotted bass suspended in trees on Table Rock, locating smallmouths on a rock reef on Champlain, or around grass edges on Okeechobee, it’s a lure that he almost always has tied on because of its drawing power. He noted that at times he’s caught fish on it and had “40 or 50 trying to get it out of its mouth.”
He starts with one during the pre-spawn, targeting docks on the entrances to spawning bays and bluff ends. At this time of year he’s careful not to overwork the lure, just providing it with a slow wobble. “I don’t burn it,” he explained.
As the bass move to the beds, he considers it the ultimate search bait. Spawners might not get it every time, but it will alert him to their location and allow more precise presentations.
The post-spawn is when it really shines. Bass will take the same route out of the bays as they took on the way in, utilizing points and the docks closest to the main lake to recuperate. Once they’re rested, they’re “ready to eat” and start bunching back up. That’s when the bite can be at its best. It’s also a fantastic tool on lakes where blueback herring are the primary forage, and his best results on those waters has come in the fall.
Suggs has designed two versions of his Surge Shad wake bait for Berkley – a broken-back model and a solid version. He prefers the latter under most conditions, if nothing else because it has three treble hooks rather than two. When there’s a strong wind, though, he’ll utilize the jointed one, which creates a ruckus, and with its internal rattles “it’s pretty loud.”
He keeps his tackle simple, preferring medium-heavy baitcasting gear for the vast majority of presentations. Specifically, he likes a 7-foot Abu-Garcia Veritas rod paired with a 6.4:1 Revo Premier reel. He spools it with 12- to 20-pound Berkley Trilene Armor Coated Monofilament, varying the line size depending on the size of the fish he’s targeting, the available cover and how he wants the bait to run. The only exception to this rule occurs when he wants to make extra-long casts and cover more water, typically in smallmouth country. Then he’ll switch to a 6 1/2-foot medium-heavy spinning rod with light braided line, which allows for solid hook sets at a distance.
If you want to learn some of Suggs' additional tips for maximizing your wakebait effectiveness, including how he varies his colors for smallmouths and when he uses an all-black lure, check out his full video, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.