The Jig Is Up
By Jeff Morton
One of my favorite patterns is fishing laydowns over or near drop-offs. Bass love to congregate in the sunken branches and wait for their next meal to swim by. While I've been known to pitch a single-bladed Colorado spinnerbait, my bait of choice is a jig. Its compact size, coupled with a brush guard, allows me to easily work it around the branches and trunks... searching out the big ones!
My tackle choice is a 7'0" medium-heavy action Grandt Rods All-American Pro rod, model C-10, and a Quantum Energy 6.3:1 reel with 17-pound green Trilene SensiThin line. While black/blue is always a "go to" jig color (especially in stained water), I will throw other colors depending on the time of year. In the spring, or in clearer water, I will pick pumpkinseed or green pumpkin... something a little more natural looking. However, most of the time, I throw basic black.
Sometimes adding a color variation to the jig head, or even touching up the worn-off color can make a big difference. I use Herbie's Magic Dust, a heat-activated powder paint that is quick and easy to use - even while on the boat. Simply heat the jig with a match or lighter, dip it into the jar of your chosen color, and then dip it in the water. No more waiting for paint to dry! Herbie's comes in so many colors (including fluorescent varieties) that I can customize my jig to either "match the hatch," or draw more attention to it.
I temper the fall rate by varying the type and size of the trailer. In the spring and late fall, I like an Uncle Josh's #11. There's something about a bait with a more realistic taste and texture that helps the bass hold the bait a little longer... allowing for a better hookset. The pork also helps to s-l-o-w down the jig's fall, keeping it in the strike zone longer. In the summer, I use plastic trailers. For a faster fall and more lifelike action, I use Gambler's Guido's Baby Original and Guido's Original in pumpkinseed and black blue glitter. Otherwise, I like Zoom's Small Salty Chunks in black blue glitter, sapphire blue and pumpkin.
I position my Ranger 518 DVX in front of the laydown, staying at least two feet away. I methodically pitch my bait around the tree trunk and branches. Initially, I will work from the tips of the branches inward. However, if that isn't drawing strikes, I will work from the inside out. Sometimes that first pitch is the only chance you have to get bit. If the water is really clear or the bass are spooky, additional pitches might be unproductive. BUT, if they are there and actively feeding, you'll know it!
Tie on a jig the next time you find some laydowns, and work on your pitching to ensure a stealth entry... and hang on tight!
Jeff Morton is a tournament angler who fishes the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division and the Northland Bass Northern Wisconsin Team Circuit. He is a 2 Time B.A.S.S. Illinois State Championship Qualifier and has won the Northern Illinois Make A Wish Charity Bass Tournament.
Jeff proudly represents Ranger Boats, Bedford Sales, CastAway Graphite Rods, Bill Stasek Chevrolet, Maui Jim Sunglasses and Just Hank's Custom Embroidery and Digitizing.