By Shane Beilue
It’s well established that big bass often focus on bulkier profile meals, such as crawfish or bream throughout the year and this is especially true in the spring when bass are either feeding heavily in the shallows prior to the spawn or protecting young fry while still on the nest.
New for 2018 is the GYCB Cowboy, combining features of two classic designs: the bulky body of the 4.5” Flappin’ Hawg and the swimming tail kick of the iconic DT Grub. A quick inspection of the bait leads one to immediately see applications as a jig trailer or a stand-alone Texas rig flipped into heavy cover. Certainly, this bait will shine rigged alone on a football jig head for deeper, open water applications, as well.
Another way I plan to utilize the Cowboy is a favorite technique for me in the spring, which is a Carolina rig dragged across shallow points and flats in the backs of major creek arms. These are key areas on most any reservoir that act as highways in the spring where bass congregate in pre-spawn feeding frenzies and ultimately spawn on these shallow, flat points as the spring progresses. Additionally, post-spawn bass will often remain shallow and continue to feed on bream beds in these same shallow flats; therefore, there is a lot of bass activity on this type of structure even through the first few weeks of summer. I’m looking to find open water areas with sandy bottoms where I can drag the rig between scattered visible bushes, dragging the bait rather quickly while keeping the sinker on bottom to stir up the sediment.
Key depths for these areas are typically 2-10’ of water, which can vary based upon water clarity. The setup is a ½ to ¾ oz egg sinker, a swivel, followed by 18” to 36” of fluorocarbon leader and a light wire hook such as the Owner Rig N’ Hook or Yamamoto Sugoi Hook in 4/0 size. Here’s where the GYCB Cowboy will come into play, as these bass are likely feeding on bream and crawfish and the bulky body combined with the double tail kicking action is no doubt the prefect imitator of either forage species.
A similar technique utilizing the new Cowboy, which will work in the exact same areas described above, is the swivel head jig. These have gained popularity in the last few years because they allow the bait and hook to pivot freely behind the jig head as it’s pulled across the bottom. Often, the swivel head jig is simply reeled at a slow pace across the bottom, allowing the soft plastic the freedom to swing in a natural, fish attracting action while the jig head stirs up the bottom. The swivel head jig is weedless, which allows you to fish it effectively around wood, rock or grass.
Key colors when employing either technique is some shade of green pumpkin or watermelon. If you examine the color lineup of the GYCB Cowboy, these are the predominant hues offered in the lineup, depending upon what type accent you prefer regarding sparkle or flakes. Another color to have in the boat at all times is Bruised Shin (just sounds painful), which is a classic black with large blue metal flake. Regardless of color, I’ve been a fan of dipping the last half of the double tails in chartreuse dipping dye for just a little added flair and attractant to the kicking action.
No matter which method you employ for spring bass, the Cowboy is sure to be a key component to a successful fishing day.