Advice from the Guide Shack
Fishing Big Bucktails/Bigger BASS
by Soc Clay
Time was when bucktail lures were found in the tackle box of every serious bass fisherman in America. In fact, many of todays so-called modern lure creations were copied from this century-old design. Originally created to catch musky and pike, bucktails have been used by knowledgeable fishermen to take bragging size largemouth and smallmouth bass from lake and river systems for decades.
I became a fan of these lures for bass fishing after witnessing a catch of 100 largemouth weighing an even 100 pounds on Kentuckys Lake Cumberland several years ago by two anglers. They were using Billy Finn bucktail lures to fish shallow shoreline structure at night. Bucktails can be particularly effective when fished through open pockets and along the outside edge of weedlines. The flash of the spinner blade attracts the attention of bass while the hair hackled body presents the look of edible prey.
In the South, a technique called "doodle-sockin," is one of the most exciting forms of sport fishing using bucktail lures. This method uses 12-16 foot long poles (either cane or the new graphite models) with a large bucktail tied to the end of a foot-long piece of heavy line which hangs from the end of the pole. The pole is used to dance the bucktail into, through and around heavy brush or weedy cover where bass are hiding. Occasionally, the tip of the pole is thrashed against the surface to give added action and noise appeal to the lure.
Casting is the most popular method for bucktails when bass fishing. On lakes, shoreline targets are best worked by pitching the lure four or five feet beyond visible structure (stumps, submerged logs, weed lines) and retrieving the instant the lure touches the surface. Bring the bucktail post the target with a steady or erratic retrieve. The new offset spinner bucktails, like the Billy Finn Whirlybird and Whirlybird #2, come through heavy cover without snagging. By raising the rod tip and increasing the retrieve speed, anglers can bulge or thrash the surface with the offset spinner blade, giving the bucktail the appearance of a small animal struggling for survival. This action is particularly appealing to feeding bass laying in an ambush position.
Casting bucktails for bass at night can bring explosive strikes when the lure action is alternated between straight retrieves and running the blade noisily on the surface along the outside edge of weed lines past woody structure. Experts agree that a slow, steady retrieve works best on clear nights, while a noisy stop-and-go presentation can bring bass from long distances in cloudy, over-cast conditions.
Bucktails are effective in river systems for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Productive targets include the top and bottom areas of shoals or river drops, and point area (weedy, woody or rocky) where the current washes around and across the end, and laydown logs that extend from shallow to deep water. Casting the bucktail quarterly down stream then retrieving the lure so it sweeps across and in front of any visible submerged structure is an excellent technique for fishing on the upstream side of shoals. When fishing the down stream side of a shoal or river drop, cast quarterly upstream and retrieve the lure just fast enough to make the blade revolve to take large, feisty smallmouth.
Veteran bass fishermen have used bucktail lures for almost one hundred years. The fundamental design is sound and continues to be an important addition to every anglers tackle box. For more information on big bucktail and bigger bass contact the Billy Finn Guide Shack Toll Free@ 1-888-688-8642 or write them at Billy Finn Guide Shack, 4634 Indiana Ave., Minneapolis, MN. 55422, or visit them on the internet @ www.billyfinn.com.
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