Go-Devil Fishing with Ronnie Capps
By Phillip Gentry
Believe it or not, around the first of June every year, the thousands of anglers who follow B’n’M pro staffer Ronnie Capps on social media forget that he is a world class crappie fisherman. The reason for this memory loss is due to a style of bass fishing that Ronnie learned many years ago while fishing with his grandfather.
Often referred to as doodle-socking or long poling, the unusual, but time-tested tactic relies on top water fishing for largemouth bass in a most peculiar fashion.
“We just always called this Go-Devil fishing, because of the lure we used,” said Capps. “You gotta be set up just right to do it correctly. You need a small boat where you can sit right in the front and move along, either sculling with a paddle or maybe a small trolling motor. You also gotta have a really stiff pole, one that won’t give when you got a 7 pound bass hanging on 6 inches of line on the end of the pole, and you gotta have a bait that you can work through the water that makes a lot of noise.”
The season for Go-Devil fishing starts working when big bass move off the beds and back in the shallow waters to feed on frogs, baby ducks, snakes or anything that happens to fall in the water. To mimic this, Capps will closely follow the contour of the bank and push his fishing pole out in front of him.
“You get in a rhythm and make a lot of back and forth figure 8’s with the bait to keep those blades clacking,” he said. “The bait has got to be way out in front of the boat so you don’t spook the fish. All they see and hear is that bait chewing through the water.”
B’n’M’s new “The Stick” designed for deck flopping slab crappie is also a great choice for doddle-socking or what Capps calls “Go-Devil fishing”.
Capps has searched far and wide over the years for the proper pole to use with his Go-Devil Bass Fishing and recently realized that B’n’M’s new 13 foot pole “The Stick”, designed for deck flopping slab crappie from the water to the boat, fit the bill for Go-Devil fishing pretty well.
“You’re only running about 6 – 8 inches of line off the rod tip,” he said. “You might work that thing for an hour and then all the sudden, WHAM, a 6 pounder grabs it and tries to jerk the rod out of your hand. You got to have a stout rod to get him in the boat.”
Capps said he spools a B’n’M Pro 100 series reel with 80-pound braided line and locks the drag down tight for this tactic. The braid is tied directly to the lure, which he said has evolved over the years.
The secret to Go-Devil fishing is to sneak up on bass holding in the shallows and run a loud buzzbait right over their head.
“Granddaddy and I used what they called a Go- Devil. It was a massive thing with stainless steel blades,” he said. “These days I use a bait made by Billy Phillips up in Jackson, Tennessee. It’s even better than the original bait.”
Capps said Go-Devil fishing is best at first light and last light of the day and a couple hours on either side. He also explained that dirty, dinghy or even muddy water was much better then clear water for this style of fishing. It also works well for fishing at night.
“I think those big sows lay up in about 3 feet of water and wait for something to come along and here you come, rattling that buzz bait right over her head,” he said. “You can tell when it’s right because they won’t chase it or just roll on it. They will literally annihilate that bait.”
Bites are out of the blue, without warning. Capps said once you’ve had a big bass blow up on your bait right next to the boat, both of you are hooked on this style of fishing.
Capps said as much fun as this style of bass fishing is, part of why he loves it is because it takes him back to many, many fond memories of sitting behind his grandfather as the two worked a stretch of bank on Reelfoot Lake or one of the other oxbows along the Mississippi River.
“Granddaddy used to scull and I’d sit right behind him. I think I caught as many as he did, he’d make them mad and they’d hit my bait,” said Capps. “So many good memories, and talk about big bass. We caught more 7, 8- and 9-pound bass than I can count fishing that Go-Devil.”
Wherever fishing takes you, B’n’M has been there. Visit our website at bnmpoles.com