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Lotta Lip at BASSfest

December 20, 2015 4:34:46 PM EST

An open storage tray near Gerald Swindle’s rod locker just prior to Day Two of BASSfest represented a virtual who’s who of the deep-diving crankbait universe.

Fact is, scan the rod lockers and front decks of nearly every boat at BASSfest, and you’ll see much the same – lots of long plastic lips designed to escort diving treble-hooked plugs to depths of 20 feet or more.

“I’ve got at least four different styles rigged and ready all day,” says Swindle, who cranked up a nice 20-pound limit on Day One from Kentucky Lake. “I’ve got bold colors, natural colors, plugs with rattles, and some that are silent – and every one of them will hunt down there in that 20-feet deep zone.”

Asked why he uses silent crankbaits, and Swindle offered his typically comical insight. “Because after my boy VanDam has peppered a school, you gotta have something sorta subtle to convince ‘em it’s safe to eat again.”

Don’t be fooled by Swindle’s humor however. He hasn’t won nearly $2 million without a serious plan. Each component of his cranking set-up is part of a planned system that all anglers can learn from.

The Rod – “I’m using a 7’ 10” Quantum Accurist that was actually designed as a flippin’ stick, but it’s got enough length to launch these big plugs to get the longest cast possible, plus enough backbone to handle the weight of a 3-ounce lure like a lotta these are,” says Swindle. “And it’s got a soft enough tip to allow the fish to eat the bait the way you need ‘em to, so they stay hooked,” he explains.

The Reel – “I’m using an EXO 200, not only because it’s light and comfortable, but mostly because it has a big spool to hold plenty of line for long casts,” says Swindle. “A lot of anglers don’t understand the importance of spool size on a baitcaster. A lot of reels today are built to be lightweight and compact, but that sacrifices spool size, and you can’t get enough line on a 100 size spool to make the long casts these big crankbaits call for,” he explains. “You can literally cast all the line off a 100 size reel – and hey, let’s face it, nobody likes a naked spool.”

The Line – “I’m running 12-pound Sunline fluorocarbon on a lot of these crankbaits, but when I use the giant Strike King 10XD, I pair it with 14-pound, because the 10XD is so big and heavy you’ll risk breaking the line as you snap to cast it with anything less than about 14-pound test.”

The Lures – “I ain’t prejudice, I got ‘em all – the Strike King 10XD, the 6th Sense 500DD, Rapala’s DT20, Profound Outdoors Z Boss 20, and some new deep diving Storm Arashi cranks that Palaniuk gave me. I’ll throw ‘em all at some point this week,” concluded Swindle.

Posted By TJ Gamble

Longtime Quantum angler Erik Rue of Lake Charles recently won the $50,000 Yellowfin Elite tournament at Bayou Segnette using Smoke reels, and Rue's victory wasn't without strategic use of Smoke's various gear ratios.

"I prefer the high speed 7.3:1 Smoke series reels for their ultra smooth drag and high retrieve rate when sight casting to redfish. Plus, the high retrieve rate lets you make a second cast when your initial shot is off the mark, which is especially important at close range with moving redfish," explains Rue.

"The faster 7.3:1 Smoke (model SL100HPTA) has also been very reliable for casting lures across shallow grassy areas and when making long casts down windy shorelines where the boat is advancing toward the lure quickly because of the wind," he added.

Speaking of wind, anglers can cast with confidence no matter how hard the gusts with Smoke's new slim line ACS external centrifugal cast control that features 13 various settings.

Rue reached for the slightly slower 6.1:1 Smoke (model SL100SPTA) reel when using spinnerbaits, jigs and weightless swimbaits, because the slightly slower retrieve allowed him to keep those lures slightly deeper in the water column.

Posted By TJ Gamble

Quantum’s TourMg magnesium reel is the brand’s lightest reel ever for under $300, but its little 5.4-ounce body was hugely instrumental to Casey Ashley reeling in 50 pounds of bass, the 35-pound Bassmaster Classic trophy, and $300,000.

“The school of fish that I won on at Hartwell were really skittish, and if I got the boat too close to them, or over top of them, they wouldn’t bite,” explained Ashley. “So I had to make extremely long casts to catch them, and that’s why a super-high quality reel that’s so light and smooth-casting like our TourMg was critical.”

Not only were the fish shy, but they were also extremely deep, cold, and slow to react in Hartwell’s frigid waters. “My winning lure was a 3/8-ounce homemade horsehead spinner that my dad made.Quantum EXO I was barely creeping it along the bottom on 10-pound line in 40’ of water with the 6.3:1 TourMg on a real sensitive 7’ medium action Smoke rod. And at times, I’d use a 5.3:1 EXO reel. I used slower gear ratios to help me retrieve it as slow as possible,” explained Ashley.

Casey’s newest Quantum team member, Bassmaster Rookie of the Year, Jacob Powroznik, finished 5th and actually warned of the Tour Mg’s potential goodness the week before the Classic started. “It’s going be super cold, so we’ll be wearing a ton of clothes, which makes you appreciate holding a reel all day that only weighs 5.4 ounces and casts like a bullet,” said “J Proz”.

Quantum EXOThere’s nothing cold about Quantum in recent months. Greg Hackney was quick to credit the advantage of fishing with oversized EXO 200 and 300 reels in the wake of earning his current Bassmaster Angler of the Year crown, factor in Powroznik’s Rookie of the Year title, and Casey Ashley’s Classic win, and there’s no arguing Quantum is home to fishing’s hottest brand of high-quality rods and reels.

Posted By TJ Gamble
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