Whether they’re hot on the heels of fleeing baitfish or wise to your presence in clear water, fall bass can be hard to reach. That’s why long casts are golden in the fourth quarter.
For un-weighted rigs like flukes or stick worms, use a heavy wire hook — and maybe a size larger — as long as it doesn’t impede the bait’s action. With hard baits, bumping up a hook size can get you a little more distance, but nothing benefits your casting game like strategically-selected tackle.
Bassmaster Elite pro Mike Iaconelli worked with Abu-Garcia to develop the Ike Series of spinning rods, of which, the 7-foot, 6-inch medium model was designed for reaching fall fish that don’t want him too close. Calling this rod a “70-30,” Iaconelli said he appreciates the dynamics of a long rod with just enough flex, which enables him to launch a fluke, a stick bait, a nail-weighted wacky (Neko rig) or a small swimbait with only an offset hook a long distance.
For maximum benefit, Iaconelli complements this rod’s design with a strategic reel selection. His choice may look like overkill, but the seasoned pro knows the ends justify the means.
“I use a spinning reel that’s one or two sizes bigger (than normal),” he said. “With that 7-6 long-cast rod, I use an Abu Garcia size 40 reel. A lot of anglers consider that a light saltwater reel, but I use it because I want to hold more line than a standard-size reel.”
Iaconelli said braid is essential to much of his spinning rod tactics. The thin diameter drags less wind, and hitting the spool with a couple shots of Reel Snot lubricant maximizes the benefit.
“For a lot of these techniques, I’m using braid, either tied directly to my hook or braid to a fluorocarbon leader,” he said. “In 10- to 15-pound test, that braid is going to let me get some extra casting distance.”