By Eric Jackson
Sorry buddy, you can’t live in the boat with me- Big Rigs are for people, but thanks for visiting!
I have been catching lots of big bass lately in my Big Rig… seems that it is the goal of the big bass to tell their friends that they, too, have been in a Big Rig and it is bad to the bone. No matter what the reason, it has been fun fishing my new Big Rig with all of the accessories to make it an amazing experience from start to finish.
This outing was at “Long Branch Lakes” in Spencer, TN. It is a private outdoor community that is selling property and houses. Damon Bungard, our product manager and his wife Ashely bought a nice log home there.
I did an evening outing and met up with Edmund, the owner of Long Branch properties, but we didn’t see much of each other as I fished towards the back of the lake and he was on the front end fishing the cliffs. I prefer shallows, logs, and challenging casts to keep me fired up, as well as catching fish, of course.
I had one GoPro Hero 3+ on top of my Power Pole Micro Lite, as well as one on my Jaws Mount. I made the mistake of having a third one that I put on my paddle, but forgot to check the case and had a “skeleton case” which is not waterproof, but used for audio. That camera is not doing so well right now, as the underwater shots you’ll see in the video killed that camera… We’ll see if it comes back to life in a day or two.
My RayMarine- Dragonfly Fish Finder/GPS was awesome for determining where the shallow areas are. It was crazy but there are places that are 25 feet deep but look like a beaver pond with tons of trees in it. Finding water that was 3-10 feet deep seemed to be the ticket. I could catch little bass anywhere there was cover, but the big ones seemed to want the best cover, shallow water, and access to deeper water. The water temp on the surface was already 76 degrees and the bass are no longer on bed.
I fished the “Banjo Minnow Lure” and “Banjo Frog” 90% of the time because they are my favorites. The concept of having a hook leading the lure, giving the fish nothing but a soft minnow to bite, swim with, and then inhale (hook and all) versus trying to catch the fish on the initial bite is both genius and fun. Treble hooks on the back of a lure are not my thing any more. This catches more fish and makes more sense to me now that I understand it better. I use the 6″ minnow because it is heavier and easier to cast distances and I haven’t found a bass not willing to hit it because it is too big. White or bright yellow are my favorite colors because you can see the minnow underwater yourself when fishing it much better than any other colors. Seeing it is the best part as you can see the fish grab it, and if you still see any white- don’t try to set the hook yet… wait for it to disappear and then set the hook. Bass seem to trust this minnow as it doesn’t have any hooks, is lightweight, and soft and they will swim with it until they are ready to inhale it. This usually only takes 1-4 seconds with the average at 2 seconds. Hit, wait one, wait two, inhale, set hook. 75% of the hits are when the minnow is dropping down and you have a slack line. They are the easy catches. When you have a tight line, the bass can’t inhale it and you often pull the lure from its mouth without hooking up.. Unlike most lures, you can cast to the same fish and they’ll got for it more often than not a second or third time if you are not hooking up.
The weather was windy at first so I paddled back to a corner where it was protected and used my Power Pole anchor to keep me in place when I needed to.
My biggest bass of the day was caught next to a log pile, in 5 feet of water, in a little cove. I had just caught two little bass (1.5-2 pounds) in the same general area, no more than 30 feet from where I caught this big one. I had been directing the bass I was catching over and around trees all evening, catching over 40 fish in two hours. Fishing in fallen trees, vertical trees, and a mix of the two has its challenges, but is quite fun. I hung one bass in a tree that took me a couple of minutes to get to as I had to paddle over and around a bunch of trees to get to it. My big bass hit the Banjo Minnow just about 2′ from the log pile I cast two and there were only a few vertical trees between me and him. Luckily he swam away from the log pile, but my first thought was that I had a 5 pounder that swam under a log and I was feeling the resistance from the line on the tree. When he darted right and the line when with him I knew he was huge. Then he did his first big jump (you can see it on the video) and I think I held my breath for the next period. I was not filming when I hooked him. My battery was dead on the elevated camera on the Power Pole, my other camera was dunked in the lake and not working, and the third camera was off to save battery. Charlie Ingram is still mad at me for turning my camera on during our last TV Show filming and losing the winning bass in the process of setting my camera up while fighting the fish. Well, Charlie wasn’t there to harass me and I wanted to film this bass, so I turned my camera on and clipped the Jaws mount in front of my feet and what you see is what you get. I kept tension on the fish, but that wasn’t hard, as it really wanted to get away.
Landing this fish I gave out a holler of excitement, even though nobody could hear, and it was just me way back there, with my big fish, and big grin . I must say that catching big fish is not critical to me. I enjoy fishing, period. I love fishing when I can cast a lot, there are constant casting challenges, and I don’t have equipment issues that are significant. My rods, reels, lures, were all working great, my Big Rig was top notch, my only issue was not paying attention to my cameras, which might cost me a camera.
I hope you like this video… It shows me setting my Big Rig up for fishing in fast forward, and then…
See you on the Water!