The Porker: Sleeper Bait for Giant Bass!
What’s a “Porker?”
The Porker is a sleeper bait for big, big bass and one of the best kept secrets of the bass fishing world!
It has stayed under the radar for the simple reason that we’ve all fallen in love with the colors, designs and ease of use that soft plastic baits offer. But it is time to find out what you’ve been missing!
Maybe you incorporated a pork eel into your bass fishing arsenal in the past and got a glimpse of the Porker’s ancestry. Decades ago, Bill Dance designed another forerunner, a pork bait called the Pork-O for Strike King. It was an instant hit among bass anglers, but it disappeared from the market when a tide of plastic baits, led by the Slug-Go, flooded the market.
The Porker from Uncle Josh Bait Company resurrected the concept of a writhing, lifelike bait that an angler could throw into places that few, if any, lures dared enter!
The Porker copies no particular creature, but, to a bass, it projects a big struggling meal reminiscent of several of its menu favorites, from small snakes, and salamanders to injured baitfish.
Equally significant, when a bass hits the Porker they hold on! Pork feels and tastes real!
Proof in the catching!
Tab Walker, Newton Lake (Illinois) guide and owner of Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge introduced me to Porker fishing years ago. Walker had won a tournament with the 5-1/2-inch Porker the first day he tied one to his line. It had been his “secret weapon” for giant bass ever since, particularly in the spring.
For a couple of years, both of us enjoyed the bulk of our success with either a 5-1/2-inch white or 5-1/2-inch black Porker. Thanks to a series of successful outings, including one that netted us back-to-back seven-pound-plus largemouth and inspired a feature that appeared in Bassmaster magazine in 2009, those were the only colors we employed.
No more! When action slowed one day, we decided to test those brightly colored Porkers we had carried with us like spare tires – ever present and always ready, but never employed! To our embarrassed delight, bass up to five-pounds-plus came quickly on the 7-1/2 inch chartreuse, a bait I’ve used on quarries, natural lakes, golf course ponds and residential development waters since with incredibly consistent success. Since then, I have added red and red/white to my active arsenal as well.
Be sure to keep you Porker jars properly closed and filled with pork rind juice. If you keep pork rind baits out of the juice too long, they will stiffen, and you will lose that enticing undulating action that makes these baits so deadly.
Is the 7-1/2-inch Porker a big mouthful? You bet! But this is a bait for BIG BASS, and it really delivers in a variety of conditions.
When you fish it with the weedless Kahle Hook (see the Five Tenets of Porker Fishing below) recommended for the bait, you can toss this lure into tangles you wouldn’t dream about fishing with most other lures!
The Five Tenets of Porker Fishing
1) Fish the Porker with a weedless Kahle (shiner-type) hook. A 5/0 — available from Eagle Claw (151W) – is best, but a 3/0 through 6/0 will work as well. Fish it weightless or with split shot. You can also fish it on a weighted Kahle hook to add range in the water column and to gain more control over the bait in windy conditions. With the proper hook, you can fish the Porker in tight places you wouldn’t dare throw 95 percent of your lures beyond flipping distance.
2) Begin working the bait with a very slow retrieve, lift and drop approach, or with a retrieve mixing slow to moderate twitches while varying the length of the pause. The Porker is a highly visual bait, but don’t let that stop you from letting it fall helplessly out of sight. (This can be tough because the bait is so much fun to watch!) Vary your retrieve until you find one that fits the fish’s mood.
3) Let the Porker fall at the base of emergent vegetation and beside grass edges, dropoffs, and fallen or standing timber. Where possible, position yourself to work the Porker the length of the breakline.
4) Use a rod with good backbone yet with a tip fast enough to permit you to cast accurately in tight places. Monofilament, fluorocarbon and superlines all have their place, but be sure to use a line of sufficient strength (no less than 17 pounds) to withstand hard hooksets and to winch big fish out of tight, hazardous places.
5) Give the fish a count or two to take the bait before you set the hook. You’ll find that bass hold onto pork longer than they do other baits.