Follow Josh Bertrand's Tips to Improve Your Soft-Stickbait Game - Major League Fishing
Follow Josh Bertrand’s Tips to Improve Your Soft-Stickbait Game
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Follow Josh Bertrand’s Tips to Improve Your Soft-Stickbait Game

April 24, 2020 • Major League Lessons

Few lures are as versatile as the soft-plastic stickbait. They catch fish in a variety of conditions, and Arizona pro Josh Bertrand always has his boat stocked with Berkley’s The General.

The baits come in three sizes, many great colors, and in both the PowerBait and PowerBait MaxScent formulas. Bertrand uses them across the country in all seasons and has a method for selecting the right one for the job.

4.25 Inch

The shorter profile of this size of The General lends itself to a different action, according to Bertrand.

“It’s shorter and more stubby and that gives it a different look,” Bertrand says. “It also has a little less wobble when it falls and that can be good when the fish are pressured.”

Bertrand especially likes it for smallmouth and spotted bass, but says it still works great for largemouth.

“It’s a great size for fishing on a shaky head, drop-shot, or a Neko Rig,” Bertrand says. “It’s also a killer Carolina-rig bait for smallmouth. I’ll also cut off about an inch of it and use it on a Ned rig.”

5.25 Inch

This is the standard size that Bertrand most often rigs up.

“It’s a perfect all-around size and I’ll use this one 50 percent of the time; the rest of the time is split between the other sizes,” he says.

The sky’s the limit for how this size can be fished, and Bertrand uses it in all of the usual ways.

“It’s a jack-of-all-trades and you can rig it however you want to,” he says. “It’s also big enough that you can fish it weightless on either spinning or casting gear. One thing I really like to do with this size is using a tungsten worm weight and pitching to holes in the grass and around places where I think they are spawning during the spring.”

6.25 Inch

This jumbo size is something that Bertrand typical reserves for waters known for bigger fish.

“I fish this size in places like Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and even here in Arizona,” he says. “It has a much heavier weight and that lets you be more controlled when casting it. I can also fish it weightless on 20-pound fluorocarbon and still get that great slow fall.”

Besides Texas rigging, Bertrand will also add the 6.25-inch bait to a Carolina rig.

“(Carolina rigging a stickbait) is something that a lot of people aren’t doing but it works great,” Bertrand says.

MaxScent vs. PowerBait

While The General size and profile don’t change between these two, the scent formula and colors vary. Bertrand also alternates between the two, based on the situation.

“It comes down to personal preference a lot of times, but in clear water, I really like the MaxScent because they have a muted, matte finish,” he says. “The PowerBait The General has a little bit brighter colors and that is better for dirtier water in my opinion. MaxScent is a more powerful scent and it is a must when the fishing is tough.”

Bertrand keeps his color choices simple, but says there are a few gems in the lineup.

“All of the natural green pumpkin and watermelon shades are always going to be great, but there are a few sneaky good ones in there,” he admits. “For spotted bass, Skeet’s Chartreuse Shad is a great baitfish imitator and so is Ike’s Morning Dawn. For smallmouth, Cinnamon Purple Flake in the MaxScent lineup is a great one.”