As the season progresses, angler pressure, pelagic baitfish, and even weather patterns often cause bass to suspend in the water column rather than relate to the bottom. Historically, this is often the kiss of death for anglers – as suspended bass are notoriously difficult to catch.
There are two primary reasons suspended bass are hard to catch. One, it’s difficult to accurately present a bait to a bass not relating to any cover or the bottom. You’ve got to mess around with sink rates and triangulating your casts, both of which make you downright inefficient. Two, suspended bass are usually in a negative feeding mood, meaning they’re less likely overall to strike a bait.
Fortunately, we have made great strides in both technique and technology in the last 10 years, greatly increasing success rates when the bass suspend.
Here are 3 techniques you can try to target those lethargic, finicky suspended bass.
1. Jerkbaits For Suspended Bass
Today’s hard plastic jerkbaits are designed to run deeper, look more realistic, and suspend better than ever before. For that reason, they should be an integral part of any suspended bass arsenal. Jerkbaits have excellent drawing power, and their erratic action can trigger strikes from even the most lethargic bass. If bass are suspended within the top 10 or 15 feet of the water column, a jerkbait like the Lucky Craft Pointer is an excellent choice to trigger strikes. Experiment with different jerk/pause cadences until you contact fish.
2. Swimbaits For Suspended Bass
Swimbaits are also deadly on suspended bass, because they combine an extremely realistic profile with the ability to precisely control depth and retrieve speed. By varying the weight and tail combination – a paddle tail swimbait like the Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad can be fished through whatever depth the fish are suspending at. The trick is to fish the bait just over their heads, as bass won’t typically swim down to feed. Figure out how quickly your bait sinks, count it down to just above the bass – and retrieve.
3. Drop Shot For Suspended Bass
The biggest single improvement to catch rates of suspended bass is the combination of advanced electronics and the drop shot. Modern locators are extremely sensitive, and allow anglers to not only see fish suspended under the boat, but also their baits. Enter the drop shot. By positioning the bait above the weight, a bait like the BioSpawn PlasmaTail can be subtly shaken and twitched by the angler, which is a great way to entice strikes from lethargic suspended bass. This is often called “video game fishing” and it’s without question the most effective way to target suspenders, whenever you can see them on your electronics.
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