Fishing Factors™ tips and techniques by Lee Bailey Jr

Welcome to Fishing Factors™ Tips and Bass Fishing Factors™, tactics, tips and tricks for bass, by Lee Bailey Jr.

 

 

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Lees Take on Cover

September 16, 2020 by lbailey

Lees Take on Cover reminds him that cover and structure are many times used interchangeably, but they are not the same. When you get down to it, structure refers to the physical characteristics of the water body, such as points, reefs and islands. Cover, on the other hand, is the add-on features, such as docks, fallen trees and vegetation. A good way to remember the distinction is that if you were to drain all the water from a lake, the structures would not move.

This is one of the most basic concepts of bass fishing. Bass and cover is similar to peanut butter and jelly. It’s like the chicken and the egg. They go together. The bass is a creature of prey. He uses cover as a point of ambush to attack. Cover also provides protection from other species.

Lees Take on Cover

Lees Take on Cover can be the obvious like stumps, laydowns, docks, vegetation. Or it can be subtle like the change of two types of rock, or deposits of bottom siltation on a sand bottom, or even shade. Cover is some physical object separate from the actual bottom contour. It is often mistaken for structure. Structure is the actual bottom contour (breaks,drops,humps,etc.).

As a general rule the more extreme the conditions (heavy current, bad cold front, super hot water, really muddy water) the tighter to, and into cover, bass will be. The more stable the conditions, the looser a bass will relate to cover.

Fish relate to cover for shelter and security from the sun and predators. At the same time, cover provides predators with hiding and ambush areas. Elaborate and large areas of cover are like “aquatic neighborhoods” with each stage of the food chain present. From insects, to blue gills, to largemouth, cover serves as a place where fish come to feed, or hide-out in an effort to avoid being eaten.

Wood is a relatively broad category when it comes to fishing cover. It can include sunken logs, standing timber, fallen trees (laydowns), beaver dams, docks and more. The point is, when you locate wood — fish it.

Timber or as most of us call laydowns is one of the most common and easiest types of cover to identify and fish when it comes to any type of river or pond/lake. Timber can vary from tree stumps sticking out of the water, entire logs, or large branches in isolated water. Bass cling to timber almost all year round, which is why anglers feel such confidence when attacking this type of cover.

Baby Buzzbait Explosive Action

September 1, 2020 by lbailey
Hands down one of the most fun techniques to catch fish on.

Mirrored tranquility is marred by a minor disturbance on the surface as a topwater lure gradually makes its way towards the angler. Suddenly, the bait disappears in an explosion of white spray. Nothing compares to the heart-pounding excitement of Baby Buzzbait™ Explosive Action fishing for bass.

Action begins as bass come off their beds and settle into their post-spawn routine, the Baby Buzzbait™ bite kicks into high gear. If you have fished a buzzbait before, you know that it is hands down one of the most fun techniques to catch fish on.

Baby Buzzbait Explosive Action

It’s fast. It’s explosive. It’s exciting. So when and where do you fish it?

WHEN Should You Fish a Buzzbait?
  • Start in Early Spring: When bass begin to vacate their spawning beds, it is time to rely on Baby Buzzbait™ to put you on bass. “When I’m catching nothing but small posts-pawners on a tube or spinnerbait, I’ll often tie on a buzzbait and wham, I immediately hook up with some Baby Buzzbait™ Explosive Action. I can’t imagine a more exciting bait to fish. What makes buzzbaits so effective now, is that the noisy lures can goad even finicky bass into Baby Buzzbait Explosive Action.
  • Shad Spawn: Shad are one of the most popular forage species in most lakes and they tend to spawn just after the bass and sometimes even congruently. You’ll find these spawning shad pushed up tight in the mornings and evenings against hard structure like walls, levees and rocks. Run parallel to the structure and throw the Baby Buzzbait™ as tight to it as you can. Bass will think they have an easy trapped meal and hit it off the surface.
  • Summer through Fall – You can catch buzzbait fish all through the summertime, particularly during those cooler low-light conditions when bass are most active. A cloudy day is your best friend during the summer, to keep that Baby Buzzbait™ bite going. However, the fall is really the Baby Buzzbait™ prime time. This is when all the baitfish start schooling up and you see bass chasing them into pockets and shallows. Bass will bust through these schools and break the surface. This is when you need a buzzbait tied on and any time you see those busting fish, toss that bait right through the middle and hold on.
WHERE Should You Fish a Baby Buzzbait™?
  1. Shallow Cover – This is a broad category, but any weedlines, reeds/tules, docks or cover are perfect targets for a buzzbait. Like mentioned above, bass will pin baitfish up against that cover and hide in ambush spots that make it easy to attack. They sense that disturbance coming over their house and many times they can’t resist.
  2. Shade Pockets – Particularly in the summer, shade and clouds are your friend, especially for throwing a buzzbait. Morning and evenings are ideal, but on those days when the sun is high, make sure you look for things like docks, overhanging trees or anywhere with shade. This is where you want to fish your buzzbaits.

A Baby Buzzbait™ should never leave the deck of your boat from late February through November for most parts of the country. It’s an incredibly fun technique, but it can also be an incredibly effective technique for catching those big fish when they’re least expecting it.

Buzzbaits are a situational tool

August 19, 2020 by lbailey

Buzzbaits a situational tool. Sure, you can haphazardly cast them around the shallows and catch a few fish—but to unleash their full potential, it’s imperative to be aware of their particular advantages. 

  • Efficiency: A Baby Buzzbait™ is extremely effective at covering water quickly, If I’m fishing an unfamiliar body of water, I’ll often use this lure as a search tool. It allows me to easily eliminate dead water, identify the approximate depth of the fish and the type of cover to which they’re relating. Even when they explode on it and miss, they give themselves away and give me an opportunity to make mental notes throughout the day.
  • Reaction strikes: Baby Buzzbait™ causes a bass to swipe at this topwater lure. Because they travel through the strike zone so fast, these lures essentially force the proverbial hand of lethargic bass. They’re hardwired to attack anything that seems to be escaping and a buzzbait takes full advantage of that predatory instinct. So even if they’re not on a major feed, they’ll have a hard time passing on a strategically placed buzzbait. 
  • Unique sound: Bass can get conditioned to hearing the same sounds day after day, Baby Buzzbait™ creates a unique commotion that other topwater lures cannot replicate. That’s a big reason I like to use them around heavy cover. They have a distinctive ability to call bass from several feet away.
buzzbaits a situational tool

To keep a Baby Buzzbait™ on the surface it needs to be in constant motion, meaning once the bait hits the water you have to start reeling immediately and continuously reel until the bait is retrieved. They also create a unique sputtering noise that is hard for bass to ignore. In fact, a bass will often hit one just to shut it up.

As a Baby Buzzbait™ is retrieved, the hook and skirt run just below the water surface, while the propeller cuts across the surface making a sputtering/gurgling sound and surface disruption that entices bass to bite. Buzzbaits come in all different styles, sizes, and colors, but their function is primarily the same.

Buzzbaits a situational tool, one of the biggest advantages Baby Buzzbait™ has over other topwater lures is how much water you can quickly cover with them. These fast moving baits allow you to stay on the move when you’re trying to locate fish and put together a pattern. You can stop on an area and fan cast to just about every spot in a short amount of time, then continue on your pursuit if nothing bites.

Fish Tidal River Currents

August 2, 2020 by lbailey

There are ways to fish and ways not to fish tidal river currents. One thing is that the only way to fish and be consistent on tide waters is to truly study and understand their effects on the fish that live in them. The tide is what for many anglers makes river currents the most difficult to learn and locating the fish even more so. One factor about tide water fishing that rarely changes is the predictability of patterns. Once you realize the significance the tide influences are on how the fish behave, locating the them will become more precise. This is the true secret to becoming a consistent tidal fisherman.

Fish tidal river currents

Understanding how to fish tidal river currents can seem tough, but when you keep focused on a few items your tidal experience will be a lot easier, and more productive. When fishing in current active fish are going to be shallow and I am after those active fish. A great location to find active bass throughout most of the tides is on a migration route. Especially if that migration route intercepts a major backwater. This could be a row of stumps or pilings, a weed line, a channel or ditch that leads from the flats or feeding shelves to the deeper or calmer water Once you find this type of water, you need only to concern yourself with what the actual tide is when you catch your fish. This will help you pinpoint fish catching locations on the river that will hold fish for you at the different stages of the tide.

Bass will be more eager to hit a lure during the moving tides while they tend to be less aggressive during the dead tide periods. You should try to fish your good cover areas during the periods 2 hours before and 2 hours after the dead tide change. At this time you will encounter aggressive fish and a moderate current pinpointing more for you where the fish should be holding. During the extremely fast moving times of the tides you can also encounter aggressive fish, but lure placement and boat positioning will be very crucial not to mention difficult.

River bass will hide in the eddies while traveling a migration route such as a typical creek leading to a backwater pond.

  • behind fallen trees
  • inside cuts
  • below the current side of points
  • under bushes (especially with an undercut bank)
  • on rocky shelves or underwater points.

Shallow Summer Lilly Pads

July 7, 2020 by lbailey

As the sun rises higher later in the day, bass seek the shade of Shallow Summer Lilly Pads and move deeper into the pad canopies. The best way to catch bass burrowed into these pads is to cast a Texas rigged Zoom trick worm on a 1/8 oz un-pegged tungsten weight. I like to look for little channels or openings in the pads when fishing this way. The real key to this types of fishing is to work the worm as slow as possible with frequent stops, letting is just sit there. It is truly hard to beat a straight trick worm around and in lily pads.

Shallow Summer Lilly Pads

Giant lily pads in water as shallow as 1 foot can be productive in the summer because the plants create a lot of shade for bass to find cooler water. Most natural lakes have shallow lily pads and some reservoirs with mud bottoms are loaded with the aquatic shallow summer lilly pads.

This type of cover can be productive most of the year, it’s when the pads have lush green bonnets in warmer months that they produce best.

I will use the technique I mentioned above in this shallow of water. However pitching a creature bait of jig using a 1/2 oz size works great in summer when the lilies are a little deeper up to 6′ – 8′ of water. I use a 1/2 oz size weight because most of the bass hit the bait as it falls. Pay close attention most of the bites you will hardly know a fish has it other than feeling the line scratching the lilly stems as it moves off.

Although all lily pads look fishy, it’s best to avoid fishing large sections of the floating plants. Concentrate on key areas such as unusual features along the pad line. Some features to look for include a point jutting out from the pad line, an isolated clump of pads, a log or stump protruding from the pads and isolated openings and cuts in a field of lily pads.

Shallow Summer Lilly Pads feeding on baitfish, crawfish or real frogs

If the weather is cloudy, you can throw plastic frogs and toads in the pads all day long since bass will be cruising through the weeds feeding on baitfish, crawfish or real frogs. Other weedless lures that trigger strikes when bass are inside the pads include spoons, Baby Buzzbaits and floating worms.

Water clarity is the very first thing I notice anytime I’m targeting aquatic vegetation. When fishing lily pads, you really want to have clean water. Of course that’s a relative term, but if I can see 10 inches or more, I’m not concerned. It’s when real muddy water blows into a pad field that you probably need to look for a new area. The bass very well still may be there, but it will be nearly impossible to get them to bite.”

Best tips for buzzing wood

June 20, 2020 by lbailey

Best tips for buzzing wood by Lee Bailey Jr. If both bass and Buzzbait fishermen have a magnet, it is a strategically positioned piece of wood. That can take many forms: a fallen tree with its roots on the bank and its branches extending well underneath the surface;

Best tips for buzzing wood

a stump row situated on the edge of deeper water; shoreline bushes freshly flooded by rising water; a forest of standing timber; the extensive root system of a cypress tree; a brush-pile anchored in a secret spot or a dock piling.

Those are just a few examples of the types of wet wood that attract both a buzzbait angler and prey. They are features of a lake, reservoir or river where the proper approach will usually produce a strike.

Here, then, are just a few of my Baby Buzzbait™ tips for fishing wood.

Buzzing a lay-down:

I always go right to the middle of a lay-down, even if I have to throw over and thru a lot of limbs and stuff, because I believe my best chances of catching the biggest fish living in that tree are with that first cast. If you can get a Baby Buzzbait™ in there real quietly and gurgle it across his head the very first time, your chances are a lot better (in that shallow water situation) than if you fish it from the outside and work your way in. Reason being; the bigger fish are usually in the heaviest cover of the main branches. If you catch an average bass on the outer branches, your chance at those bigger fish are done.

Bump the wood:
Best tips for buzzing wood especially stumps

My best tips for buzzing wood is to keep your buzzbait in contact with the wood. When buzzbait fishing make sure that gurgling bait bumps as much of that wood as possible. Bang your buzzbait against it and let it deflect off. When throwing this topwater bait, make sure it knocks the side of the wood. That little bump and deflection can produce a strike that you might not otherwise get without making contact with the cover.

When doing that, you need to make sure your line is strong enough for the task. Not only to fish the heavy cover but to also get that lunker bass out of the cover.

Focus on horizontal wood:

I love to focus on wood that lies horizontally in the water, especially if there’s a limited amount of horizontal cover in the area. If you’ve got a standing tree with one horizontal limb on it, key in on that limb. Bass want to orient to the horizontal part of the cover. It gives them better camouflage.

It’s crucial that you make the right Baby Buzzbait™ presentation the first time when fishing a horizontal piece of cover. I was fishing a backwater area that had a lot of lay-down logs. I knew the fish were around those logs. I was fishing a Baby Buzzbait™, and I soon noticed that I never caught a fish if I made a presentation that crossed the log. The first cast had to be made along the shady side of the log, or I wouldn’t get a strike.

Understanding flooded brush:

The flooded brush lining the shoreline of a reservoir is a classic American bass scenario that even the most hardened pros eagerly anticipate each spring.

When the water rises enough to cover the shoreline bushes, the bass move into this freshly inundated cover, where they are accessible to topwater buzzing and remember they are very aggressive.

Best tips for buzzing wood shows that depth is a key consideration for fishing flooded brush. If you locate fish in 2 to 3 feet of water, for example, most of the active bass in that area or on that flat will be at the same depth. But, be aware that bass may move to various depths throughout the day, especially with changing weather conditions. Bass have a tendency to migrate heavily toward flooded bushes early in the morning and late in the afternoon. This makes them prime candidates for some fabulous buzz bait fishing.

It’s been my experience that the fish tend to be in tight to the brush during the midday hours, when the sun is at its brightest. They will also move out a little deeper to take advantage of any shade that’s available. Another thing to remember is that it’s not uncommon to find all of the bass positioned on one side – the same side – of the bushes. The fish may stray a few feet from the main section of the brush, but this movement is usually restricted to the low light hours, as well as cloudy conditions. Those are the times when the shade line extends farther out from the brush.

Good Fishing, “Catch The Dream”
Lee Bailey Jr

Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm

June 10, 2020 by lbailey
Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm 4 ways to fish.

Simplifying soft plastic selection is something that can drastically reduce your amount of stress throughout a day of fishing. While plenty of soft plastics do, in fact, catch fish, there’s one bait out there that can be used in so many different situations and catch some really big bass—the Zoom Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm. Whether you like to flip and pitch, throw shaky heads, fish shallow or fish deep, this soft plastic will catch more fish than almost any bait in your boat.

Fish it like a regular TX-rig or C-rig worm:

Let’s face it—the Texas rig is the “old faithful” of bass fishing. On any lake throughout in nearly every condition, it’s always a safe bet to toss a Texas rig around. If you add an Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm to this time-tested rig, however, you’re dealing with a deadly weapon. When using this bait with a 1/8oz weight, I like to target shallow cover such as lay downs, grass lines and docks in less than 6-feet of water.

The Ultravibe Speed Worm is a perfect complement to the C-rig, as its smaller, non-threatening profile tempts even the most suspicious bass. As the water cools, use a long, 5-foot leader with the UV Speed Worm rigged on a 3/0 Gamakatsu Offset EWG Worm Hook. Because the Speed Worm makes its way through cover with ease, don’t be afraid to throw it in some of the thickest weeds you can find.

Fish it like a spinnerbait (medium steady retrieve):

Keep the rod pointed at a 45 degree angle to your target. The rod will very simply load up when the bass eats it. Set the hook with a sweep of the rod to the side and aft. You can very the retrieve speed to help determine the mood of fish. There are some days they’ll want it moving at a snail’s pace and other days on the faster side.

I personally like a medium steady retrieve when fishing it in and around submerged grass. I will adjust my speed to be sure I am occasionally ticking the tops of the grass. Normally, (for me anyway) I usually feel a slight bump before it loads up.

Fish it up top weightless:

Perhaps the most popular application for the Ultravibe Speed Worm is for shallow and submerged grass, weightless fishing. With its uniquely shaped tail buzzing across the water’s surface, it is well known for producing huge bass throughout the early summer thru the fall months as the bass inhabit the shallow water submerged grass. you can work the Ultravibe Speed Worm with a continuous retrieve stopping momentarily over holes in the grass.

Fish it with a Shaky head:

When an Ultravibe Speed Worm rigged on a shaky head is at rest on the bottom, the cut tail floats, causing it to sway back and forth with the motion of the water. Although it may seem as if it’s not doing much, every time water passes by the tail, it emits that special thumping sound that bass love. Upon closer inspection of the UV Speed Worm, you will also notice the tail’s resemblance to the pincer of a crawfish. As the tail floats, we believe that bass often mistake it for a threatened crawfish, triggering their predatory instinct to strike.

Good Luck and “Catch The Dream” Lee Bailey Jr.

Early Summer Crankbait Tips

May 27, 2020 by lbailey

Early Summer Crankbait Tips will help make the transition between spring and summer a less frustrating and, quite honestly, a tough time for anglers. The bass are constantly moving, they’re hard to pinpoint and the unpredictable weather patterns don’t do us any favors, either.

Early Summer Crankbait Tips

Crankbaits are one of the most popular and effective baits in bass fishing. You can fish it fast, cover a lot of water and throw it around a lot of different structures. Particularly in the post-spawn, when bass are starting to settle into their summer patterns, crankbaits can be incredibly effective at inciting a spawn weary bass who is feeding up on small baitfish.

Bang Into Stuff

Early Summer Crankbait Tips shows your greatest weapon to get more bites with crankbaits is contact. A high percentage of the time, bass bite after that lip deflects off of something and changes it’s trajectory. So target that crankbait to bang off stumps, rocks, dock pilings or any other structure you can see in the water. Especially the bottom. Make sure you dig into the bottom on every cast. After that bait smacks its target, pause it for just a second and get ready!

Try All Angles

Many times as anglers, we’re going down a bank and cast at the same angle every time. Straight into shore or angled towards shore. If you’re in a boat, try going shallow and casting out, bringing the crankbait uphill or cast parallel to the bank and keep the bait on that drop-off to keep it in the strike zone longer.

Mix Up the Colors

Everyone is guilty of tying on a certain crankbait, fish it for 20 or 30 minutes without a bite and put it away. You might be missing out on tons of fish that are keyed in on a craw fish pattern rather than shad pattern or bluegill instead of crappie. Mix up your colors. No bites. Try a different color and so on. It might not be the crankbait, it might be the color.

Change Up Your retrieve

Another major mistake that every angler makes, is that we don’t mix up our retrieve nearly enough. If you watch the best fisherman in the world on TV or online, they almost never bring a bait back the same way twice. Stop chunking and winding and start throwing in some pauses, quick reels or stop and goes. Try burning the crankbait back as fast as you can or slowing it down to a snail’s pace. Mix it up until you find what is working on that particular day and you WILL catch more fish.

Make some of these changes to your early summer crankbait fishing and the results will surprise you. Some of those days that you catch 2 or 3 fish on a crankbait, might just turn into 10 or 15.

Buzzbait Has Been Underrated

May 15, 2020 by lbailey

For many years the Buzzbait Has Been Underrated. Many anglers will tell you that buzzbaits are novelty lures that do a few specialized things. They also claim that they really aren’t a strong big fish lure. Well! They are wrong! I will be the first to argue this point with anyone. And I’ll tell you something else; out on the pro tour buzzbait fishing is something many other pros and I use regularly. Baby Buzzbait is among the most lethal lures in bass fishing. This becomes especially true when the bass are in heavy cover, matted vegetation and feeding on schooling shad or shiners However, even when bass may not be aggressive, they often will attack a Baby Buzzbait even if it is out of their normal strike zone.

Buzzbait Has Been Underrated

Buzzbaits are easy lures to use, and are available in enough styles and sizes to satisfy any angler. Don’t for a minute believe that the Buzzbait Has Been Underrated and are only to be used in low light situations (morning, evening, or cloudy days). As a matter of fact one of the best-kept secrets overlooked by many anglers is the fact that Baby Buzzbait fishing will draw strikes all day. This is especially true if used in heavy cover. Even in the middle of the day when the sun is direct overhead. Depending on the bass’ mood it may take several casts around the same structure to generate a strike.

After the spawn bass have the tendency to spread out across shallow grassy flats especially on southern impoundments like Toho, Kissimmee and Okeechobee. This is when I (retired Elite Series Pro) pick up a Baby Buzzbait! I used to have to modify my buzzbaits by adding a little weight to them before he even makes his first cast.

“This technique is one that I have utilized for many years, and although I was a bit reluctant to reveal it in my competition days. It is what brought me to designing the Baby Buzzbait “The Most Compact bait ever” “Fishing this lure is just so much fun and really does catch some monster bass,”

Heavy structure is the primary ingredient to consistent buzzing. Don’t be timid about throwing this lure into the heaviest and thickest cover you can find concentrating on weeds, logs, rocks, docks, bridge pillars, etc. Bump into as many objects during a single retrieve as possible. This bumping action causes the bait to change it’s speed, noise, and direction just enough to trigger big bass. Keep tuned into your lure because the strike will usually come as you bump the object or just as you pass it. Also, try retrieving very slowly so the buzz has a chance to make as much commotion as possible. Many anglers feel that a Baby Buzzbait must be fished fast. Let me set the record straight, you will catch more fish on a slow retrieve than that of a fast one.

With this in mind and the spawn finished try a Baby Buzzbait. I always have one tied on and ready!

Baby Buzzbait 3-step Approach

May 8, 2020 by lbailey

Once I decide to fish a Baby Buzzbait™ 3-step Approach for Big Bass I need only to choose what size, what color, and retrieve speed. I like to cover water with my buzzbaits. I believe any time a buzzbait is on the surface it’s liable to be crushed by a big bass. To improve the number of strikes, I’ll make long casts along vegetation, on matted grass, around boat docks, or through standing timber.

Baby Buzzbait™ 3-step Approach for Big Bass
Cover Water

A Baby Buzzbait™ is extremely effective at covering water quickly. “If I’m fishing an unfamiliar body of water, I’ll often use the 1/4 oz. size lure as a search tool. Making long casts and making contact with as many objects on the surface of the water as possible in a single retrieve. This approach allows me to easily eliminate dead water, identify the approximate depth of the fish and the type of cover to which they’re relating. Even when they explode on it and miss, they give themselves away and give me an opportunity to make mental notes throughout the day.”

Reaction Strikes

Buzzbaits produce reaction strikes from big bass most often. These strikes are many times explosive and aggressive. Because they travel through the strike zone so fast, these lures essentially create a reaction from lethargic bass. They’re hardwired to attack anything that seems to be escaping and a buzzbait takes full advantage of that predatory instinct. So even if they’re not on a major feed, they’ll have a hard time passing on a strategically placed Baby Buzzbait for Big Bass.

Simple Color Choice

Bass can get conditioned to hearing the same sounds day after day. Buzzbaits create a unique commotion that other topwater lures cannot replicate. That’s a big reason I like to use them around heavy cover. They have a distinctive ability to call bass from several feet away. I truly keep it simple when it comes to color. Water clarity will determine which color I throw: white in clear water, black in murky to muddy water. Occasionally I will consider predominant forage in my color choice. If the shad are spawning, I will stick with a silver blade. When I believe bluegill or shiners are the primary forage, I’ll use a gold blade no matter the water clarity.

Just remember Baby Buzzbait™ 3-step Approach is a blast to fish, you may miss some fish with it but the rewards are great. As a retired professional angler, I built my early career on catching big fish on buzzbaits.

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