I’ve bed-fished both ends of the spectrum, from double-digit bass on famous Lake Fork – where I guide – to very skittish 12-inch spotted bass on Beaver Lake and everything in between. One common problem I’ve encountered involves fish holding a little off the bottom (this also applies to fry-guarders). Texas rigs and jigs go under them, and they typically won’t eat the bait unless you hop it right up in front of their mouths. That’s difficult to do without quickly hopping the lure off the bed too.
A power-shot is much more effective for catching such fish. Use 12- to 15-pound-test fluorocarbon and a 1-ounce sinker, with the hook about 12 to 18 inches above the sinker (the deeper the water, the longer the leader should be).
For finicky fish, a small bait works well. A 2-inch Lake Fork Baby Fork Craw has been the secret choice of guides here in Texas for years. Baits like it that appear small in profile, yet are still meaty enough to hold a 4/0 flipping hook, give you the power to pull out a big fish. Just as important, it often keeps them on the bed rather than spooking them away, as a larger bait sometimes will. For small fish, you can’t get too small. Even crappie-sized baits can work.
With the heavy sinker below the bait, I can control how far above the bottom it is by changing the angle of my line or by controlling the amount of slack. The heavy sinker keeps the bait in one spot, even when I shake it a lot. A bait constantly right in the face of a bass is like a bee or a fly buzzing around your head; it won’t be long before it gets swatted away.