John's Journal...

Some Winning Techniques of Bass Fishing

Day 2: Spinner Baiting with Rick Clunn

Editor’s Note: Rick Clunn of Ava, Missouri, has won every major bass tournament in the nation in his more than three decades of competitive bass fishing. He's the only angler to win four Bassmaster Classics, with two of those Classics back-to-back. Many have called Rick Clunn a fishing machine. Knowledge powers the Rick Clunn fishing machine. Clunn is the consummate student of bass fishing. He reads, studies and researches to determine not only the best way to catch any bass but also the most-productive way to take big bass. Clunn believes three techniques will catch more big bass consistently than any-other tactic you can use: crankbaiting, spinner baiting and flipping and pitching.

Click for Larger ViewYou won't find a nationally-ranked tournament bass fisherman who doesn't carry a box full of spinner baits with him to every tournament. Sometimes the size of the spinner bait you fish determines whether or not you'll catch a big bass. At other times, the speed at which you retrieve the lure has a definite effect on whether or not you'll catch a bass. But to catch big bass on spinner baits, you must first determine the bass's position on the cover and how to best present the spinner bait to the bass, so it will take the lure. Although pinpointing where a bass holds on a piece of cover sounds like a relatively-simple task, many variables affect that bass's location. For instance, you must consider the factors of wind, sun, food availability and the time of day – daylight, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon or just before sundown. "To effectively put the spinner bait where a big bass will bite it, you must know where that bass will move to on every piece of cover you fish under each of these conditions," Clunn reports.

Click for Larger ViewIf you feel you can't possibly know enough to locate a big bass's position on cover, here's how Clunn makes a bass bite a spinner bait. "Look at the cover, pick out a spot that no one in his or her right mind will throw a spinner bait, and cast to it," Clunn recommends. "When looking at a brushpile, usually an angler will cast his bait to the places where he'll have the least chance of getting hung. As Robert Frost said in one of his poems, 'Two roads divided in the woods, and I took the one less travelled.' Well, that road where you'll get hung-up is the one least travelled. The spot that's the least-cast-to with a spinner bait is exactly here you want to put your lure. For example, if you see a small hole in a brush pile where no angler will throw a spinner bait, then that's where you cast your lure."

Click for Larger ViewClunn fishes the spinner bait in many areas where other anglers only will fish a Texas-rigged plastic worm or a weedless jig-and-pig. "Many times hitting the target is not the most-difficult problem with making the cast when you're using the spinner bait," Clunn explained. "More often, the most-difficult problem is putting your boat in the right position to cast. Most anglers would rather spend their time chunking and winding than give up the 5 to 10 minutes that's required to get their boats in the right positions to make perfect casts with spinner baits." Remember, you don't determine whether or not your bass fishing has succeeded by how many casts you make. You evaluate your bass-fishing success by the number of casts you make that put your bait the closest to the biggest bass in any body of water you fish.

Clunn doesn't make difficult casts just to prove he can. If the bass are biting aggressively, then Clunn can swim his spinner bait on the outer edges of the cover, and the bass will pull-out of the cover and attack the bait. He won't have to spend 5 or 10 minutes trying to make those one or two casts into the center of the brush. However, if the bass haven't fed aggressively, Clunn will use his less-travelled road to catch the fish other anglers don't.

Speeding the Spinner Bait

Click for Larger ViewRick Clunn has a somewhat different take on bass-fishing strategies than many-other competitive anglers. Clunn believes in the philosophy that tactics that have worked in the past to catch big bass still will produce big bass today, especially if everyone else has forgotten about that technique. "An old tactic becomes a new method of fishing if no one else is using it," Clunn explains. "And many of the old fishing strategies other anglers as well as myself once have fished with still will produce bass today if you go back and revisit those tactics." Most articles you read today about spinner baits only mention fishing spinner baits deep and slowly. But Clunn has had great success catching very large bass by fishing a big spinner bait fast and shallow, just under the surface, to create a big wake on the surface. "Most anglers don't wake spinner baits any more like they once did many years ago," Clunn says.

How to Bass Fish Like a ProCatch the Most and Biggest Bass In Any LakeTo learn more about how to fish for bass, go to “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” and “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake” , or go to, and type in the names of the books to buy them. Too, you can download a Kindle app for free and buy the book from Amazon to read it on your iPad, Smartphone or computer.

Tomorrow: Flipping and Pitching with Rick Clunn

Check back each day this week for more about "Some Winning Techniques of Bass Fishing"

Day 1: Cranking with Rick Clunn
Day 2: Spinner Baiting with Rick Clunn
Day 3: Flipping and Pitching with Rick Clunn
Day 4: Catching Hot-Weather Bass at Lake Guntersville
Day 5: Getting Jiggy on Bass at Lake Guntersville with Mike Gerry

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Entry 674, Day 2