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Smith: February is Rattle-Trap time

By Chris Smith
Feb. 4, 2015 at 10 p.m.

For serious bass anglers, February is the season of the Rattle-Trap.

More specifically a Red Rattle-Trap.

For serious bass anglers, February is the season of the Rattle-Trap.

More specifically a Red Rattle-Trap.

From now until bass start leaving the shallows for summer patterns these baits will put fish on the stringer. Actually the bait is a good producer year round but it excels on pre spawn bass. The bait not only catches numbers of fish but trophy fish love them too. The 'Trap has accounted for tournament wins on every level and it doesn't seem to ever slow down.

The only negative thing I can recall being said about 'Traps is the hooks. Jumping fish can shake the hooks free and this can hurt some feelings. There are a couple of ways to cut down on losing these fish.

In the early days the bait came equipped with trebles that most anglers would replace. The aftermarket hooks such as Owner, Excalibur and Gamakatsu were much better hardware.

This could enable better control of a fish that jumped and the super sharp replacements improved the landing odds. Loosening the drag adjustment a tad will also help as fish tend to jump less if allowed to pull some drag. Recently the 'Trap has started coming equipped with new and improved hooks. The new hardware is high quality and works very well.

The adage "Any color is good, as long as it's red" seems to hold true for decades now. Different colors will work better at times and every year there seems to be one hot new color that everyone catches more fish on. The crawfish red is my favorite but the red with white belly is a close second. The chrome/black back color has probably caught more East Texas bass than others but for February, red is "THE" color.

The 'Trap comes in many sizes but half ounce is probably the most popular.

Many anglers will go to the 3/4-ounce model during February trophy hunts.

These baits can be cast into the wind which is common during the late winter/early spring days. Simply casting and winding the "trap back to the boat will catch fish but experimenting with the retrieve can often make a big difference in catch rates. A stop and go retrieve is a good starting point. Ripping the bait off bottom will at times draw strikes from bigger fish.

The predator instinct will kick in as the bait falls back to bottom, causing bass to inhale the 'Trap. It may feel like a small "tick" during these falling bait retrieves but odds are good the bass has the bait well inside its mouth.

Points and flats adjacent to spawning areas will be prime areas to look for groups of pre spawn females. The 'Trap covers water better than any other search bait and allows anglers to find fish quickly. Finding a flat with hydrilla or milfoil near a spawning area is even better. The grass gives the fish ambush points and can produce for weeks.

Get a few Rattle-Traps and get out on your favorite water body this weekend.




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