By Todd Ceisner
Time is ticking down. The pattern that worked yesterday isn’t working today. It’s crunch time. There’s an hour left until the weigh-in starts or, in the case of the Bass Pro Tour, lines are out. Your nerves are starting to fray. What do you reach for when you absolutely need to generate bites?
We’ve been asking pro anglers from the various leagues that same question as a way to find out what their ultimate confidence baits are regardless of the situation, along with the reasoning behind their choices. As one might expect, the answers have run the gamut, from big-line, big-weight flipping to light-line finesse and from topwater to slow-dragging baits.
Michael Neal began his career as an offshore Tennessee River specialist who also thrived on grass fisheries. He’s expanded his repertoire a fair bit and now’s he reached a point where he’s just as comfortable with a spinning rod in his hands as he is with a deep cranking or swimbait rod. That’s due in part to the development and release of the Big Bite Baits Limit Maker, a straight-tail soft plastic worm that has a tail that tapers down to about the diameter of the cord of your earbuds.
It’s made him a more complete angler and it’s given him more confidence in high-pressure tournament situations.
After checking out the latest installment in the series, head over to our Feedback page and let us know what your go-to bait is and how you rig it.
> Angler: Michael Neal
> Confidence bait: 3.75” Big Bite Baits Limit Maker (tilapia)
> Gear used: 6’10” medium-action Denali Kovert spinning rod, REEL, 10-pound Sunline SX1 braided line, 7-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon leader.
> Origin: “The versatility it offers. I’ve learned that I don’t always need a casting rod and big line in my hand. I’ve realized there comes a point where you have to focus on getting bites to make a check and that’s helped me a ton in the recent past. I compare it to training to be a solider or a police officer. You have to have something in your mind that when you’re under high pressure, you always revert to your training. Something like that that’s a guaranteed way to get bites.”
> Why he trusts it: “The name says it all. It’s not a one-trick pony. It has multiple rigging options. I caught most of my fish at Lake St. Clair (2018 FLW Tour) on it dropshotting. I caught a bunch at Smith Lake (2018 FLW Tour) with in on a Ned rig.”
> One more thing: “The tilapia color doesn’t get the attention it should. You can’t go wrong with the green-pumpkin that has blue and purple flake mixed in. You’ve got everything you need.”