“Normally, I let the swimbait sink about a foot so it’s just below the tires, and I retrieve it as close to the edge of the tires as I can get it,” he explains. “Tire reefs tend to be used more on clear lakes, because those are the most popular with houseboaters and pleasure craft that create a lot of wave action. In that type of water, fast retrieves are usually more effective so the bass don’t get a good look at the lure.”
Reehm may also fish tire reefs with a spinnerbait, jerkbait, floating worm, or even a swimming jig. All of these lures are easy to control with fast retrieves and create a lot of sound and commotion in the water. The key with any of them, he believes, is keeping them about a foot below the surface and as close to the tires as possible.
“The best way to fish tire reefs is simply by casting down the edges,” he says. “Any irregularities along that edge, such as gaps or points—and there will always be some—are worth noting and fishing very carefully.
“The largest bass, however, are often at the outermost tip of the reef, which is closest to deep water, or they’re closest to the shoreline where the reef may be anchored. Overall, however, you’re likely to catch a quality bass anywhere along a tire reef.”
Occasionally, the Yamaha Pro will also flip tire reefs, using braided line and a heavy ¾-ounce jig. Flipping into the openings isn’t difficult, but getting hooked fish out is.
“That’s why you use heavy line around these reefs,” laughs Reehm. “With the swimbaits and spinnerbaits, I usually use 20-pound fluorocarbon line because I’m working the lures along the outside edges of the tires. It’s normally strong enough to keep a bass under control so it doesn’t swim back underneath the tires.
“When you’re flipping a jig into the middle of the tires, every fish you hook becomes a problem, so strong braided line is just about your only option. Normally, I don’t flip the reefs until later in summer. Right now in the spring, the fluorocarbon works just fine.”
Reehm never misses the chance to aim a few casts at tire reefs no matter where he’s competing, and in some Bassmaster® Elite and Open tournaments, they’re the only cover and structure he fishes.
“I may make a ‘milk run’ around a lake and fish seven or eight different tire reefs,” the Yamaha Pro concludes, “and I might do that two or three times each day. There are always some bass around them, and I know most of the other fishermen are usually going to overlook them.” Y