I live around deep, clear lakes and I love to slow-roll a spinnerbait in deep cover. That’s how I won the Forrest Wood Cup in 2007. A spinnerbait can be used to catch bass at any depth, in any season, though. Most of the time I use a ¾- or 1-ounce spinnerbait for slow-rolling and it’ll have a No. 5 willow leaf and a small Colorado blade with it as a kicker.
The reason I like that combination is because it will stay down in the water column better. If I’m burning a spinnerbait and want it to stay shallow, I’ll lighten up on the weight and go with two willow leaf blades. As for color, to me the best mix is gold willow leaf with a silver Colorado for dingy water, or the opposite for when the water is clear.
In the early spring, I’ll fish a lot of water that varies between dingy and muddy. When it’s really dirty, I’ll use slick copper willow leaf and Colorado blades because, believe it or not, copper puts off more flash in muddy water.
If I’m fishing the inside of a grass line in 6 to 8 feet of muddy water, say, I might also replace the willow leaf with a copper Indiana blade because it has a little longer profile that puts off more flash than a Colorado and has little “thump” to it that helps fish find it.
Finally, if the water is clear, I’ll stick with the semi-transparent silicone skirts. If it’s muddy, I’ll switch to the old-fashioned rubber skirts in white, chartreuse or black because I want that solid profile.
---- Folgers pro Scott Suggs, Bryant, Ark.
Craw baits have become quite popular with today's top bass anglers – pros and amateurs alike. The new 4-inch Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw, designed by former Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Suggs, delivers unparalleled action when it comes to speed-based craw baits.
It's equipped with high-action pinchers that stir up the water and ground when worked along the bottom to imitate a fleeing crawfish. With its realistic tentacles, it's an ideal trailer on a jig for pitching under docks or into heavy cover. Rig it Texas-style on a 3/0 wide-gap hook and drag it along the bottom or through timber.
The big, elongated design of the Rocket Craw gives it a profile that bass can easily locate. It doesn't matter if it's in the thickest cover or darkest waters – bass will inhale this bait!
"If you want a bait that looks and acts like a scared craw, throw the Rocket Craw," Suggs said. "Built for speed and stirring up trouble around shallow grass and wood, the Rocket Craw is the best speed craw ever built. The super high-action claws move a ton of water and will get the attention of any bass close by."
The bait has already made an impact at the highest level of the sport. Ott DeFoe used it to entice spawning fish in the Bassmaster Classic at the Red River, where he finished 5th; Bobby Lane threw it en route to an 18th-place finish at the Okeechobee Bassmaster Elite Series; and 5th-place finisher Skeet Reese caught all of his fish on it over the final 3 days of the Elite event at the St. Johns River.
The Rocket Craw is available in 10 colors – Bama bug, black/blue fleck, black/red fleck, breen-clear chartreuse, green-pumpkin, green-pumpkin/purple fleck, junebug, pearl white, perfection green fleck and shady watermelon candy. A package of eight retails for $3.49.
Some More Rocket Craw Headlines
David Dudley's 3rd Place Finish on the Potomac
Ott Defoe's 5th Place Finish in the Bassmaster Classic
Bobby Lane's 5th Place Finish on Okeechobee
Skeet Reese's 5th Place Finish on St. John's River
One of my favorites is a lead-head version, and it’s taught me something about how to set up to cast these things. What I’ve found is that you always want the weight of the lures you’ve got on the rig to be at least a little bit heavier than the head. If you don’t, when you cast the rig is liable to roll or helicopter badly and twist your line.
Also, another important thing I’ve learned is that you need to clamp down on the spool with your thumb right before the rig hits the water so that the head is pointed toward you and the lures are to the rear. Otherwise, you’re liable to have a real cobweb when you get it back to the boat.
My personal preference for casting is a 7 ½-foot rod with 50-pound-test Spiderwire Ultracast braid. My favorite lures are the Berkley Split Belly, with the Berkley Hollow Belly being a close second. I rig the Split Belly with the jighead on the outside and rig the Hollow Belly with the head on the inside. I started out using 5-inch models, but when winter came along and the water got colder, I switched to the 4-inch sizes.
Like I said, I’m still learning, but I’ve got a few things figured out about the Alabama rig so far, and it’s working for me.