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!
I get super fired up when everything just clicks; and we do something really special at Jackson Kayak. The Big Rig Pro is one of those boats and this is one of those moments… Sometimes I like simplicity, quiet, and no frills. Sometimes, I like all of the fun gadgets, tools, and advantages I can get. The new Big Rig Pro is just that. The boat starts off with the Big Rig Hull, seat, and basic outfitting, but then things go really big. Ray Marine Dragonfly fish finder and recessed in transducer and wiring. Power Pole Micro-lite shallow water anchor makes this boat great in wind, and offers the ultimate GoPro high angle mount. Buck Knives Splissors are standard, as well as the new JK Elite Seat, JKrate, and whew… there is more, but that isn’t what this blog is about…
When I started on the water this morning it was 77.2 degrees on the surface, and that is a great temperature for catching large mouth in the shallows. I rigged up a home-made minnow, a Havoc Creature, and a Shakey Head. I also had a fly rod with a popper on it but couldn’t get myself to cast it today. I was having too much fun launching my baits into the smallest of holes in the heavily wooded shoreline in rapid-fire. I caught three bass about 2 pounds each in the first 30 minutes on my minnow. I started throwing the Havoc Creature because the reel and rod combo worked much better and I was getting way more distance on each cast and more accurately dropping it where I wanted it. I felt the fishing was a little slow and feared that I might be mistaken in sticking in the shallows. There were drop offs that went to 30-50 feet no more than 30 feet off-shore. No question there could be suspended fish out there, but I didn’t want to switch to bottom fishing. I really like seeing the fish nail the lure.
I stuck to my guns and came around the corner to a long steep bank with lots of fallen trees and access to deep water. My next cast was in 12″ of water 6″ off shore. I let the Havoc Creature sit for 2 seconds and got impatient and twitched it and “Whammy!” a monster nailed it and setting the hook was automatic. The fish has so much pressure on the line so fast that it set the hook all by itself. I managed to work it out away from the mess of trees only to get into more trees. I had some lucky breaks and while I couldn’t horse it in, when it ran, it ran for deep water and never got under any trees. A few minutes of Mano-y-mono and I landed this sweet fish. The Dragonfly said I was in 32′ of water, and I was standing up in my Big Rig feeling like I was standing on a Yacht, with no cares in the world about falling down.
I have been fishing off the Cuda 12 for the past 6 weeks and getting on my Big Rig was a welcome feeling for confidence inspiring stand-up-fishing. After getting a few shots of this monster Large Mouth, I released it for the next battle, maybe next year. That was fish #4…
By Fish #30, I was way out back in the super shallow stuff, no more than 12″ of clear water with weeds, sticks, and mud underneath and started running my shaky-head and minnow more and playing them fast and on top. Fish were jumping clear out of the water just trying to nail the lures in 6-12″ of water. Most were in the 2 pound range, but a few were 3+. There were fast moving clouds overhead and the weather report said 90% chance of a thunderstorm. I decided to call it quits by 2pm and 42 fish. I was in heaven and in love with my Big Rig Pro, as well as remembering how much I love fishing for Large Mouth Bass.
I captured a little video with my GoPro Hero 3+ (I had 2 of them) and edited it on GoPro Studio to the template “Pool Party with the Ninos” . I hope you like it..
I get super fired up when everything just clicks; and we do something really special at Jackson Kayak. The Big Rig Pro is one of those boats and this is one of those moments... Sometimes I like simplicity, quiet, and no frills. Sometimes, I like all of the...read more
Camping is something that kids remember. Think back to when you were a kid. I remember my first camping trip on Pine Creek in PA, at age 6 out of a Grumman Canoe with my Dad like it was yesterday. It was a memory of a lifetime. I truly believe that, as a parent, any time you can create such a memory for your child, you are giving them a foundation of love and family that will help them be a better person forever. I know that I always aspire to provide my own children with such memories and it was based on my favorite memories as a child. Canoeing, kayaking, camping are big parts of that.
James McBeath and his two kids, Sam and Emily met up with KC and I here at the put-in of the Ottawa River and we paddled downriver for 1 hour and then found an off-shoot of the ottawa, that is a full fledged channel at high water, but is barely paddle able at this level and dumps you into a sweet lake out in the middle of nowhere.
The equipment we used was perfect. We loaded a SUPerFISHAL with gear in dry bags, a big cooler, and KC. That was my “barge” that I towed behind my Cuda 12. My Cuda 12 had food, clothes, fishing gear, drinks, etc.. James had his Big Rig loaded with some gear, Sam had his Cuda 12 and Emily had the Ibis, both with some gear of their own. We said goodbye to Kristine at the Put-in and she had that grin of “yea- EJ is taking KC for the night, I can sleep-in and hang out and relax!” KC had that, “uh… where are you taking me?” semi-excited, semi-nervous that he doesn’t have an iPad, toys, or any other typical “fun” thing to do and we seem to be going away for a while.
The paddle downriver took about 1.5 hours to get from the Put-in down the first small rapid and then a portage around the big rapid at “little picky”. KC did well and our “barge” handled the rapids well. A few more little rapids and a big water peel- with no issues and we were floating downstream in class 1 water with nothing but flatwater all of the way to camp. I was anxious to get to camp and set up on the beach and fish the lake there. Really Big smallmouth bass, lots of pike and walleye were waiting. Also KC would enjoy hanging at the beach, swimming, etc..with Sam and Emily.
Part of getting there is a long windy sandy bottom creek that you bottom out a few times (including getting over a small beaver dam) and have to get out to pull the boats over. Finally, after a bit of effort, I could see the lake and there was one small pool before the lake. I paddled into it and could see a big bass swimming away scared of my Cuda which was only 20 feet from it. I cast my Banjo minnow and it couldn’t resist, Destroying it like there was no tomorrow. KC was so fired up! “Big Fish! Let me see!”
We paddled across the pond to the best beach area and unpacked in sun, set up tents, organized a fire pit, and generally prepared for camping at 3pm. It stays light until almost 10pm up here and the full moon would keep it light all night long if it stayed clear. KC keeps his life jacket on as he is not a strong swimmer without it yet. He can swim, but not that well. He turns 6 years old next month. James and I immediately headed out to fish, while the kids stayed on the beach and played. The lake is small and we could see the kids at all times.
The fishing was incredible. In typical fashion, James focused on Pike and I on Bass. We both catch both, but James uses spoons typically, and I was using the Banjo Minnow, and a spoon but only throw the spoon periodically. I caught several Bass pushing 5 pounds (big for small mouth). Out in the middle at a submerged weed bed, I hooked up with a big bass that was running my line out, and was in the 7-8 pound range. I yelled at James who came to watch me fight it and it launched like a Polaris missile on its first jump, only 10 feet from me and through the hook. It was massive! I laughed out loud, and so did James, because it was a ridiculous sight, so big, and such and impressive escape. We are doing Catch and Release fishing as James brought a full Pork loin for the fire. (poor pig, but lucky fish on this trip…:))
James and I settled back into camp and the quest for wood was next. We used the Superfishal as a barge to carry wood from the shore to the island and staged up lots of wood. James and I used our super human will power to bring a log over that was too big, and too heavy, but after lots of grunting and groaning, we pulled it off and it became the centerpiece of the fire that we built around. KC, Sam, and Emily were happy to help us build the fire, as most kids are.
James discovered that we forgot the grill to put on the fire as well as any spices, or plates. Luckily he had a pan and everything we needed to make rice. James pan fried the pork, and made rice and we ate it cave man style. The kids were thrilled.
At dusk we set out for another fishing excursion and then roasted marshmallows, Emily sang us some songs, we generally hung out by the fire.. James had some whiskey and I brought “Whisper Cream” a Nashville local whiskey cream drink that we drank out of the bottle, in moderation, of course.
KC and I climbed into bed after Emily announced that she was ready for bed. We brought a tandem sleeping pad and KC gave me a big hug and a kiss and fell right to sleep. I was in heaven.
We both slept hard until 2am when I woke up thinking it was morning, but it was the full moon. I almost went out fishing again, but went back to sleep instead. It was cool out and I was not dressed for it. My next memory was waking up to a very light rain. The clouds moved in and things were getting wet. I went fishing anyhow, letting KC sleep. The fish were in the shallows against the shore and my Banjo Frog was like Gold. Casting into 3” of water and pulling it through the weeds the fish were attacking it like there was no tomorrow. Mostly pike and some of the most aggressive strikes I have ever seen. Water so shallow that they created a big “V” on the way in, sometimes the tail breaking the surface and splashing as it honed in on the frog. Then WHAM! I get goosebumps just writing about it! It was so exciting.
I figured I should restart the fire before everyone woke up and got on that project. The kids threw the remaining kindling in the first the night before, so I had to start over. I got it going but needed a big piece of wood. A big tree stump that was jagged from a lightning strike was close by and I gave it a try. Sure enough I was able to pull a huge piece of tree off and carry it back. a 100 pound piece of tree that would keep us warm and dry until it was time to leave.
It was getting wetter, versus drier, so we eventually began to pack- up- putting wet tents, sleeping bags, etc.. in bags and in the boats. KC had shorts and a tank top on and it would be a 2 hour paddle back, which I would be working hard, but he was just riding on the SUPerFISHAL so he would be cold very fast now that we left the fire. I gave him my Jackson Kayak Loki hoodie, wrapped him up in it and sat him down on the front of the board against the dry bags. It was a good paddle upriver- snaking around the shallow creek for 20 minutes to get out of the pond and back to the main river. The current is strong but there are great eddies to hop and attain up most of the way. The final two big moves required me to paddle hard, towing KC with a strap behind me and get momentum to attain up the drops. The last big one at McCoys I wasn’t sure if I could make it but it went well, but it jerked KC hard when his board hit the current and he almost fell in. I didn’t realize it at the moment, but he was asleep on the board and had been for some time, I think. We all pulled into “Little Picky” where we would get out and KC was still asleep. James portage up the last rapid and paddled back to the RV and got his car with the kayak trailer on it and was back in 15 minutes. KC was still asleep.
He woke up just in time as we finished carrying our gear to the car and I needed to carry the bags he was sleeping against up too. It stopped raining, but everyone and everything was wet. When we got back to the RV we unpacked and got KC into warm/dry clothes, and I made a big cup of coffee. KC was so excited to tell his mom all about the adventure. KC’s vocabulary is still quite minimal, so there were a lot of exclamatory remarks, hand gestures, and big smiles, with the words he knew mixed in. His message was clear, however, “I had an awesome time camping and want to do it again!”
Kayaks and our SUP boards can be used for so many things. This one will provide a memory that KC will take with him for his entire life, I believe, like my first overnighter with my dad in 1970 on Pine Creek. I caught a trout on a spinner, helped make the fire, was so excited to camp in the tent, and cook on the fire in the morning, too. It made me truly love my dad and know that he cared and felt like only he could provide such an amazing experience. In the end, I guess, to some degree, that is true. Who else is going to take a 5 year old away for a camping trip if not mom or dad? Thanks Dad for showing me how to create a lasting memory for a child!read more
It is not uncommon for people to ask, “Are the bass biting today?” and the accurate answer is always “no, they are not biting, but they are attempting to inhale today!” Fishing for bass is quite a complicated process to do well repeatedly. It entails finding the...read more
By Eric Jackson Fishing for bass is often fishing where you think you can place your lure. Bass don't really care where you can cast to, they only care that they have good cover to hide in and attack and eat unsuspecting prey. This is often way deeper into the brush...read more
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...read more
By Eric Jackson Another Buckeye Jig Catch Crawfish are a mainstay meal for river fish in particular and knowing how to fish a crawfish lure is one great way to catch bass and even musky in the Southeast USA. The rivers of TN are filled with Crawfish and anyone wanting...read more
Sometimes the moon is right, the water is right, the lure is right, and the situation is right for the perfect day on the water. Nick and I took our Big Tuna down to the Calf- Killer River in Sparta, TN to have some fun running this 6 mile stretch of clear mountain...read more
Jackson Kayak's most local run... .25miles from the front door... Cuda 12, GoPro Hero 3+, Kokatat, Okuma Cayenne, Buckeye Jig and Zoom craw trailer... [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF2oaaejFb8&feature=youtu.be[/youtube] Have fun! 🙂 EJread more