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Back into Action
Posted by mmagnone, 11/5/2018 01:36:07 PM
What's happening guys,

Been a long while since i've attacked the blog page. Been super busy with shop related stuff, but now we're back. Going to be posting as much as possible with Lake Reports, Tackle Tips, as well as all around good content.

Feel free to reach out to me on either Instagram, Facebook or in store to throw out some suggestions on product review or even something as simple as how to tie a specific knot. There's no such thing as a dumb question!
Facebook: Matt Magnone
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Last Chance Bait and Tackle: (951) 658-7410

Appreciate it guys!
Category: Fishing Blog
US Open Reflections and Preparation
Posted by mmagnone, 9/24/2017 11:52:32 AM


"Go New, Stay Focused and Fish Confident From the Backseat!" 

 Self critiquing is a way I’ve always prepared myself in trying to break down my weaknesses and how I can better myself on the water.  In the 2016 WON Bass US Open, I felt I was confident enough to compete, but  realized that there were a few aspects in my approach that I wasn’t on top of. I needed the eye opening, humbling experience in order to grow as an angler. 
Spending years Bass Fishing in the  traditional sense, I hit a moment as Bill Siemantel calls Going Psycho, where all I wanted were fish over the 10 pound mark and all on the swim bait. I dove head over heels into that mindset and pushed aside my past and started attacking the lakes differently. While the baits had changed,  the techniques had still remained the same. It got to the point I avoided lures or rigs in my arsenal when in hindsight those were the most valuable in my boat at that given time. Needless to say I abandoned my roots which culminated my style as an angler thus far. Fast forward to the 2016 WON Bass US Open. 
I had been hard charged on attacking the lake with speed. When I look back, that was probably the dumbest thing I could have prepared for. I had it in my head, as a Lake Mead newbie, that all my Pro’s were going to jam down the bank, force feeding fish reaction baits as I was told Mead is like fishing on the moon going so far in between bites. From the knowledge been given from  many US Open veterans, this is a viable option, but what I had ignored was the ability to be versatile and slow down. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been in control of the trolling motor so coming into a situation where I wasn’t the one making on the fly decisions I had to sit through another anglers mental game and found myself having to slow down and fish at a speed I wasn’t prepared for. Make no mistake, I don’t want anyone to assume I was unhappy with my draws as my 3 Pro’s absolutely busted their butts and were EXTREMELY hospitable, but it was me who was a  little rusty in adaptation. 
The US Open is a 3 day shared weight format where a AAA has the ability to ride with 3 different Pro’s on 3 separate days. One day an angler might be up in Gregg Basin while the other days he may be down in Vegas Wash or the Overton Arm. It’s IMPERATIVE that a AAA angler can feel the water and adjust as the day presents itself. As a “boater” practicing for this event, I fell into being too conditioned into what practice had proved.
In official practice, I narrowed my bait selection down to a Jig on Main and Secondary Points, Topwater in cuts and Cranks on 45 degree banks. This pattern showed me quality, quantity and isolated bigger fish from limit fish. I had found specific sections of the lake which showed promise as to locations I would have thought others were clued in on. While this was all cool and dandy, driving away from areas of the lake in which I assumed others had isolated had me a little head tripped. 
Lesson #1
“Go New” Treat every day like it’s your first day-
Having never been to the lake before, I had not the clue as to what each end of the lake offered. I primarily stayed down in the Lower Basin and the Narrows without the chance to explore the Overton or Temple. Needless to say I was a little un-prepared when we shot straight to Echo. Here lies the lesson in this instance. Last year I learned on Lake Mead, although you may have a plan, color, spot or technique, It’s imperative that you must always “Go New”. I’m not saying abandon what pre fish had shown you, but be able to adapt easily to changing conditions and give yourself the mental focus to realize when to pick up a bite or drop one. Simple, and how I base every fishing trip, but the glam behind this tournament had me thinking sideways although I kept a cool head. As a AAA, all I had to go off of was what the fish “told” me  in Pre Fish. I attacked key zones but realized that my speed was off from my Pro. I was fishing at a speed in which I knew the fish wanted, but he was fishing at his own pace in which he knew the fish wanted. Reflecting on this, knowing the fish wanted the top water in the morning in the cuts, while my pro worked his jig at a slower speed, I could have thrown a one two punch at the Bass from my end. Walk the surface with my topwater and  then follow up with a slowed down approach of a hair jig, soft plastic jerk bait or even a darter head. I found myself burning water and made the mistake of trying to force feed fish in a zone that didn’t want to eat. Looking back, I should have read the conditions and individual spot and adapted better to suit the situation. They were there in confidence, I just had to “Go New”

Lesson #2
Stay Focused-
With Lake Mead having a good population of Bass, although spread out, I learned that it’s crucial to keep a bait in the water at all times and fish cast to cast. Although I felt, I did well in this aspect, I feel that talking with other anglers preparing for the backseat, most tell me all their grand ideas as to how they’re going to be throwing Alabama Rigs, Jigs, Swim baits, Spy Baits, Cranks etc. etc. That’s all cool, but I feel as a back seater, it’s in your best interest to focus and fish methodically. Treat every cast like it’s your last and imagine every cast being the one you’ll get bit on. It’s extremely easy to get complacent and then caught with your pants down. Being ready to wind tight to a bass at a moments notice is really important. With the Bass either being so spread out or vise versa in a giant wolf pack, being on top of your day can be the difference between putting 1-5 in the boat or missing your opportunities. Narrow your bait selection down and spend more time fishing, than re-tying or re-rigging. While I’m new to this fishery, I understand that a lot can happen in a moments notice. Staying focused and in-tune will only help you. 
Lesson #3
Fish your confidence-
In preparing for the 2016 US Open having never settled eyes on Lake Mead, I was a sponge to past knowledge. Being trained to filter information and not listen too much to dock talk, I was given a lot of clues as to how to prepare for this event. 3 baits that stood out from the pack were the Jig, Drop Shot and Topwater. 
In actuality, what else do you really need? 
Top, Middle and Bottom right?
Well here’s where fishing from the front for so many years brought a whirlwind through my head. The type of angler I am, I over analyze EVERYTHING when it comes to fishing. In my head, there’s always a reason for a situation or a method to the madness. I always envision what the fish are doing and how they set up to feed or stage. When I settled into my 3 styles of baits, I started broadening my scope for the “What ifs“. 
In terms of the Jig, I started thinking about size, head shape, color. Trailers, which soon led to, Shakey Heads, Texas Rigs, Hula Grubs etc etc etc. When it came time to think about the Dropshot, I started thinking about line size and line type 
“If they’re eating baits up off the bottom, what about? Darter Heads, Underspins and Small Swimbaits?”
This is where fishing your confidence comes into play. You simply don’t have the ability to run though everything you “think” will work. Spending quality time with baits and techniques that are high percentage is critical to success. I’m not going to say abandon your gut feelings, as they are the most powerful sometimes, but having a high percentage bait in the water, at all times, is the more viable option. When in doubt, pull out your “Ol Faithful” Sometimes the best bait you should be throwing is the bait that you have the best confidence in.
Throughout the tournament I had my Ups and I had my Downs. There were times, in reflection, where I question what the hell I was thinking and how I could have done a lot better; Simple as that. 
Fishing the US Open, allowed from Last Chance Bait and Tackle and Last Chance Performance Marine, was nothing short of a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to compete in a Pro Am event, but money has always stopped me. This past year I was blessed with a staff position and the privilege to run a 2016 and 2017 Skeeter FX20LE. Literally a dream come true! This year with the hopes of a little luck and determination, I hope to be able to fish this one from the pointy end. 
In reflection, of all the lessons learned from the 2016  Won Bass US Open, the most important were to “Go New”, “Stay Focused” and “Fish Your Confidence“.
Category: Fishing Blog
Identification on the Water
Posted by mmagnone, 1/2/2017 04:12:19 PM
 There's a lot to be said about time on the water but more to be said about the time "off the water". A lot of guys come into the shop with the same question regarding Diamond Valley and my personal pursuit of giant bass. What I'm about to show and tell you, many will throw their hands up in disbelief why I'm showing you all my methods but it's just that. My methods. I aim to grow the sport so I'm going to elevate the bar. Some may currently use this method while others may not.

I get this a lot:

"I always see your pictures on the internet. Where are you fishing and what are you using?"

A loaded question indeed but there's more to it than the right bait or the right "1" spot. In fact to baffle the majority, the right spot is the spot where all the right variables come into play on that individual day, at that individual time, with that individual bait. Every bait in the arsenal is a tool and in your toolbox you need to have an open mind through changing conditions. Capitalizing on opportunity is the key to catching larger fish and more of them on average. It all starts with me sitting at my computer. Contrary to what many people chalk up to as me being on the water all the time, I spend countless hours mapping out location based upon current water level and time of year. Rather than party with friends or have a social life like others, I'm more of a hermit. Sounds pretty lame I know, but bass fishing means everything to me and I put forth an immense amount of hard work to excel and maximize my time on the water. Like many of you folks, Google Earth, has been a key part of my strategy in finding high percentage areas. With the "Historical Imagery" I'm able to look at water level in years past to give me clues to where my high percentage options are.

Having this option at my disposal is key in locating potential fish holding areas. The footwork is just as important as the fishing. With this knowledge I'm able to decipher location based upon seasonal migration routes whether it be fish following forage or just fish migrating from area to area. I follow the hard learned lessons about fish positioning and use them to my advantage on each individual area. This is something every angler will have to earn for themselves so I'm not going into detail. Trust me I wouldnt be doing anybody any favors my telling you how to set up. It's a self taught lesson every angler will have to learn for themselves.

Once I have the structure identified (bottom of the lake) I'll watch my weather patterns and use my knowledge of past circumstance to identify areas that boost a potential spot. Wind, sun angle and wind chop are just a few variables I look at when deciphering a spot. I look for irregularities. With the Sun agle time lapse feature I'm able to set myself up on a general "milk run" around the lake based on sun angle, wind direction and wind chop. When I find interception points on a specific piece of cover on a specific piece of structure I've found an area that has potential. Keep in mind just because it looks right and sets up right doesn't mean that it is right. It should just be considered a high percentage location. You as anglers will have to make your rotation through it all times of the day and several days a week if not months to find the correct time stamp. By time stamp I'm referring to the individual time per given day to hit that spot under the most optimal conditions for that spot.

Now comes the hard work. I've mapped the lake out taking Photoshop along with satellite imagery to create a high detailed visual topographic map showing me cover and structure as they intercept with a give contour line. This took me quite a while to figure out and make but the information obtained is extremely valuable. Again, If you want to excel and boost your game, you as anglers will have to go the extra mile and educate yourselves. I promise you once you do, you'll reap the rewards. Knowledge is power!

Once I'm mapped out and know what I have to work with I'll begin the long journey of fishin the hundreds of avenues around the lake learning my angles, my time limits, and ways of approach. It all matters. Some of the most prime location straight down to the textbook could be right but for some unearthly reason; they're not. You'll be beating your head for months on end before you realize that 20 yards down the bank, while hidden on Google Earth, actually has a better set up than the most obvious. Once you have a basic understanding of your areas and begin to map the highest percentage areas and have gone through the footwork of your variable options I use the thumbnail option to set up "push pins" where I've caught fish over 10#'s.

So in conclusion, I may be that guy in the tin boat brushing his teeth in the line, monster cans overflowing from the bed of my truck and seemingly unorganized in my pursuit on the water, but I've spent countless time, energy and money on the journey for these large fish. If catching above average size fish is what you're after, putting the work in right now for years to come will un-undoubtedly be in your benefit. Above all, don't be afraid to share information. I can guarantee you with 100% certainty that it will not affect your bite unless your bite is everyone elses bite . If any of you would like tips how to get yourself organized cruise into Last Chance Bait and Tackle and I can spend a couple minutes with you discussing how to set all this up. I'd love to help others get on some of these fish. If we're busy at the time we can arrange a time to talk.
Category: Fishing Blog
Post Spawn Mentality With a Twist...
Posted by mmagnone, 7/15/2016 03:55:08 PM

   As the mantra goes "10% of the anglers catch 90% of the fish". As a dedicated angler, I refuse to allow seasonal patterns halt my pursuit for more and larger fish. Bass are creatures of habit so I'm going to do everything in my power to learn their habits and in turn their mistakes. While many anglers often refer to bad days from April through June as "The Post Spawn Blues", I refuse to allow the fish to beat me. I fish at 110%. To better understand the Post Spawn, anglers need to think backwards and look into the Pre Spawn. as fish begin to make their move away from their deep water winter haunts , the use of key structural features such as points, ridges, creek channels or otherwise any key structural feature leading from deeper water to shallower water become a highway for fish as they move up the bank to spawn. Knowing that the largest fish in the lake generally make their move ahead of the rest, it's wise for anglers to refer back as Bass will move away from the bank using the same stopping points along the way in the Post Spawn. Again, the bulk of the larger fish are the first to move up to spawn, so in a nutshell, they'll be the first to begin their path back out to deeper water.

    In the Post spawn, Bass will often retreat and suspend over vertical structure spots and because of this, are often missed by the angler running the bank looking for actively feeding fish. By vertical structure, I'm referring to trees, docks, dock cables and buoys. As described in previous articles, I've gone into great deal about how Bass behave in a manner that transcends back to our everyday lives. Being able to sit back and use our daily activities to understand and predict fish behavior, is the essence between sometimes following a bite or making one. Those that have jobs can attest that whether we'd like to or not, we're forced to work weeks, days or months without a day off in between. While this can be absolutely jarring to our mood, both physically and mentally, it's a necessity not a option. If you want your job, you're going to make darn well sure that you're going to show up every day for work. The same can be said about parenthood. Some of us have led a life in solitary, yet, some have sought out love and companionship. As a parent, your job is to raise your children through childhood until they're old enough to be released out into the world to pursue life. While this is a feat in itself; it’s necessity not an option.

    Once the daunting task of egg incubation is over, and eggs lead way to fry, the female bass will often abandon the area and move back out into deeper water in recovery while the male guards their fry along shallower shoreline cover. At this point, the male will do everything in his power to protect his young often being extremely territorial. After a shore while, the light switch flips and the male releases his grip on parenthood turning cannibalistic feeding on the very young he protected. This process makes it extremely easy to get caught up in chasing numbers down the bank. Through the enduring process of the Spawn, both male and female are put through the ringer mentally, physically and without a doubt emotionally. It's funny to think of Bass having feelings, but is it that far off when everything else in their cycle can be related to our own lives? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "tree hugger" but I make it a goal to understand deeply the quarry I'm targeting even if it's getting into their head emotionally.

    By staying on top of the class of Bass and understanding the fish that you're targeting, its extremely easy to put yourself in a better position to eliminate dead water from living. Thinking like a fish allows you to hone in on the movements and actions with better clarity. Not all big fish begin their move early and move off late, however in my experience the earliest fish are generally the largest. One key ingredient I always pay attention to is my deep water access and how it relates to the area fish move to and from. As
we all know, the key requirements for Bass are Food and Security. Everything else in their cycle revolves around those two necessities. If both align with the spot within the spot, your odds stack significantly in your favor.

    To better break down each part of the water column I break things down systematically. My Top, Middle and Bottom picks for the Post Spawn are the Frog, Spinner bait and the Soft Plastic Stick Bait commonly called the "Senko.

Frog Bass


    Frogs in the Post Spawn? No way.  The frog is an excellent tool for targeting fish that have pushed off the bank and relocated on vertical structure such as trees, docks, buoys etc. As Bass retreat to open water in recuperation, many anglers power down the shoreline looking for these active feeders when some of the largest fish have been spooked before the trolling motor even approached their ambush point. If you're goal is a nice limit of 2-4 pound fish, powering down the bank throwing to fry guarders is a viable option, but what happens when you a small limit and are looking to upgrade?

    Are you going to keep catching the same size fish you already beat or are you going to start looking for larger models?

    As stated above, the daunting task of spawning has taken a lot out of these fish. Days of not eating and spending every waking moment protecting their young has turned these fish frail which in turn has the fish acting generally in a neutral to negative feeding mode. Without a doubt, the Bass will still have to eat, but, they're going to be in a much more selective state than at other times throughout the year. By staying away from your spot, knowing exactly how it sets up, allows you to use Mother Nature as a way to slide up stealthily stacking the odds into your favor. With a hollow body frog, I can not only fish it in slop, which many of you are much more familiar with, but by fishing offshore the frog isn't necessarily replicating a frog in my opinion, but yet a helpless creature, whether it be a bird, baitfish, or even a rodent in distress. Being that you're able to work the bait slow and methodical generally in one place, an angler can allow the frog to hang in the strike zone a lot longer than other "fall" baits.

    Contrary to typical frog fishing utilizing heavy rods, heavy line and high gear ratio reels, when I'm dealing with open water frogging I'm going to opt for a much lighter set up. Being that the requirement to pull fish out of heavy cover simply isn't there, I soften up on my rod and prefer a Megabass Orochi XX F5-75XX which is named the "Extreme Mission Type F". The "Extreme Mission Type F" comes in at a line rating of 10-25 and a lure rating of 3/8-1oz. By the specs it looks as if it's a power house, but in reality, this particular rod is limber at the tip but has the backbone to seriously handle big fish. This action puts the rod into a Medium Heavy category. Being that it has a softer tip, I'm able to load a cast, a lot better than with a stouter rod, enabling me to bomb casts at great distance creating a stealthier entry into my productive zones. I pair the reel up to an Abu Garcia Revo Rocket. The Revo Rocket comes in at an extremely high gear ratio at 9:1 and has a drag like no other. If I get swallowed at the end of a long cast, I have the assurance I'll be able to grind into my bite. With open water, I find I'm able to get away with a lot lighter line than if I were fishing up tight to heavy cover. I find that with 40# braid I can not only cast and manage my line with ease, but still have the power to get the fish back to the boat.

    Due to the fact I'm fishing open water suspenders; in my mind I'm creating the illusion of realism in a distressed bait fish. At the end of a long cast, as I work my frog approaching my target, I'm going to give the fish plenty of time to know it's there. I'm either going to pop it, walk the dog or even simply "V wake" into my spot. Assuming I created a soft entry both by boat and cast, the fish should feel as if nothing were to be wrong or intrusive. As stated about the soft tip on the rod, I'm able to walk the dog with the frog without pulling the bait from the strike zone. Periodically in between walking, I'll let the frog pause for several seconds. Being less intrusive, as compared to crank bait, spinner bait or any high speed baits, the subtle actions of a frog can give these wary fish a meal without having to expend more energy than needed and has produced some great quality catches for both myself and the clients I've taken out. As always focus on the forage and create the best illusion of realism that you can. If they're eating bluegill, tailor your frogs belly to hues of gray, green or brown. If they're on shad, match the belly to white, gray or clear. Match the hatch and you'll most definitely find success.

Spinnerbait Bass

Spinner bait

While the Frog can be a viable option in targeting un suspecting offshore Bass, I rely heavily on a Spinner bait to cover water. You're probably thinking to yourselves,

"You just said that Post Spawn Bass are spookier this time of year and that a spinner bait can be intrusive to the spot"

    While the Spinner bait is definitely a selective bait for me, I find that when covering water down the bank, it's my top choice as I can fish multiple parts of the water column from the surface on down to whatever depth deems necessary. It allows me to fish both on the bank, through fry guarding bass, isolated cover as well as potentially sinking the bait out to deeper water fishing the Bass that have already made their move into their Summertime patterns. With the versatility of the Spinner bait, It's no doubt this is my top choice this time of year for my Middle part of the water column.

    When targeting fish with the spinner bait, like I said before, I pay heavy attention to areas that offer deep water access. I know that larger fish rely on two key things; Food and Security. By putting myself in a position to find good cover, variables such as wind, shadow lines or cover lines along with close proximity to deeper water I stack the odds in my favor for the potential of targeting fish in the upper size. Now by me saying "Larger Bass" in this article, I'm not necessarily talking about fish in the 10 pound range. I'm talking the 4-8 pound fish that provide a good kicker to an otherwise small limit of Bass.

    When throwing the spinner bait, knowing that I'm generally in and around heavy cover, I'm going to want a rod that has the capability of pulling fish out of the brush, grass or around rock. I'm going to opt for a 7'6”,  5 power type rod which correlates to a Medium Heavy / Heavy action. What I do different though is I run a graphite/glass composite. The composite rod allows me to load a cast effortlessly, pin point accuracy in casting, in addition to adding additional "give" to my braid to leader connection. I feel that Braid offers me better cast ability and offers me high abrasion resistance as I'm  manipulating my spinner bait in and around heavy cover. I like 40# braid as it’s much more manageable on the cast as opposed to 50, 65 or even 80#. Better cast ability insures a much more enjoyable day on the water without fighting your equipments. As far as leader goes I run a 6' Spliced connection of 16# Megabass Dragon Call Fluorocarbon. Megabass Dragon Call is a tough fluorocarbon that has yet to let me down. I want my system solid and as fool proof as possible so this is my leader of choice.

    Being that I'm more than likely targeting the shallower upper half of the water column, I prefer to stay in the realm of 1/2oz as I'm able to not only burn the baits across the surface in and around balls of fry but am able to retrieve the bait back at lower depths if necessary. Two baits you wont catch me without are the Megabass V-9 and the Megabass V Flat Power Bomb spinner baits.

    The Megabass V-9 is a much more realistic "blade" in the fact that it's constructed with a hybrid blade design similar to that of an Indiana Blade but still has the characteristics of a Willow. With this hybrid blade I not only increase vibration but still have the ability to burn the bait quick through the water column. I find that the V-9 has been the best double duty blade for me in open water situations.

    The Megabass V Flat Power Bomb is a unique bait as the actual jig head, when coming into contact with cover, causes the bait to roll to either one side or the other when coming into contact with cover whether it be through trees or rolled across the bottom. The Power Bomb has the ability to create direction changes other than speeding up, slowing down or spiraling to the bottom like the majority of the baits on the market today. I find that when dealing with cover situations this is my first choice as I can roll it through cover allowing  it two take on its path. With and lure that has the ability to consistently change paths; I stack the odds in my favor much like throwing a swim bait. The power bomb also has the same blade configuration as the V-9 and like the  V-9 both come double bladed. Like anything in fishing, matching the hatch is key. I stock Baitfish, Bluegill and Baby Bass color variations and vary color depending on conditions and forage base.


    Assuming you’ve run the bank looking for active feeding fish and scrounged a few but haven't really upgraded your overall size of fish. Like I said before, larger bass stack up on vertical cover, and the most common zone untouched are spots away from everything else, off the beaten path. With Post Spawn Bass being stressed and in the recuperation stage, it's hard for them to resist a slow falling senko. Think in terms of an afternoon picnic. After pulling BBQ off the grill, and setting up the picnic table you expect to see flies buzzing around, but a few really arent’t going to ruin your day. All of the sudden one lands on the side of your plate. You shoe it off, perturbed, and go on your way to eat your hamburger. Another fly lands on the plate. Now you're getting uptight. Before you have time to wave your hand again, another fly lands on your drink cup. It’s only going to take a few times before it starts getting personal and you snap... The same can be said about the Senko and a Bass. Being that the bait falls super slow through the water column, without changing its path, I feel it's the "fly effect'. The longer the hang time, the more the fish will get aggravated.

    I'll pay attention to my shadow lines in accordance to my spot off the bank. Being that Bass have eyes on top of their heads and are always looking up, I know that Bass are going to position themselves in and around whatever shade line that may be conducive to holding them. Being that Bass are ambush predators and use the cloak of darkness to lay in ambush and feed, I'm going to use "the fly effect". I'm going to set up well ahead of my target, whether it be a buoy, floating restroom or even boat dock and attack the shady sides to every spot as quickly and methodically as possible.

    Keep in mind I may be sitting over 50' of water, but knowing that larger Bass are often open water suspenders, I think of my dock having it's own Top, Middle and Bottom part of the water column. The first 1-5' is my upper half, the 5-15' is my middle and the bottom being that 20-30'. Like I've mentioned in previous articles, Bass are going to tell you where they want to feed. By paying attention how the Bass are feeding, and at what zone they're feeding, I'm able to provide myself with a Milk Run and I'll sometimes be able to replicate this wild technique all around the lake, dock to dock or buoy to buoy. When I employ this technique I literally do nothing. I know that sounds funny, but after making my cast, I open the bail and send my bait free falling to the bottom carefully counting. When I hit my intended mark, I may shake the rod tip a couple times then wind in and repeat the process. The majority of the time, when winding up, to make another cast, you'll wind into a fish.

    Obviously I'm going to cause the least amount of disturbance as possible in approaching my spot, so I'm going to utilize a long rod with a high capacity reel. I prefer fishing spinning rods in the 7'9" category mainly the Dobyn's Extreme DX792SF. The 792 offers the length needed to cast a long distance, but where the rod really shines is in the tip section. Being that DX792SF is a 2 power,  enough whip in the tip allows me to send senko what seems like a mile. When paired with 4-6# fluorocarbon I have a rod that can put serious pressure on the fish. The limber tip allows extra cushion for the lighter line and the back bone still allows me to control larger fish if fortunate to connect to one. When paired up with a 2500 size reel of your choice, I prefer the Shimano Sustain 2500FG, you'll be unstoppable. The larger spool size of the 2500 aids in casting distance in itself. As line starts diminishing off your spool, more friction is being put on your line as it exits your reel. Having a high capacity reel for lighter lines allows me to maintain spool depth, insuring I can work with a full spool the majority of my individual casts. When it comes to picking color, I generally stay in the realm of Watermelon and Green Pumpkin. I keep things ridiculously simple. Dirty water I'll opt for A darker color and clearer water I'll opt for a lighter color. Between these two colors I'm able to cover a wide variety of situations to help me identify how, what and where the fish are feeding. After identification, I can further break down my color schemes to bait with flake. Generally I'm fishing this method wacky riged with a size #2 Decoy Shot Rig hook, but when needing extra distance I'll favore running a #1 Roboworm Rebarb Hook.

    While everything I type is purely my opinion, I highly recommend formulating your own ideas and tactics to target Bass in the Post Spawn. In any aspect of my fishing, I'm extremely technical in my manipulation on the water, yet I keep things extremely simple for myself. In trying to eliminate false patters and spots around the lake, I find it extremely easy for me to pick 3 productive baits that tailor to the Top, Middle and Bottom and run with them. Reducing the amount of gear on the deck of the boat allows you to be more efficient and fish with greater confidence. I urge all anglers to think outside the box and try not to follow other people but rather create your own bites. You never know, by thinking outside the box with a Frog, Spinnerbait or Senko, you may stumble on a bite that has no reflection on what many anglers call "The Post Spawn Blues".

Megabass Bass Fishing

Category: Fishing Blog
Pre Spawn Location
Posted by mmagnone, 2/22/2016 11:41:09 AM

In the tackle shop this time of year it sounds like a broken record:

"What's wrong with the weather?"

"Give it two more weeks and the fish will be up on the beds!"

"I'm taking up golf.... fishin sucks!"

Instead of playing the waiting game, take advantage of the prime feeding opportunity that's going on right now! On any given body of water in Southern California, there are 3 groups of Winter bass. Those that stay shallow, those that relate to deep structure and those that open water suspend and school. Nothing really more or less. As the air temperature begins to rise and starts warming the surface, bass will sense this change of conditions and begin to work their way up towards pre and post spawn staging spots via points, channel draws or ridgelines. Once these fish flood these staging spots, they will wait for their individual clock to tell them "its time to go look!" At this given time, an angler can experience some of the most wide open fishing on quantity and quality. First and foremost, on any given body of water, the first part of the puzzle is to locate your fish. Being that fish are in transition, this time of the year can be both the best or the worst fishing of the season. Here are a few things that will help break down the learning curve:

Who- What are you fishing for?

What- What are they holding on NOW?

When- When will they begin to make their move? (Weather dependent?, Time of year?)

Where- Where will they relocate to?

Why- Why are they making the transition? (pre spawn? , post spawn?, Summer?) 

How- What structure or cover will they utilize to move from Point A to Point B

Once you have figured out where they are and why they're positioned on that given spot, next thing you will need to to is use the same 5 W's and an H to break the individual fish down. FIgure out what they're feeding on or how they are feeding in general. 

Who- What type of fish are you fishing for?

What- What are your fish feeding on? (crawdads? shad? sculpin?)

When- When is the active feeding time? (Early? Late?)

Where- Where are the fish positioned on that given spot?

Why- Why are they feeding on that given spot, at that given time? 

How- How will you present a bait to these fish in as few of casts as possible on that area?

While this all seems like a lot to swallow and to be thinking about while you're on the water, but I promise you, the more you try and think like a fish and eliminate the "just casting" thing from your day, the more consistent you'll be as an angler. LIke I said before, this winter to pre spawn transition can be one of the best in the season. Big fish have a tendency to begin their shallow move a lot sooner than the bulk of the fish. While the majority of the anglers are waiting for that magic 70 degree + water temperature, The majority of the true giants have already come and gone. Never let conditions dicttate if you plan on fishing that given day. Fish hard, Think harder and try to think like a fish! 

As always, we thank you for your business and look forward to helping you become better anglers. 


Category: Fishing Blog
Posted by mmagnone, 2/9/2016 11:31:13 AM
As many viewers have recently found from our most recent broadcast, has starting launching its weekly Periscope live feed where viewers can ask questions relating to the topic of discussion. While videos, publications or online blogs offer a great deal of knowledge; What happens when your question you're asking doesn't get answered?

Rather than be forced to comb through hours of online video, reading pages out of a magazine, all you need to do is simply log on then ask your question during the live feed and I'll be more than happy to answer to the best of my abilities. 

Stay tuned for more info regarding how to get Periscope on your mobile device or view via live stream online.

Category: Fishing Blog
DVL News
Posted by mmagnone, 1/17/2016 01:38:25 PM
Hey guys just checking in with an update for the local anglers. Diamond Valley Lake is starting to pop off. The bite is surprisingly strong for Winter conditions. While it's not as good as some of the 20 fish type days Spring and Summer time anglers can expect to encounter anglers can expect to find a bite where 5-10 fish couuld be the norm.

With the lake being closed to private boaters, due to low water level, the Bass have had a chance to mellow out and are doing exactly what they should be doing this time of year. Anglers can expectt to find most of thier fish on most any area with deep water access near by. With our region coming out of the coldest part of Winter, Bass are starting to position themselves on main lake, and secondary structure spots with a good batch of fish almost acting as if they're in the Pre Spawn mode. While the water temperature is still in the 50's, a Pre Spawn bite is typically still a ways away, but there is a good amount of fish holding in that 25'  of water zone as opposed to the typical Winter 40-50' stuff.  

Big fish are always the first to come up and typically I'll start noticing that in late January and early February the fish will start pulling up to areas adjacent to prime spawning flats. Roads, corners of the dams and creek channels and drains are typical stuff to look for. 

With fishing pressure almost nothing on the main lake, I would urge anglers to explore the fishery before the flood gates open and all the amazing visual structure is lost to rising water. 
Boats are 1/2 off on Wednesdays and if anglers are looking for a trolling motor, I strongly urge them to bring a battery along to prolong the life of the motor. With these boats being a far cry from the boats we either own or have the privelege to fish from, keep in mind, the rentals make noise, the decks flex and they are dinged up but THEY ARE A FISHING PLATFORM THAT FUNCTIONS!

Get out there and have a blast. I know I am!

Category: Fishing Blog
Posted by mmagnone, 1/14/2016 10:37:09 AM
Hey guys this is Matt from be sure to check in at our Facebook page named Lastchancetackle .com. By viewing Facebook you'll be privy to exciting sales, deals and promotions both in the shop and online. We thank you for your business and we look forward to helping you become better anglers. 
Category: Fishing Blog
Late Fall into Winter
Posted by mmagnone, 11/21/2015 08:56:14 AM
Well it's no surprise, here on the West Coast, the change from Summer to Winter can happen literally in a 1 week window. Anglers are often left scratching their heads wondering how in the hell they're going to get these fish to bite when the fish are noticeably affected by the cooling water trends. It's no mystery when you look at the bank and notice the vast majority of fish to be "packing up" the first indicator in the back of your head is to stay shallow and fish reaction baits. Not one single person truly knows what fish really think and how they interact with their underwater environment, but we all have our own educated guesses that have instilled confidence in our brains from prior circumstances.

I truly believe the fish we find roaming the banks this time of year aren't so much in the typical Fall feeding binge but are seeking optimal water to stage for the long drawn out Winter. Keep in mind, I firmly believe in the Fall Transition, but in the late Fall, I believe Bass are seeking out the warmest water they can find and that's more often times on the bank. Before the water temperature significantly cools, Bass are triggered to seek out more hospitable water, often times roaming towards hard cover and structure. Witnessing schools of Bass patrolling dams, in shallow brush or under docks are common but each piece of these structures/covers provide warmth PLUS a positive feeding opportunity.

Priority #1
Locate the warmest water. When seeking areas with the highest temperature range, generally focus on the North West corners of generally all lakes. These areas have the most direct sunlight throughout the day. Hard rock, wood, and grass all provide warmth and without a doubt those fish will be around.

Priority #2
Identify and seek the forage the fish are currently feeding on. Without a food source, the warmest, most beautiful best set up spot can be void of life. Bass will always put themselves in the position to feed to the best of their abilities. It's no different than you or I. We're not going to purchase a new home and forget to install a refrigerator and stock it with food. To live, we need food and so do the Bass.

Priority #3
Identify the part of the water column the fish are hanging in and then figure out their moods. No sense in throwing a topwater plug on the surface when the Bass are positioned in 40' of water on a ledge. Sure, you can grind that surface bait all day long and possibly produce a bite, but the better plan would be to fish a bait on or near the bottom to draw more bites. If the fish are on the surface or mid water column, no need to throw a Jig or Texas Rig on the bottom. Yes, you will always produce fish by working structure, but by nature Bass have eyes on the top of their heads generally forcing them to look up. Without a doubt there are exceptions to thr rule, but be realistic in your approace.

Most anglers feel the need to force feed their fish and I'm extremely guilty of this. Sure, if you grind a bait all day long you're bound to get a bite, but there are always tools in your tackle box that will produce greater success.

In conclusion, fishing the Late Fall to Winter doesn't have to be as difficult as it may seem. You're going to see Bass cruising the bank and you'll most definitely see Bass positioned on deeper structure. The key is to find the warmest water in the area you're fishing, identify what they're feeding on and then present the bait as close to the zone the fish are actively feeding in. Keep in mind, these late season fish aren't going to feed as heavily and fast paced as they do in the Spring and Summer, but with patience you'll be able to draw a couple bites and those few bites could be some of the best quality of the season.

Category: Fishing Blog
Meat and Potatoes in the Fall
Posted by mmagnone, 10/24/2015 08:06:53 AM
When it comes to understanding Bass in the Fall, in the last 5 to 10 years I've done my best to keep it completely simple. While I too had my time where I thought I needed the latest and the greatest to catch fish, This time of year doesn't need to rack your brain like it may seem. Bass are in transition. Simple as that. In understanding the transitional phase, you as an angler need to know are:

A: Where are they coming from?
B. Where are they going.

After narrowing down those two major clues, all that's left to figure out is their feeding behavior and where they will stop along the way.

In the Fall bass can be anywhere. You'll find them out in 60ft of water while at the same time in 6ft of water. Rather than have 13 different rods with 13 different baits on the deck, narrow down your search and selection. Keep a deep rod handy and a shallow rod at your disposal.

By gauging the activity level of the bass you'll soon realize if the fish are actively chasing bait vs. sitting on structure waiting for bait to come to then. If the fish are actively chasing bait mid water column, I'll reach for a medium to deep running crankbait, Darter head grub or even a tail spin while if bass sitting on structure I'll employee a Football Head Jig, Texas Rig or Carolina rig.

Fall is Meat and Potatoes fishing. Narrow down your selection in both color and technique and you'll spend more time fishing than questioning their behavior.  
Category: Fishing Blog
Water Current
Posted by mmagnone, 10/17/2015 08:02:41 AM
One thing often overlooked on freshwater lakes and reservoirs and is water current. Whenever you have any type of water movement whether it be from afternoon winds on a lake to a heavy drift on the ocean, when water current aligns itself correctly with a prime feeding location the odds begin to stack in your favor. Current brings food whether it be plankton which smaller fin bait feed on, or the pushing of Threadfin Shad into a back of a cove on a wind blown point. Fish utilize this movement to their benefit and know how and where to position themselves to insure their chance at catching their prey.

As anglers having a strong understanding of their body of water and it's locations will help you piece together the puzzle faster. Pay attention to afternoon winds which in turn generate wind driven current, areas that have any type of up-welling that inadvertently pushes water from deep to shallow in a quick amount of time and pay attention to bird activity. All variables stack in your favor and have the ability to show you as an angler high percentage locations from dead water. 
Category: Fishing Blog
Two eyes and wiggle in the Fall
Posted by mmagnone, 10/11/2015 02:46:45 PM
In the Fall when water temperature begins to decline, Bass begin transitioning from their deeper summertime haunts into more main and secondary structural areas. Often times in the late Summer and early Fall, Bass will position themselves on these routes, seemingly strategic, as bait schools begin their migration into shallow water bays or creek arms. As the shad begin to move, so do the bass. As the shad begin funneling up from open water, Bass can often be seen working together hearding bait much similar in the way Tuna work fin bait in the ocean. You'll see fish come full aerial all for the chance to pounce on a single mouthful of bait. While this time of year can surely test your commitment and patience as an angler, don't be foolish to think that these fish are uncatchable. Sometimes this is the most exciting time of the year
Category: Fishing Blog
El Nino!
Posted by mmagnone, 9/7/2015 07:34:01 PM
Fishing has been nothing short of spectacular this year of our Southern California coastline. In normal years, anglers are used to traveling 40 miles + in order to tap into Pelagic Species such as Yellowfin, Bluefin or even Dorado, but in the last twoyears unusually warm ocean currents have allowed for some sensational fishing within sight of the coastline. Several trips this year have literally been within sight of California's Pacific Coast Highway almost being able to make out beach goers. I mean, Seriously!?

This past week Last Chance Bait and Tackle embarked on an overnight trip on the Pride out of Seaforth Landing. 15 anglers set off no more than 40 miles for spectacular Yellowfin and Dorado fishing. While the captain pointed out that 20# matched with 20# Fluoro was the key to getting bit, I found myself fishing straight 40# mono and at times jumping on the 50# outfit for almost lift pole style fishing. Like all trips, time at the rail as well as rotating fresh baits was the key to getting bit.  While the fish lacked in quality, full speed style fishing made up for it. Get out there guys and experience a truly EPIC year!

For anglers looking to get out, I recommend 4 set ups to make your trip a fun adventure. 
  1. 20# / 25#   Live Bait
  2. 40#             Live Bait
  3. 50#             Yo Yo Iron (Flat Fall, 6x Jr. Colt Sniper)
  4. 40#             Popper/Surface Iron
Category: Fishing Blog
Megabass on Canyon Lake
Posted by mmagnone, 8/14/2015 07:50:17 PM
Had the opportunity to get out on Canyon Lake, CA with Dan Merchant Owner of Last Chance Bait and Tackle and Last Chance along with Kenichi Iida of Megabass.
The Mission:  

Test out some new product

The Goal:
Catch some BASS!!!!

We had an absolutely killer day pulling on Topwater, Jerkbait, Texas Rig and Jig fish. Lots of good quality chunks with a 6 pounder for big fish. We found fish anywhere from on the bank to under boat docks. While the fishing had slipped from the week prior, what a killer day spending it with two awesome individuals. Keep your eyes glued to Last Chance as we'll be introducing a couple cool Megabass products VERY soon!

Category: Fishing Blog
A Little Slice of Heaven!
Posted by mmagnone, 8/14/2015 07:37:35 PM
 Sometimes getting "Salty" is a great way to break up the monotony of fishing the same water day in and day out. A lot of anglers ask me what it's like to get in a kayak and paddle a couple miles off the coast. I decided to capture the moment in under 3 minutes. 
Those interested, like I said before, keep your eyes and ears peeled. We got something brewing...
Click the image below to view video!

Category: Fishing Blog
They always pull a little harder from the Kayak!
Posted by mmagnone, 8/4/2015 03:22:42 PM
Been having the opportunity to take advantage of a historic season off our Southern California coastline. Times like this need to be taken advantage of!

Those interested in kayak fishing, keep your eyes and ears glued to both and Something cool might be coming down the pipeline!!!

Click the photo below to watch what I've been up to!

Category: Fishing Blog
Mixing it up
Posted by mmagnone, 7/18/2015 10:48:25 PM
As is the struggle with many Southern California anglers, it's always hard to mix and change things up when we have limited water in our immediate inland areas to fish. Lake levels are at an all time low, Quagga Mussel restrictions are at an all time high and many lakes simply don't have enough launch ramp in the water for us to launch our boats. 

What do we do? Do we hang it up and wait, or do we fight our way to stay on the water?

I for one have always touted myself as simply a bass fisherman. I put so much emphasis in fishing for and landing trophy bass that I ignored the other types of fishing in my life that provided me with an immense amount of fun. 

I used to dedicate equal time on the ocean kayak fishing the coast line as I did pursuing Largemouth Bass. In recent years I simply gave it up for my quest to land Trophy Largemouth. Recently I picked up right where I left off and snagged me another kayak. The amount of water and options we have doesnt stop simply at freshwater. Anglers can venture less that 2 hours to the ocean and have a complete kick in the pants on some truly quality fish. 

Just recently I landed a true fish of a lifetime. A Bluefin Tuna off the kayak less than 5 miles off the coastline. Next time you re-consider going fishing or have simply burned yourself out on your local water, give the other "pond" a shot. It might just give you the breathe of fresh air you needed to get back on your lakes when they become available. 

Category: Fishing Blog
Sun Protection
Posted by mmagnone, 6/25/2015 05:43:49 PM
 Well, it's finally here; Summertime!
This time is an absolute blast for the guys who love to throw the reaction baits fishing for both numbers and quality. While the bite can be red hot right now, so can the sun and its UV rays. Be careful on the water and do your best to either apply sun screen or force yourself to wear your UV protective clothing. 
When it comes to UV related clothing, my personal favorites are  made from Simms. 
Simms Solar Flex Sun Glove-

Simms Sun Sleeve-
Simms Sun Gaitor
Have a look and if interested, but aren't sure whether or not to pull the trigger, give us a call over at Last Chance Bait and Tackle and we'll do our best to help you understand the benefits in wearing the clothing from this awesome brand.
Last Chance Bait and Tackle
Category: Fishing Blog
#80 Not Your Typical Braid Knot
Posted by mmagnone, 5/27/2015 12:03:42 AM
In all styles of fishing, whether they are Saltwater or Freshwater, one thing remains true and that is the fact that the deciding factor in whether you're going to land a fish is solely dependent upon the knots in which you tie. One system, in particular, has taken the world by storm and that is the Braid to Leader combination.

Efficiency is the name of the game with this system. Back before braid was developed, anglers spooled up with generic line sizes, but when faced with the rare circumstance where they were under gunned, a lot of heartbreak endured as anglers were either forced to settle with a certain line size for a bait that day, or purchase another reel. Having the ability to quickly change-out the first 5’ – 6’ of fishing line based on conditions or type of cover allows you to be extremely efficient on the water.

I particularly use this system on more than 60% of the rods in my boat. Primarily for smaller reaction baits and swim baits.
While I’ve always been a fanatic about the Albright Knot, here’s a little knot that I’ve simply fallen in love with over the past 6 months and it’s yet to fail me. Some call it a Bob Sands while others call it a Tony Pena. Whatever the name; The knot is rock solid!

Step 1:

Lay your leader material alongside your standing main line. I find that keeping tension on both tag ends aid in the knot tying process eliminating any slack.

Step 2:
Form a loop with your leader material alongside your braid so that the tag end is facing towards your reel.

Step 3:
Pass the tag end from your leader through both the loop and around the braided main line ( 3 ) times with heavier line and ( 6 ) times with lighter lines.

Step 4:
As with all knots, take proper care to ensure the individual wraps lay even alongside one another. Cinch the single Uni-Knot just snug enough allowing the knot to be able to freely move when manipulated. This knot serves as a “lock knot”.

Step 5:
With your fingers, pinch your leader material and standing braid tag end together and begin wrapping your braid away from your locking knot. I typically wrap the braid between 6 and 10 wraps.

Step 6:
When you’ve successfully completed your wraps, pinch the line yet again between your fingers and then begin wrapping the opposing direction back over your first set of wraps and down towards your lock knot.

Step 7:
Once you near the junction of your Uni lock knot, you’ll soon see that you’ve created an opening to tuck your tag end through similar to that of a clinch knot. Pass the tag through the opening completing the knot

Step 8:
Holding your leader material in one hand, the tag end and main line in the other begin cinching the knot down. Tighten slowly allowing each wrap to lay evenly with one another

Step 9:
As you begin to near completion, you’ll notice that it’s inevitable that some wraps will want to jump and overlap one another. Using your thumb and forefinger, feather the knot out preventing this from happening.

Step 10:
Once the knot has snugged into place, but hasn’t fully cinched, grab all ends and cinch down tight. Don’t be afraid to give it some force. What you’re trying to accomplish is eliminating play within the knot.

Step 11:
Grab your leader line and mainline and give it one good hard pull completely the system. Using a good pair of scissors, cut your tag ends as close to the knot as possible. Now you’re ready to fish!

Without a doubt, with any new knot, the ever lasting struggle is in figuring out how to make your fingers work for you. While frustrating towards the beginning, the knot will get easier as time progresses. I highly recommend you giving it a shot.

Category: Fishing Blog
#79 5" Better Bitin' Boot Tail Mod
Posted by mmagnone, 5/20/2015 06:14:23 PM

Well if that isn't a tongue twister I don't know what is!
There comes a time when conditions dictate downsizing tackle whether it be due to un-favorable conditions or in following seasonal feeding trends. In much of the Southern states, many Bass have left the "bed" and are settling into typical Post Spawn feeding patterns. When asking about targeting Bass this time of year, the first thing you'll hear is "Post Spawn Blues". At times throughout this stage, Bass become extremely hard to catch but still remain active. What many people forget is that slowing down doesn't always mean going finesse. 

In the Post Spawn I pick up the 5-7" swim bait and make it a goal to cover water. I'm looking for active fish in a positive feeding mood. With that being said, I try to hit as many spot on spots and play the odds. Fish have specific feeding times and I want to provide them a high caloric meal at the moment in which the dinner bell rings.

A boot style swimbait is a deadly weapon this time of year when fished and rigged correctly. The beauty of this technique is that it not only appeals to larger bass, but still has the ability to draw numbers of Bass. 

Let's get started!

Step: #1
With a hodge podge of baits available with a single click of the mouse, the possibilities are endless in choosing a soft swim bait. I favor baits in the 5"-7" range that have a streamlined design. When rigged, I want the distance from belly to back to be shallow in order for better hook exposure once a fish bites down on it. In this demonstration I'll be using the 5" Megabass Spark Shad.

Step: #2
In most cases the mantra holds true. Bigger the bait; Bigger the hook. As always I want to create the best illusion as I bring my bait through the water. I want a hook that follows the contour of the bait's body while retaining enough bite to penetrate the mouth of a Bass. I'm a big fan of the Owner Twist lock and Beast Hooks when proportioned to the bait. The Weighted Twist lock allows for a streamlined appearance and the Beast provides a bigger bite for over-sized baits. In pairing with the Megabass Spark Shad, the 4/0
3/32oz. Twist lock fits like a champ for a slowed down retrieve.

Step: #3
Assuming you're dealing with a bait that fits the criteria but yet, has a solid body rather than a hollow. While some would simply avoid the concept, there's a simple modification that can allow your bait to collapse on itself providing the same solid hook up as a hollow body swim bait. Gauge the distance in which your hook point will insert the bait and with a sharp pair of scissors, make an incision into the bait a little less than 1/2' from the bend of the hook to 1/4" above the weight.

Step: #4
As opposed to typical screw lock hooks, The Owner Twist lock has a Centering Pin which cures the common mishap of coring a bait out due to multiple rigging problems. Insert the Centering Pin into the nose of the bait and begin twisting as normal.

Step: #5
As with all rigging concepts, take proper care in seating your hook. A bait rigged correctly will perform at its peak performance. A bait rigged incorrectly man swim sideways, track wrong or worse; not swim at all. Allow the hook to hang down the side of the bait and keep a mental note where the bottom of the hook lies. This is the point in which you'll insert the hook point into the bait. Failure to do so will force your bait off travel.

Step: #6
With inserting any keel weight into the belly of a bait take proper care to position it as center as possible. The bait will always roll to the heaviest point. A keel weight off center will force your bait to swim off center. A keel weight centered inline will allow your bait to track true.

Step: #7
Going back to step #3, when compressed in a Bass's mouth, the hook is allowed ample room to move through the bait. If rigged without the "hook slot", the distance from belly to back would yield 1/4 the biting gap the hook has. This could result in a poor hook set and a missed opportunity at a fish of a life time. On some of our crystal clear lakes in Southern California, getting bit is paramount. Creating a natural illusion is sure to put more fish in the boat. The Megabass Spark Shad is extremely soft allowing for the bait to compress easily providing a solid hook up ratio.

And there you have it. A quick and easy boot tail swimbait mod that provides both stealthiness and performance!
Please visit the followinghyperlinks to explore this exciting and productive tecnnique!
Category: Fishing Blog
#78 Natures Angles' of Operation
Posted by mmagnone, 5/13/2015 08:35:29 PM

Throughout the year Bass will associate themselves around critical ambush points based on the seasonal migration routes of their forage. To consistently keep your rod bent, understanding Mother Natures “Angles of Operation” are critical in putting more and larger fish in the boat
Whether novice or advanced, all anglers needs to follow their ABC’s.

A: Associate yourselves with fish holding cover and structure
B: Be around the food source
C. Correctly present your bait at the proper angle and speed governed by current conditions

In the Spring, forage, whether it is Shad, Bluegill, Crappie, Carp or Crawdads follow the same cue to head to the bank in preparation for feeding, spawning and security as the water steadily warms. As a Bass, optimal feeding locations are governed by the forage base, available cover/structure elements and security. Whatever the case may be, Bass know their prey and, like lions or tigers, are machines at the ambush game!

Knowing how the principle forage base is moving, whether it be uphill in the Spring and Fall, or downhill in the Summer and Winter, Bass will strategize and put themselves in a better position conducive to ambush and feed in that manner. In return, as anglers, we need to think less like the predator and more like the prey paying attention to all mother nature’s clues.

Being aware of nature’s “Angles of Operation” is the determining factor between a mediocre and a banner day on the water.

Matt Magnone from patterning Post Spawn Bass with a Megabass V Flat Power Bomb spinner bait

Category: Fishing Blog
#77 Inside the Tackle Box
Posted by mmagnone, 4/29/2015 03:00:34 PM

When was the last time you analyzed each and every hook for imperfection in your Terminal Tackle tray?
Almost never right?

I’m sure many of you, when done using, put your hooks back into your tray in the effort to save money and conserve equipment. Every dull, snagged, rusty, or opened hook you saved I urge you to stew on them for a while. Each and every failure, for one reason or another, increases your margin for error when luck meets opportunity and you set up on a big fish.

To be in sync with the underwater world, and to control every controllable, it’s imperative that you take every piece of your system seriously straight down to your hook and line.

If it’s been snagged and recovered; throw it away!
If it bends out; throw it away!
If it’s rusty; throw it away!

With hook prices seldom over $8.00 a pack, and your gear, boat, fuel and entry fee often exceeding $65,000, that $8.99 purchase is extremely minimal. Change and inspect your hooks regularly and you’ll be in the hunt.

Category: Fishing Blog
#76 Confidence In Your Approach-
Posted by mmagnone, 4/22/2015 05:09:26 PM
With the inventiveness of the ever evolving fishing community, one thing should always hold true; Fish your confidence.

Whether you’re an angler that has the uncanny ability to shake a Texas Rigged soft plastic in 60’ of water, the guy that lives with the Drop Shot rod in his hand or isn't happy unless he's moving 15MPH down the bank with a Chatterbait, it’s extremely important to know your strengths and know when opportunity meets availability. Too often I watch anglers approach the sport of Bass Fishing with a “follow the trend” mentality. While it’s extremely important to keep in touch with trending techniques and new and exciting gear, it’s equally important to know where your strength lies.

Case in point. My confidence is power fishing high potential targets. I'm not at home unless I have my foot pinned to the trolling motor. I absolutely love covering water and seeking out actively feeding bass. With that being said, I don't make it a point to fish slowed down finesse techniques unless the particular day dictates it. When I hit the water i go throwing punches. I'm looking for 5 of the RIGHT bites. As always though, what separates a mediocre angler from a GREAT angler is his ability to be versatile. Be willing to change with the fish but at the same time fish your strength.

Confidence is everything in Bass Fishing. With the ability to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the rod in your hand is your strength, is precisely the kind of confidence that will put more and larger fish in the boat on a consistent basis.

Category: Fishing Blog
#75 Change That Line!
Posted by mmagnone, 4/17/2015 07:31:48 PM
While many anglers understand the importance of being meticulous in their approach both on and off the water, on a day to day basis, I witness many individuals failing to understand the importance of regularly changing their fishing line. Each line type on the market has its own intended purpose. Some are more forgiving, which aid in shock resistance and the load of heavy lures, while others are built with the intention of invisibility and sinking characteristics. There are others that have absolute zero stretch designed for heavy cover applications and floatation. Being that fishing line is without a doubt the most critical link between you and the fish, while it seems a little overboard, changing line every few trips eliminates any room for error and provides a more seamless approach.

For instance, there are times when you may be throwing a Square Billed Crank Bait down a section of rip rap bank. As the lure makes intermittent contact with the rocky bottom, your line is coming into contact far before your lure actually impacts. As the bait roots, rolls and digs, every rock you hit increasingly damages the structural integrity of your line. Without regularly changing out your line or at the very least, retying, the next cast could be the difference between a "Personal Best" or driving home with that all too familiar "Instant Reply".

There's a saying that is forever etched into my brain by one of the greatest anglers on Earth, Kevin Van Dam:

“Control your controllables”

With fuel prices at an all-time high, lure prices reaching the triple digits and truck and boat payments nothing short of cringe worthy; changing your fishing line, as often as you can, is a SMALL price to pay in the grand scheme of things. Keep yourself in the hunt and control your controllables.
Category: Fishing Blog
#74 Spring Adjustment
Posted by mmagnone, 4/2/2015 08:24:22 PM
Although the Spring goes hand in hand with "Head Hunting" shallow water bed fish, anglers fishing deeper Pre-Spawn structure
spots can often experience intense action on quality Large mouth Bass. Bass begin to make their move a lot earlier than the majority believe. In late January and early February, there's no coincidence why a small population of bass are visually seen active in shallow water while others seem to be piled up like sandbags in 30-50' of water. While some remained shallow year long, others have begun their search early for hospitable nesting spots. I call this the Pre-Pre Spawn. Regardless, the health of a fishery is based solely on the Bass's reproductive cycle. While many go undetected in shallower water, the goal in mind for the average angler is to weed through the little ones to achieve a bass over 10#'s being it's the one time of year big bass let their guard down.

Assuming on your home lake, there are 30 boats a day, 210 boats a week and roughly 840 boats a month. Out of the 30 boats each day, a safe assumption would be that 10 will fish bed fish and conservatively will catch 4 fish a day per boat. That's 40 fish a day, 280 fish a week and then 1120 fish a month. Common sense tells you, the same bass WILL be caught multiple times not to mention the few that are brought home for dinner. Factor into 40-80 boat bass tournament circuits and the numbers increase. This is always a touchy subject that often results into a 5 hour long debate but the fact of the matter is, as bass fisherman our #1 objective is to preserve the health of our fisheries.With that being said, anglers need to keep a close eye on how they handle, care for and then release their bass as this time of year Bass are in their most vulnerable state.

Instead of directly targeting the fish that have already paired up, I've learned that I can still take advantage of some extremely exciting fishing by targeting the fish that have yet to make their journey shallow. It just so happens that these are the egg laden females at their heaviest weight of the year. The first thing I do is ask myself a couple key questions to ease myself into understanding where I need to start to locate Pre-Spawn fish.

In years past, what part of the lake offered the best Spawning locations?

Based on current water level, what primary structural element were these fish relocating from?

What is the KEY feature on that spot that offers fish the most comfort?

What technique do I employ to catch these fish?

Running down the lake in the early season, I'm going to take notice on what my lake has to offer. For instance on Diamond Valley, we have more to work with than the average angler may think. The lake has absolutely no shortage of key structural features and a great deal of cover to begin my search. From points to creek draws then grass to buck brush, the lake truly does have a lot to offer. The first thing I'm taking into consideration is my water temperature. When I begin to see the water reach 60 degrees I know it's time to start looking for Pre-Spawn fish. While the textbook claims that 67 degrees is the most optimal Spawning temperature, anglers must realize, that like you or I, fish are individuals. Looking towards our everyday lives, when the early days of Summer bring air temperatures in the 80's and 90's, some of us are already cranking up the air conditioner and staying indoors while others are heading to beach for a sun tan. Same thing goes for fish. It's all relative. They're all individuals. In an otherwise cold environment, I'm going to put my main focus on "Rock" as it retains the most heat. By rock I'm referring to hard bottom areas with the most direct sun exposure throughout the course of a day such as East facing dam, point, rip rap, etc.

Once I've found areas with hospitable spawning features and have located the random fish or two, I'll back-track out to the first major break and look for some form of structural element that led them in from deep water. This could be a point, ridge, creek channel, hump or flat. I want to envision the lake bottom in my mind and think like a fish. Fish have the ability to move up and down due to their swim bladders. Too much, too soon can result in barotrauma which we as angler witness when we pull a fish up from deep water too fast; too soon. Seeing as fish need to gradually make the adjustment through the water column, Bass will stop on key cover/structure between deep water and their intended spawning location whether it be a rock pile, brush, ledge, boulder etc. These Pre-Spawn areas are often high percentage big fish spots throughout the year.

When targeting these Pre-Spawn areas, I like to do so with my 1/2 punch. While the swim bait is an extremely powerful tool to locate numbers based on it's drawing power, I favor The Football Head Jig and The big worm as they are effective in sampling size of fish off a spot since they're not as intrusive to wary bass.

The Football Jig is an effective tool not only by covering water fast but also remaining effective in picking a spot apart. Assuming you locate a potential area and all ingredients seem to fit. There may be a rock pile in relation to a creek channel bend, 2 creek draws that come together with a a primary piece of cover at its intersection or an outer edge rock pile on the deep side of a main or secondary point. For all you know, you may have found the Holy Grail! While many areas seem to be perfect, your timing, angling pressure that day or inhospitably at that single moment in time may be off. This is where you need to sample your spot as fast and efficiently as possible to find active fish. For this you need a bait that can be effectively fished at a higher rate of speed in order to cover water quick and that's the Football Jig. Often times I opt for a 3/8oz jig in water shallower that 30ft and a 1/2oz jig in water deeper than 30ft. Wind, current, and activity level area all things to be taken into consideration. Wind high or high activity level often dictate a heavier or faster retrieve, while flat calm and neutral or negative feeding moods often dictate a lighter weight jig. There are always exceptions, and as an angler you need to adapt. Colors this time of year are dictated by water clarity, depth and forage base. Keep things simple and pick a jig and trailer combo that best matches the food chain and without a doubt you'll get bit.

Once a spot is deemed worthy, I'll often milk a spot with the big worm as it's a delicate follow up approach. Often times this year I'll come through an area and straight blow the doors off them with a jig but after a fun heavy hitting session the spot will seemingly shut down. Whatever the case may be, the fish may have gone into a neutral or negative feeding mood from the intrusion you've caused or the fish may have moved up and changed location. This is where the majority of anglers will often pick the trolling motor up and rotate new water. If the Pre-Spawn spot is in a primary junction between deep water and a prime spawning flat, the odds of more and more fish funneling up at different times throughout the day are high. Being able to be there when the fish move in is what often separates a banner day from a mediocre. This time of year, a lot of fish I've noticed won't show up on the fish finder as they're moving in and out different times throughout the day. This is where I'll pull out a Texas Rigged plastic worm in the 8-12" range. The "Big Worm" is a high calorie meal that a bass doesn't have to expend more energy to hunt down than the amount of caloric intake it'll receive. With weight size I often go as light as I can get away with but my decision is always based on the conditions. Generally I'll opt for a 1/16oz -1/4oz and pick my colors, like the jig, based on forage base and water clarity. Two prime colors for me this time of year are Black Grape and Chocolate Blue Vein. As always Let the bass be the deciding factor.

Without a doubt, fishing Bedding Bass is one of the most exciting, impressive and frustrating times of the year, but instead of intruding on mother natures way of reproduction, I urge anglers to take advantage of the angling possibilities a little deeper in the water column. With these transitional fish, care in handling and releasing of fish should all be observed. I don't know about you but to me, catching a double digit fish weighing in its entirety is a heck of a lot better than catching an 8 pounder that should have been a giant 2 weeks prior.  
Category: Fishing Blog
#73 Post Spawn Baits
Posted by mmagnone, 4/2/2015 08:11:07 PM
With the Post Spawn getting ready to rear it's ugly head, don't let this time of year get you down. Bass are suckers for the Spinnerbait and the Chatterbait!

Check this link out to a variety of baits that'll be sure to put you on the bite. Pick your colors based on water clarity and forage base and you'll be sure to be in the hunt.

Vibration Baits (Chatterbaits)
Category: Fishing Blog
#72 Check this out!
Posted by mmagnone, 3/23/2015 07:54:25 PM
As a test for Last Chance, I order myself a bunch of jig heads from Megabass called the Okashira Screw Heads. For a scaled down non actional type approach similar to a spy bait; I was pretty impressed. Various sizes, solid hook, blade spins on a slack line fall and when rigged, the rig swims true. When the wind died and the lake went slack, this got me bit. Nice slow methodical retrieve on a spinning rod and 6# fluoro.

Let me know if you guys have any interest in these types of products and I'll do my best to try and have them ordered into the shop. We're always looking for angler opinion.


Category: Fishing Blog
#71 Being Open Minded
Posted by mmagnone, 2/21/2015 05:44:48 PM
Made it a big focus this year to get back to fun. I'm not fishing for "Big Fish" per say but am working on identifying Big Fish migration. I don't care if I have a spinning rod in my hand all day and most certainly don't care if I'm not hanging with the cool crowd. Not that I ever do. Needless to say, in doing so, I've been putting a great deal of thought into fish movement based on seasonal, daily and hourly patterns. While fishing the swim bait without a doubt does and will teach you a lot about quality per spot, it can often cloud your judgement as you'll fall victim to being okay with not getting a bite all day. The ultimate goal is to keep your rod bent and in the process catch big fish! So late last year I asked a question to myself and this is what it was.

"Do 3000 unproductive casts with a swim bait equal 3000 perfect casts with the right bait?"

In general, with the swim bait, I do my best to target the best possible piece of cover and structure in the fewest amount of casts various times of the day under different conditions I'm given. Sounds like a lot but it's very simple. I pick productive water and rotate ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. While a Swimbait can be fished at all parts of the water column and at various speeds you still have to count on a fish to commit when they are ready to tackle a big meal. Often times we're faced with horrible conditions where we continue to throw the "Big Bait" for hours only to chalk an unproductive day as "Just how it goes...." when it doesn't have to be that way.

Why not go straight to the fish. If you know the fish are there; Scale down.

The last few months I've been focused on Structure. I've been diving back into the "Old School". Methodical, perfect casts and perfect presentation.

In doing so I've come up with a better average of fish. While still not giants, the fish are averaging 3-6 pounds and are coming FREQUENT. All I had to do was scale down a smidge and fish a big bait but not a swimbait. I'm throwing baits in the 8-13" range. The key is understanding bottom content. Just because it looks right doesn't mean it is right. Hell, even if you find the spot or be like many anglers that spot me across the lake and then come cruising over the spot when I leave, it's all about the angles and how you manipulate the bait. Be patient and understand what the fish are wanting.

For the guys that are "on the fence" about fishing DVL right now, get out there. The bite is ON and if you're open minded to any and ALL techniques whether they be the drop shot or the swimbait absolutely do not settle for a bad day. The lake is as healthy as it's ever been in recent years and the amount of 3 pound fish is mind boggling. Lots and lots of beautiful bass.

The key lately has been focusing on 30-40' of water. There's a big push of pre pre spawn bass working their way up. Ignore the fish on beds. Fish the deep ones and above everything else, keep care in fish handling. Many of the deeper fish are transitioning from deeper depths to shallower 25-30' spots all day long in different waves. Much of these fish need to be needled. If anybody has any questions I'll be more than happy to answer.  

Category: Fishing Blog
#70 Spawn
Posted by mmagnone, 2/20/2015 06:45:41 PM
As weather temperatures begin to rise and the water temperature following suit, it's imperative we protect our resource. By resource I mean the Bass. Spring fishing can often times be some of the most intense times on the water. Bass are shallow in plain sight but while this fishing can be completely awesome, keep in mind that Bass are at their most vulnerable state through their mating stage. Males will guard the eggs and the females will always be within range to protect in the event the male is moved. With Bass weighing their heaviest before the actual Spawn, I often encourage anglers to bypass the actual bed stage and continue to fish for Pre Spawn Bass in deeper water. While these fish are just as important to protect as the ones shallow on beds, the deeper fish have yet to impart on thier important journey.  Next time you see a bass on a bed in shallower water, ask yourself a question?

Is catching this ONE Bass worth affecting the health of your fishery?

Catch and Release guys and have a great time on the water!!!!

Category: Fishing Blog
#69 Having Fun and Forgetting
Posted by mmagnone, 1/15/2015 09:23:44 PM
It's funny, as baits progress and techniques advance, anglers constantly feel the need to search the latest and the greatest forgetting what makes them happy. We strive to be the elite and try to impress but yet,  many of us are missing what the overall quarry is. We're after catching fish. Of course the ultimate goal is to catch the biggest fish that swim in our bodies of water, but should we be willing to throw away tried and true past techniques for the sudden urge to be a "Big FIsh" angler?

I've spent over 20 years busting my butt trying to become the best bass angler I could be but in the last 18 years I've dedicated much of my time on the water chasing and trying to land trophy Largemouth Bass. Although I've been successful in my attempts, in doing so, I've shyed away from what it was that got me to this point in my career as an angler. I felt the need to convince myself to throw away the "Small FIsh" techniques and focus a great deal on fishing "Big FIsh" techniques. The funny thing is that I've come full circle with the fact that Techniques are Techniques and Baits are Baits. Techniques stay the same but yet, baits change.

Is there really much difference between a Lunker Punker vs. a Zara Spook?
What about a Chatterbait and a Triple Trout?
And what about a Spinnerbait and an Alabama RIg?

The answer is NoThink about it. all the above mentioned baits are one in the same.  Each bait follows the same technique. We as anglers just like to complicate things and sometimes miss the point. Before we throw away everything and convice ourselves we need to upsize EVERYTHING, take in stride the fact that sometimes big fish eat small baits. 

Lately, while still on the hunt for Giant Bass,  I'm taking a step back in my approach. I'm understanding in greater detail what it is Bass relate to, paths they follow, and forage they eat seasonally. We all know that a big bait generally equals big fish. I'm a firm believer in this theory. It's simple logic. If you throw a big profiled lure long enough you'll eventually come in contact with an above average sized fish. It may take a lot of hard work, time and money, but eventually it will happen.
What about when big fish are feeding on crawdads 3" long?
Is that same 12" swimbait STILL the best choice?
Think about it. Is it really worth catching 10 good fish a year when if following the habits of the same class of fish could yield double that amount?

Why is it that we complicate something so uncomplicated???
As Bill Murphy said:
"Bass Fishing should be freedom. Freedom to experiment and fish whatever your instincts tell you no matter what everyone else says. You dont have to use pork rind instead of plastic when the water is cold because pork rind is more pliable; all this is nonsense"
" You don't have to fish a specific zone because the water is a certain temperature. You've got to be free. You've got to have a lot of imagination to make this freedom work for you, because BASS DON't KNOW! They don't know they're supposed to be at a certain place at a certail cyle because that's what science determined. They just don't have any idea and that's how you have to approach these fish"

Category: Fishing Blog
#68 Method to the Madness
Posted by mmagnone, 1/8/2015 08:54:46 PM

Arguably one of the toughest lakes in Southern California, Diamond Valley in Hemet, CA is the body of water I'm proud to call my home. Working for Last Chance Bait and Tackle, literally 10 minutes from the launch ramp, has given me the opportunity to spend 7 days a week before, after and my days off trying to decipher the clues needed to unlock it's healthy Bass population. Some weeks I'm fishing 7 days while others I'm lucky for 2. Never the less, water time is learning time. With the lake filled with it's notorious up and down cycles, DVL has the uncanny way of taking every bit of logical reason an angler has and flipping it upside down. There's a saying all the locals have on the lake and that is "What happened yesterday; Wont happen tomorrow". Although there are days that simply have me scratching my head for lack of bites or fish in the boat, over the course of a decade I've come to conclusion, as anglers, our biggest weakness on Diamond Valley is our "Mental Approach" when utilizing the swim bait.

To be successful fishing the swim bait requires a stone cold mindset and approach. An angler needs to be focused, in tune and be ready to attack their body of water with everything they've got in order to generate a bite. Some days you'll strike gold and fortunately hook and land a fish, or several , while other days, weeks or months you're forced to endure many fish-less days that will oftentimes become your undoing. While reading this, some may argue,

"Why put yourself through this "torture" when you could just as easily cast out a Drop Shot and put a load of fish in the boat?"

As a bass angler, you'll have to ask yourself truthfully, are you in it for big fish or are you in it for the numbers? If you've settled for the latter, fishing the swim bait might not be for you; and that's perfectly fine. There's a plethora of techniques available that may tailor to your individual fishing style that still have the same big fish appeal. If you're dead set on targeting the big fish with the swimmer, then you've committed to a life of chasing several fish-less days for the "one" special bite. While not for the faint of heart, fishing these over sized lures can offer an angler the chance to hoist up their own "fish of a lifetime". From the sheer percentage standpoint, there are very few techniques that produce bass over the 10 pound mark with the same regularity of that of a swim bait.

Deciphering Diamond Valley, I stay glued to Weather charts. I want to know barometric pressure, wind direction, wind speed, clear skies or grey. I want to know when the Sun and Moon will rise and set. All of these "variables" help me set up my game plan for my day of fishing. Thinking in terms of Bill Siemantel's notorious "Point System", every clue I've been given, prior to my day of fishing, will help me set up the spots I intend to fish in whatever order I'd like to fish them.

As anglers, we commonly call this a "Milk Run".

Taking things another step, I've created a routine where I cross reference what I've gathered, through weather charts and media sites, then match all the data to popular Google Earth satellite imagery. I can then create a simulated day of fishing without even leaving the house. While still elementary, I will have a better understanding based on the Sun angle and it's shadow lines, wind direction and areas where key variables all line up to produce a positive response from the fish. Points, ridges, creek channels, humps and flats are all key big fish locations. When key variables such as shadow lines, wind and cover all line up with these key structural features, anglers are provided a higher percentage of getting a reaction from a fish of a lifetime. After countless hours of lining up all my spots in accordance to the weather and Sun angle, some days just don't go as planned and this is usually where the wheels fall off for many anglers. This is where an angler needs to be confident in their approach and limit bait selection to just their confidence baits as there's no sense in throwing 20 different swim baits when you could throw just 3 all day with confidence.

After launching, the light switch flips to the on position and I become solely a listener and an observer. Not in the way of literally listening to dock talk or watching other anglers fish, but more or less, listening to Mother Nature and observing the clues that she's given to me.

What's the primary forage this time of year?
Is there any wind?
Which way is the wind blowing?
Are we under a low pressure and have clouds in the sky?
Is it a high pressure with Clear blue skies?
Do we have and shade lines?
What part of the water column are the fish hanging in?

I've always believed that "one clue missed, could potentially be, one missed opportunity at a big fish". Working off what I've already learned through studying the weather and having a disciplined knowledge of Diamond Valley's current water state, I process my information as fast as possible. While over the years it's become simplified to split second decision making, many anglers should think of it as a percentage game. Two primary ingredients on Diamond Valley that act as the "trigger" for the swim bait are both wind and shadow lines. Again with the percentages, with Bass being a top tier predator in most lakes, they feed off of ambush. The percentages of a bass sneaking up and corralling it's prey under the shadow of darkness are far greater than the percentage if they were to ambush in a bright, calm open water environment. Like wise for a Lion in the Savannah. Female Lions don't work together in the open and think to themselves, "Oh hey, there's a Zebra; let's kill it!".They simply wouldn't have a chance. Instead the lion lay in ambush and wait for opportunity to mesh with luck much like the Bass do.

As stated above, 9 times out of 10 you're going to find big fish on one of 5 key structural elements; Points, ridges, creek channels, humps and flats. Based on current water level, time of year and current fishing conditions any one particular type of structure may at one time be better than the others. As a whole, my key starting spots are generally points as they're a dime a dozen and can be searched and scanned in the quickest amount of time possible. Points whether they be main lake or secondary, offer forms of security, ambush and possess the percentage of a prime feeding opportunity for the bass. Big bass like deep water. Deep water offers security. When deep water is found adjacent to one of the 5 primary pieces of bottom contour that offers an ambush point to feed; You my friends have found a potential big fish location.

As I'm headed down the lake to a random point I'll scan what I have to work with as each day is different.

Does the point have a shade line?
Is there wind blowing on it?
Are there birds perched on the rocks looking into the water?
Has there been a trout stock recently to warrant this spot being better than another?

Every detail makes a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Much like my scenario regarding "Point" fishing, the same general idea applies to creek channels, humps, flats etc. Say we're dealing with late Fall conditions and you're clued into thinking that a large portion of over sized bass are holding deeper on humps gorging on bluegill. I'll run my same process of elimination on all the humps to decide which is the best and In which order. Only then will I actually shut the motor off and fish them. Instead of surface layer variables I'm now going to search for subsurface variables such as current, thermocline and soft cover shadow lines. When you finally figure out what's going on and you've narrowed bait selection down to something like a L.A. Slider, Little Creepers Trash Fish or a Huddleston 68, this is when I utilize the "stealth approach" and pull up without driving circles over the spot to check for life. I'll utilize Mother Nature (Wind) to drift up to the spot as an ambush predator and then plan my attack much like the analogy of the Lion and the Bass. Crazy how close the similarities?

From all this tech talk referring to utilizing weather forecasts, scoping out Google Earth, listening to Mother Nature, talking about shadow lines and above all fish location, You're probably asking yourself,

"Well, where's the knowledge at on actually throwing the swim bait? I just don't catch fish on them and I want to!"

Don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but "It's all Mental". Yes, I may take the logic further than most, but having every tool at your disposal will help you break the code in a quicker amount of time translating into more and bigger bass in the boat.

Any angler, young or old, big or small has the power and the potential to throw the swim bait. If there's a will; There's a way. When it all comes down to it, over time, with practice, patience and understanding, you'll develop a way of breaking down all the variables and be able to recognize a good area from the bad utilizing gut instinct. A huge percentage of anglers on Diamond Valley, or anywhere for that matter, don't really put the under water image into their heads before they actually cast across a spot. Case in point; Stock day on So. Cal lakes. How often do you see anglers sitting on the same point, casting the same angle and fishing it ALL DAY LONG the same way? While not illogical, taking it one step further. for every cast across the spot think about what the fish are thinking? There's something to be said about fish cycling through areas on peak feeding times, but to show a repetitive cast, as often as it is AND with the same bait at that, does nothing than condition the fish potentially pushing them into a negative feeding mode. No different than seeing nice Chopped 1949 Mercury, wide white walls airbagged and rumbling exhaust creeping down the street. First time you see it you're thinking. "That thing's WICKED!". Once you see the same car driving down the street over and over, day after day, yeah it's still sweet looking but eventually the initial shock value will most definitely wear off.

Failing to process every clue from weather forecast, sun angle, wind direction, the spots you're fishing and on those spots how many casts you're making, do in fact ALL influence you're outcome. Bass Fisherman to Bass Fisherman, I promise that if you take the mental approach one step further, it will pay dividends in your quest for a personal best.
Category: Fishing Blog
#67 Happy New Year!
Posted by mmagnone, 1/1/2015 02:11:39 PM
 With the start of 2015 already upon us, I want to remind everyone to fish hard and have fun in this new year! 
Category: Fishing Blog
#66 Picking the Right Jig Part 4: "Jig Trailers"
Posted by mmagnone, 11/13/2014 01:52:33 PM
Matt Magnone
Staff at Last Chance

We've talked Jig head styles, we've gone over the two most ppopular choices in skirt materiial, but this week I'm going to dip into some of the main trailer baits I tend to put on the business end of my jigs. As always, there's a plethora of combinations an angler can dream up,  but here's my take on jig trailers.  Due to the way our bodies of water out here in West set up, based on clarity, water depth, and angler pressure, it's extremely important to take every advantage we can to present the fish something new and as life like as possible. As opposed to other lakes, reservoirs and rivers around the country, Southern California lakes are reminiscent of an assembly line. One boat will pull up to a spot and fish it for 20 minutes and as soon as he leaves, another boat will pull up on the same spot and dedicate time as well. This will happen over the course of a full day of fishing all day; every day. It's no wonder our fish are some of the hardest to catch. Lots of pressure, highly spooky and have literally seen just about every combination of baits on the market. This is why a lot of times hear us West Coast anglers pray for some form of favorable conditions whether it may be rain, wind or off colored water. Believe me it does make a difference.
When walking into the tackle store it can be one of the most daunting tasks choosing a plastic worm let alone a jig trailer as there are literally thousands of color combinations and special modifications an angler can make to each. The key is to narrow down what you're trying to accomplish in your retrieve and choose a bait based on your individual body of waters forage base and gauged activity level of the bass. While making it a little more difficult than I should sometimes, I've broken down my jig trailers into two categories. Fall baits and spot specific baits. 
Fall Baits
When I say "Fall Bait" I'm not specifically talking about baits that are used primarily in Fall. What I mean by a "Fall Bait", Is a trailer that can be utilized fishing on a downhill presentation that has a ton of natural built in action. With that being said, having a jig trailer that has some form of appendages that either kick or swim as the bait is falling is paramount. When it comes to styles of baits, Some of my favoirtes are the Yamamoto 4" and 5" Double Tail grubs as well as the Netbait Paca Punch. While many anglers think that the sole purpose of this trailer is action based,, an angler needs to look beyond the visual. In having all this action, the bait is actually putting off resistance as it moves through the water. When fishing the downhill jig, I favor this trailer to help slow the jig down as I hop ledge to ledge creating a more natural appearance as it slowly flats back down to th e bottom.
Yamamoto DT Grub-

When it comes down to the double tail grub, this style trailer has been around a LONG time for good reason. As the bait glides through the water column or is being propelled by an anglers retrieve, with even the most minimal amount of movement, the water passing over its body throws the tails into a tornado of action. 

Netbait Paca Punch-

When it comes down to the Net Bait Paca Punch, this bait is one of the most overlooked jig trailers around. Commonly thought to be nothing more than a punch bait, The Paca Punch features a solid, wider body, as opposed to it's brothers and sisters in the Nebait lineup. Having this solid body makes it extremely durable as a jig trailer as you'll be able to maximize your baits life expectancy  therefore translating in more fish per one bait. While still retaining the staple "Paca claw flap", On the downhill retrieve the claws will open up and out creating a more natural defensive look. Give it a couple fast pops and the claws begin to wave.

Spot Specifc Baits

Let's say you've located a batch of fish holding on the outside edge of a hump. On that high spot, you've graphed a great rock pile that breaks way into deeper water. Well knowing that this spot sets up as a potential "Big Fish" spot, you're going to want to make th emost out of it and fish it methodically. This is where having a trailer with less "movement driven" appendages come into play. You don't want a trailer that requires a fast retrieve to get the claws to kick but rather has more subdued action.

Yamamoto Flappin' Hog-

When it comes down to the Yamamoto Flappin' Hog, This bait is one of my favorites when I want something a little less obnoxious and not as aggressive underwater. Due to Yamamoto baits having a heavy concentration of salt, there's an element of heaviness creating the body of the bait to lay semi-motionless underwater. All action is created by the angler working it along the lake bottom. With slight body modification and positioning of the craw on the jig, an angler can have this bait come to life with the slightest twitch of the rod tip

Jackall Sasuteki Craw-

Like the Netbait Paca Punch, which often times gets used for fishing spot specific locations, the Jackall Sasuteki Craw is one of my all time favorites for probiing deep water rock piles. The fat butt section of this trailer not only aids in slowing down fall rate but it also adds an element of bulk to your overall jig profile. Again, like the Paca Punch on the downhill retrieve the claws will open up and out creating a more natural defensive look. Give it a couple fast pops and the claws begin to wave.

As always the stuff I've been blogging about regarding the jig is subjective. Each and every angler will have thier favorite baits, their favorite colors and their favorite jig styles. It all boils down to time of the water and confidence. The baits I've outlined in this article are baits that I have the utmost confidence in. Of course I could go into great lengths on color choices, but this is something you as an angler will have to identify down to the day that you're fishing. 

Please visit  for a plethora of jig trailers. Always remember, each and every trailer has a specifc duty and an action that is purely based on the conditions on your waterway.

Category: Fishing Blog
#65 Choosing the Right Jig: Part 3 "Skirt Material"
Posted by mmagnone, 11/4/2014 12:38:42 PM
Matt Magnone
Staff Member at Last Chance

 In previous weeks we've journeyed into the world of the jig. Going over some of the many jig head designs, it's easy for an angler to have "one" of the aforementioned jig styles that seems to fit their individual style, body of water or cover type. Some may find that the Football Head is more suitable for their needs while others may swear up and down, that due to their shallow combination type cover, the Arky Head is "the one". While each head design has a specific purpose and duty, when choosing the right skirted jig, although the head is paramount, the right skirt and skirt material is equally as important.

Here's where I may lose some people. Some may agree while others may disagree. The majority of anglers feel that the jig is the attractor in your jig/trailer combo. The sole purpose of the jig is to add bulk to your trailer. Case in point. Take a standard Football Head Jig off the wall. Grab one of your favorite trailer baits and slide it up the shank. Whether you're an angler or not, you should realize that the whole profile looks stripped down, thin and while still natural, looks a little "off". Now grab yourself a skirted jig. Slide the same trailer up the shank of the jig and you'll soon realize that the overall profile seems full, alive and meaty. The only difference was the skirt material.
Please make no mistake that there are often times when the fish will respond better to a stripped down jig as well as other times where the fish react better to a bait with more bulk. This is where it comes down to being able to gauge the activity and feeding level on your individual body of water. Often times this is where choosing the right skirt material comes into play as not all material is created equally important.

Round Rubber-

 Round Rubber skirt material is a "favorite" amongst many Western anglers. Do to its properties, this material is extremely bouyant underwater adding an immense amount of life to your jig. At rest, like all skirt material, Round Rubber expands and flairs putting off a larger profile creating a better element of bulk. The difference though lies in the rubber. Round Rubber has a tendency to breathe more than that of Silicone. With every current change or twitch of the rod, the skirt material comes alive in a much more fluid manner. While many anglers often fish a solid skirt comprised of only Round Rubber, the color choices are limited and generally drab so many anglers use it as their base color and add an accent color of Silicone as the array of colors are un-imagineable. This material is excellent when faced with conditions where the need to fish slow and methodical is paramount.

Silicone Material-

 While still being bouyant underwater, Silicone Rubber doesn't breathe and act the same as Round Rubber. The benefit to this skirt material lies in the fact that the color choices are relentless. Literally hundreds of colors and types of Silicone Rubber exist. As opposed to Round Rubber with its 3 main gauges, Silicone Rubber generally offers 2 sizes with a slew of color types such as Solid, Solid w/ Flake, Living Image, Barbwire, Halfwire and several more styles are available. An angler literally can dream up or buy just about any color combination he or she can imagine up as opposed to sticking with the core colors of Brown, Black or Olive that many of us were brought up using.

 Always remember though, although there are literally thousands of color combinations an angler can dream up; Keep things simple. Identify the forage base in your body of water, understand the color patterns and then do your best to replicate what you see. Being that the forage in our lakes, rivers or streams vary from one month to the next, always choose a color that best matches the environment the prey are utilizing. If you're dealing with Crawdads that primarily live on the bottom, associate your colors accordingling.

What's the bottom composition of your lake?
Is the vegetation growing?
Is the vegetation dying off?
Is it primarily rocky or is it mud or decaying leaves?


 As crawdads root around on the bottom, they tend to take on a color hue of their surroundings in addition to their natural change of color as they mature. If you're dealing with a hard rocky bottom, you'll notice that the craws will have a brighter defined tone as opposed to a mud or decaying bottom where they'll be more muted and grungy. Years ago we we were trapping Crawdads out of a creek and upon first glance all the craws were literally the perfect resemblance of the color Green Pumpkin straight down to the Black flake. After arriving home and pulling the Crawdads from the ice chest I noticed that they had literally turned color taking on the Brown and Orange color. As I was driving down the freeway, the movement of the water in the cooler had washed the sediment off the bodies of the Crawdads bringing out their true colors. While I'm mainly referencing your jig imitating Crawdads, the same applies to that of fin fish as there are often times our jigs are in fact imitationg, Bluegill, Shad, Shiners, Sculpin or Gobies. Keep things simple. Identify the forage base in your body of water, understand the color patterns and then do your best to replicate what you see.

Stay tuned next week for a little into choosing the right Jig trailers.

Category: Fishing Blog
#64 Picking the Right Jig: Part 2
Posted by mmagnone, 10/29/2014 07:48:57 PM
Matt Magnone
Staff Member at Last Chance

Now that we've outlined some of the more common jig head styles, let's take a walk into the world of the Football Head. This week we'll be discussing general head sizing and hook configuration.

For those of you that may have missed it CLICK HERE to go back to Picking The RIght Jig: Part 1.

The Football Head Jig is without a doubt my ace in the hole of the aforementioned jig head styles. Being that I've had the privilege of being raised around the deep clear lakes of Southern California, it only comes natural for this head to have a special place in my arsenal. As stated in the previous blog, the Football Head almost always has a line tie positioned between 60 and 90 degrees in relation to the shank of the hook. The elongated football shaped head allows the jig to be drug across structure with excellent deflection values allowing it to "rock" and "roll" without finding its way wedged into a snag.

When it comes down to picking the right sized jig, this is solely dependant on your individual body of water and gauged activity level of the bass. Case in point, Lets say you're in the dead of Winter. FIsh are extremely lethargic but with warmer days, the bass have been found sunning themselves shallow on the West sides of every main lake rocky point. While there may be a variety of techniques that'll produce strikes in this scenario, the jig is my go- to technique when dealt with adverse conditions. Knowing that the water is at it's coldest, you can assume the activity level of the fish is going to be a lot slower.. They're not going to want to move a great distance to chase down their meals. They're going to want it to come to them. This is a time I would throw a lighter weight jig. I'm talking in the 1/4oz - 3/8oz category. You want there to be a little "hang time" as the jig falls giving these fish a more delicate approach that isn't as invasive. Not to mention giving them a chance to see it. In combination with the fall rate being slowed, the ability to work the jig through shallow rock will be both a great deal easier and a lot more life-like in action compared to the 1/2oz or 3/4oz head sizes. Although the Football Head is a great choice, this time of year I'll often switch it up to a Round Ball Head with a cut down skirt if the fish simply just don't want to respond. I'll go into this scenario in a later blog.

Now let's say we're dealing with the Pre-Spawn and you're finding active fisn in 30' - 40' of water getting ready to move up and down the bank into their spawning zones. The activity level is a lot higher as these fish have seemingly fasted through the WInter and are beginning to feed heavily again. In this case I'll often use a heavier head in the 1/2oz -3/4oz sizes. The heavier head makes it extremely easy to work these deeper zones as their weight gets them down a lot quicker than a 1/4oz -3/8oz and allow me to cover water a lot quicker. Now don't get me wrong there are times when I'll opt for a slower fall in deeper water, but as a general rulle of thumb:

Water shallower than 30' I fish a 3/8oz Jig 

Water deeper than 30'  I fish a 1/2oz. Jig

And in the rare situations where I REALLY need to cook the jig ,or get down DEEP, I'll opt for a 3/4oz Jig.

There you go. Keep it REALLY simple. No need in having a slew of sizes when you really don't need them. Now like I said above, when it comes down to picking the right sized jig, this is solely dependant on your individual body of water and gauged activity level of the bass. If you're dealing with water shallower than ours out here in the West; obviously substitute accordingly. If you're fishing water where 30' is considered deep; More power to you! Your jig box just got a lot lighter! As a gneral rule of thumb, these sizes have been core in my arsenal for years and haven't failed me yet.

I know when you view our site, you'll notice there are a slew of different style Football Jigs with a hodge podge of available hook sizes and styles. Don't get overwhelmed and keep it extremely simple.

Smaller the trailer bait; Smaller the hook

Larger the trailer bait; Larger and heavier the hook

The reason I put reference to a large and heavier hook on the oversized jig is simple. If you're water allows you to fish a BIG jig, more often times than not you're fishing for the "upper sized fish" These fish are mean, they don't play and are ruthless. There's a reason these bass have  lived long enough to reach that size. In general with hook sizing, I try to stay out of the debate as the beauty of Bass Fishing is that everyone has their own confidence.

If you like an EWG hook; killer!

If you're into a round bend; that's cool too!

If you like barbless hooks; I don't know why you would, but..... RIGHT ON!

Use what you have confidence in. Me personally, I'm a huge fan of a 60 degree eyed ,round bend, regular wire hook. In specfic I really like the Mustad 32798 BLN hook. Yes, it's a cheaper hook but it's strong, sharp and was tough enough to land my personal best Largemouth Bass at 14.3#'s. If it held for a teener; It'll hold for most any size. If you have no clue what the Mustad 32798 BLN hook is; never fear.  A lot of custom jig guys and even some factory companies use this or the Gamakatsu equivalent in their head designs. It's a great value priced hook and is just awesome to fish. Hook sizes will vary from jig head to jig head. Heavier jigs, will often run a large hook to keep the distance porportioned correctly and vise versa a lighter jig will often run a smaller hook.
On average, You're looking at a 3/0 hook for the 3/8 oz jig and a 4/0 or 5/0 hook for the 1/2 and 3/4oz head. Again keep it simple. Match your hook size to the jig and trailer you're intending to fish. 

Check out Last Chance for a variety of Football Head Jigs.

Stay tuned. Next week I'll be going over choosing  skirt material and trailers
Category: Fishing Blog
#63 Picking the Right Jig : Part 1
Posted by mmagnone, 10/24/2014 09:55:30 PM
Matt Magnone
Staff Member at Last Chance
While I tend to put a lot of emphasis on throwing oversized swimbaits for GIANT bass, without a doubt one of my favorite conventional techniques is throwing the jig. There's nothing better than grinding down a chunk rock bank, zoning out as you creep the jig over and through boulders, gravel or mud only to feel a fish suck up the jig sending shockwaves through your rod like a bolt of lightning. It's most definitely an adrenailne rush I can't live without! That single moment in time when you rear back and set the hook on the fish only to be thrust into a split second "tug of war" is one of the best highs an angler can feel on the water. 
When referring to the jig, a lot of anglers immediately think in terms of the common skirted Football Jig that litter tackle shop pegs across the nation. While this jig style has it's individual time and place, there are many head configurations that suit better in varying situations. Hopefully this series of installments will help in picking the right jig head, size, color, trailer and skirt material to help you gain immediate confidence in whats an absolutely radical crossover technique for not only giant bass but 
also for numbers.
Types of Jig configurations-
Football Head Jig-

The Football Head is without a doubt "Ol' Faithfull" in my bag of tricks year round! The elongated football shaped head allows the 
jig to be drug across the bottom creating a sense of deflection allowingthe jig to rock and roll over hard cover without finding its way wedged in a snag. With the line tie almost always at 60-90 degrees, As you lift and drop the rod tip, the angle of line in relation to angler, puts emphasis on the meaty part of the head ensuring in proper deflection on oversized obstacles. This is a head design I fish when I'm dealing with mainly rock and mud bottom as opposed to areas with vegetation. 
Arky Head Jig-

The Arky Head is a popular head design when anglers are faced with "combination" type cover. Lets say you're going down a rip rap 
bank with isolated grass, rock and wood. As the Football Head design works along the contour of the bottom, the wide profiled head has a tendency to collect bottom composition more-so than a stream lined head design like the Arky. By nature, the Arky Head's slimmer design allows the bait to be pulled through cover a lot easier than the Football Head. With a line tie at generally 60 degrees, while the Football Head is my go-to head design, I find myself reaching into my jig box when dealt with sparse soft cover. With it's typical "Mushroom" style head, suitable for, as stated above,"combination" type cover, the wider bellied head still has 
enough mass to properly allow your jig to stand up putting your trailer in a defense stance. It's a proven head design that can't be 
Round Ball Jig-

When it comes down to the Round Ball Head, this head design doesn't get as much play as the Football or the Arky. This actually puts shame on the angler and not the head. The fact of the matter is that the Round Ball is the most compact, natural, head in the bunch. When finesse applications come to a head in either the extreme heat or the extreme cold, an angler may be forced to downsize in not only size, but weight, to get those key bites. The Round Ball head offers an angler the best of both worlds as opposed to the Football or Arky. When you think about it, you're basically taking two of the best head designs and incorporating them into one. The deflection values of the Football Head and the compact cover boasting features of the Arky Head. I find myself reaching for this head design more frequently in the dead of Winter when I'm faced with colder water temps. I often pair a 3/16oz-1/4oz Round Ball head paired with a jig skirt cut down in the Eikens form. This trick has put me on the board many trips while a traditional jig has left me high and dry.
Darter Head Jig-

The Darter Head, just as the name suggests, has a stream lined appearance making it perfect for a finesse presentation we utilize 
greatly on the West Coast. In terms of hydrodynamics, as water passes around the head, being that it's streamlined, there's less 
resistance on the jig allowing it to fall at quicker speeds due to the lack of drag. With that being said, this head design paired with a small profiled bait makes for an incredible "match the hatch" fin bait replicator. Although this head is greatly used in combination with a grub, ringworm or fluke style bait imitating smaller fin baits, there's a lot of history behind the Darter Head in terms of using it on smaller 4"-6" straight tailed plastics. Whatever the case may be, this head design works great when times get tough and you need to scale down. 
Swim Jig-

In the Summer months, when you find yourself in a situation where you're favorite stretch of bank is covered with isolated grass but 
the fish are telling you they want a moving bait, it's often frustrating when you simply can't get a bait in the zone without being "fouled up". This is a common occurence on shallower bodies of water or when fish move up onto shallow water flats to feed. This scenario is perfect for the Swim Jig. The Swim Jig has a line tie generally at 30 degrees and employs an inline eye allowing the bait to be pulled through soft cover with minimal hang up. More often times than not the Swim Jig utilizes a longer, streamlined head  to reduce not only drag through the water, but to prevent weeds or other debris from collecting on the head or line tie. This is a go-to jig head when fishing shallower weed filled water or through brush.  
To Be Continued...
Category: Fishing Blog
#62 Study, Learn and HAVE FUN!
Posted by mmagnone, 10/8/2014 10:48:20 AM
As the Winter trout stocks near and the swimbait craze begins building momentum, anglers are flocking to sort their aresenals and ready their minds for the opportunity to land a fish of a lifetime. Some anglers do it for the status symbol, while others do it for the thrill of the hunt. Some just do it because 15 other guys are doing it..Whatever the case may be, who cares why you do it?  Who cares what style of swimhait you fish, or if it's a numbers bait as opposed to a big fish bait like the Roman Made Mother. If you're having fun and catching bass, You're in it to win it!

Over the past 17 years of me fishing these baits, I've transformed my style into thinking BIG. I realized that to be truly efficient at not only fishing them, but to pattern large bass; I had to limit my lake choices to  a single lake and spend every piece of free time on it. In order to pattern these nicer grade fish, an angler must be able to track their movements down to the very smallest of atmospheric changes. Wind, sun, clouds, rain, barometer etc. all affect the way a big fish positions itself on a prime piece of cover and structure dictating whether or not its a peak feeding time or not. To those that just started throwing swimbaits, many will read this and say to themselves,
"It can't make that big of a difference. All you have to do is throw the swimbait all day long and you're gonna get bit! I watch those guys on the videos do it all the time!"

Well I hate to break it to you my friends; It does matter. 

Becoming this style of fisherman, you will have the opportunity to land some extremely large bass, but I promise you that at the beginning of your journey, you'll lose that special way to pattern bass with conventional techniques. You may find yourself just going through the motions doing what you think you're supposed to rather than what you should be doing. You'll begin going to the lake knowing that you have a specific window of opportunity where you'll get bit but after that window has passed, what fish you DO catch are seemingly almost "lottery" fish. You'll start being almost careless, content if you wind up with a skunk for your efforts throwing out that all too framiliar phrase:

"Yeah, I didnt do well today. ALL I DID WAS THROW THE SWIMBAIT...."

It doesn't really have to be this way though. To enjoy fishing these baits, you don't have to throw them all day long, you don't have to have the latest and the greatest and you don't have to give up any particular style of fishing to do so. All you need to do is have the will and desire to LEARN. You need to learn what triggers these fish to feed. You need to learn how to identify peak times on high percentage locations and even understanding how noises you make in your boat negatively affect the way fish feed. Some people have it in them to fish this style  while others don't. Whichever you are, I urge you to give it a shat!
Like I said before:

Do everything in your power to STUDY and LEARN and I promise you, you'll reap the rewards!

Category: Fishing Blog
#60 Hey all!
Posted by mmagnone, 9/29/2014 07:41:59 PM
Matt here,
Had the opportunity to fish both Lake Perris and DIamond Valley today. To those that are a little uneasy about the falling water level at DVL and the construction on the dam at Perris; I can assure you that both lakes are perfectly launch able and are biting.

Don't hesitate to check out either one! 
Category: Fishing Blog
#59 Time for Transition
Posted by mmagnone, 9/25/2014 10:44:09 AM
Well it's no secret as Summer rolls into Fall we're seeing a great deal of bass working together in schools wolf packing on prey fish such as Bluegill, Shad, Silverside Minnow and Pond Smelt. These fish can often be the most difficult to catch, but can often times be the most fun you'll have all season. 

One thing I tend to look for this time of year are areas where there is current. While down in Southern California we don't have the privelege of fishing moving water as most of our lakes, or should I say "ponds", are land locked. There are however other forms of current we encounter. Wind current, water fluctuations and recreation boat traffic all provide an element of moving water. As the winds shift in the afternoons and begin to pick up speed, they in combination with boat traffic tend  to push the surface layer of the water column. As the wind develops chop, waves and rollers, that layer begins to pick up speed down the bank which in turn creates ample hot spots in the form of off colored water, mud lines and debree on most wind blown shorelines. Think in terms of shorelines and coves that are facing into the wind. These covess or shorelines I often call "Bait and Wind Traps". Like I've always said " Follow the wind", "Find the bait", "Imagine the wind is a finger pointing at the shoreline you need to be fishing." 

Keep it simple. Follow the WInd, Birds and Bait and you'll find the fish!

Category: Fishing Blog
#58 Couple Tips for the "Tough" Bite on DVL
Posted by mmagnone, 9/23/2014 09:10:44 PM
Well, it's no surprise that the majority of anglers are avoiding DVL. On more than one trip I could literally count the amount of trailers in the lot on one hand. Unfortunately, many guys are hearing through the grapevine that DVL is slow, low, losing water and is going to close. While the water was going down at an insane rate, for the past few weeks it has stabilized and isn't fluctuating nearly as much. The launch is fine, the lakes doin okay and the fishing is great.

With stable water brings stable fishing. Right now I have to tell you that the bite is pretty stupid. It's just a matter of how you approach it. A lot of guys in the Summer months struggle seeing as how the fish are all over the place. You can get them deep, shallow, suspended in wolf packs etc. etc. The biggest thing that you need to assess is #1 FORAGE #2 THERMOCLINE and #3 WEATHER
If you're hungry where are you going to position yourself? 
If you're having a hard time breathing indoors where you gonna go?
If it's bright outside and you forgot your sunglasses are you going to go indoors or in the shade or stay outdoors where it's uncomfortable? What about when it's overcast? Are you going to feel comfortable moving around?
A lot of guys are failing to think about fish positioning based on forage, thermocline and weather conditions. The biggest thing all of us do, including myself, fall into the trap of "doing what we want to do" versus "doing what we need to do". A couple trips back I wasn't catching them. I was having a brutal time and could only manage rats. While all the signs were there to fish smaller baits; I chose to continue to charge hard with the big bait. Well that left me in a bad spot. It wasn't until i downsized, even slightly, when I started to put them in the boat. 
Couple Tips:
Fish right now are holding at all levels but 15-25' on offshore structure spots, main lake points and on otherwise rocky bank seems to be the sweet spot. With the thermocline hovering in the 30' zone, Bass will position themselves at the lowest point, sometimes beyond, on structure. Imagine that layer of water being the difference between oxygen and no oxygen. 

Now you gotta think forage. Right now there's a plethora of life in the water. Big schools of silversides, bluegill and bass are ALL OVER THE PLACE! With the afternoon winds kicking up at a good clip, a lot of the fin fish is forced to position, not only from the current but from the fish, on main lake wind blown shorelines. If the forage is there; cross #1 off your list. Knowing that the thermocline is roughly 30', focus on areas where the fish have the ability to move up and feed then be able to retreat back to their holding areas in the quickest amount of time. Not only is it convenient but these pressured fish have learned its the safest way to feed besides at night.
Now that you've isolated forage and depth zone all you have to do is figure out feeding times whether it be in the morning or evening. The fish are wolf packing hard right now in big numbers. Think sunlight, think stealth and think strategy. While bass are free spirited like ourselves, they can feed whenever they want but choose to do so when chance meets opportunity. When its crystal clear, flat and high noon it doesn't stack up in the bass's favor to cruise around and mawl bait although it does happen. Bass are like criminals. They want to be concealed and sneak up when you least expect them to. Low light, wind blown and overcast conditions have been critical.
When the days just don't stack in my favor, I've been smart enough to dump my "favorite rods" and pick up baits that suit it. The dropshot rod has been on the deck a lot lately. When it's hot, inactive and other wise just downright bad, I've been drop shotting 4-6" worms in watermelon purple. I'm on 4# fluoro, size #1 hook and a leader length the same length as the worm I'm fishing. The bite has literally been dumb. As long as you're in the zone where the fish are hanging and are listening to the clues that are given it's been solid. There was one spot yesterday where i made 3 casts and caught 3 fish. There are a lot of 7-14" fish right now but for every 3-5 you catch, you're catching a fish in the 3-4# class which makes it pretty fun! Angles haven't made too much difference the last couple trips 

On the other hand, when the days stack in my favor and some days just "dumb luck", I've been doing work lately throwing swimbaits in various sizes. Baits as little as the Megabass Spark Shad all the way up to the Roman Made Mother. The key has been to listen to what mother nature is telling you. Forage, Thermocline and Weather. Pick areas that stack in your favor and give it all you got!

I know guys are struggling out here so I figured I'd dump a little on how I've been getting bit. Gotta share the wealth! With the fishing the way it is, people need to get out there!
If you have any questions stop into Last Chance Bait and Tackle and I'll do my best to break it down for you!
Category: Fishing Blog
#57 Megabass Deep-SIX
Posted by mmagnone, 7/4/2014 05:15:41 PM
Played around with the Megabass Deep SIX today. For those that are crank launchers, you outta grab one and test it out! The weight transfer system aids in longer casting distance and maximum time in the strike zone, the unique bill design forces the bait down in a hurry but at the end of the cast, load is reduced making it insanely easy to pull the bait out to make another cast (something that always is a pain with DDivers) and last but not least they offer a nice color selection making it easy to match the hatch when you need to flip your game plan. Megabass of America

Check em out at Last Chance Bait & Tackle

Any questions about them give me a shout at the shop and i'll be more than happy to answer any questions.
Category: Fishing Blog
#56 Megabass OrochiXX F8-79XX
Posted by mmagnone, 6/25/2014 11:30:13 PM
So it's been a while since I first purchased the Megabass OrochiXX F8-79XX. I wanted to give it a year or so before I really made up my mind if the rod could really cut it as a top jig stick in my arsenal. Well it passed the test. 
I look for a little different action than most in a jig rod. The mass majority tend to lean towards a rod with a soft tip but still has the backbone to stick a fish; Something typically categorized as a "Medium Heavy" action ord or a typical "4-5" power rod in the advanced numbering system. While a Medium Heavy rod definitely fits the bill, in the long run there are more negatives than positives. 

I keep my jig sizes extremely basic. I throw 3/8oz and 1/2oz exclusively. I fish 3/8oz jigs in water less that 30' and the 1/2oz in water deeper than 30'. There are always exceptions to my  rule lets say if fish are highly pressured whether it be from post frontal conditions, falling water or day after a tournament. Some days fish might want it falling faster or vise versa. Never the less you have to adapt as an angler to changing conditions. Regardless which size jig I'm throwing, I want the same style of rod in my hand.

I learned a long time ago about weedguards on jigs. I spent a lot of time buying jigs off the shelf playing with full, trimmed and thinned weedguards. I've tested them through the years and the remaining constant I've learned has been no matter how much you take off or leave on, there's always going to be a deflection factor in the mouth of a fish. Depending upon how the fish picks the jig up and moves it around it's mouth, you always run the risk of missing a hookset do to the weedguard. While having a weedguard can definitely help you while creeping the jig through heavy cover or grass, I prefer to fish my jigs without a weedguard. I prefer the solid bone jarring  95-100% hook up ratio as opposed to the 90% success rate I see with a weedguard. Yes, I expect to go through a box full of jigs in a day but when you're spending gas money to get to the lake, entry fee, boat payment, trounament entry fee etc., it all becomes priceless to me. I want to catch some bass!
So here is where all this useless information comes into play. If you as angler have metered fish in 45' of water and decide to chuck a jig at them. Lets say you bomb that bait out, allow your bait to sink and as soon as you pick up to feel the jig you get bit. Say you wind down and try and set up on the fish only to feel the fish head shake and come off. I'm sure everyone reading this has felt this one time or another. What you didnt realize is that there's an arc in your line from the rod tip, the point at which the line anters the water and then to the jig. Think about it. It's safe to assume that there's an extra 10' - 20' of un-accounted for slack in your line before your rod tip becomes directly in line with your jig. Now, if you're fishing a rod that is fairly short, lets say between 6 1/2' and 7' long, how on earth are you going to move enough line on a hook set to penetrate the point of the hook into the fish? We get extremely lucky as anglers and sometimes we attribute luck as skill. Ive hooked plenty of fish with the short rods but as soon as I switched it up to 7'4" rods and longer my hook up ratio has shot through the roof. 

In the last few years I've made a jump in my jig rods to more or less "Flippin Sticks" I favor a 7'6" - 7'9" Extra Heavy action or "5-8" Power rod.  The reason being, as stated above, is to move an extreme amount of line on one hookset and to have enough back bone where my rod doesnt buckle under the hookset. Longer rods not only aid in moving line on the hookset but they offer me the ability to cast a lot further sometimes giving me a slight advantaged when needing to cover water. 
Now going back yet again, having a rod long enough, strong enough and having a jig with a positive hook up ratio, I've put myself in a position to maximize my bite to land ratio. If I get bit at the end of a long cast, with the amount of slack I assume to be there, I can wind down on the bite and move enough line on the hookset to have the assurance that my jig is going to crack that fish. 

I can't say enough about the Orochi XX F8-79XX. Anyone in the marked for a jig rod that has the sensitivity, length and backbone, all the while being a power house in tight quarter flipping and pitching situations; look no further. It's length generates distanc on the cast an moves an insane amount of line on a hookset, the blank telegraphs the bite  better than most rods on the market and the backbone is meaty enough to stick fish on the end of the long cast. I pair it up with a high speed reel and I'm SOLID!
Category: Fishing Blog
#55 Summer Time!
Posted by mmagnone, 6/11/2014 06:56:45 PM
 Well, it's finally here; Summertime!
This time is an absolute blast for the guys who love to throw the reaction baits fishing for both numbers and quality. While the bite can be red hot right now, so can the sun and its UV rays. Be careful on the water and do your best to either apply sun screen or force yourself to wear your UV protective clothing. 
When it comes to UV related clothing, my personal favorites are  made from Simms. 
Simms Solar Flex Sun Glove-

Simms Sun Sleeve-
Simms Sun Gaitor
Have a look and if interested, but aren't sure whether or not to pull the trigger, give us a call over at Last Chance Bait and Tackle and we'll do our best to help you understand the benefits in wearing the clothing from this awesome brand.
Last Chance Bait and Tackle
Category: Fishing Blog
#54 National Bass West Night Tournament
Posted by mmagnone, 6/1/2014 08:17:15 PM
 Just a friendly reminder. The first of 3 Diamond Valley Region National Bass West tournaments will be held June 28, 2014

National Bass West
Diamond Valley Night Tournaments
FEATURING"90% Payback!!!

Mike and Lynn will be at Diamond Valley Lake starting at 4:30 p.m. the day of the tournament. The barbecue will be from 4:45-6:00 p.m. They will have a meeting at 6:15 p.m. at DIAMOND VALLEY LAKE PARKING LOT where they will go over the rules and draw for the first boat out. They will launch as soon as the lake staff allows.  (which should be around 6:30 p.m. for this event)
THERE IS NO OFF LIMITS. You CAN fish up until 6:15 p.m. the day of the tournament however you must be off the lake by 6:15 p.m. and attend the meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the National Bass West tournament trailer.
Category: Fishing Blog
#53 Wounded Warrior Bass Tournament DVL 5/17/14
Posted by mmagnone, 5/12/2014 08:22:10 PM

May 17th (Saturday) WARRIOR EVENT at Diamond Valley Lake starting at 4:30 a.m. weighing in starting at 1 p.m.
Lake Elsinore Bass Club along with National Bass West are having the 7th annual WARRIOR event. In the past years, so many of you have participated and walked away with so many great memories, good friends and a feeling that is amazing. Help us give back to the Warriors who have defended and served us all with honor, intregrity and bravery for the LOVE of our country.

NO FEES FOR THIS EVENT,... We will give you a free breakfast, free entry into the lake, free launch, free parking and a free barbecued lunch. Following the lunch we will have a HUGE raffle (yes from donations where 100% of the money goes directly to the Warrior Foundation (Freedom Station) in San Diego where 100% of the money goes back to the Warriors !

Please call me at 760-497-8238 or 951-487-1800 and let me know that you can help out or would like to donate something for the raffle.
Category: Fishing Blog
#52 Spy Baitin' the Post Spawn
Posted by mmagnone, 5/7/2014 08:22:03 AM
Gotten a little away from reporting on how the lake is doing lately. I've been charging full speed ahead in the search of giants but the last couple trips I've laid the big bait down to some degree for a little old fashioned fun. The past few years I've taken major interest in baits with little to no action. Stuff like the Seira Minnow by Jackall, Prop Magic by Evergreen and the Spinbait from Duo just to give examples. Previously all I've had to mess with was the Gancraft baits and baits I've made in my garage.

The past few trips I've been on an absolute wrecking spree with the Spinbait 80 by Duo Realis. You've all heard the hype behind these baits for the past year or so and many of you probably picked one up and ended up throwing it in the corner of the garage after a trip with absolute zero confidence. I for one wasn't sure what to make of the bait when I bought my first one. iIve previously been conditioned to prefer baits in this category with a more horizontal swim path rather than a bait with more of a 45 path. For those of you who have no clue whatsoever I'm talking about I'll shed a little light.

This is a Duo Realis Spinbait 80 in a color i'm wrecking them on. It's a nothing fancy gill pattern. Those of you familiar to old baits like the Devil Horse or the Torpedo may look at this and assume its a surface bait. Wrong. This bait, at 3/8oz, sinks allowing you to pick an individual part of the water column you want to target. I've effectively caught fish from 30' recently with them and even though i'm swimbait crazy; these things are a blast. All you have to do is open the bail and count her down. I'm throwing them on a Megabass Orochi XX F3.1/2 70XXS with an Abu Garcia Revo Premier PRM20 Premier spooled with 4" Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon. Basically a 7' drop shot rod, a medium speed spinning reel and light line.

To get the action started all you have to do is count the bait down to your target zone once you've located fish and then simply start turning the reel handle. It's that simple. Keep in mind at the end of the cast you want to be turning the handle at a faster speed than when the bait is approaching the boat. In doing so the bait's allowed to keep its path along the zone you're intending to fish. I've found this bait AWESOME when the algae was up. I was able to present the bait just under the bulk of the junk with minimal clogging of the props. The bluegill were holding high in the column along the walls just under the junk and i was able to present this bait horizontally alongside them. When you get bit all it'll feel like is you grabbing grass. All you have to do is wind into the bite and you're solid. The majority of fish are around 2-3 pounds but it still makes for a RAD day on the water! The way I describe the retrieve to people is just as if you were to wind a ribbon tail worm v waking it across the surface just fast enough to get the tail to move. Nice and steady with minimal movement.

Hopefully you guys can have fun with this bite. I figured I'd throw it out there for all to play with. It's been going on since the bait came out but lately just went absolutely ballistic! If you have any questions with the bait,

Stop into:

Last Chance Bait and Tackle
3356 Wentworth DR
Hemet,CA 92545
(951) 658-7410

To find the baits I'm referring to check out this link:

Category: Fishing Blog
#51 Be Safe!
Posted by mmagnone, 4/29/2014 09:41:00 PM
 Hey just a friendly reminder from the folks over at Last Chance. Be safe on the water boating. As the weather begins to switch into its "Summer" pattern, weather conditions aren't far behind. Wind, wind and more wind will be apparent in the next few months. We urge all boaters to go through their safety items including:
Life Preservers
Kill Switch

For those that may need to re-up on any of these items give us a call at:
Last Chance Bait and Tackle:
(951) 658-7410

Last Chance Performance Marine
(951) 487-1800

As always have a fun and safe day on the water!!!
Category: Fishing Blog
#50 Chatter, Chatter Chatter
Posted by mmagnone, 4/25/2014 08:19:26 PM
Ooh baby I love it!

Much like the pre-Spawn, the post Spawn can be one of the most exciting times of the year to fish if you let it. Many people refer to this time of year as having the "Post Spawn Blues". Well in reality, if you want the bite to be tough; believe you me it will be!

I, on the other hand, refuse to let a lake "tell me" that it's tough. I'm going to figure it out by putting in the time to find the active biting fish. By active biters I'm referring to the fish that want to chew rather than the fish that are still in recovery. This time of year bass will take their time in a recovery stage recouping from the duration of the spawn. Keep in mind, all fish spawn at different times. Rather than target the fish that may have just left the bed, I go in search of the fish that have spawned earlier. To me, the perfect presentation is something used to cover a vast amount of water. My favorite choice is the Chatter bait.

For those of you who may not have an understanding of what a Chatter bait is I'll briefly explain. A Chatter bait is merely a swim jig with a blade attached to the line tie of the jig head. A snap is affixed to the blade and this is your "new" line tie. Being that you tie to the snap as opposed to the actual jig head, the way water passes over the lure in turn changes. As water passes around the blade, the forces the blade to wobble side to side which in turn causes the jig head to shimmy back and forth. Adding a trailer bait to the back of the skirted jig will in turn provide even more action.

The name Chatter bait comes form the original manufacturer now owned by the company called Zman. The term Chatter bait often times gets loosely grouped into the vast category of swim jigs or vibrating jigs.

To throw a Chatterbait all you need is a standard jig rod between 7' and 8' and a reel, both geared and spooled, appropriate to the body of water that you're fishing. For instance, I fish a Dobyns 804C with a 6.4:1 Abu Garcia Revo SX spooled with 40# braid spliced to 15# Seaguar fluorocarbon leader material. Being that this is a reaction technique with the fish not being able to get a good look at the bait, you're able to jump your line size.

The beauty of the Chatter bait retrieve is the fact that all you need to know is how to "chuck and wind". Much the same as a crank bait, the Chatter bait creates its own action. An angler can cover a vast amount of water in a quick amount of time with just turning the handle. What I like to do to add in action is to add a stop, go and burn technique into my retrieve. I'll be clipping along at a pretty good pace then I'll all of the sudden kill the bait giving it a couple second pause. By doing this fish that are chasing it often times end up running into the bait and just demolish it. If I don't get bit I'll pick my speed back up. After a few feet I'll increase my speed then drop it back down. As an angler we need to create an illusion of realism. Make your bait look as if its a natural forage. Make it move erratic. In doing so, often times you'll be able to trigger fish into reacting as opposed to relying on them to want to eat.

When selecting your trailer type be open minded. Match the forage you're trying to imitate by both color and size and you should be on the right track. There are times I go with a straight tail trailer and times I go with a boot tail design. My choice revolves around the activity level of the fish I'm after. This changes on sometimes a daily basis. For the most part, any number of baits will work, you'll just have to let your gut and confidence take over.

In conclusion the Chatter bait can be just the difference you need on the water to separate yourself from other anglers. It's a great bait for covering water in both the pre and the post spawn and has the drawing power to elicit strikes from even the largest bass. Definitely give it a shot; You wont be disappointed!

Photo: Big one today on the swimjig / 4" Predator combo !!!  Love this lake !!'

Category: Fishing Blog
Help in Locating
Posted by mmagnone, 4/13/2014 12:54:00 AM
There's a lot to be said about time on the water but more to be said about the time "off the water". A lot of guys come into the shop with the same question regarding Diamond Valley and my personal pursuit of giant bass. What I'm about to show and tell you, many will throw their hands up in disbelief why I'm showing you all my methods but it's just that. My methods. I aim to grow the sport so I'm going to elevate the bar. Some may currently use this method while others may not.

I get this a lot:

"I always see your pictures on the internet. Where are you fishing and what are you using?"

A loaded question indeed but there's more to it than the right bait or the right "1" spot. In fact to baffle the majority, the right spot is the spot where all the right variables come into play on that individual day, at that individual time, with that individual bait. Every bait in the arsenal is a tool and in your toolbox you need to have an open mind through changing conditions. Capitalizing on opportunity is the key to catching larger fish and more of them on average. It all starts with me sitting at my computer. Contrary to what many people chalk up to as me being on the water all the time, I spend countless hours mapping out location based upon current water level and time of year. Rather than party with friends or have a social life like others, I'm more of a hermit. Sounds pretty lame I know, but bass fishing means everything to me and I put forth an immense amount of hard work to excel and maximize my time on the water. Like many of you folks, Google Earth, has been a key part of my strategy in finding high percentage areas. With the "Historical Imagery" I'm able to look at water level in years past to give me clues to where my high percentage options are.

Having this option at my disposal is key in locating potential fish holding areas. The footwork is just as important as the fishing. With this knowledge I'm able to decipher location based upon seasonal migration routes whether it be fish following forage or just fish migrating from area to area. I follow the hard learned lessons about fish positioning and use them to my advantage on each individual area. This is something every angler will have to earn for themselves so I'm not going into detail. Trust me I wouldnt be doing anybody any favors my telling you how to set up. It's a self taught lesson every angler will have to learn for themselves.

Once I have the structure identified (bottom of the lake) I'll watch my weather patterns and use my knowledge of past circumstance to identify areas that boost a potential spot. Wind, sun angle and wind chop are just a few variables I look at when deciphering a spot. I look for irregularities. With the Sun agle time lapse feature I'm able to set myself up on a general "milk run" around the lake based on sun angle, wind direction and wind chop. When I find interception points on a specific piece of cover on a specific piece of structure I've found an area that has potential. Keep in mind just because it looks right and sets up right doesn't mean that it is right. It should just be considered a high percentage location. You as anglers will have to make your rotation through it all times of the day and several days a week if not months to find the correct time stamp. By time stamp I'm referring to the individual time per given day to hit that spot under the most optimal conditions for that spot.

Now comes the hard work. I've mapped the lake out taking Photoshop along with satellite imagery to create a high detailed visual topographic map showing me cover and structure as they intercept with a give contour line. This took me quite a while to figure out and make but the information obtained is extremely valuable. Again, If you want to excel and boost your game, you as anglers will have to go the extra mile and educate yourselves. I promise you once you do, you'll reap the rewards. Knowledge is power!

Once I'm mapped out and know what I have to work with I'll begin the long journey of fishin the hundreds of avenues around the lake learning my angles, my time limits, and ways of approach. It all matters. Some of the most prime location straight down to the textbook could be right but for some unearthly reason; they're not. You'll be beating your head for months on end before you realize that 20 yards down the bank, while hidden on Google Earth, actually has a better set up than the most obvious. Once you have a basic understanding of your areas and begin to map the highest percentage areas and have gone through the footwork of your variable options I use the thumbnail option to set up "push pins" where I've caught fish over 10#'s.

So in conclusion, I may be that guy in the tin boat brushing his teeth in the line, monster cans overflowing from the bed of my truck and seemingly unorganized in my pursuit on the water, but I've spent countless time, energy and money on the journey for these large fish. If catching above average size fish is what you're after, putting the work in right now for years to come will un-undoubtedly be in your benefit. Above all, don't be afraid to share information. I can guarantee you with 100% certainty that it will not affect your bite unless your bite is everyone elses bite . If any of you would like tips how to get yourself organized cruise into Last Chance Bait and Tackle and I can spend a couple minutes with you discussing how to set all this up. I'd love to help others get on some of these fish. If we're busy at the time we can arrange a time to talk.

Here's a video of a fish that I caught by utilizing what I've just discussed outta DVL. Double digit on the Roman. 

Category: Fishing Blog
Fred Hall Show Special
Posted by mmagnone, 3/7/2014 01:02:13 PM
Hey guys just wanted to let you all know, For those of you that aren't able to attend  the Fed Hall Show in Long Beach, Last Chance as well as Last Chance Bait and Tackle are offereing a 15% off sale on all items in the store.  As always norma brand exclusions apply.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the shop at:
(951) 658-7410
Category: Fishing Blog
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