How to Catch Spotted Bay Bass


In last week’s video I caught 100 Spotted Bay Bass in one session. This write up is a break down of the setup, techniques, and overall approach I took to completing this challenge. I’m going to break it down into FIVE parts.


Read on or watch the video

• I am not a guide or professional angler. I’m sharing what I know and I realize there is more than one way to catch a spotty. This is just how I did it.
• I am not sponsored or paid in any way by any company that makes any of the products I use in my videos. I pay regular price for the gear I use so I’m not beholden to a brand or sponsor. I have the freedom to fish whatever gear and lures work for me.

Rod, Reel, Line, Leader, Ned Rig, Lures, Drag Setting

Cast past your intended target. Close the bail as soon as the lure hits the water. Be ready to take up slack if you feel a bite more on that later. Watch your line go slack when the lure hits the bottom. Let it sit for a few seconds. Start working the bait back to you in one of two ways.
• The First Retrieve, keep your rod at about 20 degrees. The action is generated from the reel. Give the reel a half turn then wait for the tap for the lure hitting the floor again. Let it sit for a few seconds and do that again. You can vary that half turn by up to 3-4 cranks but make sure you give it enough time to get back to the bottom. The key with this and the next technique is to maintain bottom contact.
• The Second Retrieve, is done with a combination of rod movement and reel. The action in this technique is done by lifting your rod tip from 1 to 4 feet then letting the lure fall as you bring the rod back down to level or 20 degrees and wind up the slack. Let the lure sit for a few seconds before the next rod lift and wind.

With both of these retrieves keep an eye on the angle of your line. It depends on the depth of where you are fishing but you can just reel up that last 1/4 of your cast and cast again. On shallow spots you can fish a little more of your cast and on deeper spots I would just reel up the last 1/3 of my cast. Most of the bites happen on the fall and first 2/3 of the cast when the lure is on or near the bottom.

How I look for fish and breakdown a fishing Zone.
ZONE – A zone is a fishing area that contains semi-uniform fishing SPOTs
SPOT – A SPOT is a point in a ZONE that is as big as your casting distance in all directions.
• I start with an overall plan of where I want to start and end and the zones I want to hit on the way.
• I setup to fish Shallow for a few casts in and around eel grass also any structure that’s in casting distance. If the fish are not in the shallows
• I check the Deeper areas within my casting distance. Especially drop offs, deep structure, and contour changes
I spend about 6 to 15 casts in all directions from the kayak and sometimes to 3 – 4 on same spot if the structure seems like it should be holding fish. This is by feel. Some spots just seem fishy. They looks like a good spot for Spotties to live and pounce on food.
• Once I get a bite I hammer that spot until I don’t get another fish in 4 – 6 casts. I start to move away from the spot and continue the same cast angle and retrieve that I already cought fish on. The second spot overlaps with the first. This way I can start to fish new area and can hit spot 1 from a different angle as I get further way from it. DIAGRAM 1
If spot 2 doesn’t produce I’ll go back and try behind spot 1. Spot 3 also overlaps with Spot 1. DIAGRAM 2
If spot 2 produces then we continue the pattern moving up to Spot 3 and letting the bites determine where Spot 4 will be.

While all of that is going on be aware of the spots that are producing fish. What’s unique about them and what do they all have in common. Are they are a certain depth, on drop offs, on shallow flats, close to structure, or out chasing bait?

After fishing Zone 1 you should have a pretty good idea of what’s working. When you get to Zone 2, start in a spot that is similar to the productive spots in Zone 1. Start with the cast and retrieve that worked for you before and adjust it from there.

If Zone 2 is completely different try to figure out the pattern from scratch again.

If you have the slack out of your line and have bottom contact you will feel the fish pick up the bait when you get a bite. When that happens start to reel to take up any slack then if you feel the weight of the fish you can continue to reel it up. Don’t set the hook by jacking up your rod. You’ll break your line. Wind up the slack and let the fish hook itself. Once the fish is on keep the pressure on it and bring it in.

These baits last a long time but there is one issue I had with them and I’m going to tell you how to fix it. This is just what I think happens. The Spotties are used to pulling razor clams out of the sand so when they hit it, I imagine them trying to rip it out of the ground. When you get to about fish15-20, you might start missing solid bites. These baits are super durable but since the finess hook is so thin, the bend of the hook will rip the bait as it gets pulled on by the fish. So if you start missing solid bites this is what you check for.
There is the tare. So on initial attack the lure stretches and you get a short bite even with a 2 inch bait.
To fix this re insert the hook out the belly. I do 1/8th turns on one TRD before flipping it arond for another 8. I’ve caught well over 60 fish on a single TRD and hadn’t even used it enough to flip it around. Even while getting these 100 Spotties I only retied due to broken off lures. I lost 2 and finished the day on the 3rd.