With the ups and downs with the weather and the seasons, it adds a challenge to put fish in the boats for my clients. In the late part of summer, the bite has a tendency to slow down a bit; this time is also known as the "dog days of summer". To have success, I have to resort to more live bait presentations to make happy customers. One of my favorite methods is a slip bobber rig, not for walleye and panfish, but for huge bass and pike. It is basically the same presentation that Florida guides have been using for decades with balloons and large shiners.
The slip bobber set up is the standard presentation; a slip bobber knot, a bead, a slip bobber, weight and a 1/0 hook. The key part of the rig is the bobber. I use the Thill Big Fish slider. This is a large tapered at both ends float that lays flat on the water when the bait is calm. However, when a fish gets close, and excites the bait, the bobber will stand up right alerting you to the proximity of a fish before it strikes. Unlike bluegills or walleyes, the bass strike aggressively without hesitation. I do not give the bass any time to eat, once the bobber is under, I set the hook immediately. By doing this, it eliminates the possibility of getting the fish deeply hooked.
When fishing any slip bobber, before the hook set, one needs to reel all the slack line in to increase your odds of hook up.
The rod set up I prefer is a heavy one, a 7 foot Berkley Lightening rod, medium heavy with a Garcia 6500 with 20 pound test. The 6500 reel offers a bait clicker which is nice to have to indicate strikes and to hold the line when the reel is in free spool for the hits that come fast and furious.
The bait of choice for me is medium and large suckers. They have the ability to survive being cast more than a fragile golden shiner. Even though the suckers are pretty durable, you still need to have a gentler cast and avoid slapping the bait on the water.
The location of the fish on Delavan Lake or Lake Geneva can be less than 10 feet of water. On the hot summer days, the bass are on the deep weedline but with a cold front or a rain event the bass will move into the shallows. I like areas where there are scattered weeds associated with hard bottom, adjacent to the deep water haunts. Once you locate a prime area, the bass have a tendency to be in large schools and you can catch over 10 fish in a very small area.
I know some anglers prefer artificial bait, but sometimes the tried and true live bait is required to put fish in the boat.
Full-time guide Dave Duwe owns and operates Dave Duwe's Guide Service, featuring the lakes of Walworth County, WI. Dave has been guiding for over
20 years and is one of Southeastern Wisconsin's best multi-species anglers. Dave is an accomplished outdoor writer and seminar speaker. He is a member of the Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Association and Walworth County Visitor Bureau. Sponsors include: Lund Boats(Jerry's Sport Service Inc.), Mercury Marine, Arkie Jigs, and Vexilar Marine Electronics, a pro-staff member of Minn-Kota trolling motors,Hummingbird graphs, Cannon downriggers, Lindy, Pure Fishing and All Terrain Tackle. For more information, please check out Dave's website www.fishlakegeneva.com