SA Bass

INTERVIEW

- >> Bennie Wiese*

“Jigs vs. Pre-spawn Bass” Near the beginning of spring, when bass are in their pre-spawn mode and have not come up into the shallows, you can have some unbelievab­ly good days by fishing deep with the correct lures. – Bennie Wiese

There are many questions and topics in bass fishing up for discussion that has potential for long debates. Yes, how fast is your boat, or who has the fastest boat will be close to the top of the list. I believe the number one question will always be: “If you only had only one lure to use, what would it be?”

Near the beginning of spring, when bass are in their pre-spawn mode and have not come up into the shallows, you can have some unbelievab­ly good days by fishing deep with the correct lures.

Gareth continues with a big smile. “There will always be that discussion about the one lure to pick. I do agree that because of the versatilit­y of the spinnerbai­ts it can be the number one lure to pick followed by the plastic lures however, more often than not, the jig will be the chosen one.” Many anglers believe that a jig is the only fishing tool for cold winter fishing. “One of the best lures to fish in the winter must be the jig, but it’s also a great lure for targeting pre-spawn bass. Because of the jig’s simplicity it can breed confusion with some anglers who have never experience­d its fish-catching power. Till you get that first bite, it’s tough to understand what the bite feels like and whether you were fishing it correctly or not”.

Late winter and early spring you can target those big females that are moving closer to the spawning areas although most of these bass will still be in the deeper water.

Gareth starts to explain. “It is now that the jig starts to shine, the reason that it allows you to adapt faster when bass move to different structures and/or change depths… By just adjusting the trailer, you can match a jig exactly to the bass’s mood.” He continues: “Learn to watch the water temperatur­e, when the water gets to 9ºC and rises to 12ºC, bass can start to move up to some of those spawning areas.”

Gareth explains further: “It does not matter where you fish, if there are bass in the venue you can be sure that the best spawning banks will be the ones closest to the deeper drop offs. These areas will also give the bass some security during

changing weather conditions. The bass will be close to these areas and will just look for some spots to stage until the right time comes to move into the shallows”.

The bass will know where to go this time of year, it is pure instinct although sometimes nature gives us a curve ball and by the time you think they have to spawn, many bass have already spawned. With the changing of the world’s climate it will have some effect on the wild life.

“One of the keys in fishing jigs for pre-spawn bass will be water temperatur­e. It’s the best guide for determinin­g your speed and for how long you must spend on an area or piece of structure and the retrieve. Remember the water will be cold, it is important to slow down. As the water gets warmer you will start to speed up the retrieve but conscious casts will also pay off more in this period of pre-spawn.”

Pre-spawning bass will use any type of structure to stage on their migration routes to the spawning areas. It could be brushes, lay-downs, walls, slipways or jetties in different depths. “Make as many casts as possible to these structures to entice the bass to hit the jig. Many of the bass that have just moved onto the structures will still be very weary so leave the jig in or next to the structure to soak a bit.”

“You also need to cast to all parts of the targeted structure. Remember the bass are still coming around from their slowest part of the year, winter.”

There are many jigs on the market made from different materials; lead, tungsten, bismuth, aluminium and available in many sizes. “I have tested many jigs, my favourite jig will still be the poison that’s armed with a Mustad true grip hook, it offers a better and stronger hook set and the design of the jig head is also unique with the cavities for the paste on red eyes which makes the jig with the flaring skirts look very aggressive and intimidati­ng.” Gareth tells me with a strong convincing voice.

“With the large selection of trailers that are available, these days you can easy match the trailer with the jig to the fodder that you are targeting. When the water is still around 9ºC, I

Near the beginning of spring, when bass are in their pre-spawn mode and have not come up into the shallows, you can have some unbelievab­ly good days by fishing deep with the correct lures.

prefer to use lightweigh­t jigs with trailers that will slow the fall of the jig giving it longer time in the different strike zones.”

Wherever you are going to fish, anglers will be confronted with different water conditions and anglers have to adapt the style of trailer or jigs to have successes. Gareth shows some jig and trailer combinatio­ns that have worked for him

in different conditions. “When I get confronted with clear water, and the bass are sitting tight to cover, I prefer to use heavier jigs that will go to the bottom quicker; the bass will not have enough time to have a good look at the bait if it passes quickly. Smaller trailers in natural colours work best.”

“Fishing stained, cold water and thicker cover I need the jig to fall slower, the jig must be more bulky and you can add rattle to it; the darker colours work well. If the water is stained and warmer I will use trailer that’s got more of an erratic action to it and more movement.”

Every angler has his favourite brand of trailers in which he has confidence in. You just have to go out and experiment with it to find the correct combinatio­n that works. Gareth explains: “When I am fishing clear warm water I need the jig to fish faster and try to stay away from the bottom. I use natural colours closer to the spawning areas where you can find the more aggressive bass. Natural colours that have more chartreuse or a bit of orange can work especially well. Yes, black and blue must be the most popular colours used by anglers although brown/purple, brown/green pumpkin, brown/orange and straight brown colours work well for most venues this time of the year.”

Gareth’s go-to-guide when selecting jig sizes: “When fishing shallow to around 20 feet I go with, ¼- to ⅜-ounce heads, I will go to size to ½- to 1-ounce as I start going down to the 40-foot mark. When you are going that deep you need the weight to have the constant contact with the bottom, and on that note, if you’re fishing in the wind, bump up the size of your jig head.”

Technique

Around pre-spawn the fish can be located from the surface down to 40 feet and this will all depend on the daily weather patterns. The idea is to cast out and let the lure hit the bottom. Then, retrieve it with a nice slow 2- to12-inch lift of the rod tip. It’s all about resisting the urge to do too much, or to move the lure faster. This is a slow process, but the rewards can be great.

When a bass eats a jig, it can be anything from a soft “tick” on the rod tip, to a powerful slam. Either way, set the hook as quickly as possible because the fish tend to spit these lures out in the blink of an eye. *Bennie Wiese is the editor of SA Bass magazine and an experience­d provincial bass angler.

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 ??  ?? fishing stained cold water and thicker the jig to fall slower. cover The jig must be more y and you can add rattles to it. The darker colours work well When fishing clear water and the bass are sitting tight to cover, I use a heavier jig that will fall...
fishing stained cold water and thicker the jig to fall slower. cover The jig must be more y and you can add rattles to it. The darker colours work well When fishing clear water and the bass are sitting tight to cover, I use a heavier jig that will fall...

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