Professional angler Clark Reehm has spent countless hours idling behind the wheel of his Skeeter bass boat, staring at the dual Lowrance dash-mounted fish finders, searching for schools of offshore bass. Whether seeking the winning school in professional tournament venues across the country or guiding clients on his home waters of massive Lake Sam Rayburn, Reehm knows that the mega-schools of bass he seeks will keep him in the running on tournament day and keep happy clients coming back.
“My customers and I caught 130 bass today on Rayburn, all on offshore spots I’d located years ago and have been fishing ever since,” a clearly tired but satisfied Reehm said. “The big groups of bass on Rayburn will stay out where the massive schools of shad are located, so there isn’t a big migration of bass to the backs of creeks in the fall as is common on other reservoirs. The bass stay in close proximity to their main food source, and this bite will continue all through the winter,” he added.
Reehm, like most accomplished offshore anglers, knows presenting a rotation of lures with varying actions is often key to finding what the bass will best respond to on any given day.
Among the rods within arms reach on the boat deck is the Epic Baits Underspin matched with a 5” Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm. It’s an unusual combination of flash and finesse. He describes the benefits of the setup, stating, “Most everywhere I fish offshore in the southern US involves some type of wood cover, whether it’s brush piles on Rayburn or cane piles out in the southeast. I need a bait that not only allows me to cover a lot of water but has some drawing power to bring the fish out of cover.”
Reehm lists the dual wire weed guards as an important attribute of the Epic Underspin design when fishing near submerged wood. “Getting the lure as close to the brush as possible is often the key,” Reehm notes, “and I can bump the cover with the Epic Underspin without fear of constantly snagging the lure. Epic added a beefier hook than many underspins on the market, so I can handle heavier fish and get them away from the brush when they eat the bait.” Additionally, Reehm likes the rigid arm of the Epic design that extends the blade far enough to keep it from getting tangled in the soft plastic body.
Explaining the choice in soft plastics, he adds, “The 5” Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm is a straight-tail design, so it’s very subtle – especially compared to the bigger paddletail soft plastics a lot of anglers are using. You still get the flash of the underspin but very little tail movement from the Shad Shape worm, which just looks more realistic to how a baitfish swims.”
Because the straight tail design offers little resistance in the water, Reehm mainly relies on the ¼ or ⅜ oz Epic Underspins. “I’m targeting suspended bass in the water column or those in the tops of the brush piles, so I don’t want the lure to fall too quickly past them. You also have to consider the soft plastic body you’re using, and the Yamamoto Shad Shape worm doesn’t offer much resistance as it falls, so I don’t need a heavy jig head to get it down to the right depth.”
Though his primary application for fishing offshore with the underspin is slow-rolling the lure over brush piles, he’ll also let the rig sink and crawl it along the bottom when needed. When targeting bass offshore, depths can vary from 12-30’, and the underpin offers the ability to reach the fish at any depth rather quickly.
“Prior to the advent of forward sonar, we’d simply count the underspin down to the bass we’d found while graphing from the console, which is still a great technique for anyone without forward sonar. I’ll toss a buoy near the bass and move to the front deck to throw the underspin to them. Of course, forward sonar now lets me see the exact depth the underspin is located as it falls and also allows me to bring it precisely through or just above the school of bass I’m able to see.”
Regardless of the application, Reehm fishes his underpin on heavier 15-20# fluorocarbon lines and baitcasting gear.
“The underspin is just a great shad imitator with the flash from the blade and the subtle movement on the soft plastic trailer,” he concludes. “When they’re feeding on shad, it’s hard to beat.”