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A-Jay

BROWN BASS TOOLS ~ Questions & Answers

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By mid summer, Lake O. smallies are puking up small white bass, small perch, and crayfish.  On Erie it's all craws.

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Has anyone brought up the idea of a Bass Resource North fishing trip recently? 

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8 minutes ago, Turkey sandwich said:

Has anyone brought up the idea of a Bass Resource North fishing trip recently? 

Yes - We're all coming to your house.

See you in a bit . . . 

:smiley:

A-Jay

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Lake Menderchuck would be a stellar option for said trip. Unfortunately the Googler can't seem to locate the ramp coordinates 

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9 minutes ago, slonezp said:

Lake Menderchuck would be a stellar option for said trip. Unfortunately the Googler can't seem to locate the ramp coordinates 

All you have to do is ask me. It’s right next to lake Nunya. 

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  Been a while since I’ve made an addition to this thread, figured I’d take care of that.  Going to cover the why, where, when & how regarding presenting vibrating jigs for smallies.  While this information centers around how I present these baits in northern Michigan for brown bass, there’s a decent chance much of it can be applied effectively in other areas where smallmouth bass inhabit. Might even come in handy for a few green bass as well.

 

OK, First I’ll cover the why.  Why do I fish a vibrating jig for smallies?  The short answer is because they eat it.   

  Beyond that, there are several baits & presentations that I can & do fish at similar times and in similar scenarios that do take brown bass.  However the more I fish a vibrating jig for smallmouth, the more and bigger fish I’ve been catching.    Perhaps it’s because a vibrating jig is ‘the new kid on the block’, and there’s a bit of the novelty factor involved.  Either way, at this point, I’m convinced that after a couple of season throwing it, I may have only scratched the surface of the vibrating jigs full potential.

 

The Where ~ I am most often presenting these baits low & slow.

Not that the baits are less effective in the middle or upper portion of the water column, just that for me, I seem to have my best success this way; in 3 to say 12 ft. of mostly clear or slightly colored water.  I ‘m usually reaching for something else to fish a little higher or a little deeper.   And that might simply be personal preference more than anything else.

 To also help answer the where, I’ll say that I use vibrating jigs sort of like a shallow to medium running crank bait – except in places with bottom vegetation.  In these areas, a crank bait usually bogs down, but these baits come through nicely.  While a lipless / rattle bait often works well in these same grassy areas, the advantage I’ve realized with the vibrating jig, is that I can fish it super slow and the bait still has sufficient ‘action’ or attracting qualities, to get bites.

 

This leads me nicely into The When.  When chasing big brown bass, early & late season are the prime times.  Fish are generally shallow(er), which makes them a whole more accessible, and they are looking to eat, which I really like.  These are usually times when the water is cooler.  So being able to crawl a bait along the bottom, in & around vegetation, have it fish effectively and get bites, makes a vibrating jig a decent option.  Clearly there are a number of baits that offer many of the same benefits.  Swim jigs & swim baits come to mind, just to name a couple.  But there is something about these baits that seems to get bites when some of the other presentations I’ve tried in the same areas, have not.  Makes me keep reaching for the rig that’s got one tied on, more and more.

 

And here’s where I go over The How.  The how in this case is the actual baits themselves and the gear I fish them on.  Clearly most

ALL of this comes down to personal preference.  

First the baits.

I have and fish 4 Model / types, if you will.  Each is a little different but could still be utilized interchangeably. 

 

To start, I fish the 3/8 oz. and the ½ oz. almost exclusively.  Reserving the few 3/4 oz. baits for casting into a heavy wind.  

As for colors, regardless of brand or type, I’m throwing pretty much ‘natural’ types of deals.  I make my own skirts, so there’s a lot of green pumpkins, and perch & crawfish type shades happening; with a smattering of white & chartreuse because I think there’s a rule that says I have to.   I replace them as needed.

   There are several (million) trailers that work, I use 3 only and there really isn’t any rhyme or reason to what I hang on the back as these all catch fish for me.  The Strike King Rage Bug and Blade Minnow are good.  As is the Yamamota Zako.  I’ve fished paddle tail swimbait style trailers quite a bit in the past and have all but abandoned their use here.  Where a swimbait makes an excellent trailer on swim jigs and spinnerbaits – It just does not produce for me like the baits mentioned above.  Even when I turn the tail up, which may folks swear by.

 

The Strike King Rage Blade – one of the first baits of this type I fished. Seems to excel in the coldest of water. Works best on a slow retrieve as it has decent bit of rise to it otherwise. Hangs up in wood.

 

The Z-Man Chatterbait Freedom ~ Is effective for me in any situation I want to present a vibrating jig and possesses two distinct features that I find very beneficial. First, the ability/option to attach most any hook of my choice.  This includes but is not limited to a stout EWG.  So the second feature is that EWG makes an already semi-weed less rig, even more so.  I will mention that the hook up ratio for me with Tex-posed trailers is a bit lower than rigs that are not.  (open hooks)   

 

The O.S.P. Bladed Jig.  This is a Japanese bait I took a flyer on a few years back.  Got it off E-Bay.  This bait has a bit smaller profile that includes a smaller hook, guessing maybe 2/0.  The most notable aspect of this one is that it has a small and ‘transparent’ plastic blade.  When the bladed jigs first hit the market, they all came with a shiny metallic blade.  Something I was not digging in many of the super clear water applications here.  Works fine for a speeding spinnerbaits, but not so much for the slower moving bladed jig.  This bait comes with a thin twin tail trailer – that’s pretty decent.  It’s also the only bait I know of that is offered in a 5/8 oz.  Sort of unique.  This one excels in the shallowest of scenarios for me.

 

Finally there’s the Z-Man Evergreen Jackhammer.  Some love it – some hate it.  I’ll keep my comments on this one brief.  If I could only have one, this is it.  Since getting a few, it’s the one I reach for most as it has accounted for ‘several’ trophy sized brown bass.  IMO, it does it all and it does it well.

 

As a final ‘bait’ footnote, I acquired a couple of Strike King Thunder Crickets and while they have yet to produce, they are well made, run true and seem to have quite a bit of potential.  And although I have no firsthand knowledge of the process, I have to believe Mark Zona had a hand in naming it.

 

And lastly, the gear.  Again, and I have to say it, these baits a so versatile and yet unique, they can be fished on just about any thing you’d like to throw it on. Is one type “Better” than another?  Who Knows?  I use what I like and what I have confidence it – that goes for all my fishing and I’d encourage that mind set to anyone & everyone who is willing to listen.  What one angler uses and even has success with, may not be right for another.  So use what you like.  Here's what I like – Rod, Reel & line.

 

   I totally prefer moderate action rods for single hook moving baits. (And many treble hook baits for that matter). 

And well before I settled on the one mentioned below, I was like many anglers in that I was totally unsure what to use or what I would prefer. So after ‘reading’ and watching too many videos, I just went ahead and purchased and then fished a graphite (St Croix), 100 % Glass (Lamiglas) & a Composite stick (Quantum). Needed to be able to compare them- side by side.  Only way I could expect to answer the question.

 In the end, they all worked OK, but I settled on the composite.

Just has the right combination of castability, sensitivity, hook setting and fish fighting ability.  So, I sold the graphite stick and ‘retired’ the glass ones. More on that in a bit.

 

  I use the same rod (and Reel) for spinnerbaits & vibrating jigs as well as squarebills, shallow & medium diving crankbaits.

A 7’4” MH Composite Quantum KVD Crankbait rod. 

 

   I use & prefer a ‘slower’ reel.  Helps keep me from fishing the bait to ‘fast’.  Something I continue to struggle with and always need to pay attention to; especially after I get a few.  I use a Shimano Calcutta 200D round reel.  Has a 5.7:1 ratio.  I love these reels.  A pleasure to chunk & wind all day.

 

 As for line, I prefer Fluorocarbon; specifically, Seaguar InvisX or Tatsu in 15lb.  Done. 

  

Getting back to the glass sticks; I have a couple of yellow Lamiglas Skeet Reese glass rods.  Over this winter, I extended the handles on them both and plan on giving them another go as vibrating jig rods.  We’ll see how it goes.  They are definitely a bit hefty and sort of an acquired taste. 

 

And so there it is – if you have brown bass to fish for, and you thought vibrating jigs were only for green bass, I’d encourage you to give them a shot.

 Be careful though, you might get your arm broke.

That’s my story and I’m stick ‘in to it.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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@12poundbass

I’m really glad you did this little write up! I fished the vibrating jig towards the end of last season and a little this year. I can see myself really enjoying throwing this and spinnerbaits. After reading this I think I need to slow my retrieve WAY down. 

 

Question: should I be feeling the blade vibrating all the time while reeling it in? 

 

A-Jay ~ 

Thanks ~ 

 Try reeling the bait along boat side so you can see it.

 Make sure the boat is mostly stopped.  Watch what the bait does at what speed.  You might learn that at least with the Jackhammer, the bait can be retrieved fairly slowly, yet the blade & trailer are still doing their thing.  You don't HAVE to be able to feel it, just need to know, believe & have confidence in what the bait is doing.

Also, remember this is a vibrating JIG - so anyone who knows jig fishing is totally comfortable with Not being able to FEEL any vibration from the jig and yet, it still get's bites - and big ones at that. Bass will eat this as it sits motionless just like a plain jig.

 **** Big thing to remember when smallmouth fishing - even in cold or cooler water - smallies Like to Chase . . . so in cold or cooler water, a vibrating jig that crawls along the bottom for a short distance and then stops very briefly, and then crawls along the bottom and then stops briefly and does that continuously, is very appealing.  They will often follow/ track it a long way - finally eating it. 

And here's the secret . . . every 4 or 5 moves - speed the reel handle quickly one turn only.  Makes the bait jump and look like it's getting away. Very often - if there's a brown fatty following it - she'll often choke it on the pause or the next movement.  This works for swingheads, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, A-Rigs - almost any horizontal moving bait for smallies.  Not a guarantee, but pretty close. 

So there's that. 

:smiley:

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This thread is so helpful!! Thanks 

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On 5/20/2019 at 10:39 PM, Turkey sandwich said:

Has anyone brought up the idea of a Bass Resource North fishing trip recently? 

Work schedule permitting, I'd be open to a North trip.  I enjoy meeting new people, especially if we share a common interest.

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