John's Journal...

The Sport of Bassing Swamp Holes

Day 4: How to Fish for Swamp Hole Bass and Stay Dry

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.

Click for Larger ViewNot everyone relishes the thought of having their tennis shoes sink in swamp mud or of being in the same watery environment as a cottonmouth. But to fish swamp holes to catch big bass, use a light aluminum boat, a canoe and a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Though old roads, deer-stand lines and fields are grown-up during the late spring and summer months, you’ll still find them passable. With a four-wheel drive, an angler can get back into the remote areas he’s seen during hunting season. lick for Larger ViewWith a lightweight canoe or aluminum boat, he can fish completely dry without having to wade.

As one swamp-hole basser, who wishes to be anonymous explains, “I can catch all the bass I want to eat for supper almost anytime I go fishing. Most people don’t realize that there are a number of trophy bass back in the woods. Big bass don’t like a current. When the river floods, those lunker largemouths hunt for a hole where they can hide. During the summer, the bass are still there. I’ve seen 8- to 10-pound bass come out of potholes maybe 1-1/2-miles from a river.” If you fish on your hunting-club grounds, the swamp holes, perhaps up to 40 acres in size, may be easily accessible, but receive very-little fishing pressure. To use this dry-foot method, I’ve found stout worm rods with 20- to 30-pound-test line to be the best and spinner baits to be the most productive. Throw the spinner bait into the heaviest cover you can see, and hold-on. Click for Larger ViewWhen a bass comes-up, try to keep its head above water, and work it to the boat. If you can keep the bass out of the cover, you usually can boat it.

Another successful tactic for dry-foot swamp-holing is flipping. Swing a 6-inch blue glitter worm about the rod’s length next to an old tree. Drop-in the rig, and shake it. When the worm falls straight down beside the tree, it looks as natural as a lure can. Usually a bass will grab it. If that doesn’t happen, jump the worm two or three times off the bottom. Largemouths can’t resist the flipping action; they just have to attack. Two techniques on “worming” a swamp hole are popular down South. When a bass takes the worm, some experts give it the rod’s length. As their lines tighten, they strike the bass. Then they can tow lunker bass out of the cover, before they get tangled. Click for Larger ViewBut using this method may keep the worm from getting far enough into the bass’s mouth for the hook to be set properly. The other technique is to give the bass line, allowing it to move into heavy cover and swallow the worm. Then when the hook’s set, it’s usually imbedded, but the angler has the problem of trying to free the bass from the bushes before it escapes. A combination of both techniques works best for many swamp-hole hunters. When a bass takes your lure and swims toward dense cover, set the hook. If the bass is going into sparse cover (small braches, grasses or weeds), give it more line, and wait before you strike.

Tomorrow: Advantages of Swamp Fishing for Bass

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 4