20. July 2013


Big Bass on the Spittin’ Wa frog

Earlier this spring Tim and I were approached by River2Sea about a new frog they were planning to release at ICAST. At that time the Spittin’ Wa didn’t even have a name. After seeing the bait, having the opportunity to film with the frog before it hit the market sounded like a great opportunity and the chance to have some fun with a brand new product.
I was looking forward to fishing with this unique frog, what I didn’t expect was to start catching consistently bigger bass than I had caught on a frog in years past. After spending a few months with the bait I feel that there are a few factors contributing to the increase in fish size.

The Spittin’ Wa 70 is a large frog. In fact, the only baits I know that are bigger are the Spro King Daddy, and the Snag Proof Frogzilla The large profile naturally lends itself to big bites.

The cupped face moves a lot more water than a traditional frog. As a result I was able to fish the frog out over deeper water and pull up large fish earlier in the spring than I had in the past. The wake that tracks behind this frog in open water is pretty substantial and helps to call fish in frog greater distances.

As odd as it sounds, strong hooks make all the difference in frog fishing. For many years a “secret” frog modification has been to reinforce the base of the hook where the shanks come together. The reason for this is that a hook can flex and deflect away from the surface it is supposed to penetrate during a hook set. While this doesn’t happen often, it is most likely to happen on the largest fish with the largest hard bone section in their jaw. The hook in the Spittin’ Wa 70 is larger and made of a heavier gauge wire than other frogs I have fished in the past. The result is a very stable hook that doesn’t deflect when setting in to big fish.

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I hope you enjoy the video. This frog is deadly and definitely worth adding to your arsenal. If you don’t have the Spittin’ Wa in a local shop you can pick them up and support Tactical Bassin at the same time by following this link to tackle warehouse.

I should also add that like most baits, I don’t fish these straight out of the package. I shorten the legs and change the hook angle slightly before fishing the baits. I’ll be sure to cover those modifications in a future video to clarify any questions. In the meantime, pick a few up and see if the size of fish your catching on a frog increases.

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13. July 2013


8 lb Spotted Bass!!!

Most people know me as a largemouth fisherman but once in a while I get the Spotted bass bug and I start heading to the foothill lakes in search of world-class Spots. Afterall, we live in California. We’ve got the current world record and I think everyone agrees it will be broken again in the next couple of years. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if she happened to fall for my presentation.
Frankly, it amazes me that more anglers don’t fish for trophy spotted bass. The allure of the 10 lb largemouth distracts many anglers from the allure of a fair shot at a WORLD RECORD spot. How can you pass up that opportunity?

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Giant spots, unlike giant california largemouth, will eat just about anything. Each year I’m shocked by the number of magnum spots we catch on worms, tubes, jigs, small topwater, and small swimbaits. It goes to show you that any weekend warrior has a shot at a magnum spot, no special equipment needed! So where should you go? It seems like the buzz these days is all about Bullards Bar but there are quite a few fisheries producing world class spots.
Personally, I would say that Shasta, Whiskey Town, Bullards Bar, Collins, New Melones, Don Pedro, and Bass Lake, all have an equal shot at the next world record. All of these lakes have produced spots over 8 lbs in the last 12 months and most have rumors of 10+ lbers being secretly caught as well. Its up to you to pick the one you like best and put in a couple extra days this year. Good luck out there!

My largest spots this year have been caught on the following:
-Dry Creek Tubes
-Get Bit’s 3 1/2″ Tube
-A variety of Swimbaits
-River2Sea’s “tuned” Rover
The smaller swimbaits as well as the tubes were all paired with the Dirty Jigs HD Swimbait Head

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10. April 2013


Pre-Spawn Swimbait Fishing

I recently got back from a trip to Clearlake where I got to fish with my good friend Tim Little. We were able to find a great pattern throwing River2Sea S-wavers for pre-spawn fish that were moving up to feed on bait fish.

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Early spring can be a difficult time to consistently pattern large fish. As the smaller males begin to move in to the shallows it can feel like the larger fish have disappeared all together. Throwing larger baits can be a great way to identify where the larger fish are located. Often times they will be holding in schools very close to the smaller fish. Using a bait like an S-Waver or other Swimbait allows you to intentionally target larger bites throughout the day. I’ve found that even when they are not willing to bite, large females will follow large swimbaits (6-10″ long) to the boat, giving away their location. Once I’ve located these larger fish I visit them again during different weather conditions to try and fool them in to biting.

In the past I’ve insisted on throwing softbaits exclusively when the water is in the high 40′s and low 50′s but I’ve experienced days in the last 12 months that have caused me to challenge those beliefs. Even in cold water there is a place for slow, methodical hardbaits that draw up big bass. There will be more to come on this later.

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2. January 2013


Welcome to 2013

I got a little time to break away on the 1st to do some swimbait fishing on Clearlake. Welcome to 2013!
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21. November 2012


Matt Makes Kramer’s Top 40

Every west coast angler should know about “The List” by now. If you dont, you need to check it out. “The List” is a top 40 fishermen of California list created annually by outdoor writer George Kramer.

The list has been pretty controversial over the years with
anglers that were said to have been placed “too high”Top 40 200x300 Matt Makes Kramers Top 40 on the list or were “undeserving”, as well as anglers toward the bottom of the list being “underrated”. This always gives us California bass fishermen something to talk about every November (as if we don’t have enough drama in this fishing world).

This year, our very own Matt Allen has made the top 10 on “The List” for the first time. Matt has been on the list a few times already, but this is the first year he has cracked the top 10. I wanted to congratulate Matt, as we all know that he has put in countless hours on the water and spent more time than most of us can possibly imagine coming up with new ideas to completely dominate Northern California as “The” trophy guy. You’ve earned it Matt, Congratulations on your first top 10!

You can see the complete list on Kramer’s blog at:
Kramer Gone Fishing

-Adam Hinkle

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2. October 2012


Alabama Rig: tips, tricks, and tweaks

I’m hard pressed to think of another bait that has caused such an uproar amongst bass fisherman. Over the past year I’ve read articles pronouncing it a “miracle bait”, others condemning it, going as far as to accuse the Alabama Rig of destroying fish populations. Whether you’re in favor of the Alabama Rig or not, you cannot argue its ability to catch schooling fish when other baits fall short.

While the “rig” is quite effective on its own, there are many modifications that can be done to further increase the its productivity. Over the past year I’ve experimented with different models, trailers, and various other components and have dialed in what I consider to be my “perfect” rig. We all have different fishing styles and fish in different environments, this must be taken in to account. Even so, I hope you are able to learn from my experiences and further increase your effectiveness with the A-rig.

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Whether you’re fishing shallow grass flats or deep ledges you can adapt the Alabama Rig to meet your needs. Its not a cure all but it definitely helps you catch more fish in a variety of conditions.

For the products I use when fishing the Alabama Rig visit the following links:
Alabama Rigs

Keitech Swimbaits

Dobyns 784 ML Rod

Dirty Jigs Swimbait Head

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18. August 2012


Punchin’ and Froggin’ on the CA Delta

Can someone explain to me how a $3 frog could work so well? Isn’t it common knowledge that you have to spend $20+ on a frog from Japan with a fancy paint job to get fish to bite? I guess not!

This particular morning I had headed out to the delta with one thing on my mind; Punching. The plan was to strip the boat of everything but two punch rods, a handful of baits, weights, and hooks, and the Go Pro Camera. I figured I’d spend the day having fun and film a video explaining how stripping the boat of gear helps you commit to a pattern and ultimately helps you put more fish in the boat.

So what went wrong? One word: TIDE.

If it were a guide trip, or even a trip with friends I’d study the tides and make the best decisions possible. When its just me and a camera I didn’t even bother to look at the tide charts. Do you know what a “minus tide” does to a shallow punch bite? The big ones go away and the baby bass come out to play! As you’ll see in the video my plan quickly unraveled and I was forced to do what any self respecting fisherman would do… I drove to the nearest tackle shop and spent money!

Who would have thought that I would discover a long forgotten bait (at least to me) and begin to hammer the fish? That’s exactly what happened! In the following days I kept catching fish and the size got bigger. There will be more videos to follow on this subject.

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For those curious about what they’re seeing in this video, the punch fish were caught with a 2 oz. punch weight, a Dirty Jigs Punch Skirt, a 4/0 hook, and a Dobyns 766 Savvy Rod (A phenomenal punching rod for the price). The Snag Proof Weed Demon fish were caught with a Dobyns Champion 736, my favorite frog rod.

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29. July 2012


Frog fishing deep in the backwaters

“Go where others won’t go, cast where others won’t cast, catch what others won’t catch.”

Remember that phrase the next time you go frog fishing. Often the key to a successful day of frog fishing is not a special technique or a particular color, its just about reaching fish that other anglers cannot or are unwilling to fish for.
We are currently editing a small series on frog fishing that covers how to target fish in cover vs. open water, frog colors, styles, and the types of equipment you will need to get the job done right. This clip is just to wet the palette and get you thinking about where, when, and how you frog. Remember, when it comes to frog fishing your imagination is the only limitation.
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This particular fish was caught on a Bobby’s Perfect frog by Snag Proof coupled with 50 lb Power Pro braided line coupled with a Dobyns 736C Rod (my go-to rod for fishing frogs in cover.)
We caught quite a few fish on this particular day by reaching back into small ponds and pockets of water that other anglers weren’t willing to drive in to. (And I’m not sure that I blame them… notice how fast we come to a stop, I hit the bottom pretty hard. )
There is more to come so keep an eye on the site and see what’s next.

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16. June 2012


How to Catch Bass in Summer

Why can’t you catch big bass in the summer? Where do they all go? Why do your 5 lbers become 3 lbers?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been plagued by these questions at some point. Adam Hinkle does a great job of explaining bass’ summer movements in this video. Its a follow up to his recent video “Mapping Your Approach” so if you haven’t watched it, start there first.
This video covers how bass move in the summer as well as why they make the transitions. Understanding bass movements is key to predicting where they will be next and how to catch them once they get there.
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After the last video I got a lot of inquiries about where to find detailed maps. Tacklewarehouse carries a couple of great options. For those of you that are shore bound (or want to study maps at home) its hard to beat the Fish-N-Maps.
For those of you that want to study your surroundings while you’re on the water, I don’t believe you can beat the Navionics mapping chips. Personally, I use the “Premium” and have been extremely impressed by the detail. Like Adam, I spend a lot of time fishing offshore for “pelagic” summer bass and its critical to understand the structure and contours that impact their movements.

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8. May 2012


Socal Slugfest

Good music, hard hook sets, and monster bass, does it get any better???

By now nearly all of the members of the Tactical Bassin community recognize Adam Hinkle when he submits a video. For those of you who don’t, Adam is a regular contributor and his work is much appreciated. Some of his recent pieces include Beating the Bank for Giants, Fall Jig Madness, and Mapping Your Approach. Adam Brings a unique perspective and a whole different style to the Tactical community.

True to form, Adam is smashing fish in Southern California. Lucky for us, we get a front row seat to the show. These fish were caught on the 8″ Huddleston Swimbait in both ROF 5 and 12. The rod you see is a Dobyns 795 MLSB. Adam’s approach to swimbaits is quite a bit different from my own. He uses 20 lb mainline and smaller hooks to draw the heavily-pressured Southern California bass into the open. It just goes to show there isn’t always a right and a wrong way to catch these big bass. Its important to experiment and develop confidence but always stay open to progression.

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Also, for those of you who are confined to smaller boats and are drooling over the net they keep sliding out of the rod locker, that is a Hiber-Net by Frabill. Its quite a bit different than what I carry but after watching how nicely it stores I may have to check it out myself.

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