“I like to work the outside in,” he explained. “I don’t want to blow the whole mat on the first pitch. “If there are 10 fish in there, I want to catch all of them. If I get one hung up in the mat or back in a tree, I don’t want to ruin the whole mat and scare all of them.”
It goes back to his concern of knocking their mouth open with a heavy weight and blowing the fish. Any lighter and he will opt for a Palomar knot.
A 4/0 hook gets the nod on smaller baits, but any bulky plastic calls for a 5/0 hook.
BE READY FOR BATTLE
Lowen’s watched too many anglers roll the dice on a long pitch as they approached a key area and totally abort common sense. Without fail, they would set the hook on a quality bass leaving too much line out for a solid hookset. Soon after, they would be shaking their heads in frustration as a quality bass jumped off halfway to the boat.
“It does no good for me to get a bite and not be able to land him, “said Lowen. “Position your boat to make the right cast to get the fish out of there.”
Upon pulling up to a critical piece of structure, he will give it a quick once over to figure out how to extricate the bass out once it bites.
Proper boat positioning is paramount; he gives much credit to his Minn Kota Raptor shallow water anchors.
“I’ve always been that guy that wants to be stealthy,” he said. “I get my boat set up just right to make 40 to 50 pitches to a spot; so that when I get a bite, I’m going to put that fish in the boat.”
There are times when Lowen admits the perfect cast just is not possible; but he’ll do his best to avoid making himself vulnerable to failure.
“There are many elements in fishing that we can’t control, so make sure you control the variables you can,” he advised.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Lowen goes through a checklist once the bait enters the water to analyze each bite. Are they biting when the bait first goes in, dead-sticking, or was he holding it up against the bottom of the mat or trash?
“When you get a bite, you better have been paying attention to what you were doing,” said Lowen. “They’re all keys to pieces of the puzzle.”
He’ll pair a Lew’s Custom Lite SLP Casting Reel (7:5:1) spooled with 50-pound Seaguar Smackdown with a 7’6 Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite HM85 Heavy Mag Flip casting rod.
While some anglers won’t hesitate to use heavy tungsten weights upwards – of 1.5-ounces – to ensure quick penetration through matted vegetation, Lowen comes from a different school of thought and by his standards, a 1 1/2-ounce weight is huge.
“Some guys want it to shoot through there like a dart to get that reaction bite,” he said. “I’m so gun-shy of that big weight popping their mouth open, I try to get away with the smallest weight that I can.”
Lowen starts with a 3/4-ounce weight, but will use a 1/2-ounce, if it gets through. His is always pegged with a bobber stop.
Sometimes shaking it for a few seconds is all that it takes before a bait slips through an opening.
Though he will always flip with a Hayabusa FPP Straight HD Worm Hook, he will only tie a Snell knot when using a 3/4-ounce weight or greater, enabling the hook to kick straight out away from the weight when he sets the hook.