When an angler approaches a day of fishing, there are many paths and techniques that can lead to the same goal, which is to catch that ginormous bass of a lifetime. Most take the conventional route, beating the bank with jigs, plastics, spinnerbaits or cranks, or fishing points, structure or other ‘sensible’ ‘fishy’ areas that typically hold fish.
BNF, of course, takes the path less traveled, and approaches those nasty areas that the typical angler shies away from or takes a few halfhearted casts into with tackle not designed for it and ends up with a broken line (or rod), minus a lure, and moves on, thinking that no sane fish would live in that impenetrable mess.
Little do those anglers realize that impenetrable mosiac of dinner plate sized lily pads or featureless carpets of grassmats as far as the eye can see are truly a haven for largemouth bass. In the dog days of summer, the temperature beneath those mats and pads can be up to 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding water. They provide critical aspects to fish holding habitat: shade from the sun, protection and places to hide from predators, and, beneath the pads and mats exists a maze of undergrowth, stems, debris and low light conditions that provide a myriad of ambush points from which to feed on shad, sunfish, frogs, insects, or whatever else tasty that happens to cross their path (like your bait!).
As with any fish holding location, the biggest, most dominant, and aggressive fish are going to be located in the optimal locations for feeding or safety or both. Bass will be buried in the thickest cover, or in and around primary locations like points, channels, pockets, structural objects and depth changes within the pads or mats themselves that offer the best feeding opportunities.
So how do we get to those bass buried in the thick stuff that aren’t responding to a buzz frog or hollowbodied frog on the surface of the pads or mats? Punch Hoggin’ with a punch rig. Punch Hoggin’ isn’t just a type of bait or a type of presentation, but a specialized tackle system and technique designed purely for getting your bait to those less pressured fish, and then just as importantly, getting those fish extracted from that impenetrable cover into your boat.
The Punch Hoggin’ Punch Rig consists of 8 separate pieces of tackle that bring the sum of their individual strengths into a symbiotic relationship that provide the angler a tool greater than any of them could provide on their own. Rod, reel, line, stop, weight, skirt, hook and soft plastic all come together to allow the angler to approach and apply the Punch Hoggin’ technique to previously unfishable cover with the expectation of being able to present lures to, hook up with, and land those giant bass.
So what kind of specialized tackle is required to access these fish? Welcome to the Punch Hoggin’ With Bass Nasty Fishing: The Punch Rig (Guide), where the equipment that is used to approach punching heavy cover is examined in the usual BNF OCD/indepth style.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be going into each aspect of the Punch Rig, and the Punch Hoggin’ technique itself. So sit back, relax, pour yourself a wobbly pop and let the fun begin!
Below are the topics to be covered:
Punch Hoggin’ With Bass Nasty Fishing: The Punch Rig Guide Part 2: Reels
Punch Hoggin’ With Bass Nasty Fishing: The Punch Rig Guide Part 3: Line
Punch Hoggin’ With Bass Nasty Fishing: The Punch Rig Guide Part 4: Weights + Stops
Punch Hoggin’ With Bass Nasty Fishing: The Punch Rig Guide Part 5: Punch Skirts
Punch Hoggin’ With Bass Nasty Fishing: The Punch Rig Guide Part 6: Hooks
Punch Hoggin’ With Bass Nasty Fishing: The Punch Rig Guide Part 7: Plastics/Baits
Punch Hoggin’ With Bass Nasty Fishing: The Punch Rig Guide Part 8: Technique and Strategies