clearly see my bait. This is also a time where I never concern myself with my bait’s initial contact with the water. I want that bait to plop in and make some com- motion. It’s a natural sound and vibration that a bass up shallow in dirty water is looking for. All potential forage for these shallow bass, fall off a rock, tree branch, dock or tulle with a violent plop and ensuing commotion to try and get out of there. They never tip-toe and gently enter the water. Their presence is a mistake, and ole Mrs. Big Mouth is gonna definitely take advantage of that mistake.
Duringthislatewintertransitionperiod, I want my jig in the best strike zone possible, rapidly moving in an attempt to draw a reaction strike. I’m now positioning my boat closer to the bank, yet outside that 8- foot zone. I’m slowing the progression of my boat down the bank literally to a crawl, using maybe the breezes or current as my only power moving the boat forward. This allows me to cast and cover far more water and potential strike zones, it keeps my bait moving in where these bass are more than any other reac- tion bait in my arsenal. Instead of casting every 5 or 10 or 15-feet apart, each cast is only 2 -feet from the last, dissecting as much of the areas as I can. In the event I make a cast that a bass detects, where I get his attention, yet move that bait from outside his 2- to 5-foot zone, my next cast is gonna be right there, where that bass will come find it and my strike potential increases.
Most mornings, I’m start- ing on southern or eastern banks, where the sun is rising be- hind the area I’m fishing. These areas are not warming any faster at this time versus the western and north- ern banks. The key element is low light penetration. As the sun begins to get to its highest peak, it’s at that time I switch over and go fish the western and north- ern banks for they indeed are now warming faster and more than the other two. It’s not really drastic, but a half to 2-degrees in the afternoon, can be huge
and the difference in getting bit or not. At this time of year, I always have two jig rods on the deck, a brown one and a black one, each tipped with a piece of pork. For me, brown works great in clear water. The brown is also very effective in the stained water as well. As the water gets more stained, dirty and even as dark as chocolate, I will start to toss that black jig more and more. Having both allows you to make that instant change at any time without wasting time digging out another rod or retying to switch jigs.
Constantly changing to find the bite is the key. Knowing when to put the jig away too, is a change that a good jig fisherman will recognize. When the weather conditions make it tough for you to fish a jig, do not hesitate to grab your blade, red crankbait or black
vibrating jig and
cover as much
water as you
ISSUE 1 February 2012