There are a lot of baits that are great baits to cover water in search of schooling largemouth bass. The one I prefer and have the most success with is rattling bait such as a Rat-L-Trap.
The Rat-L-Trap is a compact, flat-sided bait filled with BB-type rattles inside its hollow body. With it being compact, it’s easy to cast even on windy days during the fall; you can make long casts and cover a lot of water with it in a day’s fishing.
I like to fish it on long points, flats that drop off into a river or creek channel, and I will even yo-yo it on flats as well -- this will imitate a dying shad. Look for schools of shad on these points that may have stumps or brush on them.
Also, for lakes that have grass on them, this bait will really shine in the grass. You want to fish the bait over the grass, letting it tip and momentarily snag it, and then rip the bait free. This is what will trigger the bass into striking, so I always purposely want the bait to snag the grass. l will also let it fall into the holes in the grass and hit bottom, wait a couple seconds, and then rip the bait in an upward motion to get a reaction strike from bass. They may be looking at the bait as it is laying on the bottom, and the bass think it’s a dying shad. When you rip it up, the bass can’t stand it, then reacts on the Rat-L-Trap.
Line size is very important with this bait. I will usually start out with 15-lb. Seaguar fluorocarbon line, but by using heavier line or lighter line I can adjust how deep the bait will go. The heavier the line, of course, the shallower the bait will go, due to the thickness of the line making the bait more buoyant. And the smaller the diameter of the line, the less drag, so it will run deeper. Keep this in mind when fishing this bait. There are several times when I will have 10-, 15- and 17-lb. line on different rods, so that I can fish different depths during the day. Also, the bait comes in many sizes, and you can also match the bait to the present-size bait that the bass are feeding on.
Scott Patton is a Pro Angler and full-time, year-round guide on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. His sponsors include Bass Pro Shops, NITRO Boats, Mercury Marine, Motor Guide, ZOOM, Rat-L-Trap, kentuckybatteryoutlet.com, surplex batteries, Seaguar, louisvillemechanical.com, kentuckylakeprolures.com, and Costa Del Mar. Visit his website at scottpattonfishing.com.
Written by Scott Patton