Jig Fishing: Rattle Vs. No Rattle

Coast to coast anglers agree that jigs catch giant bass. Whether you're dragging ledges, pitching docks, or flipping vegetation, its tough to find a more consistent presentation to produce big bites. One aspect of jig fishing that anglers can't seem to agree on is the use of rattles.

Some guys swear that rattles help them catch more fish. Other guys insist that the natural presentation without rattles is the key to getting the big bites. This Week Tim breaks down the benefits of both methods and explains when you should and shouldn't use a jig rattle.

Most jigs come with a way to attach rattles but some do not. If you happen to use a style that does not, check out these simple rattle holders.

We hope these quick tips help you this Spring as you break out the jig rod in pursuit of a kicker!

Goals For the New Year

2015 came and went in a blur but its a year we'll never forget! At the start of the year we made a post about setting goals. We know that an angler without goals will continue to fish the same places, the same techniques, and rarely sees true success. We challenged each of you to set goals as well. Now that the year has passed we want to look back at those goals and see what we learned.

Did you accomplish your goals? What did you do right? What did you do wrong? And what are you going to do in 2016 to continue moving forward? As an example let's look at Tim and my goals to see how we stacked up. Keep in mind, goals need to be lofty. They need to stretch you and cause you to develop as an angler. If your goals aren't a challenge that takes constant drive, you're shooting too low!

In 2015 both Tim and I set what we considered outrageous goals. We really stretched ourselves and were specific about what we wanted. I'll start by saying, we didn't accomplish all of them. But to my own amazement, we accomplished most of them! There is not a doubt in my mind that if we hadn't publicly committed ourselves to this, our year would have been very different!  Here is what we committed to for 2015...

Tim:

  • Help at least 3 friends break their "personal best" while fishing together
  • Catch (another) 13+ lb largemouth
  • Break a bass fishing world record

Matt:

  • Help a minimum of 1 client catch a 10+ lb largemouth
  • Catch a world record of any species (but I'd prefer an 11 lb Spotted Bass)
  • Catch a 15 lb largemouth in Clearlake

Those goals were crazy right?! World records?! You've got to be kidding me!! On January 12th, 2015 Tim broke the WORLD RECORD for Spotted Bass with a GIANT 10 lb 6 oz beauty! Several weeks later Matt broke not one, but two Channel Cat World Records! Now isn't that interesting? Tim's goal specifically stated that he wanted a BASS world record and Matt's wasn't as specific, settling for a world record of any species. Here we are, a year later looking back, and both of those goals came to fruition exactly as we had set out to accomplish them. 

Additionally, Tim was successful in helping his friends catch new personal bests just as he had planned. He fell short on the 13 lb largemouth but that's what 2016 is for! Matt successfully guided his clients to fish over 10 lbs and as a kicker, guided a client to a bonus world record catfish! He too fell short of his goal for a giant largemouth but will to continue pursuing that 15 lb Clearlake bass in 2016!

This goes to show that no matter how outrageous the goal, once you commit it to paper and have that accountability, you can accomplish virtually anything! We challenge you again to set lofty goals for 2016! What will you do this year? Will you stay the same or will you catch that personal best? Will you catch a new species? Perhaps break a record? This is your year and we look forward to being a part of it!

To see our goals for 2016 join us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tacticalbassin/ and share in the conversation.

Jig Trailers for Every Situation

This is a video about colors,  glitters, and actions, its not about brand preferences. If you've wondered what all these different trailers are for and whether or not you really need them, this is the video you've been waiting for.

As fishermen, especially jig fishermen, we all have very strong opinions of which jigs are best. At times we can't even agree on weight or color, let alone brand. The guy on the front deck will swear a 3/4 ounce is working best, the guy in the back can only get bit on 3/8 ounce. Ever been down this road? It happens to us all the time! Today we're putting that all behind us and focusing specifically on the jig trailers.

Gaining an understanding of why a grub works better than a chunk one day, but doesn't work near as well as a creature bait the next day will absolutely make you a better angler. The next time your jig bite disappears overnight we hope you'll have the knowledge to adapt and begin catching those fish again.

Our most common jig trailers are as follows:

Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver: This bait has very little action but provides a great "profile" in combination with the jig.

Net Bait Paca Chunk: This trailers has a great floundering action that is deadly in a variety of conditions, often getting bonus bites swimming back to the boat.

Yamamoto Double Tail Grub: Tried and true, this bait gets bit year round, even in ice cold water.

Strike King Rage Tail Chunk: This trailer has a TON of action and is great at drawing reaction strikes on a fast-falling jig.

Zoom Super Chunk: When rigged properly this bait actually has some action (little known fact). But its generally considered a "dead action" bait focused specifically on profile. For whatever reason, it catches a lot of fish!


How to Spoon for Bass

Is there a more fun or cost effective way to catch a ton of fish in the Fall or Winter? Probably not! Spooning is often over looked in favor of finesse tactics but don't be fooled, its a technique you need to get comfortable using.

When the bass are schooling on baitfish, even when they're just scattered on deep water points and ledges, a spoon is hard to beat. When the fish are suspended around bait, it can't be beaten. A spoon perfectly imitates a dying or injured baitfish, fluttering toward the bottom. Bass are hardwired to react to this quick fluttering action, often resulting in jarring strikes! So why should you be using a spoon during the colder months?

First, its cost effective. Unlike soft plastics which tear up easily, spoons hold up over time. Assuming you don't snag and lose them, you can use the same spoon trip after trip. Second, they're deadly. When the fish are lethargic and don't want to feed you can often draw the "reaction" strike with a few quick hops off the bottom.

Over the years I've used a lot of different brands and models of spoons. For deep water vertical jigging the best spoons I've found are Blade Runner Duh Spoons. They're offered in a variety of colors but my personal favorites are Morning Dawn, Black Shad, and Electric Chicken. The most consistent sizes are the 1 1/4 and 1 3/4 ounce but experiment with the fish on your lakes to see what works best for them.

One other point to consider is that spoons can even work around busting fish. The temptation is to pick up a spook or whopper plopper in pursuit of the fish you can see but often times the largest bass in the school will be holding back, below all the others, waiting for the smaller fish to stun the bait and provide them an easy meal. The next time you see active fish on the surface consider dropping the spoon below and you might just be surprised by the biggest bite of the day.

Winter Fishing: Top 5 Baits for Cold Water Bass

With winter fast approaching most lakes have turned over and the bass have headed for warmer deep water haunts. "Deep" is a relative term that varies lake to lake but when bass head for the depths a lot of anglers lose confidence.

In this week's video we break down our favorite baits for seeking out those deep water bass. This list may be missing some baits you expect but when the going gets tough, these 5 options are consistent producers.

1) A Football Jig: Tim and I vary a little on our specific choices. I lean toward a 1/2 oz or heavier Dirty Jigs Finesse Football (Give "Go To" or "Super Matt Brown" those colors are deadly). Tim takes it a step further and will occasionally go as light as 3/8 oz with his Dirty Jigs HP Football Jig. Why go with a light weight in deep water, you ask? With the lighter weight comes a smaller hook, allowing you to drop to lighter line and even throw the jig on a spinning rod if conditions require.

2) A Drop Shot: Tried and true, this bait is deadly in deep water! Tim likes to downsize, often using a size 2 Owner Mosquito hook with a small tungsten weight. He insists that the light hook allows his bait to have maximum action in deep water. As for baits, he uses a wide range of options but a 6" Roboworm Margarita Mutilator is a proven winter time color.

3) Ball Head: The ball head is such a simplistic way to fish and consistently catches quality fish in the cold water months. Much like a darthead, you should thread the worm on so the point of the hook is left exposed. The difference between a ball head and virtually every other head design is that it has almost no action of its own. This is a drawback most of the year but when the water is cold that "dead action" drives the fish crazy. Tim and I both agree, a 5" senko is your best option with this presentation. Day in and day out, it gets a significantly larger bite than smaller worms.

4) A Jigging Spoon: The spoon is a deadly bait throughout the fall but don't lose faith as cooler temps take over and the bass become lethargic. Using a very subtle flip-flop approach, keeping the jig on bottom at all times, is a phenomenal way to get a big bite in winter. Matt prefers the Blade Runner DUH spoon for its ideal weight, size, and color schemes.

5) The Small Swimbait: I prefer the 6" Basstrix or the 4.8 Keitech coupled with 1/2 oz Matt Allen Signature Swimbait Head. With an exposed lead head its very easy to maintain bottom contact. From rock to gravel, sand to mud, you'll feel every change in contour and the bite will be unmistakable. For this method I maintain constant bottom contact and swim the bait as slowly as I can stand. It presents a sizable but slow moving meal to the bass that is hard to resist.

This Winter, consider not getting your boat winterized. Instead, head for the lake! The bass are still there and they still need to feed. You may be surprised to find that some of your biggest bites of the year come when the water temperature is below 50 degrees.

Which Jerkbaits Work the Best?

On a recent trip to the Bay of Green Bay I got on a great jerkbait bite while fishing with Curt Demerath, owner of Dirty Jigs. Both of us were catching fish but I noticed Curt was doing a few things differently than I'd seen in the past. Most importantly, he was swapping back and forth between different jerkbaits rather than sticking to the favorite. By the end of the first day it was clear that it was having a huge impact on catch rate.

When we got off the water I began asking questions about why he had been making adjustments. He started giving some very in depth responses. That's when I realized we needed to pause the conversation until we could turn the GoPro on  so you could learn from him as well. Here is what happened once he got in front of the camera...

Curt breaks down the differences between the Megabass Vision 110, Pointer 100, Staysee 90, Flash Pointer, and more. He goes on to cover not only how each one moves in the water but how your cadence and retrieve should vary with each. Some shine in warm water, others in cold. Some should be ripped, others should just be pulled. This approach opened my eyes to a whole different world of ripbait (jerkbait) fishing. Often I give up on the jerkbait bite because my confidence bait isn't working, its clear now that I'm leaving a lot of fish uncaught. Switching models to achieve different actions can turn on a jerkbait bite even when a particular bait isn't getting bit.

I think every angler can glean information that will help them catch more jerkbait fish this coming year! Huge thanks to Curt for taking some time out of his day to shed light on this topic! If you're not familiar with Curt or his awesome products, you can see it all at http://www.dirtyjigstackle.com