These lures are as irresistible to bass as fast-food fries are to humans–you’d better get yourself a large order!
A new breed of soft-plastic lure seems to be as irresistible to bass as McDonald’s fries are to people. In fact, these morsels have been dubbed “French fries” because most brands now available resemble crinkle-style fries that you see in the frozen-food section of your grocery store.
Measuring from 3 to 5 inches long each, soft-plastic French fries look like nothing a bass normally eats, and their straight, stocky bodies suggest that they impart little action. But when matched with a Carolina rig, bass go crazy for them.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT FRIES?
Trailing a 3/4- to 1-ounce egg sinker, a swivel, and a 3-foot leader, a French fry will spurt ahead with darting, minnowlike movements as the heavy sinker plows, scratches, and bounces along the bottom.
Once a bass responds to the sinker’s commotion and spots the lively fry’s small profile, the fish can no more resist snatching a plastic fry than you can resist snatching a real one from a friend’s lunch.
French fries are especially effective in clear waters that are heavily fished. When the sun gets high and bass ignore traditional lures, French fries evoke steady bites. Don’t let their small size fool you; these baits catch heavyweights as well as big numbers of average bass.
With that in mind, proper tackle is anything but light. A 6 1/2-foot medium-to-heavy baitcasting outfit matched with 17-pound-test monofilament is the lightest you should use. Also worthy are the new superlines that afford greater strength, sensitivity, and hook-setting power–all important advantages when fishing a Carolina rig.
Whatever type of line you wind on the reel, a lighter 10- to 15-pound monofilament leader ensures that only the worm breaks off in the event of a snag. Hangups rarely occur, how ever, thanks to a 2/0 or 3/0 worm hook embedded Texas-style in the belly of the French fry.
The Carolina-rigged French fry has stirred up much enthusiasm as a best fish finder. Try casting this combination over a large underwater structure–such as a point or hump–and combing the area. Hold the rod low, sweep the bait sideways, and keep it moving.
The heavy sinker maintains bottom contact, even when retrieved briskly, at depths ranging from 2 feet to more than 20 feet. The rig climbs over most rocks, stumps, and other obstacles without a hitch. When the French fry dances through a concentration of bass, the rod invariably transmits a satisfying heft that tells you it is time to set the hook.
GIVING BASS THE MUNCHIES
A Carolina-rigged French fry draws strikes in all but the coldest water. Before bass move shallow in the spring, retrieve it over secondary points in creek arms and coves. When the bass move up, switch to shallow flats.
Concentrate on deeper, main lake structures in the summer and fan cast long sloping points, road beds, creek channel drop-offs, and the outside edges of submerged vegetation. When fishing weeds, you may fare better with a longer leader, say 5 to 7 feet.
Main lake structures continue to hold bass in the fall, but some fish also move up at this time. Shallow flats that drop into creek channels can be especially good when fishing impoundments.
Many other lures fare well in the same places at these times. But when bass need a good reason to bite, don’t forget the fries.