Hard Baits

SA Bass - - Strategy -

Hard baits, al­though open hooked, are rel­a­tively weed­less and be­cause of their in­her­ent weight can be cast a long dis­tance. Hard baits are di­vided into three types. Pen­cil baits, pop baits and prop baits. Pen­cil baits are pen­cil (some might say cigar) shaped lures with two or three tre­ble hooks and are com­monly fished with a tech­nique called walk­ing-the­dog. This is a tech­nique that makes the lure swim on the sur­face with a zigzag mo­tion. This is achieved by twitch­ing the rod tip in a down ward mo­tion mak­ing the lure re­act by swim­ming of to one side. The an­gler al­lows for some slack to de­velop in the line be­fore twitch­ing again, ef­fec­tively chang­ing the di­rec­tion of the lure. As your pro­fi­ciency with the re­trieve grows you will soon be able to walk-the-dog quite rapidly. These lures and their tech­nique are best used when the wa­ter is glass smooth or with a very light rip­ple.

Pop baits are usu­ally made with a cup shaped face and are re­trieved with a short, sharp twitch caus­ing the lure to splash up wa­ter while mak­ing a loud pop­ping sound. Some pop­ping lures are fit­ted with wide cup-like lips or flat pad­dle – like arms and should be fished with a con­stant re­trieve.

The prop bait is the third type of com­monly used hard top wa­ter baits. These are baits with a sim­i­lar body de­sign to the pen­cil baits but come with a me­tal pro­pel­ler at­tached to one or both ends of the lure. For some rea­son, large prop baits are very ef­fec­tive and pop­u­lar in the warmer low ly­ing dams of South Africa and Zim­babwe, where they draw mas­sive strikes. Prop baits are very sim­ple to fish. Af­ter cast­ing the lure out, let it set­tle for a bit un­til the rip­ples have dis­ap­peared, then give the line a sharp twitch, snap­ping the lure for­ward for a foot or two. This ac­tion will cause the props to spin, mak­ing a gur­gling noise and gen­er­at­ing a bub­ble trail.

Un­less the fish are very ag­gres­sive, I have found that pop baits work best when there is a bit of a chop on the wa­ter or when vis­i­bil­ity is lower.

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