|If it fits, it's edible!|
With that knowledge in mind, fishermen the world over have known for millennia that larger baits produce larger fish. The late, great fisherman, Jose Wejebe stated on numerous occasions on his show The Spanish Fly, that you catch and use a smaller aggressive fish to then go and catch an even larger aggressive fish. You simply move up the food chain.
Earlier I mentioned that I discovered this very thing by accident. Years ago when I still had the ability to fly fish, I was fishing for bluegill and was having a terrific afternoon. One big bull bluegill after another was taking my fly. I had just hooked up with another one and was stringing it in when all of sudden Jaws showed up. I felt a huge fish take the bream. The fly hook was super small and I knew it wouldn't penetrate through to the larger fish, so all I could do was hold on. The big bass finally released it. I happened to have a bass rig laying beside me. I pulled the shell shocked fish off the fly hook and placed it's half scaled body on the bass hook and returned it to the water. Sure enough, she inhaled it again. (See Note Below)
|Courtesy of Mike Long Bass Pictures|
I like to rig this setup with a very large round plastic bobber. This helps keep the bait off the bottom where it will try to hide to evade the larger fish who will use it as a combo meal. I also like to tie a small bell sinker about 4-6 inches above the hook. This helps keep the bait in the correct depth of about 3-5 feet below the surface of the water.
|Customize to your liking!|
The hook set when using this rig is very important and can demand some trial and error. You need to be patient. Allow the fish some time to take in the bait. When fishing from the bank, I have had the pleasure of watching the fish take the bait...it is an awesome display of nature. Still, patience is the rule. As the fish takes the bait and begins to swim, the hook will naturally catch the corner of its mouth. As you feel the weight of the fish, load up. Not a bad idea to set the hook two or three times just in case the bait has gotten in the way somehow.
Many times there will be one or more big fish with the one that is being caught. When fishing with a friend, always be thinking to throw near the bait that is getting bit to catch a monster double.
One final thought is to please release as many of these big fish as you can. I understand keeping a trophy but catching big fish using this method is not difficult. Be mindful of the health of your local waters and be a good conservationist. Please send me some pics of your big fish catches using this setup. I would love to share them with everyone.
*Note - Some states may prohibit the use of bream as live bait. Be sure to check your local laws.