Next up is the annual look back at the lures that fooled the bass. I am a creature of habit and an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of guy but I did manage to employ over a dozen different general lure types to catch my fish in 2022. As such, the Lures portion of the 2022 Fishing Recap will be submitted over two posts working from fewest bass caught to most. Read on for some video and data on the first batch of lures.
Topwater Frog – 1 bass
Lunker Hunt Walking Frog Kraken Series (hops)
Top Bass: 2-12 Lake Storey – September 18
Comments: Frogs can be blast to fish, but they don’t play much of a role in my arsenal these days, even on the weedy Canal. Plenty of fellow Canal anglers report success on these types of baits so maybe next year I will invest a bit more time dragging them around. The lone 2022 catch came from some remaining weeds on a flat during the Lake Storey drawdown. My brain said, “This looks like a good spot for a frog”, and several casts later, I had my Top Bass of the day. Feels good when it works like that with a mental pat on the back for a good decision.
Jerkbait – 1 bass
Bomber Long A (red/yellow)
Top Bass: 1-3 Hennepin Canal – August 13
Comments: My only jerkbait bass of the year came on a similar, “I should try this here” decision as my previously described frog catch. I had an extended drop with sparse, scattered, submerged weeds, and figured that I could navigate it better with a jerkbait than a crankbait. While August isn’t your standard jerkbait time of the year, it worked. I fished my way through the drop without another bite and the catch wound up a one off.
Stickbait – 3 bass
Zara Spook (natural frog)
Top Bass: 2-6 Hennepin Canal – July 17
Top 2 Weight: 3-8 (2-6,1-2)
Comments: Me and the Zara Spook go back a long ways, but I don’t throw it much anymore. However, upon obtaining an old reel from a longtime friend, Matt Reynolds, I opted to go old school and try to land the first bass with the reel on the Spook. Matt nicknamed the natural frog pattern Zara Spook, “The Pickle” back in the 80s so my goal was to fool one on the bait while using his reel. The mission was a success with a quality fish in hand shortly after beginning to “walk the dog” (the standard name for the Zara Spook retrieve/presentation).
Lipless Crankbait – 4 bass
Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad)
Top Bass: 1-15 Lake Storey – October 22
Top 4 Weight: 5-7 (1-15,1-13,1-0,0-11)
Comments: Lipless crankbaits have long been a mainstay in my arsenal, but they just weren’t in tune with my frequent visits to The Canal. The abundance of weeds on The Canal as the year wore on made for repeatedly fouling the hooks in the vegetation. Other offerings, primarily a spinnerbait, were more in tune to the conditions so the Red Eye Shad got a break in 2022. Top Bass on the lure came from Lake Storey in a pocket rife with shad activity and the fake shad came through. It also snagged one of the real fish that it looks to imitate.
Popper – 4 bass
Rebel Pop R (rainbow)
Top Bass: 1-12 Knox County public strip pit – May 14
Top 2 Weight: 2-10 (1-12,0-14)
Comments: The Pop R is an exciting lure, but I don’t employ it very often. For me it’s one of those instinct or Plan B lures. For instance, if I have trouble getting a topwater bite on faster lures like a buzzbait or if I have a limited open water strike zone, I may employ a popper. Also, if I have bass missing strikes on a faster moving topwater, I can sometimes fool a few with a popper as I can let it sit in their face when pausing the retrieve as needed.
Jigs – 5 bass
Googan Gridiron (PB&J), Bass Pro Enticer (white), Strike King Rattlin’ Jig (black/blue) with various pork and plastic trailers
Top Bass: 2-12 Knox County public strip pit – September 19
Top 4 Weight: 9-8 (2-12,2-11,2-1,2-0)
Comments: All my jig bass came from walk-in strip pits as The Canal just never gave me much reason to slow down. In addition, the abundance of vegetation that shows up in The Canal makes for frustrating jig fishing. I dig a jig and pig but if I don’t have to slow down, I won’t. If I do get out on The Canal earlier this year than my April 15 debut in 2022, I may employ a jig around the abundant wood before the weeds take over.
Grub – 8 bass
Lunker Hunt Finesse Worm ¼ oz. (Bama craw)
Top Bass: 0-13 Snakeden Hollow – April 10
Comments: I read a lot about the Ned Rig and similar light, finesse presentations that work well in cold water or during a finicky bite. In 2022, I made a decision to give this type of lure a shot on a couple strip pits in early April. Short story is that the presentation fooled some fish but nothing big and it resides out of my comfort zone of fast fishing. Unless the fish force me to slow down, it’s not happening. Perhaps a bad habit, but I get by fishing fast most of the year.
And that leads us into Part II of the lure recap, dominated by power presentations. The seven lure types in today’s post fooled a grand total of twenty-six bass. The next batch of half a dozen lure types landed five hundred and twenty-seven bass. Stay tuned for those heavy hitters. Talk to you later. Troy