(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.)
Australian Elite Series pro Carl Jocumsen subscribes to the theory that “big baits catch big fish,” so glide baits and swimbaits immediately caught his attention when he jumped into the American bass scene. He quickly realized, however, that relying exclusively on these big lures, under all conditions, can be a recipe for disaster, so he’s endeavored to learn how, when and where to use them in tournament situations.
“Over the past five years I’ve really tried to study this bait and learn it and understand it,” he said. Now it comes into play in nearly half the checks he earns on tour. Any time water clarity provides at least 2 to 3 feet of visibility, he’ll have one on the deck no matter where he is. There are three main scenarios when it gets the call.
The first occurs most frequently when the bass are eating big prey, it requires big limits to win, and wind and sun combine to form perfect conditions. At Guntersville, for example, sometimes it’s simply the best tool.
The second scenario is when he needs a big upgrade in a short time. For example, at a recent tournament on Champlain he was on a micro-jig bite on bridges that maxed out at around 16 or 17 pounds. He had that much with three hours to fish, felt that he couldn’t upgrade, and furthermore didn’t want to burn them. He turned to the big bait, and within 20 minutes caught a 5 1/2-pounder that pushed him way up in the standings.
He refers to the third usage as the “save your butt scenario.”
“This bait can get you out of trouble when you really need it,” he explained. If he has 12 pounds in the livewell and figures that is good for maybe 80th place, instead of grinding on a small fish pattern, “I just go for it.”
Success with glide baits requires proper tackle. “You need to go out and get yourself an actual glide bait/swimbait rod that’s going to do the job for you right, that’s going to do it well,” he said. Since most of these lures are 4 to 8 ounces, and some are bigger, it requires a special stick. He uses a 7’10” version from Millerods, which is light and properly balanced so you don’t get worn out. He said that a lot of the length is in the handle, which combats fatigue and promotes proper mechanics. The matching reel has to be big to accommodate heavy lines and heavy lures, so he prefers a Shimano Tranx 400 with a big cranking handle. The goal is to get the fish to the boat without jumping and leveraging the heavy lure to get off, so “the reel should be a winch.” He spools it up with straight fluorocarbon, as low as 16-pound in clear water with smaller bass, and when there’s a chance of a giant he’ll go up to 30. Most of the time, 20 to 25 gets the call.
If you want to learn some of the other keys to Jocumsen's glide bait and swimbait systems, including which ones he likes for different presentations and some of his best retrieve cadences, check out his full video filmed on the water, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.