A DIFFERENT BED-FISHING TOOL
At last year’s FLW Tour opener on Lake Okeechobee, winner Tim Frederick, Schmitt and a few others were targeting not just pre-spawn fish, but also spawning, fish with vibrating jigs.
HOW? BY SLOWING WAY DOWN.
“As that tournament went on, I started to feel like the fish were on beds,” says Schmitt. “Those beds were in holes in the grass. So, you’d be reeling, hit the grass and then there would be an open spot. The slower I reeled, the longer it was in that open spot to annoy a bedding female.”
In watching on the water, it was clear these pros were all keyed in on this, reeling far slower than the sometimes 30 other pros around them all throwing vibrating jigs.
But those were for bass they couldn’t see. Guess what? Bass you can see get annoyed just as much. While angler often throw jigs and soft-plastics in a bass’ bed to annoy them into eating, few ever think to try a vibrating jig. Yet, it most certainly works.
It’s ultra-aggressive and can potentially spook off a fish not fully locked on, but if it is and it’s being stubborn to typical presentations, hopping a vibrating jig in its face will often get a reaction.
AFTER THE SPAWN
A month after the Okeechobee event, pro Chris Johnston won at the Harris Chain incorporating a vibrating jig keying in on a post-spawn pattern: the shad spawn.
Again, Johnston was fishing it slow but more so out of necessity. The water he was fishing was in the 10- to 12- foot range, and he didn’t feel he could reel slow enough to keep his vibrating jig down. The solution?
“I let it sink to the bottom, and then I would yo-yo it,” says Johnston. “They’d smoke it every time I’d kill it.”
Yo-yoing is an under-utilized technique, in general, but many pros secretly incorporate it on shallow offshore ledges. And once again, while they try and keep it to themselves, they’ll often do it with a vibrating jig as opposed to a normal jig or hair jig.The presentation is very aggressive and it trying to prompt that reaction bite similar to a big flutter spoon, just with a bait they’re not as used to seeing. Speaking of normal jigs, what’s another technique that’s quite common with them? Skipping docks.
Well, the arkie-style head on most vibrating jigs skips pretty darn well, and when you incorporate a flashing, vibrating blade fluttering as it falls to the bottom, it’s another thing fish haven’t seen as much.
So, this year, don’t stow away the vibrating jig box past spring. You might just be stowing away the right equation to a big bag. •