Tips of the Week
  1. What color Chatterbait® to use?

    Many times the right color for the situation can make a big difference. The Pros make this suggestion: in many cases, it's difficult to go wrong using a light color such as white in clear water, a mid tone such as green pumpkin in lightly-stained water, and a dark or fluorescent color in dirtier water.

  2. Weather can make the difference.

    Cold spring weather can make for poor spawning conditions. A late spawn can cause a shortage in forage baitfish and that can change the conditions. With this shortage of bait for the larger fish these larger predators on the move and more apt to be more aggressive. This calls for a "cover more water" approach. Fish fast and find the more aggressive fish.

  3. Change the presentation not the place.

    If you have been catching fish in a certain area and the bite shuts down, try changing the lure or presentation before leaving the area. Many times the aggression of the fish will change and different retrieval speed or lure will make the difference.

  4. Post cold front conditions.

    After a cold front passes and you have cold temperatures, clear skies, and a high barometric pressure the fishing can get extremely tough. The fish will be holding tight to cover and normally a slow and methodical presentation works best. Patients is the key when fishing under these conditions.

  5. Big bait-Big fish.

    California has set the trend in the big bait era with some monster catches on big swim baits and giant worms. Many fisherman are somewhat hesitant to use these big lures but when fishing waters that are known to have trophy size fish do not be afraid to try some of these oversized lures such as the Z-Man "Water Hawk". You might not catch as many fish but your chances of catching that trophy will improve greatly.

  6. Catch and release.

    Z-Man stands firmly behind the "catch and release" practice. If you want to take a picture, always attempt to hold the fish in a vertical position. Sometimes the species won’t allow for the vertical position, but handle with care and return to the water as quick as possible. If keeping your catch in a live well, assure that the aerator is functioning.

  7. Fish in the shade.

    The shady side is normally the better side for midday action. Fish the edges of humps, points, stumps, blow downs, or other structures that are on the shady side. Direct you lure presentation to these shady areas. The fish will move as the sun moves. Always and try the shaded areas of structure.

  8. Fish the windy points.

    Many times fisherman will look for protected water and overlook the windy points. Predator fish will often move to the windy points to ambush the bait fish that have been driven to these windy areas. The wave action causes a slight discoloration of the water which will cause the game fish to be less spooky and the bait fish will be forced to these areas. This wave action, off colored water, and presence of bait fish trigger the predator fish to be extremely aggressive. They are a bit harder to fish, but the rewards can be great.

  9. Drastic measures.

    When nothing is working and you are not catching any fish, try something totally different. The Pros have proven time and again that a total change up can produce good bags of fish. Don't spend wasted time using lures that traditionally work for the time of year or weather conditions you encounter. Tournaments have been won on crazy patterns like "fishing a buzzbait during a snow storm". There are fish biting somewhere, so make a change and go find them. Fish in areas you'd never fish. You might be presently surprised in what you catch.

  10. Fish on the rocks.

    Early spring can be a great time for pre-spawn fish to hold on rocks. Bridge riprap can be an ideal area for some great catches. Those warm spring days will warm the riprap and it will raise the water temperature. Many a tournament has be won in the spring time on bridge riprap or banks with large rock piles.

  11. Safety first.

    Z-Man and its Pro Staff puts safety as a high priority pro tip. Make sure your "kill switch" is always in good working condition and hooked up when the big motor is running. Flotation devices for all. Always assure that you and whoever is with you is wearing a flotation vest when operating the big motor. Follow all state and local laws.

  12. Pattern fishing.

    Most of the great fisherman will tell that "pattern fishing" is one of the keys to their success. Pattern fishing is simply finding a water depth, structure, and lure presentation that produces and then duplicating it on the water your fishing. Many times there can be multiple patterns on any lake. The key is to first develop a pattern that pin points the depth, structure and lure and then experiment with the choice of lure to see if you can increase the size of the fish you are catching.

  13. Keep a look out for surface activity.

    Look for baitfish and bird activity. This is an ideal way of locating fish. While moving to your next spot, look for fish activity on the surface. Things such as fish busting shade, bait fish jumping out of the water, or birds diving for bait fish are great indicators that there a predator fish present. This can be an excellent way to find schools of fish during the summer months. Motor to casting distance and shut the big engine down. Start with a top water presentation. If the fish are still breaking but reluctant to strike, change to a subsurface presentation.

  14. Keep a fishing journal

    Most of the good pros keep some kind of journal or rely on memory recall of their past successes. Things such as the time of year, weather conditions, water temperature, water depth, water clarity, structure, lure used, lure presentation, to name a few. When faced with similar conditions the pro will attempt to duplicate all of these parts and use them as a starting point. Various species of fish are prone to act the same no matter what part of the country you are fishing. They re-act the same to their environment no matter where you are fishing.

  15. Lake maps are a must.

    If possible, always have a lake contour map of the lake you plan to fish. Always mark the area of success on the map. Once you have a library of maps, bring them with you on every fishing trip. Many times you will meet fellow anglers or tackle shop staffs that are knowledgeable about the lake you are fishing or other lakes that you plan to fish. They can provide you with good information on lakes, maybe even marking spots for you on the map that can be used on future trips.

  16. Move with the season

    Many anglers will continue to fish the same areas time and again. Fish move with seasonal changes. Winter will find them in one area, pre-spawn another, post spawn another, summer another, and fall another. Don't get hung up a certain spot end expect the fish to be there all year long. Know the habits of the type fish you a trying to catch and applying that knowledge to catching them. TV shows, fishing books, and magazine articles are a great way to learn the habits of your prey.

  17. That's why the call it "fishing"?

    Nothing beats time on the water. Sometimes its fast and furious and others slow and hard. Don't be a quitter. Many times it will take hours to put together a good stringer of fish. The fisherman that puts in his time and tries as many techniques as he can will normally be the successful angler. If we caught fish every time we wet a lure, they would call it "Catching" not fishing.

  18. Sometime you need to "down size."

    Many times you will be in an area that you know is holding fish. You see baitfish breaking the surface, predator fish chasing and smashing into the school but you can't get a bite. There is an old adage that is paramount when you encounter this situation, "match the hatch". Be observant, many times you are presenting a lure that is the wrong size. Down sizing to a lure that is smaller might get those strikes you are looking for.

  19. Reading contours.

    There are many books and articles that are great instructional aides in learning to read contours on a lake map. With the aid of your depth finder or graph you can use both to pinpoint areas that possibly are holding fish. Stay consistent in your approach and do not abandon the structure and depth you have chosen until your are certain that you need to change. Once successful, attempt to duplicate these areas. Your rewards will be great.

  20. Bright skies

    Bright clear skies will, at times, cause fish to hold tighter to cover. Accurate and subtle presentations are a must. Many times it can be effective to make your lure presentation to the shady side of the structure you are fishing. The tighter you can cast to the cover, the better it is.

  21. Lure choice vs. structure.

    It is really important to choose the lure that will perform well in the structure and water depth you have selected. Most pros will start with a lure that can be retrieved on a horizontal plane. Lures such as Chatterbait®, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits are good choices. They are great for covering water quickly and effectively. If the fish are tightly schooled in deeper water a vertical presentation is necessary. Jigs, drop shots, and jigging spoons are good choices. Plastic lures such as the ElaZtech™ plastics are good choices for fishing heavy cover or grass. A weed less presentation such as the "Texas Rig" is a must for this type of fishing.