s fall becomes winter, all anyone wants to do
is chill out on the couch, hope someone brings
them a snack and put the football game on. Largemouth are no different; they’d just prefer a football jig.
Major League Fishing pro Josh Bertrand has fished a jig
during colder months of the year since he can remember.
He learned from those who fished the same pattern years
before he was born.
“Deepwater jig fishing is one of those techniques that
has never faded away,” Bertrand said.
Bertrand knows a drop shot or a jigging spoon will be
twice as productive as a football jig, but the big bites that
only a football jig creates are what win tournaments.
“The bigger profile of a jig triggers big bites in the water
for sure,” he said. “It’s a slower moving bait and they are
lethargic and glued to the bottom,”
Garmin Panoptix LiveScope has proven invaluable
for Bertrand when fishing this technique. Fish appear as
a lighter colored rock when on the bottom and he’ll use
SideVü to find those rocks while idling. Next, he’ll scan to
80-feet from each side of the boat using amber or orange
At the console, Bertrand relies
on a pair of Garmin EchoMap 126
units; one dedicated to mapping
and ClearVü and the other with
SideVü and DownVu. At the bow,
he’ll run the 10-inch screens with
one unit dedicated to LiveScope
and the other a split between
ClearVü and mapping.
Under 60-degrees is cold
water by western standards and
Bertrand believes that if you can
find the right size of rock, you’ll
“I like the softball, or
smaller-sized rock because it’s
more attractive to crawfish
as they have a hard time
moving around huge boulders
and your jigs constantly get
stuck!” he said. “Sometimes,
you’ll have a beautiful rock
pile that is loaded with fish
all winter long. Other times,
it is a rocky vein in the
middle of a deep flat and
that rock is a magnet to
those deep fish.”
Main lake points, ledges,
channels and where they
meet are prime areas.
bays can be the trick too.
“On a lot of the western
reservoirs, you’ll have a
flat bay, 30- to 40- feet
deep and it doesn’t look ‘bassy’ at all; but, often, they are in sneaky, subtle areas like deep flats with rocky veins and rock scattered across it,” Bertrand said.
Water depth is all about clarity. Bertrand says that a lake like Roosevelt fishes great in 20-feet, because the water clarity is 3-feet. Alternatively, on Lake Pleasant, fishing a jig in 40-feet is the deal because the water clarity is 20-feet.
WORKING A JIG
Most of the time, he’ll work his jig from shallow to deep, dragging his jig down the hill. If fish are heavily pressured, he’ll reverse his approach, knowing he’ll probably get snagged a bunch more.
“Cast your jig shallow and
count rocks, as you drag your jig
back to the boat painfully slow,”
Bertrand stated. “I like to keep
my right index finger on the line,
because I’m already using the
most sensitive rod, a 7’3” heavy