About eight years ago, I had an epiphany as I wandered the aisles of Bass Pro Shop. Up to that point, I had pretty much been a fisherman who relied on spinners, top water plugs, and crank baits. But on this day, as I looked up and down the aisles in the fishing section, the products sent me a message. The message was simple -- use plastics!
By far, the type of lure that was allocated the greatest shelf space in the store was the infinite array of plastic everything -- grubs, frogs, worms.... you name it, they make it. A key advantage plastics provide to the fishermen is the ability of the manufacturer to impregnate them with various scents that allegedly produce longer harder strikes. In that instant, I resolved to get good with plastics and ever since then my catch rate on bass improved.
In early 2007, I switched from being primarily a spin guy to being a fly guy. While I still use my spin gear in pursuit of largemouth bass on lakes, I prefer the fly rod when I go after smallies on rivers. When you think about it, it's exactly the same as pursuing trout; both live where the water is moving.
In my first few forays after bass, I relied on the standard fly gear -- streamers, terrestrials, dry flies, poppers and nymphs. While anything that floats on top like a terrestrial or a small popper works just great, I found that I was getting continually hung up when I used the streamers and nymphs. It also occurred to me one day as I cleaned up my bass gear, that I was probably missing the boat on smallies by relying solely on traditional fly lures.
So I resolved to see if I could create an effective bass rig for my fly rod. The key thing was that it had to be small and light enough to be flipped effectively using a six weight rod. As I poked around the aisles of Bass Pro Shop, I discovered that the crappie fishing section had a large number of small plastic grubs and worms impregnated with the same type of scent that I would use for bass if I were using my spin rod. Excited, I wandered down to the weight and swivel section to see if I could find something compatible down there. Sure enough, there are 1/32 ounce sliding weights and small swivels available. Granted, you could just squeeze on a few split shot instead of using the sliding weight, but I wanted to approximate what I use for bass on my spin gear. After all, an endless number of BassMaster tournament winners have proven the effectiveness of plastics rigged a certain way.
The pictures below show what I came up with - Texas rigged small crappie lures. If you want, you can attach a very small split shot at some point between the hook and the swivel to keep the sliding weight from going too far or just peg it. I typically tie on about 2 feet of 4X or 5X tippit to the end of the swivel. You need the swivel to deal with the line twist as the grub will spin a bit as you strip it in.
As you can see from some of the pictures of the smallies that I have hauled in over this last summer, this rig has proven very effective.
You can drag this thing across logs, grass and other debris on the bottom of a river and not worry too much about getting hung up.