AN INFLATED nightcrawler fooled this near 8-pounder for Mark Eddo of Ramona at Lake Wohlford.*

A mild winter has set things in motion a little bit earlier than normal, but I am reminded that bass are again exhibiting the kind of behavior that tells me we’re over-thinking stuff at times.

In my part of the state (for the better part of 40 years–marked by the invention or wide-spread use of of floating trout baits) largemouth bass continue to fall for things they shouldn’t.

For when I say “trout baits” I’m not talking, I’m talking miniature marshmallows, Power Bait and best of all, inflated nightcrawlers: standard fare of the bank-sitting trout angler.

I first began to gather reports of the phenomenon at Lake Wohlford in North San Diego County where often bass weighing seven to 12 pounds would fall to four-pound test and #16 hooks. The biggest I recall, however, one just over 14 pounds, a victim of  a marshmallow and half a nightcrawler combo at Irvine Lake.

Too many catches over too many years to be a total fluke. One or two is flukey, 40 or more at just one lake is a revelation. What the heck is going on?

One, with trout plants, bigger bass are combing those bare flat areas looking for the new arrivals. But they’re not strictly locked in to large portions. When they encounter a soft pink or orange ball, worm/mallow combo or something puffy, segmented and delicious floating three or four feet up off the bottom, they just bite it. And if the water is murky, they find the gaudier combos and colors all the better.

It would seem to me, then, that maybe an adjustment is in order. What used to happen mainly in March and April is going on now, suggesting not only planted trout, but also bass spawning urges are taking hold. I’m not suggesting you switch to Power Bait, but there’s something in this presentation that gets good ones. Might want to check that out.


One other thing. I have actually read posts from guys with wink-wink statements thinking they know “what’s really happening” with these odd catch reports. If you haven’t read these geniuses, they contend these anglers have actually hooked planters and then left them out there for bass to swallow.

Big bait guys, please help me here! What size hooks do you recommend on a typical 8- to 12-inch trout imitating swimbait? How many big bass do you think would be hooked on a #18 gold treble inside the mouth of a real trout–on 2-, 3- or 4-pound test? For that matter, how many are probably hooked by trouters that never get landed?

Point being, bass do some dumb things. Let’s not get caught saying dumb things.

* The same week another angler got a 7 1/2-pounder on Power Bait. Both fish were released, BTW.




2 Responses to “Learn what bass can’t seem to figure out”

Next up – a bass pro designed and (of course) endorsed specialty “Dough Rod”.

What shall we call it – “doughin'”.

You’re right George, big fish have come out of our waters on trout baits for a long time.

I think the bass are attracted to the color and odor of the power bait. As for the inflated crawlers, when I first started freshwater fishing, this is exactly what I would use, an inflated nightcrawler. I think the bass will eat the marshmallow/nightcrawler combo because it is attracted to the odor of the nightcrawler, not the marshmallow. Of course what do I know? I’m no pro!