Touchdown with the Football Jig
Had a amazing day yesterday filming a show for
Extreme Angler TV
on a north-eastern Kawartha Lakes District lake using the Strike King Tour Grade Football jig and Baby Rage Craw trailer in summer craw tones. The weatherman finally got it correct, no rain and low winds made for perfect conditions to fish/film on a location that requires precise boat positioning very close to rock walls and rock shoals, so the less wind the better.Headed to my first spot of the day, a sharp dropping rock wall with an inside weedline tight to the edge with millfoil & cabbage weeds leading to deeper water.My boat had to be so close to the rock wall, I could almost touch it with my rod in some places, if I wanted to fish the weed edge properly.This is a time of year I enjoy the most.Big bass on the feed bag and very little angling pressure.I have found the best way to fish for these late fall smallmouth bass on these inside weed edges, near rock bluffs is with a football jig and soft crawfish trailer, like the baby rage craw trailer I was using.
You can drag them thru some of the nastiest places like weed, wood or rock and they come thru 90% of the time and look very similar to a live crawfish crawling along the bottom.The head design of the football jig lets you walk and drag the bait better than a traditional flippin' jig and the tiny craw legs wiggle back and forth enticing bigger bites for me.Fished the football jig 'n baby rage craw trailers on a St.Croix Legend Xtreme, seven foot, heavy action rod with an Ardent-Fishouflage F500 flip n pitch reel loaded with 20-lbs fluorocarbon line.Probably made five pitches on this first spot, when I felt that familar "soft sponge-like" pick up from a fish.Reeled down, picked up any slack line and set hard, fish on.
Its an awesome feeling fighting a five plus pound smallmouth bass on heavy gear with less than twenty feet of line out, they fight like wild bulls and dig deep into the weeds.With water temps in the low 40's, these fish did very little jumping, instead they would make shore, powerful runs beneath the boat and kept a serious bend in my rod.Not five minutes later, same spot, same presentation, fish number two was hooked, a smaller three-plus pound brown bass with the same attitude as his bigger brother.The one great thing about late fall smallmouth bass, is they tend to group up together in similar size schools. The school I found was in the three to five pound range, perfect!I fished this location for another forty-five minutes and landed three more chunky smallies up to four plus pounds before the loons came in to feed on the schooling baitfish, which in turn shut off the smallies for a while.I drove around the bay to find similar locations with rocky outcrops that had deeper water close by and some form of weed growth near the rock.Bingo, found another similar location, except with thicker millfoil which was as green as a Christmas tree that lead to the main lake basin and deeper water, it looked perfect to me.Yes sir, not ten minutes in, the same sponge bite from Mr. brown bass and another fish in the high four pound class trying to pull the rod from my grip.Stuck around this location for another half hour with some bonus walleye and smaller largemouth bass that thought my football jig and baby rage craw trailer was the meal of the day.Caught one more two-plus pound smallie near the end of the weedline edge.Took a drive back to my original location to find the loons had left and I had the spot all to myself once again.Positioned my boat in the exact same spot I started at in the a.m. and made approx ten pitches, before I felt the heavy sensation of a bigger fish, set hook and this gal stayed deep and ripepd weed like a muskie does, but instead of a muskie, I connected with yet another big bad brown bass that fought like a hog on a rope being lead to slaughter, absolutely wild!
Fished another hour plus with two additional smallies in the two and one-half pound range before it was time to load the boat back onto the trailer.On the road back home after a good day on the water, I like to reflect on how the day went, whether it was a good day or a bad day.On this occassion I would have to say, sticking to my original game plan with the football jig and baby rage craw trailer on those similar locations on various spots on this lake we're the key to my success. I could have had the front deck of my boat loaded with rods and all kinds of different baits, but on this trip, I decided beforehand that either the football jig n craw or the strike king rodents we're going to be my baits for the day, period.Many anglers get into that mind set that just because they don't get bit on the first casts with a certain bait, they end of changing baits and presentations all day long, looking for that magic formula, when the magic formula is simply having faith in your own abilities and trust your gut instinct with baits and presentations that have worked in the past.Stick with what works and fish it properly and you'll catch alot more big fish.