Randy Despino, 58, of Colfax, a 30-year bass pro who spent the past two years on the FLW Pro Tour after 12 years on the Costa FLW Series, will rely on his favorite soft-plastic bait this month, whether he’s fishing shallow or “offshore,” particularly at Toledo Bend.
Despino will have a V&M Flat Wild tied on, whether he’s fishing shallow or deep. He relies on the Flat Wild.
“It’s probably my go-to bait,” he said.
The V&M Flat Wild was designed by Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss, the 2013 Bassmaster Classic winner, whose intent was to get a better hookup and catch ratio on a smaller creature bait.
Mission accomplished, according to Despino.
“It’s kind of like a Beaver,” Despino said. “He designed it so it’s not a thick bait, but a wide bait. You just don’t lose many fish with it. You get a good hookset because of its design,” he said.
Despino said the 4-inch V&M Flat Wild has a half-ribbed, half-stair-stepped body with appendages that are resilient and flexible to allow full hook penetration on the hookset. He either crawls it along or hops it, depending on how the bass want it.
He uses a 4/0 Kamakatsu straight shank hook.
“The hook’s very critical. I try to get by with as small a hook as I can,” he said.
Despino’s setup includes 20-pound Seaguar Yellow Label fluorocarbon and a Lews Super Duty 300 Speed Spool on a 7-foot-4 Dobyns EH Casting Rod.
Despino will Texas-rig the V&M Flat Wild if he’s fishing in 3 to 5 feet of water around outside cover: stumps, bushes or any other kind of cover.
“A lot of big fish have spawned out by then, and they’re just setting up where the bait’s at,” he said.
Many other bass will be caught far from the bank on the soft plastic.
“I’m going to say April is a big month for offshore. The big females start spawning (in mid-February) and move out,” he said.
Despino’s favorite colors are South African black or watermelon/red both deep and shallow. It’s a can’t miss soft plastic that rivals and often outpaces V&M’s Wild Thing, he said, appreciatively.