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This week's Feature Blog

Lake Mitchell's Green Bass

Recently I had the great pleasure of sharing the boat with Ben Neilson, the show manager for ShowSpan, Inc. Ben is the guy who books the seminar speakers for the Ultimate Fishing Show, Outdoorama Show and Ultimate Sport Shows in Michigan.

Ben Neilson with a typical largemouth caught using a presentation he pioneered called Power Shotting.

I’ve been doing seminars for ShowSpan, Inc., for over 25 years. One of the things I like most about the ShowSpan events is the fact their management staff not only put on great fishing, boat and outdoor shows, but they enjoy fishing as much as we do.

Ben has made quite a name for himself as a bass tournament pro, literally winning every major event in Michigan. In recent years, Ben has also enjoyed considerable success fishing national events like the BASS invitational events. “Winning a BASS invitational event is the most direct route to getting an invitation to fishing the BASS Masters Classic,” says Neilson.

Every bass anglers dream is to fish the “classic” and I have no doubt that Ben will have his day on the big stage. Not long ago Ben and I spent a day fishing Lake Mitchell near Cadillac. Lake Mitchell is only a few minutes from my home, but ironically I rarely get a chance to fish on what might be considered my home water. We hit the water about 8:30 in the morning armed with three bass fishing rigs, one of which was completely new to me.

“We’re going to fish a Texas Rigged plastic worm, a drop shot rig with a six inch plastic worm and a Power Shot Rig,” explained Neilson. “We’re going to start out the morning targeting the outside edges of the weed clumps with a Texas Rigged worm and also drop shot rigs. As the sun gets up, largemouth tend to bury themselves in the heavier cover and that’s when we will break out the Power Shot.”

I had to ask, what the heck is a Power Shot? It’s interesting to note that Ben is actually the guy who pioneered this rather unique bass fishing rig on Lake Mitchell a few years ago.

“A Power Shot is essentially a drop shot rig set up with 65 pound test braided line, a one ounce drop shot weight and an Eagle Claw Trokar Finesse Straight Shank Worm Hook,” explained Neilson. “The heavy line and extra weight allow me to penetrate into thicker patches of cabbage and eurasian milfoil. The straight shank Trokar worm hook has a worm keeper molded to the hook shaft that keeps plastic in place and I feel the straight shank hook does a better job of hooking fish compared to wide bend worm hooks.”

On the business end of this rather unique drop shot set up, Ben used a beaver soft plastic that does a nice job of imitating crayfish.

Power Shot Rig

Just as Neilson had indicated, our first bites were largemouth cruising on the outside edges of dense weed patches. A couple hours into the day, the sun shined bright and all that changed. By about 11 o’clock in the morning the Power Shot became the “go to” rig as fish slipped deeper into the weed cover.

Power Shotting starts by using the electric motor to cruise around and spot pockets of dense weeds. “I like to first pitch into obvious openings in the weed cover,” says Neilson. “If the open pockets don’t produce, next I start punching right into the most dense patches of weed cover I can find. The heavy weight does a great job of penetrating the weed canopy and heavy braided line is absolutely the only way to muscle these fish out of the slop.”

Targeting largemouth in this kind of weed cover is clearly a job for a stout flippin’ stick and baitcasting reel. The Texas Rigged worm fished nicely on a medium/heavy action triggerstick about seven feet long with a baitcasting reel loaded with 10 to 15 pound test fluorocarbon line. The drop shot rigs were fished on seven foot medium/light action rods and 10 pound test super braid.

When the dust had settled, about 20 bass ranging in size from about one pound to three pounds were boated. The bigger fish came on the Power Shot rigs. It was a real pleasure fishing with Ben Neilson and watching him attack the weeds of Lake Mitchell. It was also kind of cool to learn a new bass fishing craze known as the Power Shot.

Of course every detail of this fishing trip was captured on video and will appear as a full length feature episode on Fishing 411 during the winter of 2018.

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