John's Journal...

The Sport of Bassing Swamp Holes

Day 3: Using the L.J. Brasher Technique and the Slip-and-Run Method of Fishing for Bass in Swamp Holes

Editor’s Note: You may think the South is the only section of the United States with swamps, but particularly after the flooding of 2011, many-new oxbows and swamp holes have been created. Although most bass lakes and rivers are crowded across the country, when you fish swamp holes for bass, you’ll rarely see other fishermen, and the bass often will top 8 pounds. These unnoticed waters can be found most anywhere.

The L.J. Brasher Technique for Catching Big Bass:

Click for Larger ViewThe late L.J. Brasher of Opelika, Alabama, was probably one of the most-successful trophy-bass fishermen in the nation. “I’ve found that potholes created by tornadoes and hurricanes in Florida are the best places to fish for bass weighing more than 10 pounds,” he once told me. Click for Larger View“Sometimes I have to walk 3- to 5-miles through the woods and undergrowth to find a half-acre pothole that’s completely covered with lilies. Below the surface is almost always a covering of moss that furthers the appearance of the pond’s being impassable to lures. But by throwing a large, 14-inch homemade worm on top of the lilies and retrieving it slowly,I’ve seen hawg bass blow the cover and take the bait. I point my rod tip at the bass, let it swallow the bait and then hit it hard with 50-pound-test braided nylon line.” When Brasher struck a bass, a tug-of-war began that Brasher almost always won, once he jumped into the lily-covered water and raced to his bass.

The Slip-and-Run Method:
This tactic is my favorite. Much like when someone stalks squirrels, when using this method, a sportsman attempts to slip silently through the flooded timber and stalks the areas where he believes a big bass may be. Click for Larger ViewShort, accurate casting always has produced more bass in tight quarters than long casts, because the angler can reach the bass in a hurry once it hits. Then the chances of losing the bass to the cover are lessened. I prefer to use a medium-action worm rod, a spinning reel and 17-pound-test line for this tactic. Usually I can outmaneuver the bass, rather than having to strong-arm it out of the woods. Some of my favorite lures for swamp hole bassing are a 5-inch Rebel, a 6-inch blue plastic worm and a yellow Snagless Sally with pork chunk. The starting gun for the slip-and-run footrace sounds when a bass hits your lure. Click for Larger ViewOnce the hook is set, spring directly toward the bass, and use the tip of your rod to steer it away from cover. Be sure to keep the pressure on by reeling as you run. A slack line may cause you to lose your bass. If the bass reaches cover ahead of you, follow your line into the brush with your hand, until you reach the bass’s lip. You may be fortunate enough to reach the cover before the bass does. If so, play the bass down until you can lift it.

Tomorrow: How to Fish for Swamp Hole Bass and Stay Dry

Check back each day this week for more about "The Sport of Bassing Swamp Holes "

Day 1: Searching for Swamp Holes and Navigating Through Them
Day 2: John E. Phillips’ First Swamp-Hole Encounter with Big Bass
Day 3: Using the L.J. Brasher Technique and the Slip-and-Run Method of Fishing for Bass in Swamp Holes
Day 4: How to Fish for Swamp Hole Bass and Stay Dry
Day 5: Advantages of Swamp Fishing for Bass

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Entry 620, Day 3