John's Journal...


Highland Reservoirs

EDITOR’S NOTE: Todd Ary of Moody, Alabama, a professional bass fisherman, fishes all the FLW and Everstart tournaments. This week, Ary talks about what types of lakes he fishes and the tactics he uses to catch bass in the fall.

QUESTION: When fishing highland reservoirs in the fall, what tactic do you prefer?

Click to enlargeARY: If you’re going to fish a highland reservoir for a couple of days, locate your prime areas where shad are located, and then go back to those prime areas at first light. You’ll notice as you get to the areas, that you won’t see tight, balled-up schools of shad, instead they will appear to be more scattered. Since the bass are roaming to find bait, I use surface baits to call the bass from their deep-water holes. However, instead of using traditional top-water lures, I prefer to fish with a double Strike King Zulu rig.

QUESTION: What is a double Zulu rig?

ARY: I start with 12-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. I put on a barrel swivel, but I don’t tie it. At the end of the line, I tie on a second barrel swivel and 3 feet of leader. Next, I put a hook on the end of the leader and take 10 to 12 inches of 12-pound-test line and tie the leader to the open eye of the swivel. This way, I have one swivel moving freely up and down the line. Then, I tie on a second hook, allowing me to cast two baits at one time without Click to enlargeeither bait getting tangled on the swivel. If the upper fluke happens to get tangled in the bottom leader, the swivel that’s further up the line will allow the fluke to unwrap. Two regular barrel swivels will work on this rig. However, I prefer a power swivel, which is shorter and more compact and contain larger rings at either end. Even though these swivels are a bit more expensive than a basic barrel swivel, I think they do a much better job of keeping your lines from getting tangled.

One of the advantages of fishing this rig is that you have more versatility. The key to this technique is the Strike King 3X Zulu, which is a buoyant plastic lure that rides high in the water. You can fish it with two Zulus; both Zulus will swim high in the water, give you that walk-the-dog type of action, and appear to be a school of baitfish on the surface, all actions that definitely will attract the bass. You can also put a Zulu on the top hook and a Strike King Z2 on the bottom hook, which will cause the two Zulus to crisscross each other. If you want to fish a bit deeper in the water, put two Z2s on this rig. You will see that by switching the style of the Zulu, you Click to enlargecan also change the type of action that this double Zulu rig produces. If I can’t get the bass to bite the double Zulu rig, I’ll put a Z2 on the bottom hook and leave the Zulu on the top hook. The next thing I do is put the Z2 on the top hook and the Zulu on the bottom hook. If that doesn’t work, I put Z2s on both hooks and walk the baits faster. Another advantage to the Z2 rig is that you can use the same color or two different colors at one time. The Z2 rig is one of the most-versatile rigs I know of for fishing near the surface of the water. This rig helps to pull bass up to the surface early in the morning while fishing schooling shad in the fall of the year.

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Check back each day this week for more about FISHING WITH PROFESSIONAL BASS FISHERMAN TODD ARY

Day 1: Fishing Clear Lakes
Day 2: Highland Reservoirs
Day 3: More Clear-Water Tactics
Day 4: Fishing Aquatic Vegetation Lakes
Day 5: Grassy-Lake Tactics



Entry 323, Day 2