To be a serious bass fishermen today, you might need to mortgage the house and hold off on paying for your kid’s college tuition for a few years. Some bass boats cost more than the first house I bought brand new. With reels with computer chips and rods made of the latest space-age materials, fishing line the diameter of a spider web but strong enough to pull a mule out of a bog, and don’t get me started on lures.
Back in the day, you could buy a couple of Hawaiian Wigglers, a River Runt, Lucky 13 and Dalton Special along with a Pflueger Akron reel, steel Tru-Temper rod and spool of black braided line all for under $20 total. One of my favorite displays hanging on the wall in my office today reminds me of my early days fishing for bass. My old Akron reel, steel rod and Dalton Special tied to black braid send me back in memory to simpler times.
Today, one lure can cost more than that 20-spot. Okay, so I’m showing my age a bit and starting to sound like some of those old codgers who start most discussions with…."Back in my day…..”
Bass fishing is a fun and enjoyable sport and with the number of lakes and streams in our area, the playground for catching bass is large and varied and you can actually enjoy the sport without having to mortgage the farm.
I do much of my bass fishing on a farm pond, thanks to generous property owners who allow me access. They even let me keep my old paddle boat on the bank so when the urge strikes, all I have to do is grab a rod, tackle box and paddle and I’m in business.
The lures I fish with are simple. The skirt eventually disintegrated on my old Hawaiian Wiggler and decades ago, a jackfish stole my last River Runt. I have since upgraded to fishing with a simple six-inch plastic straight-tail worm and a single hook.
My brother shared with me how he had been catching a bunch of bass using nothing but a hook and worm he fished “wacky” style. I tried it and seldom tie on another lure because the wacky worm is just flat-out fun to fish.
Here’s what you do; tie on a worm hook, insert the point in and out of the worm at the mid-point so half the worm extends from each side of the hook. Fish it with a soft twitching motion and something about the lure’s tendency to open and close on retrieve like a two-ribbed umbrella triggers strikes.
I read an article recently about another super-simple way to catch bass, a method I’ve heard about for years but never utilized. This method goes by a couple of names – Doodle Soc or Jigger Poling.
With this technique, you don’t even have to own a casting rod. All you need is a long sturdy pole, about two feet of heavy-duty fishing line hanging from the end of the pole and a big topwater lure with propellers on each end.
On most lakes and streams, there are areas you can’t put a lure no matter how accurate a caster you are. Big trees surrounded by low-hanging limbs, brush or aquatic vegetation have BASS written all over them but you can’t get a lure back under all the low-hanging stuff. With a jigger pole, you can.
Ease your boat up quietly and just close enough to reach the target area back in the brush, poke the end of the pole with the lure attached back under there and begin making figure-eights with the noisy sputtering lure. It’s an offering a bass simply can’t resist and the strike will be explosive. The writer who authored the article I read and who has caught bass up to 9 pounds doodle-socking, cautioned to be sure your heart is strong before trying this.
So see? You don’t have to be wealthy to have fun bass fishing. Doodle soc or get wacky; the choice is yours.