New Wave Bass Conquers Cold Wave

New Wave Bass Conquers Cold Wave

Yesterday, Sandy crushed the East Coast, millions went without power, and my good friend Mark Chmura called from Michigan to tell me trees were crashing to earth along the Big Manistee while he was guiding clients to double-digit numbers of steelhead. "Winds were gusting up to 50 mph," he said.

In my little corner of the world, it was calm. The sky was partly sunny, and the air seemed mild until the boat accelerated to about 25 mph. At that point, exposed fingers and facial features began to numb, so I slowed down a bit. Didn't have far to go.

The photo at left was taken a few days prior. Nobody with me yesterday to shoot, but I managed to slip several smallmouths over 20-inches (an inch or so bigger than the one at left) into the net and shoot some closeups of lures we're going to cover in the March-April issue of In-Fisherman.


But I was using the rod in the photo, the same one featured in the 2012 Gear Guide. One of those Jekyl-and-Hyde Dark Side Ultralights. It's the G. Loomis GLX TSR 791, and I can't make myself put it away. Now that the shortened days and bone-chilling water temperatures have most of the weeds laying down, I find Mr. Hyde to be even more companionable.


The rod is rated for 3- to 4-pound PowerPro, though I've been used it with almost every other 4-pound superline on the market. For a light-power rod, it sets hooks astonishingly well with any 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jig sporting a quality hook, probably because most 4-pound braids, though super thin, have have very little stretch with actual break strengths of 8 to 10 pounds.


I've been swimming jigs tipped with Mojo Lures Reefer Tails or Kalin's Grubs. Light line coupled with the action of the TSR 791 sends those packages way out there, covering more water in less time. The drawback I thought would be fatal to the system was speed. In the wake of this recent cold snap, water temperatures over the past week dropped on my little Secret Lake from around 45°F to an even 40°F, and smallmouths have demanded slower presentations every day. Maddeningly slow at times.

Superlines in the 4-pound range cut through water exponentially faster than 4-pound mono when being pulled toward bottom behind a 1/8-ounce jig. The good news is, it reaches bottom fast. The bad news is, in order to keep it up off bottom, retrieve speed has to almost double. But there's more good news: A 1/16-ounce jig-plastic-combo casts farther on 4-pound braid than a 1/8-ounce combo can be pitched with 6-pound mono, and it sinks and fishes at almost the same speeds.

Two other factors have been working in Mr. Hyde's favor: As the water cools, smallmouths that had been feeding primarily in 4- to 8-foot depths are now taking the preponderance of their meals in 10- to 14-foot depths. While I needed to jump up to 10-pound mono on a heavier stick to adequately balance with a 1/4-ounce jig, Mr. Hyde was able to comfortably fish those depths with a 1/8-ounce jig. And, of course, the entire experience would be far less enjoyable without a fast, smooth, dependable reel to counter those quick surges toward the boat, those instantaneous turns, and those powerful runs back in the opposite direction. Still depending on the same Shimano Stradic CI4 we strapped to the rod 18 months ago as research began for the Gear Guide piece. No regrets.


The frost has melted away. Sunlight streams through the window, and startling images from yesterday force themselves into my mind's eye. Hog bass wallowing, throwing wakes, pushing their bronze backs across the surface — doubling Mr. Hyde over like a young willow in a hurricane. Of course, he beat every one of them down and brought them boatside with monstrous precision, being much more powerful than his size and weight suggest.

I can hear him right now, out in the garage, sending his obscene challenges out to every smallmouth in the neighborhood, extolling me to quit writing long enough for him to kick some more bass. He's pretty convincing, too. Maybe I should. After all. It is Halloween.

I'll be back online later today with Mr. Hyde's Trick-Or-Treat bag — a special New Wave Bass box filled with "almost ultralight" swimbaits, cranks, suspending baits, and jigs that the advent of Dark Side Ultralights allowed me to turn loose on the local pigs among our considerable bass populations.


Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures. Walleye

The Lowdown on Walleye Hardbaits

Steve Ryan - May 28, 2019

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures.

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat! Bass

Topwater Lure Secrets for Bass

Jim Edlund - April 26, 2018

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat!

This is not your run-of-the-mill fish recipe! Buttery, savory pecans are seasoned up to make an irresistible and addictive crust for catfish fillets Fish Recipes

Pecan-Crusted Catfish Fillets Recipe

Emilie Bailey

This is not your run-of-the-mill fish recipe! Buttery, savory pecans are seasoned up to make...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

Giant Walleyes According To Calendar Periods

Giant Walleyes According To Calendar Periods

The search for big walleyes begins with an understanding of their nature, keying on prime locations during specific times of the year.

In-Fisherman Calendar Periods

In-Fisherman Calendar Periods

In-Fisherman staffers target all fish and key on the revolving season calendar periods to maximize the the likelihood of catching more and bigger fish.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...


Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at catching Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

See More Stories

More Bass

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley. Bass

Sensational New Softbaits for Bass

Steve Quinn - April 22, 2019

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley.

This technique can be magical under the right conditions. Bass

Rippin' Raps for Smallmouths in Cold Water

Doug Stange

This technique can be magical under the right conditions.

Bass rigs can be simple or complex, but most have evolved to include multiple variations. Bass

Bass Rigs You Need to Be Fishing

Matt Straw - September 30, 2019

Bass rigs can be simple or complex, but most have evolved to include multiple variations.

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.