AZ Lakes, AZ Pros: Matt Shura, Saguaro Lake
He's Got Some Great Bass Fishing Tips
March 1, 2020
Nitro and Bass Pro Shops pro Matt Shura has been fishing bass tournaments since he was just a kid, and in fact, he held the state record for largemouth bass for some time a few years back. If you go to the fishing seminars at the Mesa Bass Pro Shop store, you've seen him there and probably heard some great bass fishing tips from him.
Rig It Straight
Matt took us to Saguaro in March and showed us how to fish one of his favorite early spring baits – the Reaction Innovations Little Dipper. This bait is a small swimbait with a paddle tail – it's about four inches long, and Matt's favorite color is Statutory Grape. You need to rig it straight, Matt says, or it won't work right. He fishes it on braided line with a fluorocarbon leader.
To tie fluorocarbon to braid, he uses an Alberto knot, and makes the leader about six feet long – long enough to avoid that first guide on the rod so the knot doesn't keep hitting the guide, because that can damage and weaken the knot. He uses a 2/0 wide gap Gamakatsu hook 10-pound braid and 8-pound-test fluorocarbon on a spinning rod for the 4-inch Little Dipper.
There is a larger, 6-inch version of the Reaction Innovations bait called the Skinny Dipper, and when he fishes that one he uses a baitcaster with 14-pound fluorocarbon and a 4/0 Gamakatsu SuperLine hook. The heavier hook keeps the bait running straight, he says. Some guys use a weighted hook, but Matt thinks that changes the movement of the bait.
Dynamite For Smallmouth Bass
If he does fish the bait weighted, he'll use a Keitech swimbait on a small ball head jig in ¼- or 3/8-ounce. With this, he'll cast it out, let it sink to the bottom, then swim it back, feeling the bottom and letting it move just fast enough so that he can feel that tail moving. He fishes this on a medium action rod and says it's great on steeper stuff. If you throw this on a drop-off and swim it along the bottom, they'll pin it, Matt says. Make long casts and swim it all the way back up the point – at Havasu this is dynamite for smallmouth bass, he says.
Shura sticks to mostly shad-colored baits for our clear-water western lakes, and these swimbaits are perfect for our lakes because they are more of a sight-feeding thing. The natural look and subtle vibration of these little swimbaits mimic a shad swimming.
These little baits couldn't be easier to fish – just cast them out and swim them back. If you get followers that aren't taking the bait, don't slow down. Instead, speed up your retrieve to trigger the bite - he wakes it just under the surface and they blow up on it. A little wind makes these baits work even better.
The Best Time
This time of year is absolutely the best time for the Dippers, Matt says. The fish will be in shallow pockets and the Dippers are weedless so you can fish them in really skinny water. In fact, you can use it in place of a topwater lure. He's made a lot of money using these baits. You can cover a lot of water very quickly – he says he'll get five casts with a Dipper for every one cast he'd make with a Spook. Again, he stresses that to get the best results, take your time when rigging these little swimbaits, and make sure they are hanging perfectly straight. Then just have fun.
Bass Fishing Seminars
For lots of great bass fishing advice from different Arizona pros, visit the Bass Pro Shop store in Mesa on the second Tuesday of each month for their bass fishing seminars. They even have prizes! They are held at the tank in the center of the store at 6:30 p.m. Get there early and grab some dinner at the restaurant before the seminars start. And be sure to say hi to Matt!
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