There’s more than one way to catch bass on topwaters, but the Smithwick Devil’s Horse is one of the best. There’s also more than one way to fish that classic prop bait and it just takes a little tweaking.
Here’s how Bassmaster Elite Series pro Cliff Prince modifies his bait:
The Devil’s Horse comes with front and rear blades bent slightly backward. Nothing wrong with that, but Prince has found he can control his bait’s forward motion by flattening those props.
“This slows the bait down; it doesn’t travel as much when you work it,” he said. “In hot weather, I want the bait to stay in one place as long as possible and flattening the blades will do that.”
As Prince notes, keeping his Devil’s Horse in one spot is particularly helpful when the bream are spawning. Here, a prolonged presentation can entice bass watching the panfish beds for ambush opportunities.
For more active times, such as the fall feeding frenzy, Prince keeps the props bent, but he experiments with different angles to create different levels of commotion.
Removing the stock trebles and upsizing to a No. 4 crankbait hook weighs the bait down and makes it dig into the water. This changes the action from a sputtering surface slide to a water-grabbing surge.
“The sound I want is more of a popping noise, rather than just the props spinning,” he said.
Varying the number of hooks he upsizes alters how the bait sits in the water — level, tail-down, body submerged. Such diversity enables him to effect various looks and appeal to fish in different moods and scenarios.