Bass Fishing Expert Advice Brought To You By Bill Lewis Lures and Professional Fisherman Tommy Martin
Part one of two-The Rat-L-Trap people and veteran pro Tommy Martin go way back. The popular Louisiana-based lure company has probably gotten as much or more promotional value out of the personable Texas bass pro as they have from any professional angler in the industry.
Martin, a former ’Classics champ and 27-year veteran on the B.A.S.S. tournament trail, is one of the most highly respected anglers in the business. He’s also one of the most articulate when it comes to putting his thoughts into words.
When asked to reveal some viable instructional tips for springtime bassin’ on Texas waters, the name Rat-L-Trap rolled off his tongue as smoothly as a hot knife slicing through butter. And it’s not a wonder. Martin has been using the lipless crankbaits to catch bass for years. He’s used them successfully on his home waters and on a number of out-of-state impoundments alike, during all four seasons of the year and under just about any condition imaginable.
“There’s something about the Rat-L-Trap that bass can’t resist,” says Martin. “It could be its loud sound chambers, extreme vibration or great flash – maybe a combination of all three. But whatever the case, it catches bass like no other lure out there.”
“Furthermore, it’s one of the most ‘user friendly’ lures around,” adds Martin. “When the fish are on an aggressive bite, anyone who can cast is apt to catch a big stringer on a Rat-L-Trap. That’s why a lot of the pros on the tournament trail wish the bait had never been invented. Some of them refer to it as ‘the idiot bait."
Call it what you will, but any bass angler who doesn’t have ample supply of Traps on hand runs the risk of being made to look like an idiot by someone who does.
What follows is a lesson-plan in springtime ‘Trappin’ taught by one of the foremost believers in the business. Apply the advice and you could piece together a stinger of lunkers to shock the imaginations of the bass gods.
As mentioned earlier, the Rat-L-Trap will catch fish on lakes all over the country. But according to the Nitro pro, it shines especially bright on reservoirs containing an abundance of aquatic vegetation such as hydrilla, milfoil, coontail, and eelgrass.
These are all “submergent” forms of vegetation, meaning they are rooted to the bottom. Some of the grasses, hydrilla in particular, can grow in water as shallow as one foot and as deep as 12-18 feet. While hydrilla will “mat” to the surface during the heat of the summer, spring generally finds main lakebeds submerged well below the surface.
The amount of water between the surface and top of the grass bed can be influenced by a number of factors including water level, both past and present, and the intensity of the previous winter. These factors also dictate the depths at which the inside and outside grasslines will be located.
On lakes such as Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Fork—all of which contain an abundance of hydrilla —springtime bass are frequently caught in relation to the top of submerged grassbeds, as well as along inside grasslines. According to Martin, the Rat-L-Trap is an ideal choice when targeting bass positioned in this manner.
“It’s tailor-made for fishing submerged vegetation,” he said. “It casts extremely well and it’s designed in a manner that it can be dept in the strike zone with very little effort. About all you’ve got to do is cast the bait, then retrieve it at a quick enough pace that it ticks the top of the grass occasionally. If you do that during the pre-spawn, you can’t help but catch bass.”
Brought to you by Bill Lewis Lures
Part-2 will appear Thursday, February 19th on the front page of Hunting & Fishing Gear Review.
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