Fishing Tips & Stories


Fishing Tips & Stories



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  Fishing Tips & Stories Table of Contents

1.  Fishing "Sneaky Rig" with Spence (Click Here)

2.  Learning from the Kids (Click Here)

3.  Reid's Wacky Worm Tips (Click Here)

4.  Reid's Boat Trailer Pads Tip (Click Here)

5.  Hall of Fame Presentation (Click Here) 

6.  "Sneaky & Texas Rig" Ribbon Tailed Worms (Click Here)

7.  How to Get Confidence On a large Deep Lake Using a Drop Shot Rig (Click Here)

8. Persistance Can Pay off on Blue Sky Days (Click Here)

9. A Great Day on a “Bad Night” With Dan Nowak (Click Here)

10. Cushion for Ice Cooler Lid (Click Here)

11.  Reid uses "Bow To Stern" (BTS)

protectant on his boat. (Click Here)   





1. Fishing "Sneaky Rig" with Spence

 Fishing With Spence Petros

        Delavan  May 2009         

                            Reid's "Sneaky Rig"

In May 2009 I had the privilege of fishing with Hayward Wisconsin Hall of Fame Fisherman Spence Petros [ ].   We were fishing Lake Delavan, WI and started the day in a weedy backwater area.   Spence had good luck in that area the week before fishing 6" worms "wacky style" so that's how we started.   After several casts Spence got a few short strikes.  I was still "fishing" and not "catching" so I decided to try a tail weighting technique I use with a 4½" Texas rigged Bass Pro Shops [] "Stik-O-Worm" (See "Reid's Sneaky Rig" photos below).    I've been using this tail weighted version of the Stik-O-Worm for several years after experimenting with several different ways to weight cigar shaped worms.   

Typically this technique works best when fish are "chasing" a little.  Since we had some short strikes and the weeds were fairly thick, I felt this bait might work well because it mimics an erratically swimming minnow and dives down into the weeds.  Fish it as follows:  Cast and let sink on slack line; lift pole tip and check for fish or weeds;  if weeds or no fish give a quick short snap and let lure "swim" back down again on a slack line; then repeat process.  Quite often this relatively short 4½" worm is taken very deep which increases the potential for damage to fish.  The standard for a deep hooked fish is to cut the line and give the fish the hook.  I recommend fishing barbless.  Barbless fishing saves hooks and fish.   By the way, I've tried nail weights with longer worms and it does work.  However it seems using the shorter worm distributes the weight more evenly and the shorter worm "swims" more than a longer worm which tends to dive. 

As soon as I started using the tail weighted "sneaky rig" I began catching fish.  Spence switched over to a Texas rigged "Sinko Type" worm which looked like my bait but it did not have the tail weight.  You see, I rig my tail weights in the worm before I go fishing so Spence did not see the weight in the worm.  I thought mentioned the tail weight to Spence (well ... maybe I didn't say it too loud).  Anyway after I landed a few more fish Spence asked what I was doing different.  I asked if he had a tail weight in his lure (which of course I knew he didn't).   After I showed him how to put in the weight, he said I was pretty sneaky about hiding this little tail weight detail (which...sneaky I was) so he decided to call it  Reid's "Sneaky Rig".   We finished the next 2-3 hours or so on Lake Delavan ending up with 17 nice bass and several missed strikes.  The rest of the day was spent on Lake Geneva but that's another story.    Of course, like any bait, it doesn't work every day but I always have one rigged up and on days when they are chasing and the weeds are a little thick its great!   

If you ever get a chance to fish with Spence do it!  Regardless of how good the bite is that day, you'll learn a lot just watching Spence trying different things.   See Spence's web site [ ] for details on fishing with Spence. 

Rigging Reid's "Sneaky Rig"

1.Pliers, 4 1/4 " Stik-O-Worm and 3/64 oz weight               2. Grab weight with pliers                   3. Push weight into point end of worm



     4. Pinch and hold worm                            5. Pull worm over end of weight             6. Hook worm Texas Rig (Click for more Texas rig info)     


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2. Learning from the Kids




In July 2009 I (Reid) completed two Reid's Bass Beginnings training sessions at the Prairie School in Racine, Wisconsin.  Each class consisted of two days of Lecture and workshop followed by about 90 minutes of "on the pond" training (see training for details on typical elementary school training class).  On this day the kid's taught the trainer.   I started by showing them how to fish various surface baits and different rubber worms.   The surface bait demonstration included a clipped, heavy salted 6" paddle tail Texas rigged worm (see below) used as a surface bait (basically fishing it like a buzz bait).   Since it was a bright sunny day and about 1:30pm in the afternoon, I started the kid's with various small rubber worms and grubs.  One youngster decided to Texas rig the 6 inch clipped paddle tail worm with a 1/16 oz bullet weight (see below) and slowly swim/stop/start the lure.   After a few tries he caught a nice bass.   Seeing this several of the other kids switch to the paddle tail rig and began catching bass.     We managed a landing 4 nice bass and got another to the shore before we lost it.  At the end of the session the score was paddle tail "4" other worms and grubs "1". You can bet when the sun is high and the fish "aren't biting" I'm going to give that paddle tail rig a try.    Thanks kids for showing the old man how its done...I'm never too old to learn.


               Clipped Paddle Tail Worm                                                                       Texas Rigged Paddle Tail with 1/16 oz Bullet Weight



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3. Reid's Wacky Worm Tips"

 1.  You can hook the worm in center right through body or use a "keeper".  The keeper will save worms (and money) since the worm will not tear as much after catching a fish (click here to see pictures below).

 2.  Cast next to drop-off with vegetation and let sink on a SLACK (no “bow”)  line… it takes 3 seconds to drop 1 ft on a SLACK LINE.  

 3.  Watch line … if it moves or twitches raise tip of pole very gently until   slack is out of line.

 4.  Watch rod tip to see if it moves (tip may only move ¼ inch and feel heavy)  and feel for a fish.  If weight or any slight movement it could be a fish.

 5.  If you think you feel a fish drop pole tip and gently reel in slack line.  Do  not reel in on taunt line (the fish will feel it).  

 6.  When the slack is out of line, point pole directly at fish and “set hook” by  raising rod tip straight up in a rapid motion while pulling the rod butt  toward the center of your chest.

 7.  Then play fish or lie about “missing one”.   You will either catch a lot of  fish or learn to be a good liar (either way it will make you a better  fisherman)!

 8.  If no line movement count at least 12 seconds (4ft drop) then lift gently  and look at rod tip and feel for fish.

 9.  If no fish give the line 2 or 3 short quick snaps then let the bait settle on a  slack line again for about 6 seconds and repeat strike observation.

Use any straight worm that is designed to sink (Sinko’s, Bass Pro Stik-O's, etc).  You can also use “regular” plastic worms and insert a nail weight.


                          With Keeper to save worms

                  The keeper is an Electrical "Wire Tie"

                   Use a 1/0 Gamakatsu Shiner Hook                                                       Hook through center if no keeper



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4. Reid's Boat Trailer Pads Tip

Have you ever slipped on a wet trailer frame when hooking up your boat?  If so, try the following:

Cut adhesive pads strips and fixed them to the usual places that you step on the trailer frame when hooking up the boat (see photos below).   Round off the corners of the pads (don’t leave them square). Clean off the trailer real good with a suitable solvent before sticking them on.   If you want to get a  better seal place a 2x4 board on top of the strip and put something heavy on it (i.e. brick/anchor) or, better yet, clamp down the board with a “C” clamp.   The pressure will improve the seal.    Try to give it a couple of days before the step pads are immersed in water.

 I purchased the pad material from "Kendor Boat Supermarket" 5721 W Ryan Rd, Franklin, Wisconsin (see map )     


                                                                                                Trailer Pad Placement


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5. Hall of Fame Fisherman Awards Ceremony

Yesterday (January 29, 2011) at the Rosemont Illinois fishing show I watched some people say thanks to the new inductees of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.  The new inductees were Kevin VanDam, Todd Gessner, Mike Jackson and Tony Portencaso.   I stood in the back and watched the ceremony as the inductees received their awards.   Other Hall of Fame fisherman (Babe Winkelman, Spence Petros, Al Linder and others) and the inductee's families took part in the ceremony .   Many appropriate words were said but in my mind I heard "thanks for handing the pole over".     Now let me explain that a little.      

Once in a while I get a chance to take a youngster Bass fishing,   One day I was with a 10 year old named Corey.   As usual, when fishing for the first time with a youngster,  I started with rubber worms.  When I got the first “pickup” of the day I called Corey over and handed him the pole.   We did this several times until he started catching them on his own.   At the end of the day Corey said “Hey, thanks for handing the pole over”.   

As I was watching the presentation, it occurred to me that we were saying thanks to the inductees for handing the pole to all of us.  My Dad did it for me, I did it for Corey, I expect Corey will do it for some one and these Hall of Fame fisherman will continue to hand all of us the pole for a long time to come. 

I know I’ll never be in the Fishing Hall of Fame but I and a lots of Mom’s, Dad’s, Uncles, Cousins and just plain buddies have something in common with them… we've all handed the pole over at some time or another.  

I remembered a line from the novel “Keys to the Kingdom”.   To paraphrase it went something like this… “Wasn't it nice of God to make all the rivers and lakes with fish in them for us to catch”.    I’d like to add my own version of that…”Wasn't it nice of God to make people like Babe, Spence, Al, Kevin, Todd, Mike and Tony to hand the pole over”.

Thanks from a weekend fisherman.

Reid Urban


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6. Sneaky Rig Ribbon Tailed Worms


There are many ways to use lead "nail weights" for plastic baits.    This is just one method using a ribbon tail worm (also see Fishing "Sneaky Rig" with Spence Item #1 above).    This method inserts a 3/64 oz nail weight in the fat part of the worm just above the ribbon tail (see below pictures).    When rigged this way the worm drops slowly and falls horizontally rather than dipping down when nose rigged with a bullet weight slip sinker.  The lure sinks somewhat similar to how a wacky rigged Sinko type lure sinks.   I hook it Texas style  (Click for Texas Style).     I use it in shallow water where the weeds are matted and just below the surface.   Typically I cast.  count to about 5 and then lift the pole to check for a strike (feel weight or slight movement).  If no strike, typically I gently pull the worm (rather than jerking it) through open areas of the weeds.   Sometimes a quick jerk and settle works better but that's up to the fish.    This rig comes through the weeds much better than nose rigged bullet sinkers.    


I like the Lunker City Sluggo weights best but the Bass Pro version is OK too.


Rigging Ribbon Tailed Worm "Sneaky style"(see Item #1 above)



               What's needed to Rig                                                          Inserting weight                                     See weight fully inserted inside worm


Hook Worm "Texas Style"


                Start by inserting hook about 1/4" in nose                                                              Measure hook length and hold spot with thumb against worm




                     Insert hook point perpendicular to worm body                                          Bring hook through worm.  Worm should lay straight.





 7. How to Gain Confidence with an Unfamiliar Technique on a Large Deep Lake

How do you gain confidence on a large deep Lake? That’s easy…just go fishing with Hall of Fame Fisherman Spence Petros. On June 22, 2011 I had the opportunity to fish Bass with Spence on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It was a rainy and windy day. Spence had already fished Geneva for two or three weeks this season and said we’d start with a drop shot rig in a windblown weedy bay  (see below photos for rigging).   This year the weeds were lower than normal so the bay provided more of a weed cover opportunity than other areas. Much of the day the wind was at our backs blowing rain and 1-2ft waves into the bay.

Fishing With Spence Petros

       May 2011 Lake Geneva, WI

I have fished drop shot before and had some success (one or two a day) but I never felt I was doing it quite right so I lacked confidence. Spence changed that in about 10 minutes. “Its pretty windy” said Spence “so grab a ¼ oz drop shot weight and put it about 18” below a #1 shot hook”. I attached it as directed to a 10# fluorocarbon leader and added his suggested 6” dark green pumpkin seed worm.  I somewhat sheepishly tossed in my first cast downwind of our drift pattern…and drift we did. The 20 to 25 mph wind gusts saw to that. The boat tossed around and I rocked back and forth with the waves. I felt like a barber in a hurricane trying to give someone a haircut. The weather somewhat insured that I would pay attention (or fall out of the boat). Wow… wind grabbing my rod, rain, a bouncing boat running toward the shore and here I was trying to feel a bite in the weeds. It was great!!!

The weeds were about 3-4 ft below the surface in 10 to 14 ft of water. I was reeling somewhat quickly after pulling the rod tip up to stay just above the weeds. When I felt weeds load up I gave the rod a quick snap to clear them off the hook. I felt a faint “tick, tick” rather than the thump I was expecting but I set the hook anyway and was rewarded with a nice first Bass. Spence got a hit right after that and, with the exception of a double header, we went back and forth getting hits and landing most of the fish. I missed quite a few strikes since it was a bit of a challenge to decide when to set the hook. I set the hook several times on weeds. Sometimes I waited to be sure if it was a weed or fish. On one occasion, before I set the hook, one of those weeds jumped about 2 or 3 ft out of the water and waved goodbye with a tail fin. I got a hearty “what do you call that” from Spence and I said “it’s amazing how high those weeds can jump isn't it”? That’s one reason why fishing is great. You're never sure what you'll get or not get when you set the hook (or, for that matter, when you don't set the hook).

By the end of the day we caught 35 nice bass and probably missed half that many not to mention numerous Rock Bass that were imitating largemouth strikes. I had an absolutely great time with a great guy despite the rain and wind. In some odd way the weather made it even more enjoyable. Here we were catching fish when very few fishermen even ventured into such nasty weather. Spence gave me confidence in the drop shot rig under difficult conditions and I can't wait to try it again.

I check the weather the day before going out. Now I'm hoping for rain and wind … us fisherman are an odd lot aren't we.


Drop Shot Rig

The drop shot rig consists of tying a 1/0 (or other size) drop shot hook with a Polomar knot leaving the knot tag end line 18" to 24" long.   See below photo showing the worm with weight following about 24" at the tag end.   


                                     Worm on hook                                                       Close up of worm hook up; note how worm is rigged to swing freely on hook



 Drop shot Weight Close up

 Do not put a knot in the line after the shot weight clip.  If Weight hangs up this allows the line to pull through the weight clip saving the rest of the rig.  One more tip.   To avoid drop shot rig tangles during storage and transportation, don't put the shot weight on until you reach the lake.   It only takes a second to clip it on and if you put it on during transportation it usually tangles.      


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8. Persistence Can Pay off on Blue Bird Days

 In June 2011 Spence Petros taught me how to fish drop shot on Lake Geneva (see article #7 above).   This year (June 5th) I, Spence and my buddy Jim Barrett went to Lake Geneva but unlike the windy rainy day in 2011 this day was cool, a blue bird sky with East North East winds (see below photo of Jim and Spence with the biggest fish of the day).  Such "nice" days are usually tougher than most.   Spence decided to fish relatively weedy bays in shallow water (2 to 8ft) during the early morning and then move to 10 to 14ft depths later in the day...and so we did.    The primary technique was a drop shot rig "popped" somewhat quickly through the weeds.  

I started the day with about 18" between the hook and the ¼ oz drop shot weight.  I wasn't getting any strikes.   Spence noticed and had me shorten the distance between the hook to weight to 1ft.  I began getting fish (I guess seemingly little things can mean a lot).   Spence also noticed I was using a 7" worm and suggested that with the "nice" weather a smaller worm would be a better choice so I hooked up one of his 4 ½" Yum MightEE worms.  Spence had several colors to choose from and the darker worms seemed a little more productive.   The worms were hooked through nose rather than wacky style.  We did try "Sneaky" and "Wacky" rigging techniques a little (see articles 1 & 3 above for rigging descriptions) but we only got one hit on a sneaky rig and none on the wacky worm. 

 For the most part the strikes were spread evenly throughout the day.  The morning wind was soft and lazy.  The afternoon brought about 10 to 15 mile an hour winds but the bite stayed pretty consistent until late afternoon.  During the last hour of fishing I slowed down the bait and got 5 or 6 bass pretty close together.

Persistence paid off.   We had to work for them but, by days end, we had 44 bass with one 19 ½ inches and at least two at 17 inches.  Most of the others were 14-16 inches.     We had a great day on Geneva with Spence and we all caught our share of bass.  

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9. A Great Day on a “Bad Night” With Dan Nowak

How do you have a great day on a “bad night”?  I guess that depends on who you are and your expectations.  At 6:00 pm on Wednesday June 27 2012 my buddy Jim Barrett and I met Dan Nowak at the Delavan Lake pier for a night of Bass fishing.   This day and the previous were hot, dry, with east winds and not a cloud in the sky.   The water Temp was 77F so most fish were in a post spawn mood.  These are far from ideal bass conditions for the average weekend fisherman so I must admit my hopes for a stellar night were low.   Dan on the other hand liked the hot days and said we should remain positive…"you see night fishing is a whole different thing".

I met Dan Nowak early this year at Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain while he was giving presentations on night bass fishing.   He has an impressive fishing resume and was fresh off a local tournament win a couple of days ago.   I dabbled in night fishing many years ago and Dan’s presentations made me want to give it a try again.   See Bassin' in the Dark by Dan Nowak at .

Dan started us off during what remained of the breezy to windy daylight along the Southwest shoreline of Delavan.  He gave Jim a Carolina rig baited up with a Zoom Brush Hog in black blue flake.  Dan started me off with a 4”June Bug French Fry drop shot rig.  Dan put on a dark colored 6” wacky worm.   Jim was the first to get a fish while slowly dragging the Carolina rig parallel to the 10 -15ft drop off.  We were slowly moving north along the shoreline (not easy to do with a 10-15 MPH wind at your back).   Jim’s largemouth was about 17 to 18 inches.    Dan was next and got a Bass around 16” or 17” on the dark Wacky worm fished very very slowly allowing it to sink deep.   I followed a little later with about an 18 inch Largemouth on the June Bug French Fry drop shot rig …but Dan was disappointed.  “They should be bigger than this” said Dan...”I’m getting a little worried…something doesn’t seem right”.   We heard a large “kerwump” nearby along the dimly lit shoreline so Dan gave Jim a Zara spook and he proceeded to “walked the dog” silently in the dark.   About five minutes later we heard a very close and big splash from Jim’s direction. It was a short strike that never came back…but I tell you, that closeby splash in the darkness definitely makes your heart pound a little faster.

Dan expected several more hits in that area but they never came so we kept moving North along a shoreline that varied 5 to 30 feet deep.  We got a couple more 16 and 17 inch largemouth but Dan was far from satisfied.  He started trying a variety of Texas rigged baits and more Wacky worm colors  weighted and unweighted but the action remained slow.  He put on his “secret weapon” jelly worm but still no takers.

It was fully dark now and the action remained slow.  We went to the Southeast shoreline and slowly trolled our way north covering depths of 5 to 20 feet.    We picked up a few more largemouth and one Northern on drop shot rigs and a sneaky rig that Jim put on (see article 1 above for sneaky rig). 

 The half moon set and brother it got dark with the big dipper distinct looking just the way I remembered it when I was a kid.   The night went from still, quiet and dark around midnight to darn dark with the wind picking up at about 1:00am.  By now we landed 14 largemouth with one about 14 inches and the rest 16 to 19.    Dan wasn’t giving up but after another hour we didn’t have a hit.   It was 2:00am with the wind picking up and no action.  Dan would have stayed longer but we decide to call it a night.    “A humbling experience” said Dan… “I’ve night fished Delavan for many years and this has been one of my absolutely worst nights for quality fish”.    I guess fishing is like golfing in one respect…you think you got your swing figured out one day and the next day you can’t hit one straight.   Well perhaps it was a bad night for Dan but 14 bass 16 to 19 inches on a quiet evening with the lake to yourself seemed like a good “day” to me.  So I guess it’s what you’re used to and what you expect that tells the story.  I started out pessimistic and ended up happy and Dan started out optimistic and ended up disappointed…but fishing with Dan at night was a blast and well worth it even on a “Bad Night”…for Dan that is.

If you want to go fishing with Dan some night you can contact him at 414/731-7281 or e-mail him at 

Reid Urban

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10.  Cushion for Ice Cooler Lid On Triton Bass Boat

I thought I'd share something that makes my life on the water a little easier. I designed a cushion and had it made for my Ice cooler lid.  Now when I kneel on the lid to open the center compartment it doesn't hurt my knees.  Also its a lot more comfortable seat if I have a fourth person in the boat sitting on the ice cooler lid.  I had it constructed so it would stay on even at top speed and still be easily removable for cleaning. I did not put a rigid backing on the bottom of the cushion so it is very flexible and easy to handle.  I've been using is for about 7 years and its still as good as new.   Although I made the cushion for a Triton Bass Boat, it can be used for any bass boat similarly designed.     See below pictures.

Long shot of cushion on Ice Chest

Top shot showing designed access to handle

Bottom showing zipper to insert 2"
thick foam rubber

Bottom View; Note Strap is one piece and under the entire length of cushion rather than sewing strap to side of cushion. This prevents strap from tearing from cushion at seam.

Bottom view with strap clips


Click strap ends together & slide strap under the lid to hold cushion in place




View of strap going under lid

11.  Reid Uses "Bow To Stern" on his Boat

          I use Bow To Stern (BTS) Protectant on my boat and truck.   It provides a great shine and no waxy streaking.   In June 2012, I went on a guided bass fishing trip with Dan Nowak (click here to read  "9. A Great Day on a Bad Night With Dan Nowak").  Dan has a blue and white Triton Bass Boat that just sparkles.   He gave me a bottle of the BTS "protectant" (not wax) that he was using.   I figured at least it will save me a few bucks on wax for my boat so I took it home and tried it.   The shine looked OK and I let it go at that.   I took the boat out again and when I got home I put another coat of BTS on and lightly buffed it off.   All of a sudden I noticed the boat surface had a deep shine with a great slick feel to the surface.   So... I tried it on my pickup truck bed lid [By the way that lid is also a great product; click on for more in formation on the lid].   I've tried several waxes on that lid and the first time it rained I'd have "wax" streaks running down the side of the rear fenders.   The BTS I applied put a great slick feeling shine on the lid and the next time it rained NO fender STREAKS.   So far I've tried it on my truck front end, interior and windshield.    Its great stuff.   Before I knew it I tried it on so many things that the bottle was running low.    I clicked on the BTS Web site at and looked for the nearest retailer.   Unfortunately the product was new to this area so there were no retailers within a couple hundred miles.    I got in touch with BTS and we got a couple of retailers set up in SE Wisconsin (Turk's Bait Shop in Sturtevant and Mel's Auto Repair in Franksville).   For retailer phone numbers and location maps click on the BTS web site  at  and scroll down the left side until you come to "retailer".  Click on "retailer" and follow the instructions.   BTS has more uses than I can list here.  Other than the truck and boat, here are just a few examples...spray on camping gear, duck decoys, hunters clothing for water repelling/scent block and much more.   If you want more details about the product contact BTS or call me at Bass Beginnings (262/902-4371).    Try it...its Great!

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