Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday Tips: Start Small with Bait

"Let's start with small pieces of herring and see if we can get a good bite going," said Kevin Davis of Blacks Camp. "Then, if they start biting well, we'll go a little bigger to see if that gets us a bigger fish."

A multi-species fishing guide and co-owner of Blacks Camp on the Santee Cooper lakes, Davis commonly applies a "start small" strategy whether he's casting lures for bass, dragging cut bait for cats or dangling minnows for crappie. There are exceptions. Occasionally when Davis knows the fish he's targeting are eating big stuff, or he's specifically targeting colossal cats or extra big bass, he'll begin big. Usually, though, Davis finds that he gets more early action by erring on the small size of the bait range for whatever he is doing, and that helps him to locate fish and figure out patterning details that help him present the bigger baits more effectively later in the day and increase his changes of finding big fish for his clients.

Of course, at times he stays small. If there has been a mussel die-off, for example, and the blue cats are all eating little pieces of meat from dying mollusks, it's hard to get even he biggest cat to bite a big piece of cut bait. And while Davis will occasionally drop a big minnow or even a live herring for crappie, he has caught far more serious slabs on small minnows than on bigger baitfish.

Lots of variables come into play, but the short answer from Kevin Davis is that when you're talking about bait, bigger isn't always better.

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