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John's Journal... Entry 37 - Day 1

Click to EnlargeLarry Nixon's First Lure Picks

One camel packed with supplies to take care of four families on a six-month desert safari didn't carry as much gear as I once took with me every time I went bass fishing. Three or four magnum-size tackle boxes jammed full of every lure known to man contained my arsenal of bass-fishing weapons. I once injured my back just loading my tackle boxes into the boat for a day of bass fishing. But then one day I wondered if I really needed all those lures to catch bass. I decided I didn't.

Today I'm a paper-sack bass fisherman. When I get ready to go bass fishing on a new lake, I take a small, Plano tackle box with nothing in it. I talk to bass-fishing guides and marina operators when I arrive at the lake to learn which lures the bass prefer on the day I plan to fish. Then I'll purchase those lures, carry them to the boat in my paper-bag tackle box and eventually put them in my Plano box once I fish with them.

Regardless of where you fish throughout the nation and how many hundreds of pounds of tackle you take with you, when you got to any lake in America, you'll often find that the bass will bite the lures you don't have. Shouldn't bass fishing be simpler? Do we need tons of tackle to take a bass? Can we reduce our bass-fishing tackle to just five lures? If you can only pick five lures to fish for bass, what five lures will you select?

I asked some of the nation's leading professional bass fishermen to tell me the five lures they'll take with them to catch bass any day they go on the water.

Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas, Angler-of-the-Year twice on the B.A.S.S. circuit, also has won four MegaBucks tournaments as well as the BASS Masters Classic in 1983.

"If I can only have five lures to fish for bass, I'll pick them according to the areas and the type of cover or structure I'll be fishing," Nixon explained. "I'm not listing these lures in the priority that I'll use them. Each lure is designed to fish a certain kind of cover or structure ranging from bushes in shallow water to ledges in deep water at a specific time of the year. My five choices will allow me to fish all year on a wide variety of different lake types and under the most varied fishing conditions."

Berkley Green Pumpkin Plastic Lizard

"My number-one lure will be a Berkley green pumpkin plastic lizard, because the plastic lizard is one of the most-productive bass baits ever made," Nixon reported. "I like to fish the lizard in spawning areas during the spring -- rigged Texas style with a slip sinker. After the spawn, I'll Carolina rig the plastic lizard and fish it for post-spawning bass in areas where I expect to find the fish coming off their beds. Even when I'm fishing offshore areas, I'll still fish the lizard -- either rigged Texas style or Carolina style -- to catch bass during the rest of the year."

Berkley Fat Head Tube Jig

Click to Enlarge"My second choice is Berkley's Fat Head tube jig, which is somewhat fatter than other 4-inch jigs," Nixon commented. "I'll use it to flip and pitch in thick cover. I'll rig the jig with a lightweight slip sinker if I want a slow fall to let bass see the bait longer. If the bass aren't feeding actively, and I want to trigger a reaction strike, I'll use a heavier sinker like a 5/16- or a 3/8-ounce and fish it around any type of cover I can locate. I'm betting on getting a strike as soon as the bait hits the water and begins to fall. If the bass don't take the bait on the fall, I'll pop the lure up one or two times off the bottom. If I still don't get a strike, I'll reel the bait in and throw to another piece of cover."

To learn more about bass fishing in central Alabama, the site of several BASS Masters Classics, go to Night Hawk's home page, and click on fishing books. You'll find John E. Phillips' Bass Fishing Central Alabama book full of information on how to fish each of the lakes in every season, including the most-productive lures to fish and where to fish.

Tomorrow: More of Larry Nixon's Favorite Lure Selections



Check back each day this week for more about Six Top $ Pros Choose Their Favorite Five Lures ...

Day 1 - Larry Nixon's First Lure Picks
Day 2 - More of Larry Nixon's Favorite Lure Selections
Day 3 - Ken Cook's Top Five Lure Picks
Day 4 - Gary Klein and Stanley Mitchell Make Their Top Picks
Day 5 - Denny Brauer and Davy Hite Select Their Favorite Lures


John's Journal