Larry “Doc” Seger of Kimberling City, Missouri, is a veteran and talented fishing guide. He is also a successful tournament angler, who has been plying various regional and some national circuits for nearly a quarter of a century, and in 2010 he won Central Pro-Am Association’s Angler-of-the-Year award.
In 2011, Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, showed Seger one of the original Midwest finesse tactics, and by 2012, it became a vital tool in Seger’s guiding strategies on Table Rock Lake, Missouri, and across the past two years, he has discovered that it is especially effective from early December until late May.
For Seger, this finesse method revolves around attaching a 2 ½-inch Table Rock Bait & Tackle Company’s Chomper Salty Sinker to either a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce round-headed jig. The Salty Sinker is a five-inch soft-plastic stickbait, and he cuts it in half. Seger and his clients use two colors of the Salty Sinker: watermelon candy and peanut butter and jelly. They use the watermelon hue most of the time, but when the water becomes stained, they wield the PB&J one. The heads of the jigs are painted either green-pumpkin or purple, and he normally affixes the watermelon-candy Salty Sinker to the green-pumpkin jig and the PB&J Salty Sinker to the purple jig. He admits that Table Rock’s largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass don’t seem to exhibit a preference for the color of the head of the jig, but in Seger’s eyes, the purple jig looks better on the PB&J Salty Sinker and the green-pumpkin one looks better with the watermelon-candy bait.
Seger affixes a hook or weed guard to these jigs by drilling a tiny hole behind the eye of the hook, and he inserts and glues four pieces of fiberguard into the hole. The size of the jig hook is a No. 1.
When the wind blows, he and his client always opt for the 1/16-ounce jig. On those windless outings, however, the delicate pace rendered by the Salty Sinker and 1/32-ounce jig usually elicits the preponderance of bites.
He uses a super glue to affix the Salty Sinker to the jig, which allows him and his clients to catch 10 or a few more bass before the Salty Sinker becomes too tattered to keep using.
Seger likes to use his Salty Sinker rig with a Bass Pro Shops’ seven-foot, two-inch Johnny Morris CarborLite Series Spinning Rod, which possesses a fast action and medium power. His rod sports a Bass Pro Shops’ JM50 Johnny Morris Signature Series Spinning Reel that is spooled with 10-pound-test Bass Pro Shops’ XPS 8 Advanced Braid. To the braided line, he uses a Seaguar knot for attaching either a six- or eight-pound-test Bass Pro Shops’ XPS Fluorocarbon leader. The leader is five to six feet long, and when he and his clients are fishing around flooded trees, bushes and brushpiles, they use the eight-pound-test leader, and the six-pound-test leader is used for probing underwater terrains that are virtually free of snags.
From early December until the end of February, Seger and his clients use the 2 ½-inch Salty Sinker rig inside feeder creeks, where they focus on bluff ends and around boat docks. At these wintertime lairs, they catch largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass as shallow as a foot or two of water to as deep as 20 feet of water. Some of the bass that inhabit the boat docks are caught adjacent to the dock’s polyethylene floats, and these bass are suspended under the floats in about two feet or less of water. Seger and his clients inveigle the suspended dock bass during the initial fall of the Salty Sinker rig or by slowly swimming it under and next to the floats. They also use the Salty Sinker to probe the bottom of the lake under the dock, and they accomplish this by slowly dragging it on the bottom in five to 20 feet of water. A lot of the boats docks are embellished with man-made brushpiles, which alters the bottom-dragging retrieve.
The bluff ends are usually embellished with flooded timber, and some of the bass that they catch are suspended in these flooded trees. Seger and his clients entice these suspended bass by casting the Salty Sinker to the edge of a tree and allowing it to fall vertically along the outside edge of the tree. Once it reaches the bottom, they drag it along the bottom until reaches 21 to 22 feet of water.
During early March and stretching until late May, Seger and his clients focus on prespawn, spawn and post-spawn bass. To do this they probe ledges and gravel-laden shorelines and points that lie in one to 10 feet of water. Seger positions his boat a long cast from the shoreline, and he and his clients cast the Salty Sinker rig to the water’s edge, and they retrieve it by dragging it along the bottom.
Day in and day out, the drag retrieve that is devoid of angler generated shakes, hops, and pauses has been Seger and his clients’ most effective one. He says “we let the rocks put the action to the jig and Salty Sinker, and we get 50 percent of our bites as it darts, pops, hops, and ricochets off of a rock. The other 50 percent of the bites occur on a straight and unembellished drag. Most of the time, we don’t feel the bite; instead, we lose contact with bait; it is a vacuum”
Seger also sprays the Salty Sinkers with Table Rock Bait & Tackle Company’s Chompers’ Formula G, which is garlic scent. He sprays the baits after about every 30 casts. Depending on the day, he says it increases the number of bites by 30 to 50 precent. He said: “I have tested its effectiveness by spaying one client’s bait and not spraying the second client’s bait. The client’s bait that I sprayed gets way more bites. Ultimately, the second angler wants his bait sprayed. And as the outing wears on, both anglers constantly remind me to spray their baits.”
By wielding this Salty Sinker rig, he and his clients have relished some 100-bass days, and some of the bass that this finesse tactic has beguiled have been lunkers. In fact, on one outing in March of 2013, the five biggest bass that Seger and a client caught weighed 22 pounds, and one was a seven-pound largemouth bass and another was a six-pound smallmouth bass. The biggest smallmouth bass that a client has caught on it weighed six pounds, 10 ounces.
Seger says it is a bait and method that anglers of any age and skill level can quickly learn how to cast, retrieve, and catch bass of all kinds. His six-year-old clients, as well as the ones who are in their 80s, have used it to catch an impressive array of bass during the past two years. In his eyes, it is almost a magic bait.
(1) According to Seger, Table Rock’s bass tend to inhabit depths of water that are too deep for his clients to probe with the Salty Sinker rig from early June to late November. But there have been spells during those months when he rigs one on a 1/4-ounce Table Rock Bait & Tackle Company’s Chomper Shaky Pro Model Jig, and then they drag it in 25 to 30 feet of water, but it is not their primary tactic during those summer and autumn months.
(2) For more information about Larry “Doc” Seger, please examine these links: