John's Journal...

Big Bass By Starlight

The Brag

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: “If you can get that Phillips’ fellow to fish with me for three days and three nights, I’ll put a bass in the boat 10 pounds or bigger,” the late L.J.Brasher of Opelika, Alabama, told a friend of mine, Joe Price of Birmingham Alabama. Now that is a big boast for even the nation’s best anglers. And I had never heard of L.J. Brasher nor had many other folks. But Brasher’s boast was not an idle challenge. Brasher, like Dizzy Dean, felt, “If you’ve done it, then it ain’t bragging.” And Brasher had done it. Each weekend during the spring and summer for years, he traveled to ponds and lakes around Madison, Florida, and caught big bass. In one year alone, he took over 80 bass that each tipped the scales at Click to enlarge10 pounds or better. So, I decided to fish with Brasher to learn his tactics.

“There’s really only a few ingredients required to catch big bass,” Brasher said. “You have to:
* “be in an area where big bass live.” For Brasher that was a 200-mile circle around Madison, Florida, that included a portion of south Georgia. “There are more bass over 10 pounds in this region than any place I know of,” Brasher explained.
* “fish a bait a big bass will eat. A big bass is an old bass. He’s much like a 90- year-old man. He wants plenty of food that’s Click to enlargeeasy to get to. For that reason, I fish a big black Muskie Jitterbug at night. I reel the bait so it sounds like a man with a wooden leg walking across a wooden floor. As that slow-moving, noisy bait passes in front of a big bass, all the bass has to do to eat is to jump on it. In the daytime, I fish a large shiner on a cork so the shiner can’t swim too fast.
* “fish when the bass are hungry, to get the bass to hit. During a three-day period, bass will feed at some time. Most of the time that feeding period will be at night. However, I have seen bass feed at high noon. So the best way to make sure you get a wall-sized fish is to keep fishing non-stop for 3 days and 3 nights. You just outlast the bass.
* “have the right equipment. Most conventional bass tackle isn’t designed to catch hawg fish. A big bass in cover can tear the hooks out of a bait, break line and bust rods. You have to rig right to catch big bass at night. I use a muskie rod, a substantial reel and 55- pound-braided nylon line. I put bigger brass screws into the harness that hold the treble hooks on the Jitterbug, Click to enlargeand I replace the original hooks with bigger stainless-steel hooks. I utilize channel-lock pliers to tighten the drag down on my reel, so that reel won’t slip when I am winching in a hawg. When the bass’s head comes out of the water to take the lure, that’s the last time it should touch water until he is on the stringer.” Brasher’s tactic of laying with the bass for 3 days and 3 nights may not be for most anglers. However, knowledge, endurance, dedication and brute force produced hundreds of 10-pound bass for Brasher at night.

Tomorrow: Finding Nighttime Bass With Your Ears

Check back each day this week for more about " Big Bass By Starlight"

Day 1: Keep on Fishing At Night to Catch the Biggest Bass
Day 2:The Brag
Day 3: Finding Nighttime Bass With Your Ears
Day 4: Bass In the Timber
Day 5: Secret Night-Fishing Hot Spots


Entry 357, Day 2