Gearing Up For Ditch Bass

by Bob Feld

Take your choice. Use ultra light spinning or spin casting gear and six pound test, fly rods with weight forward lines, cane poles which let fishermen reach water over brambles and, especially for heavily overgrown ditches, casting tackle and 12 pound test.

Just about anything works. Hula Poppers, Johnson Silver Minnows, Pig 'n Jig, Fat Gitzits, fly rod poppers and streamers or whatever. Motor oil and purple plastic baits and pork rinds work best; black, frog and clear finishes suit plugs and flyrod poppers. Gold spoons and spinners take bass too. BAITS: small live minnows take bass and crappie. Shedder crayfish hook bass. Worms or crickets produce bluegills and sunfish. Bobbers improve results in most cases.

The key to success is as simple as fishing spots the shore-bound can't cover. Prime spots include drain holes below pumps and anywhere two ditches join. Bare bank ditches get the most pressure but ease shore access. Most ditches are too deep to wade. Anything that floats helps you get to the best fishing. Belly boats, folding PortaBotes, canoes and john boats which you can drag across roads where ditches submerge in culverts work well. Two or more fishermen can use shuttle systems to fish more water.

Everything works when you fish spots which might only see two or three fishermen a year. Topwater poppers take pound to three pound bass and some panfish when the light isn't on the water. Pig n' Jigs haul out bigger bass. Fat Gitzits pitched at rocks or stumps draw strikes from panfish and bass on the drop. Texas-style four inch long purple or motor oil worms work in weeds. Minnows under bobbers along the break of weed beds take bass too.

KEY: if you don't get action in 30 minutes, move to another ditch.