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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The Buzz On Bass

May 5, 2020 by lbailey

Game and Fish Magazine
by: ken Duke
Lee Bailey Jr. loves the Buzz on bass 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.

The Buzz on bass Baby Buzzbait Game and Fish Magazine

Why so small? Because the buzz on bass 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 The Buzz on bass 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.

Early Prespawn Bass Fishing

February 14, 2020 by lbailey

Early prespawn bass fishing gives anglers an excellent opportunity to catch monster bass. As the bass emerge from their deep, offshore areas and wintertime haunts in preparation for the spawn. They are notoriously indiscriminate when it comes to their feeding behavior. The result is simple giant bass and lots of them.

Early Prespawn Bass Fishing in shallow water.

…there are always going to be bass in shallow water.

As a retired Elite Series pro and one of the best at dissecting early prespawn patterns. As the days start getting longer, I primarily rely on shallower water to start my process of elimination. When I find shallower areas where the bait has moved into early, this affords me the ability to catch some big fish.

Early prespawn bass fishing gives anglers an excellent opportunity to catch monster bass.

Although early prespawn bass can be quite predictable, it’s important to understand they’re like people in a sense, each one exhibits unique behavior. For this reason, I believe in the process of elimination throughout this time of year. Keeping the bass “honest” as you will, plays a big role in my strategy.

Whenever you approach the beginning stages of the prespawn, I suggest going through a thorough process of elimination. While some folks like to start deep and work their way shallow, I’m actually the polar opposite. I always target the backs of creeks and short pockets before I do anything else.

The reason for this plan is twofold. As one of the best shallow anglers in the world, I feel most confident fishing for bass in dirt-shallow water. More importantly, however, I believe shallow water plays host to more bass than you might think.

It doesn’t matter where you go, there are always going to be bass in shallow water. Will they be the ones to win a tournament? That really depends on the fishery, but shallow areas give me a complete overview of the water temperature which is a huge deal in the early prespawn. It’s not uncommon to find places with nearby springs that will result in a five-degree water temperature increase. If you wait to go back there, you’ll never know and you might miss out on an incredible shallow bite.

As I sit here writing this article in Sunny central Florida, I find myself thinking how this strategy works in all areas of the country. Originally from CT, I relied on this early prespawn bass strategy to win many tournaments in my area. Right now the fish here in central FL are bouncing back and forth between prespawn and spawn. The weather being the problem. The cold fronts keep coming every 3 to 4 days.

I hope this strategy helps you. “Catch The Dream”

Blade Color Matters

January 21, 2020 by lbailey

Let me talk to you about blade color matters, the age old gold vs. silver buzzbait blades. This war has been going on for ages. As one of the nations top Buzzbait fishermen and designers, let me tell you my reasons for choosing which buzzbait blade color to use. Keep in mind that buzzbaits remain one of the most effective top-water bass fishing lures in existence. Whether you’re looking to improve the quantity or quality of your catch, they certainly deserve a spot in every angler’s arsenal.

There are a few concepts I use to make my blade color choice. Blade color selection is surprisingly simple. Over the years, I have developed a system of sorts that allows me to quickly choose the most productive color for the current situation.

Gold anodized Baby Buzzbait blade:

Blade Color matters Large Golden Shiners catch a lot of big bass

Whenever I am fishing a lake or river system with an abundance of wild or golden shiners I will always use a gold anodized blade. The Baby Buzzbait gold anodized blade matches the color of these wild or golden shiners almost perfectly. One reason it works so well is the golden shiners are mostly a shallow water bait. The Baby Buzzbait is designed for all the shallow cover and weeds that are abundant there. I will also choose our gold anodized blade when presented with overcast, low-light and stained water conditions. I rely heavily on gold anodized blades in order to offer the bass an easier-to-track silhouette.

Silver or Aluminum Baby Buzzbait blade color matters: (1/4oz Size Only)

Blade color matters Shad school in deep water and move shallow in the spring and fall

Now things change up a bit. “Whenever I’m fishing for shad-oriented bass, I have a lot of success with silver.” Most of your rivers and reservoirs will have a good population of shad or alewives. These shinny silver fish will transition from deep to shallow. They will do this in the spring to spawn and in the fall again as the water temperature cools down. I will also choose our silver blade when presented with bright sunny skies and clear water conditions. I rely heavily on silver blades in order to offer the bass an easier-to-track flash.

Retrieval speed, blade color matters and the overall mood of the fish are each incredibly important aspects to success or failure with a buzzbait. Let me point out that there is one attribute that makes the most difference for me. “The one thing that I’ve seen make the most difference is the gurgle or splashing sound made with my Baby Buzzbait. “We always hear people preach about ‘matching the hatch’, and this is a prime example of it.”

“For some reason, subspecies such as spotted bass and smallmouth bass respond excellently to both our gold and silver blade colors.” “If your local fisheries have healthy populations of these fish, grab a silver or gold blade Baby Buzzbait and hang on. They’ll crush it.” “Again, it really all depends on how the fish want the bait presented.” “I’ll usually try and start with a slower retrieve because it’s easier to speed up the retrieve than to slow it down. The Baby Buzzbait comes with precision cupped blades. This is what really allows you to slower your retrieve.”

The cupped bait’s blades also gives the bait a different sound as it is pulled across the surface. “If my buzzbait isn’t producing. We create a lot of water disturbance without having to move the bait very fast at all.”

One last thing I want to say is that “Single blades shine for covering water in search of active fish.” “They also grab less grass, which is a plus once vegetation comes to the surface in shallow water.”

Binsky fishing in winter

January 20, 2020 by lbailey

Binsky fishing in winter is at it’s best when the bass stop biting jigs, crankbaits stop working, and you don’t get anything on a drop-shot, the Binsky blade bait still triggers strikes. And when the fish are on them, nothing else in your tackle box will be as effective. I fish The Binsky vibrating blade bait that can be cast and retrieved or vertically jigged. It is designed with a shape and action to maximize all the fish catching qualities available in a metal lure. I believe guys tend to overwork blades. For me, “Short hops catch more winter fish. I just lift until I feel it vibrate, then kill it and let it fall to the bottom.”
“Gold is my number-one color choice, but I also like silver and goby pattern Binsky’s, particularly on tidal waters.

Fish the Binsky in winter

“There are times when a Binsky will out fish anything else you might tie on.”

Well, I’m more partial to the jig, but even I’ll admit that there are times when a Binsky will out fish anything else you might tie on. And the wintertime is a great time to fish a blade bait. I seldom go out in cold weather without having a 1/2-ounce Binsky tied to one of my rods — usually a 6-foot, 6-inch medium heavy spinning or bait casting rod.

I will fish them in the same places I fish a jig, including docks, rocky banks, seawalls, and barge tie-ups. Some anglers jig the Binsky on straight braided line to maximize response time, but I believe that results in too many snagged fish. I prefer 10-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon to ensure that head shakes or modest jumps don’t dislodge the lure.

Where to use the Binsky fishing in winter:

  • Deep of shore structure
  • Ledges, bluffs, channel breaks, humps and points.
  • Bridge abutments
  • Submerged timber, stumps, brush piles, grass, rocks, gravel etc.
  • Schooling fish
    • Suspending over deeper water
    • Suspending out in open water
    • Chasing bait on the surface or anywhere in between
  • Boat docks
  • Anywhere where there are schools of bait

I really like to capitalize on that stunned shad situation. The bass and other game fish as well, know they can get a pretty easy meal without having to expend much energy. Something they relish in the colder months. They can just ease around and pick off struggling baitfish from the pack. If you’ve got lots of cold water where you fish, one of my favorite winter patterns involves fishing the warm spells that we get every year. You know the ones I’m talking about, when things warm up a little and we get some rain that’s a good deal warmer than the lake water.

This is the perfect time to take your blade bait and work the points and pockets back in the creeks of your favorite reservoir. You see, the water that came in with the rain is warmer than the lake water, and that will draw the baitfish in. When that happens, you know what’s next, the bass will follow.

Catching February Baby Buzzbait bass

January 7, 2020 by lbailey

Catching February Baby Buzzbait bass. In many areas, February bass success solely depends on the weatherman.

Warm fronts, lasting from 2 days to a week or more, often move through many major reservoirs in late February. When the surface temperature warms, big bass begin to feed. Often you’ll catch them in very shallow water and by using Baby Buzzbait tactics.

Lee with a February Baby Buzzbait bass

If I fish those warming days in February, one of my go-to lures is the Baby Buzzbait.”

Most anglers don’t throw buzzbaits at this time of year. ”I have seen bass come up from 20 feet of water to attack a Baby Buzzbait on the surface in late February. “ On those warm days, shad often school-up near the surface since that’s where the warmest water is,”  “I’ve had some good days of bass fishing when I’ve used a buzzbait in late February.”

I’ve also learned that big bass often will move into extremely shallow waters during the colder months of the year. So I’m able to catch a lot of big bass when other anglers feel like the season is too early to start Baby Buzzbait fishing – one of the keys to successful buzzbait fishing. I start using buzzbaits before other anglers show them to the fish. Beginning early in the year, you can get the jump on other anglers and catch a lot of big bass on a Baby Buzzbait before the rest of the fishermen even begin to throw it.

Late Season Baby Buzzbaits

November 10, 2019 by lbailey

If you’ve put away your Baby Buzzbaits because the water is getting “too cool,” you’ve made a mistake. I’ve caught more bass with Late Season Baby Buzzbaits in 50-degree water than I have 70-degree temperatures, yet most anglers think hot water makes for optimum buzzbait fishing.

Late Season Baby Buzzbaits

Don’t get me wrong; you can catch bass on these noisy lures when the water is warm. But cooler temperatures can trigger quality Baby Buzzbait action. And it all starts right now when the bass start moving shallow and it runs into early winter.

It’s long been my experience that the buzzbait will attract bigger fish and more vicious strikes than any other topwater baits that I’ve ever used. You can fish my Baby Buzzbaits right out of the package. I have customized them to offer a different appeal in appearance and sound. Bailey says that right now – the late summer and early fall transition period – is one of the best times to sling a Baby Buzzbait as bass are looking up to chase shad and willing to feed on top. He’s got it dialed in with a system that’ll catch big bass from now until winter.

Watch for baitfish movements

When shad transition from deep to shallow in early fall, Lee says the Late Season Baby Buzzbaits bite starts to improve on most lakes and rivers across the country. Their transition is usually spurred along by some environmental changes that anglers anywhere can watch for. “The nights are getting longer,” says Lee Bailey. “The water temperature hasn’t dropped a whole lot, but the nights are getting longer, and there are a few fish starting to get shallow. As that happens, a buzzbait is a good tool to cover water.

Baby Buzzbait big bass lure

October 31, 2019 by lbailey

As top water lures go, for many years the Baby Buzzbait big-bass lure has earned the title of a big Bass bait. In my opinion baby buzzbaits are still underrated! Many anglers will tell you that buzzbaits are novelty lures that work during a few specialized situations. They also claim that they really aren’t a strong big bass 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 buzzbaits are something many of the pros as do I use regularly.

Their reputation becomes especially true when the bass are in heavy cover. That being said, heavy cover in this instance means all types of cover. Cover that touches the surface or is close to the surface is best for this Baby Buzzbait compact design. Matted vegetation or clumped grass is extremely hot for catching bass with baby buzzbait.

I have been asked by many anglers when to use the 1/8 oz over the ¼ oz Baby Buzzbait. Well in a lot of situations it doesn’t really matter. However I will choose the 1/8 oz Baby when I am fishing really thick matted grass. The stuff that looks like you could walk on it. The lighter bait comes across the top of this vegetation like no other buzzbait. Now with our compact ¼ oz bait I like to throw it where the grass is a bit more open and scattered especially in stained to clear water. Mostly because I can throw the bait further without spooking the fish with my boat.

Bass do not need to be aggressive to catch them on Baby Buzzbait big-bass lure. Non-aggressive bass are enticed into striking this big bass lure because they are not spooked by a loud noise. Instead this little compact buzzbait comes across the surface with a small gurgle. Cast and retrieve the bait all the way through the cover. Bass can hear it coming toward them from a long distance. This gives them time to set themselves up to strike the buzzbait as it approaches their lair.

Baby Buzzbait big-bass lure

Heavy structure is the primary ingredient to consistent buzzing. Don’t be timid about throwing the baby buzzbait into the heaviest and thickest cover you can find. Concentrate 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 those big bass into striking.

Keep tuned into your buzzbait at all times 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 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. As always let the fish tell you what they want. I have had days when you couldn’t retrieve your buzzbait fast enough. The bass would chase it down and just crush it.

“Catch the Dream”

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