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Fishing with Kenny: Tricks and Tinkering to Catch More Bass

By Meagan Russell
In Fishing with Kenny
Aug 30th, 2019

article by Kenny Covington

Every fisherman I know, from the tournament angler to the weekend warrior, has little tricks they use to catch fish. Everyone has access to the same lures and other things needed to incorporate the various techniques to put fish in the boat but it’s usually the subtle things people do to their lures or tweak in the techniques that make them more successful than other anglers.

I am a fishing tackle junkie. I love buying and trying new lures because I am always looking for new things help me stay ahead of my competition. But for every new lure I try, I also attempt to think of ways I can make a lure or presentation even better. Confidence plays a big role in fishing and once you develop confidence in a tweak or a lure change you manufactured, you become open minded to other possibilities.

The first person I remember making their own lures or changing the appearance of a store bought one, was my father. He would pour his own jig heads with the hook of his choice because he didn’t like the hooks that come in the jigs you buy off the shelf. He, like my uncle, would pour his own soft plastics. Why? So that they could create colors combinations that weren’t on the market. These were their secret baits as they would often call them. Looking back and knowing what I do now, this was more commonplace than I first thought. It did however set me up to begin my own lure tinkering process.

The first lures I can remembering building myself were spinnerbaits. My father would give me his hand-me-downs and I would immediately start tearing them apart to build new ones. There was nothing wrong with the ones he gave me, I just thought I could catch more fish if I made them the way I wanted them to be. And so it began…

Fast forward 30 plus years and each day I am in my boat tinkering with my tackle. Some call it obsessive and somewhat overkill but this is what works for me. Here are some ideas I believe will help you catch more fish…

I am obsessive about changing hooks. I never buy a crankbait or topwater and not change the hooks out. Is this really necessary? Probably not, although todays factory hooks are pretty good, I like to put the odds in my favor when trying to hook and land fish. I use Mustad short shank EWG hooks on my crankbaits but I prefer Berkley Fusion round bend trebles on my topwater lures.

When prepping a topwater lure to be used I always use a feathered treble hook on the rear hook. While you can buy these hooks pre-made I like buying a bag of multi-colored feathers as well as a box of treble hooks and create my own colored feather trebles to match the color topwater lure I’m using. With a little bit of practice your color combinations and creations will be just as good if not better than the hooks you buy in the store. The more feather hooks you create will definitely save you money in the long run.

Back when I first began tearing apart my father’s spinnerbaits and creating my own, the only skirts we had were the living rubber kind. White, black, chartreuse/white, chartreuse and blue/chartreuse were the staple colors back then, so skirt colors were pretty basic. Now the color combinations used for jigs and spinnerbaits can be mind blowing.

I am always buying skirt making materials that allow me to create just about any skirt color combination that I can think of. When I open my livewells and see that crawfish have been regurgitated, I look at them very closely and then try to create a skirt to match. Or if I know I will be fishing a time of year when bass will be feeding heavily on shad I will mix and match color schemes until I find a shad imitation I like to put on my spinnerbait or buzzbait.

The thrill of catching a fish or winning a tournament on a lure you have created is one of the best feelings a fishermen can experience and it gives you a huge boost in confidence. Both instances will make you a better fishermen.

Speaking of spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, I am always amazed at how basic a lot of fishermen keep their lure choices. As long as you are catching fish on what you have there is nothing wrong with that but one screwdriver will not do every job a screwdriver is designed for.

The number one spinnerbait I see throughout the year is a Colorado/willow combination. I get told all the time by fishermen how they can’t catch fish on a spinnerbait and my first thought is “you are probably throwing the same one you always throw.” I build them from a 1/8th ounce all the way up to a ¾ ounce version. I will use Indiana, Colorado and willow leaf blades and any combination of the three.

I will do the same thing with my buzzbaits. I use as small as a 1/8th ounce with as small of a skirt that I can get away with in especially clear water and as big as a ½ version if I am using a swimming frog as my trailer. By being open minded and with a little bit of work you can catch fish other people aren’t fishing for.

Dipping dyes have been around for quite some time but as fishermen we put ourselves into the same old routine rut. It’s not an accident that 99% of the time when I see a soft plastic with the tails dipped the color of choice is chartreuse. It is a deadly addition to any shade of watermelon or green pumpkin colored soft plastic. But what about using red, or orange or maybe even blue?

Just by changing the color schemes a little bit on your soft plastics, you give the fish a totally different look they may not have seen before. In bass fishing always remember, a little bit of change will go a long way towards more consistent success.

I sure hope we have given you some good ideas and information that will help you become more successful on your next fishing trip. Take care and catch one for me! See you next month!