Jig Your Drifts Away

Jig Your Drifts Away
I have decided towrite a series of blogs offering tips on how to fish when MotherNature is less than agreeable. They are going to topicalized by thefour elements - Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire.Today's blog will be about Wind.

High winds andchoppy waves can wreak havoc on any fishing trip, especially whentrying to troll or cast. You'll get blown off course and it'sdifficult to achieve a consistent pattern of fishing. Bottom line.However, there isa way you can use the wind to your advantage.

During one suchblustery day my buddy Tyler Reid and I were attempting to fish inhigh wind. We were losing the battle - trolling was next toimpossible and casting was proving just as cumbersome. Finally, athought came to me.

?We should tryjigging,? I said, ?just go with the drift and jig.?

It turned out tobe a brilliant idea if I do say so myself. And props must go out toReid for coming up with the presentation that led to us hooking aboat-load of fish.Instead of usingjig heads and a Twister Tail he suggested we use 7? Berkley PowerWorms and hook them texas-rigged style. His reasoning being thatsince the baits would be weed-less, we were less likely to getsnagged on the bottom or in structure. Also, by using either asplit-shot or bullet weight and by varying the amount of line letout, we would be able to control our lure depths.

Both of our luckimproved instantly. Not even five minutes had passed before Reidhooked the first largemouth and shortly thereafter, I boated adecent smallmouth as Reid set the hook on what would be a two-poundwalleye.

Over the next fewhours we drifted all over the lake hooking into bass, walleye, andpike. We began to experiment with different jigs (Figure 1).
A black,single-tailed Mr. Twister with a white jig head appealed to a fewwalleye; Berkley Power Lizards, Worms, and Jerk Shads Texas-Rig stylewith a bullet weight produced second-to-none; even a Lunkerhunt GobyGrub baited by a regular worm hook seduced a few fish lying in ourdrifting path.

We had a lot offun that day and since then I've had plenty of time to perfect theart of drift-jigging. I no longer frown upon the sight of a choppylake - I embrace it.

Here are a fewtips that can make this technique work for you:
  1. Identify the wind direction and recognize related lake-current patterns ? position the boat so you are able to drift in unison with these variables. 
  2. Know your water. Know your structure ? knowledge of the lake you're fishing allows you to locate weed-beds, shoals, and drop-offs that coordinate with your drift. 
  3. Make the weight choice ? PERSONALLY, I prefer bullet weights for fast drifts, split-shots for moderate drifts, and weightless for slow drifts. 
  4. Split-Shot weights are a Catch 22 ? if crimped too tight, they create a weak spot in your line.
  5. The speed of your drift determines your weight choice ? faster means heavier while slower means lighter. 
  6. Choppy waves make the fish 'hunker down' ? often times fish will suspend closer to the bottom of the lake or bunker themselves next to structure during windy weather. 
  7. It's all about the presentation ? once you have achieved the desired depth jig, twitch, and pause your bait to make it as lifelike as possible. 
Thanks for reading and happy angling folks!

Remember, always follow the laws set forth in your area of fishing. This means keeping fish within their allotted slot size, proper quantities, andso on. Let's make it possible to fish for life! 


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