Table Rock Lake

Swimming Deep for Big Fish is Nothing New

Posted by Phil Lilley on March 1st, 2017
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Babler Table Rock Bass

I believe in the early 90’s Sonny Chafin was one of the  pioneers of this technique.  Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.  Sonny at that time fished with Jerry McCutchin out of Warsaw Mo, I believe in both the Heartland and the Redman series, along with Central Pro Am as it got started and this time of the year, that team was deadly on catching White River chain deep suspended bass by swimming a grub deep.

They used a 1/4 to 3/8th. ball head and a 3 to 5 inch C-tail grub to swim to deep suspending fish.  I can remember talking to Jerry and he said they had a coffee can with pre-rigged grubs, said they usually had at least 50 already set up to swim thru the deep tree tops.  Told me if your not losing baits, in the deep trees your not catching fish.  He said you just had to be daring in your approach and let it fall to the last second before you started to swim it back to the boat.

Long cast were as important to them as they are to us today.  They wanted to cover as many deep trees and as much water with each cast as possible.  They weighed in some huge strings of fish doing this prior to the fish kill and even after the kill.

They were fishing the same fish that we work with a stickbait now, but the fish as today at times are not high enough in the water column to take a stickbait.  They swam a grub deep, sometimes as much as 50′ for their catches.  Swimming covers much more area than a vertical presentation, and they also did that when they would find fish congregated.

In those days there was 10X the amount of timber that we have now, but they not only worked the timber, they also worked humps and channel swings.  How many of us go out and find a swing or a hump and fish that deep with a swimming technique?  not many I’m guessing.  It works.  Your never after numbers in this type of fishing, more after that one or two big keeper, kicker bites on those locations.  It takes patients and success to fish like this and continue to fish like this.  Most of us don’t got it.

With the invention of the A-rig, in modern times both the Fann Brothers and Brent Algeo took this presentation a step further and caught really good bags doing the same thing with the A-rig.  Today in tournaments that allow it, it is usually a winning deal.

I Sundays Anglers In Action derby I saw lots and lots of A-rig retrievers.  Most are 30′ telescoping aluminum poles with either a big triple hook on the end or a pig tail to wrap in the wires of the rig.  Most of these are patterened after a golf ball retriever and you just rip the rig out of cedars or deep trees.  I counted at least 30 boats with these on deck.  Most everyone that throws the rig uses extremely light wire hooks that bend out when they are caught.   Depending on how bad the hook is they either bend it back or just replace the bent hook and bait with a new one.  Takes about 15 seconds.

If you have not tried this style of fishing, get your map out, mark some spots and go ply the depths with the A-rig or if your a purest tie on that Chompers C-tail a Yamamoto, or if you  have deep pockets the Keitech paddle tail and see if you can get one of those big old deep Table Rock Bass.

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