How many times have you given up on a big bed-fish because you couldn't get it to react to a big bait. Maybe a smaller-profile presentation was all that was needed to get that fish to bite.
"A lot of times, I'll take a finesse approach to finicky bed-fish," said 2nd-year Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jared Lintner of California. "If you throw a dropshot rig out there on a little bit heavier line, they might eat that better than they will a conventional tube or a swimbait.
"Over the last couple of years, I've caught a lot of sight-fish using that technique. It doesn't work all the time, but it can be a quick and easy way to get them to eat."
His favorite finesse sight-fishing baits are Roboworms and Basstrix Fat Minnows (hooked through the tip of the nose). He uses 15- to 20-pound line and ties the hook about a foot above the weight.
The sturdy line is important because there's no sense in hooking a bed-fish if you can't put it in the boat.
"When you're dealing with 5-plus-pound fish, their beds are usually around structure like wood or tules. No matter what bait you're throwing, if you're using 6-pound line, there's a good chance you're not going to get that bait back."
Go Where Others Fail
Let's say you located a big bed-fish during practice for a tournament, but another angler beats you to it on day 1. Staying in the vicinity and watching him work on it might be worth your while (especially if there's another fish in the same area you can try for in the meantime).
If the other angler gives up, go on over and try finesse tactics. Lintner recalled an instance from 5 years ago at Clear Lake where such a move paid off big-time.
"It was a WON Bass Pro-Am and I'd found a giant in practice, but when I went up there in the tournament, there was another guy working on it," he said. "I watched him for 20 minutes while I worked on another fish, and just as I saw him leave, another guy pulled in.
"That guy messed with it for a half-hour, but it didn't eat. When I finally got in there, I caught it within 20 minutes on a small, 4-inch tube, a big hook and 30-pound line. It weighed 14.85 (pounds)."
He isn't sure which baits the first angler had shown the fish, but the second had thrown only a big jig.
"For whatever reason, that fish wouldn't get mad at those baits and wouldn't react to them in an aggressive manner. You have to remember that all fish are individuals, and they're going to react to different baits in different ways.
"I'd say that a good 70% (of bed-fish) can be caught if you fish them right. It might take awhile, and you have to decide if it's worth it to spend the time on it.
"With that (14.85-pounder)," he added, "I already had a limit, so I was going to stay there until it was time to go in."