By Drew Ross
Knock on wood. That’s my advice when the bass fishing tightens up.
Most of the bass fishing in my area is around cypress trees. A few years back I started doing something a little different. Rather than flipping and pitching into cover, I started bouncing my plastics off the trees. It's not a subtle approach but it has produced for me when other more delicate techniques left me hanging. It's particularly effective when bass aren't actively feeding.
Don't get confused, this isn't bad casting. No, we've all seen the person that just smacks the tar out of every tree in the lake. The trick is to lightly bounce, with precision, the plastic off the tree. A tree that doesn't have a bunch of garbage to foul the bounce is highly desirable. You don't want to snag or have your line get caught in anything. A bait that has spanish moss clinging to it usually doesn't entice a big bass to eat. If you knock the tree over or brake a bunch of branches, well, that's poor technique.
I feel like the collision with the tree gives the bass a direction to investigate. If a bunch of junk falls in the water next, it probably hides under a log. Wouldn't you if a tree was falling on your head. However, when the bartender slaps the bar table with a cold one, watch how many people look up. I've never seen anyone run and hide from a cold beer. Same concept.
I saw a kid on a skateboard bite it once. I mean full out gravel mouth. He laid on the ground for a few minutes moaning and twitching. Then he jumped up and ran off without his skateboard. I'm a visual person and the image of the kid helps me dial in my technique. I try to imagine that whatever just kamikazed the tree is really hurting and not moving much.
After the bait has entered the water, let it fall on a slack line. Most of the bites happen on the fall. If it appears the bait made it down, pick up the slack and check, then let it sit motionless. After some time slowly crawl it just a little.
Don't go nuts and start hopping it along like the Easter Bunny. You wouldn't jump up and start bouncing all over the street after you face planted. If nothing eats on the fall or slight twitch, pick it up and run to the next tree. This is more of a get bit quick or move on technique.
Next time the bite gets tough and the more traditional tactics aren't working, knocking on wood might just turn the day around for you. Check out the video and at the 50 second mark the technique is clearly shown and the results speak for themselves.
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