If you’re looking for a different slant on the traditional football head jig, then tie one of the
motion-heavy heads with a free swinging hook. FLW Tour pro Andrew Upshaw likes the Gene
Larew Hard Head with a Larew Biffle Bug or Rattling Crawler trailer.
“What this technique does is it allows you to throw a crawfish-imitating bait and work it like
a crankbait,” he said. “It’s extremely unique because you’re constantly moving a plastic bait
across the bottom. “With the Hard Head’s hook swinging
independent of the head, it’s an uncontrolled chaos. Every time that football head hits something, it shifts the hook and makes the bait kick. It’s extremely erratic and that’s what attracts fish.” Upshaw’s tip: Use 15-pound fluorocarbon, instead of the more common 20-pound. This enables the bait to reach deeper and it also allows him to reel faster. “The whole idea behind this technique is you want to reel it as fast as you possibly can, while keeping bottom contact,” Upshaw said.
and you miss him, just drop back down and they’ll usually get it.”
For proper spacing and a compact profile, Murray recommends pinching off about ½-inch of the Salt Craw’s body.
RETRIEVE: Color, trailer choice, site selection – all factor into the day’s overall success, but Murray said he puts the highest emphasis on retrieve style. Knowing how to properly present a bait for various scenarios, he said, is critical. It may be a slow, tight drag, or a more enthusiastic stroking deal; whatever the case, Murray just tries to dial in what triggers the fish on a given day.
“Usually, I’ll start out with just a simple lift-and- drop, just covering water,” he said. “If I get on a strok- ing bite, it’s usually by accident. Maybe I’ll snag (an obstruction) and I’ll pop it off and catch one, or maybe I’ll start to reel in and then I catch one.
“A lot of times, I’ll go through a range of pre-
sentations. I’ll start out with a lift-and-drop and then I’ll go to stroking it really hard. Some of the best football head bites I’ve been on have been four feet off the bottom, but you had to stroke it up there.”
Murray said he might use all of his presentations – dragging, lift-and-drop, stroking – in a single day. The key, he said, is paying attention to your speed and any subtle differences from one retrieve to the next. It’s great when the fish are chewing hard and put their stupid face on, but it’s more often a case of trying to figure out what they want.
“Usually, day-to-day, they’ll tend to go with one technique or the other,” Murray said. “There have been times when you could not get a bite if you (con- tinuously) moved that jig. You’d throw it out there, get a drink, let it sit and they’d swim off with it.
“I think it’s just depends on how active the craw- dads are. That influences that fish’s mood and tells you how to retrieve your jig.”