The way he fluently navigates shoreline obstacles with the trolly set on about 80 percent while flicking a buzzbait behind cypress trees or skipping a jig under docks – literally ringing his targets perfectly on the run – makes almost any angler question their own casting skills.
“Man, he’s smooth going down the bank,” is a common statement made by spectators watching Montgomery fish for the first time.
Montgomery started his career on the FLW Tour in 2008 and jumped over to the Elite Series in 2011. He is also a force to reckon with at Major League Fishing where he regularly shows off his shallow water magic on national TV.
Montgomery’s gift for fancy lure work with a rod and reel makes him a fitting candidate for Pros Pick 3 where he will have to choose just three lures to take anywhere at anytime to be “smooth going down the bank.”
“I like the idea,” Montgomery said about hypothetically scaling down to just three lures. “I’ve got a few lures in mind that I can move down the bank with, but I do have one problem: my guilty pleasure in bass fishing is punching. If I see anything that makes a canopy of any kind – even if it’s just one little debris mat – I’m going to have to send a big weight through it. I just can’t pass that opportunity up; I’ve caught too many big fish on just one pitch during a day’s fishing that way.
“So as crazy as this might sound, I’m going to go ahead and burn one of my choices on a big weight and creature bait – say a 1- to 1 1/2-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten with a Rage Bug.”
Montgomery is well aware of the limitations of his first choice.
“I know a big weight is not exactly the most versatile of tools,” Montgomery admitted. “But I’m not making any apologies for it. There’s no other lure that gets that job done. If I get to wherever I’m fishing and I see one single matted piece of junk on the surface and I don’t have a big weight to sample it with, I’d go crazy. So let’s just go ahead and get that choice out of the way so I can live with myself.”
Montgomery also makes another good case for his punching pick.
“Plus, that kind of canopy cover exists on more lakes than people might realize,” he added. “It’s not just limited to hyacinth mats in Florida. Plenty of lakes have other types of matted grass, broken-over reeds, thick willows, sawdust mats, tangled junky stuff hanging off the bank – whatever. So I’ve got that base covered.”
For his punching pleasure Montgomery prefers an 8-foot Daiwa Tatula Elite Ish Monroe punching rod teamed with a Daiwa Zillion HD reel spooled with 70-pound Samurai braid.
For his second choice, Montgomery wants something that will cover ground fast and opts for Strike King’s KVD 1.5 squarebill.
“This bait covers all the calendar and is deadly on almost any visual cover,” he said. “When it comes to a moving bait I like bladed baits, too – spinnerbaits and bladed jigs – but a squarebill is going to get the pick because I love cranking bank, especially rock when it’s cold.”
He says that with three colors of the same squarebill, he can cover all the fishing seasons: crawdad/red in the winter, a chartreuse-black back in summer and a sexy blueback herring in the fall.
“If I only get one color, though, it’s going to be the chartreuse-black back, it’s definitely the go to,” he offered.
For squarebill gear, Montgomery likes the 7-foot Daiwa Tatula Elite Randy Howell shallow cranking rod. If he wants to tickle rock down to 4 feet, he opts for a 12-pound test fluorocarbon. If he is cranking shallow, visual cover like laydowns, stumps, docks, or trees, he goes with a 15-pound fluorocarbon.
The grin on Montgomery’s face gives away his final choice even before he names it. That’s because the bona fide bank beater can’t help but to smile when he talks about jigs.
“Of course the last one is a jig,” Montgomery laughed. “It’s the best bass lure there is – I love them. They’re so simple, efficient and versatile.”
When it comes to jig fishing, Montgomery is best known for his jig skipping talent. He owns two BASS Open trophies from dock-skipping showdowns on Smith Lake and Lake Norman.
His ability to shoot a ½-ounce jig through a mouse hole in the foam of a floating dock is mind-boggling. He can send a jig hopping down the middle of the entire length of a pontoon boat without a sound. And what about that small slot between the pontoon and the docks? He can ring those while his boat is moving at about 3 mph.
With that, Montgomery’s jig pick is his own 1/2-ounce Strike King Signature Series skipping jig.
“I designed it to be a skipping jig, but I’d have no problem fishing it any other way – swimming it, pitching it, casting it – it’s built to fish whatever gets in your way going down the bank.”
The attributes of his skipping jig include a flatter head, an extra deep-grooved collar to hold a skirt better, a screw lock keeper for the trailer and a medium-sized hook that’s, “big enough to hook fish, but not too big to hang up on everything under a dock.”
His trailer pick for the jig would include a Rage Bug in a matching color to the skirt.
“White, black and blue and blue craw,” he offered as his preferred jig colors.
As for a rod choice, not surprisingly, Montgomery has his own Daiwa Tatula Elite skipping rod as well, measuring in at 7’-1” in a heavy action, teamed with a Tatula SV reel with a 8.1:1 reel ratio and spooled with 20-pound test fluorocarbon.
“I like a high-speed reel when jig fishing,” he said. “Being able to get the jig back in quickly to make another presentation is key when standing on the trolling motor to keep on moving down the bank.”