“A Prescription For Success”
By Stan Fagerstrom
In my last column I named three surface lures that get their share of bass at Southwest Washington’s Silver Lake.
Those lures were the Heddon Dying Flutter Spook, the Super Pop-R and a Cordell Red Fin. As I mentioned, I’m well aware there are a bunch of other surface lures that perform equally well. On some occasions even better.
I know from years of personal experience, however, that the three I’ve named take their share of fish off the top. All must be fished somewhat differently to get best results. For purposes of the prescription I started in my last column, I'll talk about only one. It's the Heddon Dying Flutter Spook. I choose it because I consider it the easiest of the three to learn how to use.
The Heddon Dying Flutter Spook is an excellent surface lure. It has caught a bunch of fish for me at Southwest Washington's Silver Lake. The one shown here is my favorite color.
The torpedo shaped Dying Flutter Spook has a tiny prop at each end. The propellers create a "slurshing" sound when the lure is twitched along the top. It's undoubtedly this sound that helps attract largemouth.
All right. You've learned how to cast and you've got a Heddon Dying Flutter Spook hanging on your line. Now where and when do you fish it?
My prescription calls for you to be on the water before daylight. You don't have to cast until you can see what you are doing, but you must be in position to do as daylight comes. This, of course, is one of the primary reasons some fishermen never have and probably never will catch many bass on surface lures. The one period that sees bass bite most consistently is daylight, especially where surface fishing is concerned.
I’m not talking about early morning. If you can’t be out there until an hour or so after daylight, forget it. That’s not what my prescription calls for. You’ve got to be there during that time when it first becomes light enough to see.
If you doubt that, look around next time you do manage to get out at daylight. Note how many other fishermen you see. A good share of the time you won't see anybody. Time after time I've been headed in after catching a half dozen beautiful bass when other boats have passed me carrying
anglers just going out.
Again, let's assume you've mastered the required casting skills. You've tied on a perch colored Dying Flutter Spook. You've positioned your boat 30-feet off the outside edge of the pad fields at Southwest Washington’s Silver Lake. It's just getting light enough to see. What next? I'll tell you.
Seek out the edges of the pad fields where the water is deeper. I realize no place in Silver Lake is really deep, but some areas are deeper than others. Be quiet in your boat. Don't bang around. It's early and still and you don't want to spook the fish. Cast your lure as easily as you can into the back of the little pockets and openings in the outside edge of the pad fields.
I hooked this nice bass on a surface bait at the outside edge of the lily pads. It got back into the pads before I could get it in the boat.
Once you get the Dying Flutter out there, don't move it. Not an inch. Make sure you don't wiggle it as you get all the slack out of your line. Watch for any movement in the pads to the left, right or to the rear of your lure. If you see such movement it's likely a largemouth moving in closer to see
what just flopped into the water.
After you've waited as long as your patience permits, twitch the lure gently so it makes that "slurshing" sound. Make sure the lure is pointed toward you when you do. Don't jerk it hard. Just a slight twitch will do. Now let the lure rest again. Wait until the ripples disappear, then slursh it again. Again let it rest. Now another twitch and another slursh.
Go back and re-read the last paragraph. Unless you follow these directions exactly, you won't get the number of hits you should. Once you've used those first three twitch and pause manipulations, start your retrieve.
Starting your retrieve doesn't mean just cranking the bait in. Twitch your rod tip to make the lure sound like this: "Slursh, slursh, slursh"---pause. “Slursh, slursh, slursh" ---pause.
You don't have to pause long periods between those slurshing sounds. Just a couple of heartbeats will do. There will be days when bass hit better on this portion of the retrieve than they do after those first movements.
I don't have space to talk about the best retrieves with the other lures I mentioned. I'll do it another time. In the meantime, if the Dying Flutter Spook doesn't produce, try different retrieves with the others. Don’t keep doing the same thing if you don’t get hits. Try to let the fish tell you what they want. Experiment until you find what that is, then give ‘em both barrels!
That's my prescription. Follow it to the letter and you will catch bass off the top. And that applies whether you're on Silver Lake or a pond or a bayou in some other far off section of the United States.