Fast and furious gear

Quick on the handle — yeah, that’s the basic premise of burning baits. But the proper tools greatly facilitate this tactic.

Consider these points when gearing up for a fast-paced retrieve:

• Bassmaster Elite Series pro Matt Lee said he’s big on burning Strike King 6XD crankbaits when he needs to shake up a period of lethargy.

For this to work, he said, tackle selection plays a key role.

“I burn my deep crankbaits when the water is stagnant and I can’t get a bite (otherwise),” Lee said. “A lot of people throw them on a 5.3:1 reel, but I’ll go with a 6.6:1 Quantum Smoke reel with a 7-foot-10 Quantum KVD medium cranking rod so I can wind it back faster.”

• Elite pro Mark Menendez upsizes to 20-pound fluorocarbon for burning a topwater bait, as the added lift helps keep the bait’s nose higher.

• Minimizing water drag speeds up your burning efforts. Whereas some might like to bulk up their buzz bait profile with a sizable trailer like a Zoom Horny Toad for general appeal, it’s usually best to go with a simple twin tail or some other low-drag plastic.

• For burning spinnerbaits, Mark Menendez likes a 7-foot, 3-inch Lew’s football jig rod — a model with a moderate parabolic action that helps prevent missed bites.

Because fish often slap at burning baits, a rod with a little give allows time for hook penetration.

• Menendez always adds a 2/0 trailer hook to his spinnerbait. Bites are usually fast and often poorly aimed, so a trailer snares more of those close-enoughs.

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About David A. Brown 323 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications

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