RIPPIN' : STICKBAIT STRATEGIES WITH GARY DOBYNS
Gary Dobyns, the all time money winner on the West Coast BASS circuit and all time event winner on the WON Bass Circuit, is considered one of the most accomplished pros at using the popular western rippin' technique. This top tournament angler has proven that the stickbait, when fished correctly, can be an effective tool for drawing the big bite. "I throw rip baits all year round and catch a lot of good fish on them," notes Dobyns. Dobyns explains that the keys to fishing stickbaits are: 1) an angler's ability to identify the depth of the bass' and 2) the retrieve or action that will draw a reactive strike. "Early in the year, when the water temperature is still cold, I weigh my baits to get them down to 10 to 12 feet. And I work them slowly, pausing between jerks. As the water warms, I want a shallow running bait with a lot of action and flash. When the water is warmer and relatively clear, you can't move that bait fast enough to keep it away from the bass." The Northern California pro explains that rippin' big stickbaits can be a very taxing technique, fatiguing anglers' forearms and wrists. The key to reducing the physical stress is choosing the right equipment. Dobyns suggests that anglers use a 7-foot fiberglass rod with a fast tip. According to Dobyns, the longer rod requires less of an effort to move the bigger stickbaits. Probably the biggest mistake that anglers make when rippin' stickbaits is fishing with line that is too heavy. Dobyns fishes with as light a line as possible and never uses a line that is heavier that 12 pound test. The smaller line diameter allows Dobyns to make longer casts, a must for fishing clear water impoundment's. Additionally, Dobyns uses a split ring or a cross lock snap, so that the bait's action is enhanced, rather that restricted, by the knot. "the fact that you are drawing a lot of reactive strikes with this technique seems to account for the number of quality of fish you catch on it. I have caught one over 12 pounds and two over 11 pounds with the rippin' technique. I believe it's one of the best overall techniques for catching quality fish, especially in tournaments."
This article was taken from "Bass Club Digest", 1998.