John's Journal...

Trolling Successfully for Bass

Day 3: Trolling Humps, Vegetation and Tailraces for Bass

Editor’s Note: If you’re a professional bass tournament angler, stop reading. The following killer bass-fishing method is not for you.

Trolling Humps and Vegetation:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOther good trolling areas in any lake are humps. In many sections of the country, underwater humps in manmade reservoirs actually are Indian mounds left from the earliest days of our country. Before the reservoirs have been inundated, archaeological teams often dig large trenches through the mounds to learn about the people who lived in these regions. Today bass concentrate in these underwater trenches through the mounds and wait to attack baitfish. Trolling deep-diving crankbaits puts a lure down on the mounds. When the bait passes over the trench, the bass often will come out and attack. Trolling the outside edges of these areas also will produce bass.

If you’re on a lake or a river filled with aquatic vegetation, try trolling live bait. Large minnows, golden shiners and other big baitfish trolled along the edges of the grass will pull big bass out of their hiding spots. A bass-fishing friend of mine recommends you use a weedless hook and lip-hook the shiners. Then he trolls slowly along the edges of lily pads, peppergrass, hydrilla, milfoil and other kinds of water weeds to catch big bass. When a bass hits the minnow, don’t immediately set the hook. Large, live bait often will be taken sideways in the bass’ mouth, so you must give the fish time to fully take the bait. Instead, point the rod straight at the bass, and then when the line tightens, set the hook.

Trolling Tailraces:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTailrace areas below dams generally hold the largest concentrations of fish in any reservoir. In cool-water reservoirs, you’ll frequently find big smallmouths as well as largemouths holding in the tailraces. John Hill, a smallmouth specialist on the tailrace at Wheeler Dam on the Tennessee River near Town Creek, Alabama, explains, “Smallmouth bass either will hold close to the dam or well away from the dam in a tailrace area. But locating smallmouths can be difficult, depending on how-many turbines at the dam are running. “I like to troll a Model A Bomber lure back and forth across the current from near the dam to 1/4-mile below the dam. Using this tactic, I can pinpoint smallmouths and consistently catch them by trolling.” Yet another fishing buddy of mine, who primarily fishes the Withlacoochee river near Dunnellon, Florida, explains that he, “Trolls live shiners during the winter months to cover more water and catch bigger bass.”

Most anglers agree that trolling will produce numbers of fish for even inexperienced fishermen, but does it catch trophy-size bass? Consider this: The world’s record smallmouth bass, which weighed 11 pounds, 15 ounces, was caught on a Bomber Mud Bug by David Hayes in 1955, while he was trolling at Dale Hollow Lake on the Tennessee/Kentucky border.

How to Bass Fish Like a ProHow to catch the Biggest and Most Bass in any LakeThese tactics are just a sample of what you’ll learn in the new Kindle eBooks, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” and “How to Catch the Biggest and Most Bass in Any Lake” by John E. Phillips. Go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.


Tomorrow: Selecting Your Trolling Speed and Belly Boating Ponds for Bas

Check back each day this week for more about "Trolling Successfully for Bass"

Day 1: Trolling for Bass by Bottom Walking with Jack Wingate
Day 2: Trolling Points and Banks and Deep Trolling for Bass
Day 3: Trolling Humps, Vegetation and Tailraces for Bass
Day 4: Selecting Your Trolling Speed and Belly Boating Ponds for Bass
Day 5: Trolling an Alabama Rig for Bassing Success

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Entry 684, Day 3