By Eric Jackson
I enjoy a wide variety of baits for bass fishing and often go for the faster baits, which match my personality a little better. Fishing slow can be hard for me sometimes, but not as hard as slow fishing! Sometimes getting on the bottom with a smaller bait, like the crawfish imitation finesse jig needed, and it is almost always a viable/productive method of fishing. Just in the past 30 days I have caught 4 or 5 fish that had a crawfish sticking out of its throat and always wonder where the fish and frogs are. My first thought is actually more like , “aren’t you getting a little greedy? You haven’t even been able to swallow the crawfish yet!” The point is that crawfish make up a big part of a bass’ diet, and they are always happy to nail a jig passing by if it is in the right spot and fished properly.
I really like the flattop, Buckeye Jig. I don’t get crazy worrying about colors, I just go with the Green Pumpkin, or Brown, and put a variety of chunks on it. I like the red chunks for clear water, brown or green chunks for darker waters. Charlie Ingram introduced me to this particular jig and is much more specific with the colors than I am. I have been very successful with almost any color chunk on it for both large and small mouth bass in all waters.
Some tips for getting going with this jig:
1. Get it to the fish (obvious)- If you are fishing a lake/pond- get it to the cover- go a little long, up on the shore, or just past the hot spot you think a fish might be, and let it drop into the zone- if you had a good cast and feel you are within a few feet of where a fish might be, fish it slow. Drop it to the bottom, and let it sit for 5 seconds. A short little hop and let it sit for another 5 seconds. This is where 75% of your strikes will be.
2. If you don’t get a strike right away, begin rod tip lifts to bring it off the bottom, then let it fall again, retrieving the slack line. Repeat until you are past where you think the fish are, and then pull it back in fast and cast again to your next target.
What a strike looks like: Watch for any inconsistency in the line on the drop. A twitch, or wander and a fish has your jig.. Always give the fish a couple of seconds to inhale it completely before setting the hook.
Some random tips:
If you lose the chunk, or a piece of it, you are setting the hook too fast.
If you are getting snagged in the trees often, you are pulling the jig into the branches too slow, with too much pressure. It is more weedless if you use a very short quick jerk to get it past a branch. The jig will go upright and hook will point up and not engage the tree. If you pull it slow into the tree and then keep adding pressure, the jig can flip over and you pull the hook into the tree.
If you pull it into the weeds and feel like you are getting stuck in weeds. Don’t give up on the cast yet. Often you are in the fish zone and the bass will happily grab your jig out of the weeds. Before you start pulling weeds out of the ground and giving the bass a reason to doubt the authenticity of your presentation, twitch it against the weeds and let it drop a few times. If you don’t get a hit, then pull it out.
My first 10+ pounder on a Buckeye jig was exactly this situation. I cast past a weedbed and pulled it right up to the far edge of the bed. I was clearly getting stuck in the weeds. Instead of ripping it out and re-casting, I let it drop on the far edge, twitched it once and, the big bass was hiding right there and nailed it. I had to fight a big bass and an entire weedbed at the same time. I was kind of surprised I won that battle.
Here is a “how to” video with some visuals of the lure in action… I hope you like it!