One of the questions I always ask during my seminars at the ISE shows or at bass club talks I give is how many people in the crowd have ever caught a bass deeper than 40 feet deep. You would all be surprised at the extremely low number of people who raise their hands. I would venture to guess that less than 5 percent of the people in any of the crowds has ever raised their hands and when you get into 50 or 60 feet the number gets even lower.
Bass fishermen are always comfortable casting at a target like a stump, piling, tree, rock or anything they think a bass may live on but tell them they have to fish underwater structure sometimes hundreds of yards off the bank and they have a meltdown. One of the things anglers often miss is using a heavier jig head than they are used to. My two favorite weights in jigs is ¾ and 1 ounce when I am fishing deep water structure.
So many anglers overlook fishing a jig in the fall and winter months. Often they think that when the weather and water temperature get cold the bite gets tough and they have to scale down to a dropshot or darthead, this is the farthest thing from the truth. That theory works well for largemouth when winter hits but spotted bass continue to feed.
We all have jigs in our tackle box that we flip on Clear Lake or the Delta like the Berkley Jay Yelas Power Jig and these usually have a 5/0 heavy duty hook and a weedguard to keep you from getting hung up. These jigs are only a cousin to the jig you should be fishing in deep water. We normally flip a 3/8 or 1/2 ounce jig and these are light compared to my deep water jig. As I said earlier my favorite is a 3/4 ounce football head jig with a 4/0 Gamakatsu light wire hook, no weedguard. I will fish the 1 ounce jig but I like the 3/4 more often. The light wire hook is the key to a deep water jig, the lighter wire hook penetrates easier than the heavier hooks we find in our flipping jigs and in deep water you can still stick a fish using 10 – 15 pound test line. I use painted jig heads on all my jigs and often ad some glitter in red or purple to ad a bit of color to these jigs as well. I never use a shiny lead jig head on my deepwater jigs. You can get the powder coat paints at Fisherman’s Warehouse or other pro shops and it is very easy to use. You head the jig head with a torch or candle, dip it and it’s done.
I will fish with a variety of skirts and trailers but I usually will fish a Yamamoto double tail Hula Grub in Green Pumpkin or Cinnamon/Purple. The other jig I fish a great deal when the water gets below 50 degrees is a live rubber jig with a pork trailer. Many anglers have gotten away from pork but I still use a great deal of it in the winter months. My primary colors in rubber jigs is brown/purple with purple pork or all purple. I usually fish the Super Pork tadpole. I never seem to have enough time to tie my own jigs anymore and one of the best jigs I have found in the stores is the Bass Patrol football head jig. They have a quality hook and come in all the good deep water sizes including the one ton jig. My two favorite colors is brown and brown/purple. Finding the old jigs with the flat live rubber is next to impossible as this product has gone away in the U.S. I have gained a great deal of confidence in the jigs with light round rubber since that is the only thing we can find at the tackle stores.
There are so many good jig trailers such as the twin tails, single grub trailers, craws, and pork that it is hard to decide what to use at times. I always think of my jig as a crawdad and I want to imitate one crawling along the bottom of the lake. It doesn’t matter what lake you fish here in California it will have a population of crawdads and they are always a mainstay on the menu for Mr. Bass. My rod, reel and line selection are also very important. I usually fish 12lb Berkley Big Game line on my jigs with a Lamiglas 724 Senko Special rod and Pflueger President reel with a 6:1 gear retrieve. I will drag my jig more than hop it or swim it, usually with my trolling motor keeping it on the bottom. In the winter months don’t be afraid to fish that jig from 40-80 feet, it is easier than you think and you will be able to feel the jig with a quality graphite rod and it’s heavy head. You are going to lose some jigs fishing on the bottom like this so be prepared and don’t get frustrated, remember the crawdads live on the bottom and keeping your jig down where they live will result in more fish this fall and winter.
See you all at the ISE shows in January and stop by and say hi at the Ultimate Bass Aquarium Demo Tank.