Flipping, pitching, and skipping jigs around docks, boat stalls, boat lifts, and a variety of overhanging objects are traditionally the province of power anglers.
But Gene Larew Lure Company has recently created a system for black-bass anglers who are wedded to spinning tackle and finesse tactics to ply docks, boat stalls, boat lifts, and overhanging objects. It is called the Bass Shooter System.
It is similar to the method that Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, which is a division of Larew, created in 2015. The crappie system revolves around Garland's Dock Shoot'R Pull Tabs and Dockt'R Shooter Heads. On Nov. 25, 2015, we published a Midwest Finesse column about this tactic, and it is entitled "Three days with Gene Larew Lures and Bill Lewis Outdoors." In this column, we wrote about how Lee Pitts of Cedar Bluff, Alabama, shoots docks and catches crappie.
Pitt does that by placing the Dock Shoot'R Pull Tab, Dockt'R Shooter Head, and a soft-plastic body about six inches above his spinning reel. Then he puts the Dock Shoot'R Pull Tab between the thumb and index finger on his left hand. Thereupon, he pulls the jig towards his spinning reel so that his spinning rod is bent somewhat like a drawn bow and arrow. He aims his rod at the spot that he wants to reach. When his aim is on the mark, he releases the tab, and the jig is jettisoned to those difficult to reach spots. When the space between the dock and the surface of the water is narrow, the Dock Shoot'R Pull Tab, Dockt'R Shooter Head, and a soft-plastic body will skip across the surface of the water to reach the mark he wants to reach.
To accomplish this task for black bass anglers, the folks at Larew created a 3.25-inch soft-plastic bait that they call the Bass Shooter. In the words of the folks at Larew, it possesses a compact body with smooth lines, a flat back with a hook-alignment guide, a boat-hull belly, which creates realistic movement, and a spear-like tail. It is said to be aerodynamic, which allows it to fly above the water and also skip across the surface of the water, and its aerodynamic attributes allow it to fly and skip as straight as an arrow. After it is shot and reaches its target, it glides and exhibits a subtle darting action as an angler retrieves it. In some ways, it resembles the way a kite glides and darts about in the wind.
The bodies of the Bass Shooter are manufactured in the following hues: Black/Blue Silver, Double Silver, Gizzard Shad, Golden Junebug, Green Pumpkin, Green Sunfish, Mad Bluegill, Pearl Flash, and Watermelon Neon. Anglers can purchase eight of them for $5.29.
In addition to the 3.25-inch soft-plastic body, the system revolves around a 1/16-ounce and 1/8-ounce jig, which is called the Bass Shooter Pinhead. The folks at Larew proclaim these jigs were designed to "deliver the ultimate lure shooting, falling and retrieving performance." The head of the jig is inserted into the soft-plastic body in order to minimize surface drag and to redistribute the weight of the lure from the head to the lure's torso. The size of the head on the 1/16-ouncer is identical to the size of the 1/8-ouncer. But the 1/8-ouncer is made out of lead, and to make the head and collar of the 1/16-ouncer the same size as the 1/8-ouncer, but lighter, it is made of tin. To help anglers to quickly distinguish the 1/16-ouncer from the 1/8-ouncer, Larew designed the collars a tad differently: the 1/16-ouncer has a double-barbed bait keeper and the 1/8-ouncer has a triple-barbed bait keeper. Both sizes are poured around a 3/0 Mustad hook, and the eye of the hook has a 30-degree bend, which helps keep the bait properly aligned. Because the head of the jig is concealed inside the torso of the soft-plastic body of the Bass Shooter, the head is not painted. A bag of seven without weed guards can be purchased for $5.59, and a bag of five with weed guards can be purchased for $5.59.
The third component is the Bass Shooter Pull Tab. It is one inch long and five-sixteenths of an inch wide. It is made from a tear-proof and waterproof material. It is the part of the system that anglers hold onto with their index fingers and thumbs when they are shooting. Moreover, the Pull Tab slows the Bass Shooter's fall, and at the same time, it creates flash and enhances the Bass Shooter's darting and gliding action. At each end of the tab, there is a center-drilled hole through which the hook is inserted after the soft-plastic body of the Bass Shooter has been properly affixed to the Pinhead jig. After extended use, the hole in the Pin Tab will often become tattered and torn around the hook hole, and when that occurs, an angler can reverse the tab and affix the hook to the hole at the other end. Anglers can purchase 12 of them for $4.99. They are available in holographic scale and moss green.
Gary Dollahon of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and Dollahon Public Relations of Tulsa, says that Lew's Fishing is working on creating several rods for dock shooting. Until that occurs, Dollahon recommends that dock shooters should use the rod that Terry Blankenship of Osage Beach, Missouri, employs, and that is Lew's Tournament Performance TP1 Speed Stick Series TP 167 MLFS, which is a six-foot, seven-inch rod with a fast action and a medium-light power. Blankenship is a guide on the Lake of the Ozarks, and its shorelines are littered with thousands of docks, and he is a veteran dock shooter. Besides the TP 167 MLFS rod, Blankenship recommends that dock shooters employ a spinning reel with a big spool. When Blankenship is dock shooting with the six-foot, seven-inch spinning rod, the Dock Shooter hangs about 46 inches from the tip of the rod. And then he places the Pull Tab between his thumb and index finger, and depending on how far he wants to shoot it, he pulls it until it is parallel to the reel for a relatively short shot, and for a long shot, he will pull it 24 or more inches behind the reel.
Besides the Lew's Tournament Performance TP1 Speed Stick Series TP 167 MLFS, Blankenship at times uses Lew's seven-foot LWS spinning rod, which is a walleye-style in the Custom Speed Stick Series. It possesses a fast action with a medium-light power.
Blankenship has found that different rod lengths affects how he holds the rod and aims the bait as he prepares to shoot it.
Andrew Upshaw of Jenks, Oklahoma, says that Larew recommends that anglers fill the spools of their spinning reels with either braided or fluorocarbon line or braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. The size of the line and leader can range from six to 10 pound test. Blankenship recommends using eight-pound-test Vicious Fishing Hi-Vis Yellow Panfish Line.
George Toalson of Claremore, Oklahoma, who is Gene Larew Lures's manager and lure designer, discovered that it exhibits darting and gliding action similar to that of a jerkbait. And he and Dollahon found that it is an effective bait in environs that are devoid of docks.
In the months to come, we hope to publish more insights into how, when, and where anglers use this system.
(1) Here is a link to the column that features Lee Pitts and the crappie shooting tactic: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/three-days-with-gene-larew-lures-and-bill-lewis-outfitters/#ixzz4MmhLq2w6.
(2) Here is a link to Larew's website about the Bass Shooter System: http://www.genelarew.com/bassshooter.php.
(3) Here is a link to our gear guide about the crappie rendition of the Bass Shooter System: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/bobby-garlands-1-5-inch-crappie-shooter/.