The Bull Shad Owners Manual
Currently, I offer 4 different size baits. 5 inch, 6 inch, 7 inch and 8 inch Bull Shads. I get alot of questions about equipment such as rod, line and other miscellaneous questions about how to fish my baits so I am going to cover some of that here along with a few tactics tips.
7 and 8 inch Baits
The 7 and 8 inch bait are my favorites for trophy hunting with the 8 incher being my overall favorite. When I throw these size baits I am looking for quality fish and not quantity, these are trophy sized baits designed to catch big Trophy Spots and Largemouth especially the bigger 8 inch Big Bull. Both of these baits work extremely well at slow crawl speeds as well as normal retrieves as well. They have a rate of fall (ROF) of about 5 to 7 feet per 10 seconds and you can wake them with the rod tip up high and a semi normal retrieve. These baits also standup nose down on the bottom in a feeding pose and can be effectively jigged on the bottom.
I throw both of these baits on a Dobyns 795ML swimbait rod (www.dobynsrods.com) designed by Legendary Trophy Hunter Mike Long. The 795ML is probably the most versatile and probably the best balanced (very important) swimbait rod that I know of. The reason I say balance is important for throwing swimbaits is because a balanced rod simply makes throwing these heavy swimbaits more comfortable to throw for long periods of time. When I first got started throwing swimbaits I actually had shoulder problems from using another very well known brand swimbait rod and when I switched over to a balanced set up it was like nite and day and my shoulder pain went away almost immediately. There are quite a few reel choices out there with the top of the line choice being the Calcutta 300TE or 400TE. But a great happy medium would be a Curado 300 if money is an issue.
For the 7 and 8 inch Bull Shad I would reccomend at the MINIMUM 25lb line. I personally use and reccomend 25lb Triple Fish Camo or Camo Escent (www.triplefishlines.com) brand line. There are alot of trophy hunters out there like myself that rely on this line. It's stout with minimal memory, stealthy due to it's camo color and has incredible strenght.
5 and 6 inch baits
The 5 and 6 inch baits are by far my best sellers especially the 6 incher, since the 5 incher is fairly new to the market. Not everybody has the confidence to throw the 7 and 8 inch baits so most anglers that are new to swimbaits start off with smaller sized baits as they are more tournament friendly for numbers. I personally started off with 6 inch sized baits before I moved onto the bigger sized swimbaits. These baits are more so for quantity vs quality. Thats not to say that you can't catch a trophy on these sized baits because many anglers including myself have caught quite a few big quality fish on these sized baits. These baits due to their smaller size are geared towards more quauntities of fish. The 5 and 6 inch baits are the baits that I have my clients throw that are wanting to learn how to fish swimbaits before I move them up to the bigger 7 and 8 inch sized baits once they get their confidence in fishing swimbaits by catching a few fish.
The 5 incher really shines on schooling fish whether it be bass, or smaller hybrids or white bass. The 6 incher you can work at semi slow to fast retrieves . The 5 incher is strictly a slow to medium retrieve bait. You can throw both of these baits on your favorite normal bass rods and reels. For the 5 incher you can rig it on any spinnerbait/senko type rod (Medium Heavy action) and use 15 to 20lb test Triple Fish camo line and the four power Dobyns 734 Champion Extreme rod is the perfect rod for this bait. The 6 incher you can easily throw it on your favorite flipping stick and I would reccomend using 20lb test Triple Fish Camo line. Do keep in mind that you can throw the baits on lighter line but, it's the constant torquing of the knot throwing these 2 to 4oz baits causes your line to weaken. That is why I reccomend using a big heavier line than what you can actually use and as an added benefit is it helps prevents you from losing your lure so always be checking your knots especially if you use less than what I am reccomending here.
-When throwing swimbaits around cover/structure always try and make the longest and most accurate cast you can possibly make. By making longer casts it can reduce the amount of followers you might get by reducing the chances that the fish will eventually see the boat and spook
-Always have a net ready and armed. If you look in the picture above that is how I keep my net at all times. Trophy Fish are notorious for getting off at the boat so put the odds in your favorite by having that net ready with the handle facing towards you. It also wouldn't hurt to get one of those big hooped Promar nets if your really into gung ho trophy fishing
-Also if you are getting alot of followers try changing the depth of your lure by letting it sink a little deeper. The moral of the story is if you can see the fish the fish can see you so if you allow your bait to sink a little deeper vs having it at the surface you can turn a few of those followers into livewell fish
-I know this sounds redundant but always try to cast well past the structure/cover that you are fishing. The very first cast to a piece of cover/structure is the MOST crucial cast that you will make. Don't plop your bait down right on the cover/structure where the fish is holding. Make the presentation/entrance as natural as possible.
-If you are fishing around alot of schooling fish throw the big 8 inch swimbait. The bigger bait will help weane off alot of the smaller fish due to it's size and give the biggest fish in the school a wack at your bait. Throwing big baits at schooling fish is one of the best ways to catch a trophy fish if they are present and it will usually happen on the 1st cast. Then after a few more casts seine it with the 5 inch bait. I always have a 5 or 6 incher and a 8 incher tied on for that 1 to punch for schooling fish
-If the tail fibers of your Bull Shad get warped or "bed head" all you have to do is put a cup of water in a microwave and heat the water to a boil. Then dip your fiber tail into the water for 2 seconds and the tail will reset itself just like brand new. The tail of this bait will not pull out as it is molded inside of the bait. It is virtually indestructible and not only does it add realism to the bait, but it folds to allow a rear striking fish to swallow more of your bait hence increasing the chances of hooking the fish.