BassWestUSA - January/February, 2010, Page 29

in your mind, You Can Do It! You can fish a plastic worm right? You can chuck and wind a buzzbait or crankbait right? There’s no reason why you can’t learn to pitch and flip a jig, and catch fish on it. You can do it. I know you can. Just do it. Much like anything else in life, you must practice. So the next 5 times you go fishing, take nothing but 3 jig rods with you. Don’t allow your- self the opportunity to fall back onto your old confidence baits. Start to build a newfound confidence in this bait; you will thank me for this down the road. Keep this in mind at all times; there is no right or wrong way to fish the jig. It’s a very simple bait, one that has no built in action on its own. Jigs are very versatile, in that they can be dressed with a variety of trailers, to match many of the bottom dwelling forage that a bass sees in its day-to-day environment. Depending on the type of trailer you attach, whether it be plas- tic, pork or feathered, you can imitate a crawdad, a bait fish, small birds and mammals, even those of the amphibious type. All of which at some point in time during the annual life cycle of a bass, the bass will forage on it. The bass is an opportunistic predator. No mouthful-sized critter in his world is safe from the jaws and bellies of our coveted quarry. Keep that jig moving, you will draw more reactionary strikes during this period than at any other time of the year. In the fall and winter, select crawdad imitating trailers and color patterns. Crawdads, in most impoundments that have bass, tend to be a bass’ number one preferred forage. They provide high levels of nutrients that help a bass get through the winter. So in the fall, bass are gorging on dads to fatten themselves, preparing the bass for those long, dormant winter periods. In the winter as a bass begins to transition towards their spawning phase in the spring, they will once again begin to gorge on dads as they come crawling out of their burrows. High nutrient content is important to the bass, especially the females as they begin long migrations shallow and start to develop and mature their eggs. Keep that jig moving. Hop, pop and jump it along the bottom from shallow to deep. Don’t let it come to rest for any long period of time. You will draw more reactionary strikes, from larger fish, during this period than at any other time of the year.

Most anglers new to jig fishing, will go out and buy 25 different color patterns of jigs. Dude, that’s not simple, and now gives you way too much to think about. Instead of having that many jig patterns, just take the three I mentioned, and use various colored trailers to get the desired effect to match the forage in your body of water. Three color patterns I use everywhere, for my brown or black jigs are solid purple, electric blue (blue or purple with blue flake) and black/blue combos. Sometimes I’ll use watermelon red and green pumpkin, but typically that only happens when someone jumps in the back of my boat and is tossing one of those colors just to be different. If they start getting more bites than me, I listen to what those fish are telling us. My 6 biggest bass ever, have all come from fishing jigs on this California Delta, and one came from Lake Folsom. These 6 bass were all between 13-14.85 lbs. In as much as we’d all like to have lakes that produce 15-25 pound bass that will chase down and eat a big trout bait, that’s not a reality for most of us. Over the past 6 years of guiding on this River, between clients and I, we have logged well over 200 bass topping the 10 lb mark, all on jigs. During this time, I can’t count the number of clients who didn’t catch one that big while on a session with me but sent me a photo and e-mail describing the one they caught using the above tips. Jig fishing on this California Delta, really is not that difficult. All you have to do, is read the tips above, tell yourself, “Whoa, that IS really simple, I CAN DO THAT!”

Keep a Tight Line!......... Cooch BW

» Keep iT Simple

Last but not least, keep your jig fishing simple, at least in the beginning until you develop the confidence to fish this bait day in and day out. Stick to three primary colors, a solid brown, black or white jig, each will work anywhere, anytime of year.

January/February 2010