John's Journal...

Secrets of Longtime Bass Fishing Pro Larry Nixon

Day 2: More of Pro Angler Larry Nixon’s Secrets – Fishing Fast and Prospecting for and Connecting with Bass

Editor’s Note: Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas, began guiding fishermen before he was in high school. He joined the professional bass fishermen's ranks 37 years ago. Nixon became professional bass fishing's first $1 million winner and today has earned more than $3 million fishing B.A.S.S. and FLW circuits, not including sponsorship money. He was named Bass Angler of the Year twice and won the Classic. A member of the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame, Nixon, also is one of the most-respected anglers in tournament bass fishing history and still is ranked in the top 50 bass anglers in the world by Nixon’s favorite technique generally is fishing a worm, and his favorite body of water to bass fish is Toledo Bend. When he’s not fishing, Nixon can be found deer hunting.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger  ViewSecret No. 4: Fish Fast for Bass with a Jig

Nixon prefers to fish a fast-falling bait like a jig in the summer months when he finds most lakes relatively clear. To increase the speed of the jig as it falls, he feeds line to the jig when he casts it out to allow the bait to fall vertically. If the bass doesn't take the bait on the fall, Nixon will hop the jig up off the bottom about 3 feet and let the bait fall back on a slack line, watching his line as the bait falls for any interruption in the drop of the lure.

As Nixon reports, “I'm convinced that snatching the jig up off the bottom really fast and then letting it fall back to the bottom as quickly as it can drop triggers a lot of strikes from bass in the summer, even if they're not hungry. A bass will think a baitfish down there is trying to run away from him and will want to kill that bait. The reason I like to make short casts and rip the bait up off the bottom is the closer you are to your jig when you rip it, the more vertically it will jump up off the bottom. If you make a long cast and try and jump the bait off the bottom, the bait may only hop 3 or 4 inches and be drug along the bottom, instead of jumping straight up off the bottom and falling back more vertically.”

Secret No. 5: Prospect for Bass

When Nixon finds a flat that homes a large number of scattered stumps, he'll make longer casts to use a dragging tactic to feel the stump with his jig. He'll jerk the jig up to attempt to hop it over the stump and then let it fall vertically. “Often you'll find scattered fish by casting somewhat further off the lip of the break after you've already fished down the break and know that the fish are taking the bait on the shallow side of the breakline,” Nixon observes. Large bass like to stay in the big water out in the middle of a lake during hot weather. But also look for shallow underwater cover, perhaps a breakline, a row of stumps or just an underwater hump out in the middle of a lake, near the middle of the lake. When you fish the jig, this lure generally doesn't discriminate and produces both largemouth and smallmouth bass, according to Nixon.

Secret No. 6: Connect with the Bass You Hook

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOnce Nixon and I fished in the summer near a duck blind someone had built in the middle of a lake in about 10 feet of water, close to where the bottom dropped off from 10 to 40 feet. “Cast to the deep side of the break, and hop your jig up the break and over the lip of the break,” Nixon coached me. On my first cast, I fed line to the jig as it fell. Once the jig reached the bottom, I hopped it up to the lip of the break. Then just as the jig hopped over the breakline and stopped, I set the hook. At first I thought I'd gotten hung up on an underwater root, because the jig stopped so abruptly. But then the bait moved away from me and finally ran. As the drag slipped, I knew I had on a good bass and yelled to Nixon.

Nixon, turning to look to the back of the boat, saw the fish break the surface and announced, “John, that's a tremendous largemouth. Just take your time, and don't rush him. Let the rod and reel play the fish, and don't try and boat him too quick.” Amazed at the size of the fish, I also couldn't believe I'd hooked a largemouth this big out in the middle of the vast lake. “You play the fish, and I'll lip it when it gets close to the boat.” Glad to have Nixon's expert coaching, I connected with the big largemouth I'd hooked, brought it to the side of the boat and watched this master angler lip my trophy into the boat.

To learn more about bass fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” “How to Win a Bass Tournament,” “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics, “Hot Weather Bass Tactics” and “How to Become A Tournament Bass Fisherman” or 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.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Top Bass Fishing Pro Larry Nixon Uses Satellites and Fishes with the Best Line for Success

Check back each day this week for more about Secrets of Longtime Bass Fishing Pro Larry Nixon"

Day 1: Pro Larry Nixon Shares Some of His Bass Fishing Secrets
Day 2: More of Pro Angler Larry Nixon’s Secrets – Fishing Fast and Prospecting for and Connecting with Bass
Day 3: Top Bass Fishing Pro Larry Nixon Uses Satellites and Fishes with the Best Line for Success
Day 4: Bass Fishing Pro Larry Nixon Tells Us to Eliminate Mistakes and Have Confidence in Fishing
Day 5: Pro Larry Nixon Says Don’t Choose a Favorite Lure and Remember to Always Have Fun Fishing

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Entry 772, Day 2