June 22, 2012
By Ned Kehde
On June 20, Scott Peterson of Big Bite Baits in Eufaula, Alabama, sent an e-mail about a new soft-plastic bait that Russ Lane designed.
Lane of Prattville, Alabama, competes on the Bassmaster Elite and Walmart FLW Tour circuits, and his bait, which is called Coontail, looks as if it will appeal to goodly number of finesse anglers who like to wield soft-plastic baits on jigs
The Coontail exhibits some of the features of a Senko-style bait, as well as a ring worm.
Within the e-mail, Peterson had a link to a brief video in which Jeff Kreit of Ardmore, Oklahoma, describes the Coontail as a bulky, ringed stickbait that releases scores of alluring bubbles.
This is the link to Kreit's video http://www.wired2fish.com/Video/1749/Big-Bite-Baits-New-Coontail-Shaky-Head-Worm
In sum, the Coontail is 4.75-inches long, and finesse anglers can easily trim an inch or more off the head when they want to use it on a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig.
It is available in 10 colors. A package of 10 cost $4.49.
Here's a link to the Big Bite Bait's catalog: http://www.bigbitebaits.com/Coontail%20worm.htm
Here's a copy of Scott Peterson's e-mail:
Every now and then you get a new product that comes along and you look at it and it just seems to grab you in a way that you think this is going to be something special. That is just what most of the guys that fish the new Big Bite Coontail have been saying. There is something about this bait that is special and I can tell you flat out the Coontail can catch bass.
The Big Bite Coontail is the newest bait to come in the Russ Lane signature line of baits. I was introduced to it at the writer's conference that we had in April on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri and after seeing it catch bass there I could not wait to get home and put it to work on my home waters. I have been able to fish this new bait for a couple of months now and played with rigging it a few different ways; here is just a start in how you can fish this bait on your waters.
One of the very first ways that I saw the Coontail fished was when Jeff Kreit had one rigged on a Shaky Head. Jeff has been playing with this bait for a few months before we even got to Table Rock and explained about how the Coontail with all its rings will trap air and as the bait falls, the air bubbles would come off the bait even when it is just sitting on the bottom. He also was impressed with how the bait looked and how it caught fish.
Getting the bait home I started fishing the Coontail rigged on a Shaky Head and headed to a small rock point that was holding a few post spawn bass. I liked how the bait felt as I dragged it along the bottom. When I would get the Coontail up to a rock I would give it a few shakes to free some of the trapped air bubbles and it worked to trigger a few strikes. I also fished the Coontail on the Shaky Head with a drag-n-hopping retrieve: in both cases of retrieves I was able to trigger strikes.
For this method I fished my Coontail, Shaky Head combo on a 7ft medium action spinning setup, teamed with a matching spinning reel that was spooled with either Sunline 7lb Sniper Fluorocarbon line or Sunline's new SX-1 20lb braided line with a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. Leader length was about 5ft.
Worm Hook / Weighted HookOne of the ways that I experimented in fishing the Coontail was to fish it rigged on a EWG worm hook texas rigged or I fished it wacky style rigged on a Gamakatsu Weedless Wacky Hook. Because of the weight of this offering I mainly fished it on a spinning setup when fishing it in the shallows, but in the times that I wanted to fish this setup in deeper water or in heavier cover I would take and use a weighted EWG hook. This adjustment allowed me to switch and use a baitcaster setup when I was fishing around cover and needed the extra back bone to be able to get the bass out and to the boat. It also allowed me to fish the bait in deeper water conditions like open pockets on the weed flats or on the outside weedlines.Fished either way if I had to put a category on this presentation I would say that this is a finesse tactic to fish when the bass would not touch a Trick Stick presentation. Part of this came from how the Coontail would fall; the rings of the Coontail would trap bubbles and have a unique action as it falls on an un-weighted hook.
For my spinning options I would fish this rigging on a 7ft medium action spinning setup, teamed with a matching spinning reel that was spooled with either 8lb to 10lb Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon line. For my baitcaster option I would use a 7ft medium action baitcaster, teamed with a matching reel, spooled with 16lb Sunline Shooter.
If I had to pick one way to finesse bass I will most times hands down pick to rig my Coontail offering on a Mushroom or a Ball Head Jig. The differences between the two jigs are the Mushroom Jig has a tendency to stand up on the bottom better than a Ball Head. But when it comes down to it either jig system will work.
I will fish this presentation on the weed flats, inside or outside weedlines or open rock areas. The key here is to go on the light side of picking jig size for the conditions you are fishing. The most popular size that I fish is 1/8oz. If I am fishing my Coontail on the weed flats I will use a 3/32oz. I want my offering to stay on top of the weeds when it falls, I do not want the Coontail to fall into the weeds, resulting in a wasted cast. The majority of the strikes you will get when fishing this tactic will come when the bait is falling or sitting on top of the weeds.
For weedlines and rocks I will generally use a 1/8oz to 3/16oz jig. This is enough to get the bait into the bass zone most days; on the days when I am faced with fishing in windy conditions I will up my jig weight to a 1/4oz.
When fishing this Coontail Jig option I generally fish this on a spinning setup. I fish a 7ft medium action spinning setup, teamed with a matching reel, spooled with Sunline 6lb or 8lb Sniper fluorocarbon line.
So as you can see we have just started to scratch the surface of how to rig and fish Russ Lane's newest signature bait the Coontail.