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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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.

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.

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.

The Buzz On Bass

May 5, 2020 by lbailey

Game and Fish Magazine
by: ken Duke
Lee Bailey Jr. loves buzzbait fishing so much that he’s designed several
commercial buzzers through the years. The former Bassmaster Elite Series pro now makes the Baby Buzzbait (Baby Buzzbait.com), which comes in 1/8- and 1/4-ounce sizes.

Baby Buzzbait Game and Fish Magazine

Why so small? Because the Baby Buzzbait is an absolute bass slayer around
vegetation.

“You need a small, light buzzbait to come through grass and pads,” Bailey
explains. “If you’re throwing a standard 1/2-ounce model — or even a 3/8-ounce bait with a frog body — it’s going to bog down when my Baby Buzzbait won’t. A smaller buzzbait also has a very appealing profile. It creates a strong surface disturbance, but it’s not so big that it deters any bass from striking.”

Unlike Dudley, Bailey prefers a skirt on his buzzbaits, not a frog body. And unlike Evers, he never uses a trailer hook because bass are less likely to miss his compact lure.

Bailey likes stable weather for his May buzzbaiting but notes that impending storm fronts can really fire up the bite. And though he makes the Baby Buzzbait in four colors, black is definitely his favorite, and he uses one very simple retrieve.

“I reel it as slow as I can and still keep it on top,” he says. “Bass want to eat, and they’re seldom in a mood to chase their food. A slow retrieve also helps them target the bait.”

Bailey’s final word of advice is not to set the hook too quickly. It often takes a second or more for bass to securely grab the lure after they take it under the water. To compensate, he uses 17-pound-test monofilament and fishes the lure with his rod at the 11 or 12 o’clock position. This forces him to drop the rod tip before setting the hook.

That slight delay, and the stretch inherent in monofilament line, gives the bass a better chance to inhale the lure and Bailey a better chance at a solid hook-up.

Catching Out-of-Sight Spawning Bass

April 4, 2020 by lbailey

Fishing opportunities for catching largemouth bass are prolific during the late season spawn. The opportunities may be plentiful but without sound strategies for fishing for late season spawning bass, these days can be tough. Concentrate your strategies on Catching Out-of-Sight Spawning Bass. Knowing where bass will be (and where they won’t). You will want to have the best soft jerkbaits for spawning largemouth bass. Doing so puts you in the best possible position to fish the late bass spawning season.

Catching Out-of-Sight Spawning Bass by Baby Buzzbait

Concentrate your strategies on Catching Out-of-Sight Spawning Bass.

It’s not all about the shiny spots. Just because you can’t see the bass on the beds doesn’t mean you can’t catch them. As a retired Bassmaster Elite and FLW touring Pro I have been considered one of the top site fisherman on both tours. I won a Bassmaster Invitational on Table Rock lake both site fishing and Catching Out-of-Sight Spawning Bass. It’s a simple process that works for me as well as several other touring bass pros, especially on late spawners.

Start and Stop Lures for Bass on Beds

I catch alot of spawning bass just fan casting around shallow grass flats. It’s a world of fun catching them off spawning beds. However, late spawning bass are going to be on those shallow flats well into early summer. Rely on fishing reports, water temperatures, moon phase and time of year to be confident that bass are still spawning in a particular area. If you are sure the bass spawning season is still going on, then fish those spawning grounds regardless of conditions. Bass will be there and even though you can’t sight fish you can still blind cast slow sinking soft jerkbaits like the Lunker city Slugo, or Zoom Super Fluke.

Early Prespawn Bass Fishing in shallow water.

…bass are prolific during the late season spawn.

Fish Slow and Move Slow

What I like to do is position my boat in the grassy area and fan cast around with a soft jerkbait. Cast it where you want it then let it sink, keeping a close eye on the line. Try not to put any pressure on the bait, just let it free fall. I will concentrate on holes in the grass bed. No matter how big or how small the open patch is. The opening area needs to be large enough to allow the bait to slowly sink to the bottom. When it hits the bottom, twitch it once or twice if nothing happens just reel in and cast again. It’s just that simple and the bass just can’t help themselves. The type of lures I use at this time require a slow presentation. This is true but you also want to move slowly.

Now residing in Florida, I start my fishing during the spawn much earlier than the rest of the country. I’m looking for beds while most of the rest of the nation isn’t even thinking about Christmas. I’m lucky, being retired here. I get months of this kind of excitement where many of you only get a couple of weeks.

Baby Buzzbaits Prespawn Topwater, Not Too Early

March 22, 2020 by lbailey

Baby Buzzbaits Prespawn Topwater, for many anglers buzzing is something that is reserved for the post spawn period when the water has begun to warm into the 70’s. Everyone has been there, it’s time to try a Baby Buzzbait! However, some of the best, most explosive, top water action can occur before the bass make their annual homage to the spawning areas. Prespawn buzzbait fishing is a bite that should no longer be overlooked!

Lee Bailey Jr Retired Bassmaster Pro Angler

I’ve caught some giants in 46-degree water in the spring

Truth is, early spring really isn’t too early to start working the surface if you put buzzbaits into play in the right situation at the right time. What I’m saying is, you’re not crazy for having a few buzzbaits mixed in with those jigs and rattle baits. Here’s the scoop.

I think early spring, and I think about creeks, drains, and super shallow runoff pockets. Naturally, bass may not be tuned into something like a buzzbait the second they come shallow early in the season. However, give them a week of above average temps, then a warm rain to top it off. The Baby Buzzbait can be the best at any point where that heated runoff is dumping into the lake or river. Figuring out if you’re in a prime spring topwater zone is all about watching your water temp gauge when you enter creeks. A temperature increase of just a few degrees is good, but if you find a creek that’s ten or more degrees warmer than the main body, start buzzing.

“I’ve caught some giants in 46-degree water in both spring and fall, when most people think you have to fish deep.” On unseasonably warm spring or late fall afternoons, bass will venture into shallow water to feed. When fish move toward shallows in cold water, they’re usually looking for a big meal. “This has become one of the most overlooked times to catch a hawg on a buzzbait. It provides another option for fishing over heavy cover where you can’t fish a jerkbait or spinnerbait.” I recommend an extremely slow retrieve that produces a steady plop, plop, plop commotion on the surface.

1/4oz Gold and Silver blade Baby Buzzbait

…the best, most explosive, top water action…

Pre-frontal days will often prove best. The old saying is that if your bait is leaving bubbles, it is a great Baby Buzzbait day. Make the longest casts possible and work the bait as slow as you possibly can while keeping it on the surface. Occasionally ‘pop’ the reel or rod if you come up to a piece of cover or structure. This will make any followers commit to biting.

There’s not but four characteristics of a lure that make it appealing to a bass, and a Baby Buzzbait offers three of them. It can be seen, heard and puts out vibrations. The only one missing is scent, so it covers just about everything you need to trigger a strike. A lot of weekend anglers have forgotten about buzzbaits, and that is a mistake. When the fish are using shallow water cover, the Baby Buzzbaits Prespawn Topwater action will flush them out.”

Lee Bailey Jr says buzzbaits are mistakenly stereotyped as hot weather lures.

Pre-spawn cold front bass.

March 1, 2020 by lbailey

Nothing can ruin a hot pre-spawn pattern faster than a cold front. Modest fluctuations in temperatures can have a slight affect on bass behavior. A powerful front that combines stiff, cold winds, bright blue skies and a sudden drop in water and air temperature can shut Pre-spawn cold front bass down. So what’s an angler to do? Just leave your reaction baits in the tackle box and turn to more subtle baits, like a Senko, worm or tube. Use baits that will allow you to get right in front of the fish and coax that big-headed bass into feeding.

Pre-spawn cold front bass

Fish get cranky after a cold front.

It’s a scenario that every hardcore bass angler has to deal with and it’s something that happens with frustrating regularity. After a front, the size of the strike zone really decreases. Bass won’t travel far to hit a lure, so you have to bring your bait to the fish because it’s not going to come to your bait. They also tend to stick real tight to cover when the sun is bright. Darkness is security to a bass. That’s why they tend to roam more during low light conditions.

During happier February and March times, when the sun is high enough to warm shallow water, you could catch Pre-spawn cold front bass. But if your luck is anything like mine, you’ve seen your share of nasty February and March cold fronts blow through your area on a Friday night just in time to mess up your Saturday fishing trip.

This time of year, I’ll look for some sort of edge or travel route that leads to spawning areas.

In a typical southern reservoir, I will begin my search for bass in the backs of coves, secondary points, grass beds, boat docks anything that provides a roof.

In northern lakes where the water is clearer and where the bottoms are rockier and their isn’t a lot of submerged cover, bass will retreat to deeper water, using that deeper water as their roof.

Fish get cranky after a cold front especially the really cold ones in February and March. Make your presentation subtle with a small bait and put the bait right in front of these opportunistic feeders and you can spend a cold day boating big bass after big bass.

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