Winter Bass Fishing - Rat-L-Trap Presentations

February 01, 2021
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The Rat-L Trap, or rattle trap, is effective for winter bass fishing on Lake Guntersville. Creative casting and yo-yoing the trap can change presentation, especially in grassy lakes. Speed, control, and rod tip are crucial for varying drop, retrieve speed, and rip height. The length of the drop and pull also affects the trap's appearance.

There is bait that is especially effective for winter bass fishing on Lake Guntersville, the Rat-L Trap or rattle trap. As we get deeper into the rattle trap bite, I thought I would spend some time talking in detail as to the many ways to work a rattle trap. One of the keys to catching winter bass on a rattle bait is to be creative with every cast. Use your imagination to change the retrieve and set up different rods reel combo’s with different speed reels, different size line and differently weighted traps. The technique I like the most is referred to as yo-yoing the trap. There are many ways to do what is referred to as yo-yoing especially on Lake Guntersville, where you are dealing with spotty grass from the summer. This also takes many different looks when you change reel speed and/or trap weight as this can really change the presentation just by making changes to different set-ups.

Yes, the yo-yo technique is simple, it is just a matter of working the trap up and down. However, there are many ways to employ the technique, especially as noted with a grassy lake. Speed, control, and rod tip are particularly important when yo-yoing as you need to be able to change the drop, slowly retrieve it or rip it upward giving the bait variety of different looks to the fish when you rip it vs. slowly retrieving it. Sometimes the harder and faster you rip it upward the more reaction bites you get, and when the bite is tough creating reaction bites can be extremely rewarding. The length of the drop and pull can also make the Rat-L trap look quite different in the water. In other words, short pulls can be fast and snappy making the drop quick and precise but long pulls cause more vibration and give the trap more time in the strike zone, making it visible for a longer period-of-time to the fish.

Another presentation is the steady retrieve when the bass are active many times the steady retrieve works best if you are just covering water and putting the bait in front of the fish’s face, causing them to bite. As is the case, retrieve speed needs to vary, until you find one that catches fish; reel fast, reel slow, speed up, slow down and stopping your movement momentarily allows you to find the presentation that the winter bass are reacting too. The stopping action just needs you to pause your retrieve momentarily. Remember speed can be changed with different reels. A faster reel will give the trap a different look than a slow one. The rod tip also changes the look of the bait if you hold the rod tip high it will run more toward the top of the water level. Conversely, if you hold the rod tip down it will run deeper allowing the rattle trap to deflect and move erratically as you pull it though cover. Many times, when you are reeling just speed up for about 10 seconds then stop quickly allowing the bait to drop and pause momentarily on the bottom. The action of going from speed to stop makes many bass curious. They will look at it and strike at the next movement after the pause or pick up while sitting on the bottom. Fishing a rattle bait is all about imagination and allowing yourself to become creative. This can lead you to some good days in the cold of winter! Remember a big part of rattle bait presentations is creating a reaction and bottom structure like grass, wood, shell beds all cause the bait to deflect differently when it catches the bottom. Many people become frustrated when the bait hangs on the structure, but this is exactly what you want. Snap it to get the bait to come loose and many times you will get bit just from trying to pop it off the cover. There are not enough descriptions that I can give you on ways to be creative with the trap, but your mind can tell you ways as you work the bait. Use your gift of creativity and watch the fish you will catch will increase substantially!

Capt. Mike Gerry

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service


Call: 256 759 2270

Mike Gerry In The Spread, Instructor
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