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Little Baits for Big Bass

Shaw GrigsbyEditor's Note: Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Florida, won a gold medal in the ESPN Outdoor Games for fishing in 2002. He's qualified for the BASS Masters' Classic nine times and has won eight B.A.S.S. tournaments and four invitational tournaments. He's also the host of the "One More Cast" TV show on TNN.

Question: Tell me about a time when Strike King saved the day for you when fishing.

Grigsby: There are plenty of times that Strike King has saved the day. One day in particular that I remember was in a B.A.S.S. tournament on Lake Wheeler in north Alabama. I was fishing and using every tactic, technique and bait I knew, and I still couldn't catch any bass. The water was high, and I was fishing over grass beds.

When none of my lures seem to be working to catch bass, I usually down size my lures. I had been swimming a spinner bait above the grass with no success, but I felt like the bass would hit a spinner bait, so I looked in my tackle box and found the small, ¼-ounce Premier Elite spinner bait in chartreuse and white with a gold-front blade and a nickel willow-leaf rear blade. When I fished a spinner bait, I usually fished a ½-ounce Premier Elite spinner bait. But on this day on this lake, the big spinner bait just was not producing.

Strike King SpinnerbaitI told myself, "The water is high; the bass have to be in this grass. I've just got to put a bait in front of them that they can't help but eat." When I tied that little 1/4-ounce spinner bait on and started fishing it just above the grass, the bass turned on so strong I couldn't believe how many fish I was catching. I caught limits of keeper bass every morning of the tournament. Too, the little bait produced some good solid, 3- and 4-pound bass. This little bitty spinner bait saved the day for me.

Question: Why do you think the bass would take the little spinner bait and not the big spinner bait?

Grigsby: I believe the bass were keying in on little shad. I think the big spinner bait presented a bigger target than the bass were accustomed to eating. You never really could know what's in a bass's mind, but another factor could have been that the bass had seen big spinner baits, jigs, worms and crankbaits fished through that grass. But they probably hadn't seen a tiny spinner bait like the one I was casting.

Shaw GrigsbySince that day, this small spinner bait has become my number one spinner bait. Normally you'll carry one or two different colors and sizes of spinner baits in your spinner bait box, but I carry five of these ¼-ounce chartreuse and white spinner baits with me at all times. I believe that many fishermen have convinced themselves that big bass want big spinner baits, and big spinner baits are all they'll cast. But I believe this is a totally wrong philosophy. The biggest bass I ever caught, I caught on a small tube bait.

Small baits, many times, will produce more big fish than big baits because bass know they can catch and eat a small bait much faster than they can catch and eat a large bait. If you're overlooking using small baits when you are fishing for big bass, you may be leaving out the best tool in your arsenal to catch those lunkers.