Courtesy photo Nick DeSanta with his winning fish caught on Lake Jackson during last week's Bass Tournament on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Breakin' out the Bass Assassin
An interesting name for a lure, and even more interesting name for a company.
Every fisherman has a "go to" bait.
Something they've typically used for years and always caught fish on it.
For some, it may be a particular crankbait, in a special color or pattern; for others it might be a certain size plastic worm or creature bait in a color scheme they're sure a bass has never seen; and for many, it may be a lure handed down from father to son.
Whatever a fisherman considers his or her "go to" bait (it's also known as a "confidence bait") mine just happens to be a Bass Assassin Silver Phantom.
I started using this bait 15-16 years ago and over the years, I wouldn't even want to guess at the number of bass that have fallen prey to its magical allure.
The bait itself became popular during the 90s when every company out there was trying its best to imitate the success of the Slug-Go lure.
The Slug-Go was an overnight sensation.
A slightly fattened soft plastic body on a 6- or 7-inch frame allowed the hook to be imbedded in a hidden slot and as top-water baits go, it proved to be deadly in the grass and lily pads.
Available in a multitude of colors, every fisherman had to have them.
I loved the action of the lure.
And then along came the Bass Assassin Silver Phantom.
It was approximately the same size - same body shape, although somewhat slimmer, but the plastic was much softer and the colors more brilliant.
Like the Slug-Go, it was available in many colors, but after using the silver phantom, I was sold on the color.
Twitching this bait along the surface is like watching a struggling baitfish.
The action is so real it's no wonder that bass attack it with such veracity.
I rig the bait on a small, 6-inch fluorocarbon leader attached to a swivel (which prevents line twist) and a 2/0 hook.
Without the swivel it will twist your line pretty badly as it dances along the surface.
Because it's rigged weedless (Texas Rig), the Assassin can be tossed into the thickest of vegetation and pads and still not get hung up.
I also built a special rod, a 7 1/2' Light Action spinning rod that handles this bait perfectly and allows me to impart whatever action I feel will work in a given situation.
Bass will blow up on it in the vegetation or open water, and often, if you let the bait drop a few inches, they'll attack it underwater halfway back to the boat.
And this bait isn't just for small bass; it will catch bass of any size.
Years ago, fishing Lake Lotela with my wife just prior to a thunderstorm, I caught back-to-back 8 pounders in open water.
Bass just can't resist what looks like a pretty easy meal for them.
On Wednesday, Burt Watkins and I fished the morning tournament and unlike the past few weeks, decided to try some different areas of Lake Jackson.
The water has come up considerably over the last six weeks and areas that were once too shallow to fish are now holding 2-4 feet of water.
With fresh vegetation, the bass are in and around any structure they can find.
I started out with a Yum Dinger worm and picked up a couple of small bass pretty quickly.
Then I switched to a Zara Spook and casting alongside a wooden dock, a nice two pound bass exploded on it.
But as we came upon a long stretch a new grass in the water, I pulled out my "go to bait" and started catching bass immediately.
For every bass I caught, I probably lost one or had a strike and they missed the bait.
When you're fishing a Bass Assassin you need to give them a few seconds after the strike to set the hook.
I tend to react a little too quickly, often costing me a fish.
After about an hour and a half, I had caught a dozen or more and I suggested to Burt that he might want to switch over to the Bass Assassin.
He'd been throwing a popper and a crankbait and had yet to even get a hit.
Four casts later, Burt caught a nice 2 1/2-pound bass, followed by another 3 pounder.
Then, as luck would have it, we both hooked up at the same time, but my fish was a big one.
The bass headed for deep water and it started taking line as I set the hook and held on.
Twenty feet later, the bass came to the surface and with a huge, crashing leap, and tossed my favorite lure right back at me.
All I could do was take a deep breath and make another cast.
We didn't win the tournament, although we did place third out of eight boats, but we caught a lot of fish.
Try a Silver Phantom Bass Assassin and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Wednesday Bass Tournament
We had eight boats fish our tournament on Lake Jackson and everyone caught and released their limit of three bass per boat.
Nick DeSanta won the tournament with three bass weighing 7.98 pounds.
Second place went to Dwight Ameling with three bass weighing 7.71 pounds, and Burt and I finished third with our three bass weighing 6.86 pounds.
It was a fun event and I was happy to see such a good turnout.
Come on out and join us Wednesday, today, it's a great way to spend a few hours on a great fishing lake.
Don Norton is a professional tournament bass fisherman, bass fishing guide, and custom rod builder. He lives in the Golf Hammock area of Sebring with his wife Lexie, and is the owner of a custom rod building company appropriately named "The American Fisherman". He is also the owner of REDS II, a full-service fishing tackle store located at 3603 Sebring Parkway, in Sebring, FL. You can reach him at 863-273-4998 or by email at email@example.com. Visit his American Fisherman Facebook page or his website at theamericanfisherman.com. or stop by the store to see him in person.
Small Banner Ads