5 pro anglers (reluctantly) reveal their top-secret tactics for bass, lakers, muskies and walleye


Tournament angler Dave Chong relies on the Lucky Craft Pointer (below) for his secret bass tactic


TARGET: Smallmouth bass

TACTIC: Long-line a jerkbait

Tournament pro Dave Chong’s love affair with jerkbaits started more than 20 years ago when he bought his first Lucky Craft Pointer during a trip to California. As with many other anglers, he now has boxes full of the minnow look-alikes in his boat. But here’s a shocker—he rarely makes a cast with one.

What you are presenting is only a small piece of the puzzle,” Chong says. “I long-line, or stroll, my jerkbaits.” That’s exactly what he was doing, in fact, when he caught his eight-pound seven-ounce Goliath on Ontario’s Lake Simcoe in 27 feet of water. “I’ve been doing this long enough to know that with the amount of line I had out, my bait was down 15 feet,” he says. “I could have got it down even deeper, but 15 feet over 27 feet of water is where I wanted it to be.”


According to Chong, he often fishes with more than 150 feet of line trailing behind the boat. “That’s a good amount, and it takes a long time to reel it all in,” he says. “People often ask me, ‘Why it is taking you so long to fight that fish?’ It’s because I’ve got so much line out.”

Lucky Craft Pointer

Chong, who got into strolling jerkbaits after spending years dragging a tube jig for smallmouth in the Great Lakes, uses his trolling motor to keep the boat moving on dead-calm days. Noting that it’s much easier going with the wind than against it, especially if you’re trying to follow a contour line, he says he typically moves along at 2½ to five km/h.

For this set-up, Chong uses a 6′ 10″ medium-fast-action spinning rod and reel spooled with 15-pound-test braid and a 12-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. “You could use a baitcaster just as easily because you’re not worried about casting. But you need a deep 2500- or 3000-size spool—not a shallow one—because you might not have enough line capacity otherwise.”


An added bonus when long-lining jerkbaits, Chong points out, is the opportunity to also catch big incidental lake trout. When he boated the 8.7-pounder, in fact, he was certain he’d hooked a laker as he was coaxing the fish to the surface—until it tried to jump, that is.

Always trying to stay one step ahead of the angling crowd, the bass pro is now looking to stuff another ace up his sleeve. “Imagine if you had your forward-facing sonar transducer on the transom facing back,” he says. “You could watch your jerkbait and see the smallmouth come up and eat it.” Hmm.