Man am I excited to show you guys our next show. There are so many days that I go out on the water and find a great bite only to get a camera in the boat and watch that bite go from great to tough, or worse. Not this time! This time things worked out about as good as you can imagine. Almost like a movie script. Let me walk you through the day and tell you why I have become a huge fan of the jig worm.
When I decided to check out a small metro area lake about 30-45 minutes outside of Minneapolis I had no idea what I would find. I had no clue what the bottom content was, what sort of structure I'd find, nothing. I was merely heading out for a typical day of relaxed fishing with no goal, no tournament to prepare for, and no guide clients. Just me. A nice relaxing afternoon off.
Upon arriving I was encouraged to see a lake with a very obviously slop presence surrounding it. "Glad I brought my frog rod" I thought to myself as I idled away from the landing. After some scanning with my Lowrance HDS Touch 12, I found some nice hard bottom, some rock piles, and some very hard weed edges. Time to get to work.
After some frogging, flipping, docking, and hitting some rocks I had put some good fish in the boat, but what happened next was what got me on the phone to my producer and business partner at Bass Utopia, Dan Schmidt, telling him we had to get a camera out here ASAP.
Fast forward a couple of days and Dan and I are heading to the lake with great anticipation, but I'll be honest, there was a sense of "the camera curse" looming. There's just something about having a camera in the boat that sometimes just makes things go the wrong direction. Now I know the camera has nothing to do with it, it's a timing thing, but you can't help but feel that little sense of "what if we bomb" when you have this much anticipation heading in.
Boat launched, poles rigged, we headed to the first stretch of rocky points and weed edges. Dan tuned in the quad-copter drone and his camera gear while I found my way point, idled in, and dropped the trolling motor.
Frog in hand I went to work. Nothing.
Put down that frog and grab a jig and start flipping this weed edge...nothing.
I could sense Dan getting a bit nervous, but I hadn't taken out my go-to presentation yet. What Dan didn't know was that those first two attempts were just me looking for a bonus. A big hookset. A top water explosion. Now it was time to get serious.
Now while many anglers will tell you they know why fish do what they do, sometimes they just do things that you can't quite explain, but once you figure them out, it's magical. I mean like unicorns and rainbows magical. The kind of day that people don't believe when you tell them. It was about to get silly. For some reason, despite all logic, the fish were not holding in the weeds, or on the rocky or hard bottom edges. They were hanging out cruising along the softer bottom on the weed lines. Most were in about 8-10 feet of water, but some were as shallow as 5 feet.
Armed with a jig head, a 7'6 Medium spinning rod, Pflueger Patriarch Spinning reel, and 8 pound flourocarbon line I went to work.
This next part is going to sound like a sponsor message, and I assure you it is not. This is 100% truthful and real. I had tried several different jig worm presentations including a 7" ribbon tail worm, a Senko, and a Roboworm. All of which caught a few fish, but things got nuts when I put on the new Bio Spawn Plasma Tail. Color didn't matter too much as I burned through my Green Pumpkin first, then my Watermelon Red Flake, then finally ended the day with the Purple Fire.
Throwing a jig worm is a really simple approach, and is a really effective way to search out fish on deep edges. My approach is to simply cast the jig out, let it sink, and then let the bait sit. I mix in a few light twitches and a small jig off the bottom on occasion, but I find a very subtle approach works best. This is why I think the Bio Spawn bait is such a great tool. These baits are infused with Bio Scent to give off a very realistic scent in the water. In addition to that, the bait has a tremendous amount of action and a tail that is buoyant, so the bait sits naturally on the bottom and is in constant motion, even when you are not moving the bait. This is a key element of the dead sticking finesse technique.
As I started to work down the weed edges it started to happen. Fish after fish after fish, all falling victim to the Plasma Tail. One after another, and I'm not talking about little ones. Sure, we got some 2-3 pounders, but we were hammering the 3-4 pounders with regularity. Each fish in this low pressured lake probably seeing a jig worm for the first time, and fighting like their lives depended on it. Everyone digging for the bottom before launching to the surface in an attempted to dislodge my hook, but to no avail. Fish after fish found it's way to my boat as the hours flew past. We were having a dream day. Dan was in heaven commenting repeatedly how this was going to be the easiest show to edit ever.
As we pressed on, and our time started winding down, Dan told me it was time to do a show close. "Next fish just do a close and we'll wrap it up", he said.
The next fish came, about 2.5 pounds, and I tossed it back. "We are going to close with a giant", I told Dan, "It's coming, I can just feel it."
Another fish, this one closer to 3.5 pounds. Toss it back without saying a word.
"We really need a close", Dan tells me.
"It's coming", I reassure him.
A little turn in the weeds caught my eye. Nothing major, just a subtle little cut back. I tossed my jig worm to the target.
A bite, I think anyways. Lots of weight and it's not moving. Maybe a weed. I'll set just in case.
Now it's swimming.
"Uh oh", I say. "Uh oh", I repeat over and over. "If this is a bass it's a giant!"
Green flash and the fish breaks the surface. It's a giant alright. A show closer for sure.
Shaking, I manage to get the fish in the net on my light line and into the boat. The jig worm has done it's job. What I said after that to the camera will be as much a surprise to me as it is to any first time viewer. Anyone who has caught that trophy fish can tell you that the moments after you hold that fish just sort of melt into the fabric of time.
It's what we all fish for. Not just the fish, but the feeling. Pure joy. Pure elation. Just a pure moment. It's why I am addicted to this sport, and why I can't stop, even if I tried. It's why I love to share these moments with the viewers, and why we do what we do.
Is there a moral to the story, or even a point? I don't know. As I type this I'm reliving the moment and again find myself at a loss for words to describe what it was like. I just hope that all of you get the same chance and find the same joy that we do. Everyday is a new adventure on the water, a new lake, a new chance to learn.
In staying true to the title of this blog entry, I guess I'd say this: Find yourself a new lake to explore, something off the beaten path, or even head out to your favorite lake, but bring along a jig worm and see what happens. You just might have your best day of the year!