Try these different methods of rigging zoom’s premier soft-plastic jerkbait
As serious as Tony Taylor is when it comes to fishing the Zoom Super Fluke on Toledo Bend, there’s always a light moment after that venerable, time-proven soft-plastic jerkbait nets him a victory in a Gramercy-based bass club’s tournament each spring.
How light? Taylor has won twice in the past five years, and he does have fun when he defends his victory the following year. Taylor, a 57-year-old, all-around outdoorsman, stops at the Burger King in Natchitoches, the turning point from I-49 west to Louisiana, and makes sure to get one of those gold cardboard crowns, which he wears for about a half-day around other club members.
It’s all in fun and well-received. At least one of the other guys confided they want to win just to wear a crown.
For sure, Taylor, publisher of Louisiana Sportsman magazine, is the king, or one of many kings, of fishing with a Zoom Super Fluke.
Entering this year’s Road Runner Bass Club tournament the first week of April, Taylor and Greg Veron of Gramercy had finished first in two of the previous four contests at Toledo Bend. While they didn’t have the weight to win a third time, they had heavy limits, once again relying on the Super Fluke.
During that latest annual tournament at Toledo Bend, Taylor and Veron cast Super Flukes to the water’s edge and worked them out to deeper water. The bassin’ buddies had the perfect answer to bass on the verge of moving shallower to spawn. The bass they caught were in the 6-foot depth range.
“I caught a 5½ and a 6½ that week. Me and my partner, we fish exclusively with a Fluke,” Taylor said. “Our fish were staged a little farther out. We’d throw it on the bank and work it out. When it got to the dropoff, they’d bite.”
The Super Fluke is billed as a realistic, super-soft, salt-impregnated soft plastic with seductive action to sucker the most reluctant bass. The deep belly of the Super Fluke is responsible for its action as it darts or glides through the water, tempting bass big and small, particularly those that aren’t super aggressive.
With the shad spawn in its early stages at the time of his last annual six-day trip to Toledo Bend, Taylor touted the soft plastic’s shad-like shape.
“It’s very indicative of a shad, a minnow or a bream. (Bass) likes to eat a small fish. This is a lot smaller profile,” he said.
Taylor loves any color as long as it is watermelon/red. He tips the tail end with a dab of chartreuse garlic scent/dye.
His love for the Super Fluke and other Fluke-style soft plastics began almost 10 years ago when he visited John Dean at Toledo Bend. Dean, who writes about Toledo Bend for Louisiana Sportsman, designed and created the U99 Twitch Bait and convinced Taylor to fish it on that trip to the border lake shared by Louisiana and Texas. The U99 looks like a Fluke but has a longer split in the tail.
Taylor said he was hooked from the start. Soon, he added Super Flukes to his arsenal, thanks to Dean, a fishing guide and member of the old, notorious group of pro bass anglers known as the Hemphill Gang.
Successful anglers pay attention to details when they fish the Super Fluke. For nearly a decade, Taylor has paid attention and added to the details he has perfected all those years.
For example, he fishes Super Flukes with a 2/0 Gamakatsu Offset Shank Worm Hook. Some bass anglers may think that’s small, but has done the job on bass up to 81/4 pounds, the weight of a “hawg” Taylor caught four years ago, his personal best, while fishing at Indian Mounds. When it is Texas-rigged, the 2/0 hook is hidden inside the pronounced split belly.
Taylor usually fishes a Super Fluke without any weight and often is rewarded with bites from finicky fish.
Taylor changes out the hook at least once a day because he realizes a dull point, which can develop from the rigors of bass fishing, is bad news on a hookset and the aftermath.
The coup de grace to his setup is when he clamps a 1/32-ounce weight 10 to 12 inches above the hook, the same way legendary bass pro Peter Thliveros of Jacksonville, Fla., fishes it. Thliveros, however, pegs the weight the same distance from the Texas-rigged bait in what became known as the “Petey Rig.”
There’s more to Taylor’s method of putting keeper-sized bass in the boat consistently with a Super Fluke.
Taylor fishes the Super Fluke on 12-pound fluorocarbon. If he doesn’t have a rod-and-reel combo handy that’s spooled with fluorocarbon, he’ll add a fluorocarbon leader to the monofilament line using a tiny Spro barrel swivel — which is small enough to pass through the guides of a fishing rod — to tie the two lines.
He believes with fluorocarbon, he can detect the subtlest of bites, which is often the case when fishing heavily pressured bass on Toledo Bend or anywhere else.
When Taylor adds the barrel swivel, he doesn’t use or need a 1/32-ounce weight because the barrel swivel provides enough weight.
Wade Bourgeois another Road Runner Bass Club member, caught an 8-pound, 7-ounce lunker on a Super Fluke that was the big bass in the recent club tournament at Toledo Bend. However, Bourgeois has his own method, one that he kept to himself but agreed to share with Taylor.
“(Bourgeois) was reluctant to have me talk about this,” said Taylor.
But Bourgeois opened up, revealing that he uses a black chrome 3/0 Owner TwistLock 1/16-ounce weighted hook, which makes its free-fall descent more nose first. His go-to color is watermelon/blue/candy, Taylor said.
The Super Fluke is versatile. Dean religiously uses one effectively on a Carolina rig.
This story first appeared on LouisianaSportsman.com