6 Pro Fishing Formulas

6. Cranking Docks
ideal conditions: Hot, sunny.
technique: Cranking docks, laydowns.
lure: Strike King 4S crankbait.
tackle: 8-foot Quantum flipping stick and 65-pound-test Stren Super Braid on a bait-casting reel.
pro tip: Make several casts to the same cover. Fish the lure fast and bump it into as much cover as possible.
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1. Punching Mats
Bright sun, hot water temperatures and heavy fishing pressure can drive largemouths under cover. Florida bass pro Shaw Grigsby knows that floating vegetation serves as a roof of sorts, providing bass with critical shade. When he finds mats of floating weeds, Grigsby uses a heavy weight and a slim soft-plastic lure to bust through the cover. Bigger bass hold in deeper water under mats. In the hottest weather, Grigsby will put his bait as far as 30 feet inshore from the outside edge. In low light, fish tend to hold closer to the outside edge.Outdoor Life Online Editor
1. Punching Mats
ideal conditions: Hot, still weather, bright sun.
technique: Punching small lures through thick mats of floating aquatic vegetation such as hydrilla.
lure: 31⁄2-inch Grigsby's Pro Series Baby Beav beavertail soft-plastic rigged on a 4/0 Eagle Claw HP hook with a 1- to 11⁄2-ounce Penetrator tungsten weight. Grigsby allows the weight to slide freely on his line. Pegging the sinker makes it tough to feel subtle bites. tackle: 8-foot Quantum Gary Klein Signature Series flipping stick and 65-pound-test Stren Super Braid on a bait-casting reel. The heavy braid cuts through thick vegetation better than monofilament.
pro tip: Apply Spike-It attractant scent spray to the bait, and reapply after every few casts. Not only does the spray draw bass, but the scent oil lubricates the lure and allows it to slide through the vegetation more easily.
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2.  Fishing Deep-Water Points
ideal conditions: Hot, bright sun.
technique: Casting topwaters over and parallel to tapering points in clear water.
lure: Reaction Innovations Vixen.
tackle: Team Daiwa Advantage bait-casting reel with 6.3:1 gear ratio and 71⁄2-foot Heartland fiberglass rod. Thirty-pound-test Power Pro braided line is best because of its strength and lack of stretch when setting the hook over long distances.
pro tip: For added attraction, put a feathered treble hook at the tail of the Vixen. Bass will often hit the feathers and get caught by the trailing hook.
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3. Mining Wing Dams
Veteran walleye pro gary roach targets river wing dams in summer. Walleyes stack up on the backsides close to the fast water and are vulnerable to leeches, minnows and night crawlers offered on a three-way dropper rig. Roach's version includes a 1- or 2-ounce sinker and a bare hook tipped with live bait that rides about 2 feet off the bottom. The hook is attached to 3 feet of monofilament, which is tied to the three-way swivel. Roach casts the bait into the swirling eddy off the tip of a wing dam and works it slowly across the bottom.Outdoor Life Online Editor
3. Mining Wing Dams
Veteran walleye pro gary roach targets river wing dams in summer. Walleyes stack up on the backsides close to the fast water and are vulnerable to leeches, minnows and night crawlers offered on a three-way dropper rig. Roach's version includes a 1- or 2-ounce sinker and a bare hook tipped with live bait that rides about 2 feet off the bottom. The hook is attached to 3 feet of monofilament, which is tied to the three-way swivel. Roach casts the bait into the swirling eddy off the tip of a wing dam and works it slowly across the bottom.Outdoor Life Online Editor
4. Probing Cover at High Tide
Tidal rivers are bass factories, but even red-hot action can come to a grinding halt when the tide stops. When the fishing gets tough, Virginia pro Woo Daves adjusts his location and continues targeting active bass. He shifts to the inside edge of aquatic vegetation on a flood tide, where he often finds a band of open water between shore and any grass bed. He favors contained banks""those with an abrupt, defined shoreline that keeps the bass from roaming far up into shallow flooded vegetation. Daves moves his boat down the line of open water and throws a Bass Pro Slim Dog, a small walking surface bait that might draw a reaction bite from active and inactive bass. He works it with a rapid cadence, giving it three twitches before letting it pause for a second. Daves stalls the bait next to laydowns, grass points or other bank irregularities.Outdoor Life Online Editor
4. Probing Cover at High Tide
ideal conditions: High tide, cloud cover, clear to slightly stained water.
technique: Walking a surface bait adjacent to flooded vegetation.
lure: Bass Pro Shops' Slim Dog.
tackle: 7-foot medium-action Bass Pro Woo Rod and bait-casting reel with 7:1 gear ratio and 12-pound-test Trilene XL.
pro tip: Bass don't like to stray from cover during periods of a still tide, so put the lure as close to laydowns and weed beds as possible.
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5. Trolling the Windy Side
Warm water and wandering baitfish put lake walleyes on the move, so Wisconsin angler Dean Arnoldussen rigs up as many as six rods and trolls with night-crawler harnesses or Rapala Shad Rap crankbaits. He looks for wind-blown banks and reefs, where open-water baitfish often congregate due to wave action. To increase the amount of water he covers, Arnoldussen relies on planer boards and sets his lines for a variety of depths, from 5 feet to as deep as 20 feet. Different weights, along with varying lengths of line, dictate bait depth. As he moves across the water, Arnoldussen uses his electronics to follow contours, keeping the boat in the same general depth range. Once he starts catching fish, he marks the spots on his GPS and sets all his baits at the same depth range before making another pass.Outdoor Life Online Editor
5. Trolling the Windy Side
Warm water and wandering baitfish put lake walleyes on the move, so Wisconsin angler Dean Arnoldussen rigs up as many as six rods and trolls with night-crawler harnesses or Rapala Shad Rap crankbaits. He looks for wind-blown banks and reefs, where open-water baitfish often congregate due to wave action. To increase the amount of water he covers, Arnoldussen relies on planer boards and sets his lines for a variety of depths, from 5 feet to as deep as 20 feet. Different weights, along with varying lengths of line, dictate bait depth. As he moves across the water, Arnoldussen uses his electronics to follow contours, keeping the boat in the same general depth range. Once he starts catching fish, he marks the spots on his GPS and sets all his baits at the same depth range before making another pass.Outdoor Life Online Editor
5. Trolling the Windy Side
Warm water and wandering baitfish put lake walleyes on the move, so Wisconsin angler Dean Arnoldussen rigs up as many as six rods and trolls with night-crawler harnesses or Rapala Shad Rap crankbaits. He looks for wind-blown banks and reefs, where open-water baitfish often congregate due to wave action. To increase the amount of water he covers, Arnoldussen relies on planer boards and sets his lines for a variety of depths, from 5 feet to as deep as 20 feet. Different weights, along with varying lengths of line, dictate bait depth. As he moves across the water, Arnoldussen uses his electronics to follow contours, keeping the boat in the same general depth range. Once he starts catching fish, he marks the spots on his GPS and sets all his baits at the same depth range before making another pass.Outdoor Life Online Editor

One day the bite's on, the next day it isn't. Figuring out daily fishing patterns can get you back on the bite in a hurry. Check out this illustrated guide for the best pro tips.