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by Spotsticker Baits

Fishing The Small Stuff

Part 2

Jighead/Worm Comboís

Where and When

Lets begin with spring since we are just around the corner and improving fishing conditions.

Spring is a season in which many baits will work effectively . The water begins a gradual warming trend due to climbing daytime temperatures and spring rains.

A fisherman can take a jighead/worm combo and begin working shallow ledges , points , flats and humps to name a few.

When possible place your boat just off a secondary or primary dropoffís which can be as little as two feet falling to four feet or four feet falling to six feet of water as long as the drop has some level of change. At this point make long cast into the shallower water and begin working the bait back to your boat letting it fall off the first drop and then again on the second drop. In most cases you will find fish either in the shallowest water feeding early and then pulling back to the first or second drop depending on weather conditions as the day progresses . Wind can put the fish in shallow water in the mid day times and can often be caught in numbers as well as having quality fish in a school.

Ledges , ridges, points and rock piles especially when brush is present often offer these fish deep water havens to retreat when a cold front has hit or is approaching.

The rewards can be astonishing in the spring months catching 25 to 40 fish from one small area. The theory that if you are catching small fish most likely all you will catch is small fish is far from the truth. Sometimes you have to weed thru some smaller fish to get to the less aggressive larger fish . I most often use the 1/8 oz and 3/16 oz jigheads during the spring.

Summer: Summer months can be frustrating at best for even the most seasoned angler . I begin by fishing some of the same areas as spring but will desert them as soon as the sun begins to climb. The fish will feed actively in the shallows during the first 2 to 3 hours of daylight and are often shallower than any other time of day . I look for brush on humps , roadbeds and off points as the morning moves along into mid afternoon . I feel the bottom for brush and make repeated cast to the same area much as one would a crankbait or carolina rig . Summer can stack fish in the 12 to 20 feet range and they will often stay for weeks at a time with exceptions of cold fronts and other contributing factors such as rain storms that can move fish for short periods of time to shallower water. I use a 3/16 oz head most 99 % of the time for probing the deeper depths.

The other highly effective summer pattern is skipping docks where I will use a 1/16 oz or 1/8 oz with magnum sized hooks while still using finesse worms but also incorporating a larger worm such as a zoom trick worm. I use no more than 10lb test line for skipping most of the time and keep the boat positioned so that I can accurately skip the head as far under the docks as possible holding the rod at about a 45 degree angle poised to set the hook swiftly at any sign of a nudge.

The advantage to dock skipping with the small stuff is about 2 to 3 times more bites than a traditional jig or bigger worm. The disadvantage if you can call it that is you will have to cull thru a lot of smaller fish to increase your creel on most days.

There is a lot of talk about stand up heads, heads with weed guards and which head is better. The fact is that most heads on todays market catch fish ! I think there are situations where one head over another could be better depending on circumstances. But for me I like a simple round ball jighead with a barb to hold my plastic that I rig Texas . I like lite wire hooks for easy hook penetration and with spinning equipment in medium action and lite line. The fear of bending such a hook is non existent and basically myth on those that offer said to be stronger hooks . This remark is not to bash a competitors product but merely only pointing out that you do not need a hook that is suitable for flipping heavy structure for finesse fishing. In most cases you will be using a medium action rod and line less than 10lb test that will not hold up to horsing a fish so to speak .

Fall: The fall of the year for me has two time frames . Early fall and late fall . Early fall I seek out and fish many of the same areas as in the spring but I rely heavy on dock fishing , rock piles and shallow points. The docks often times have deep water access along with brush located on corner post or directly out front of the dock. I find fishing a lot of docks early and then coming back thru the docks later that produce bites works better for me . I will fish corner post and also skip under the docks as well as work any brush located around the dock . It will not be uncommon to find schools of fish under the right docks and catch numbers from the same spot. I will often change colors two or three times for some bonus fish after the bite slows.

With fall I also concentrate on flats with some type of distinct dropoff or cover near by. I like rock piles or stumps to be located on dropoffs that offer fish ambush points . The jighead/worm combo will get a lot of bites in these type areas and during cold front conditions can become a anglers best friend. The fish will still be feeding but they are not chasing fast moving baits and the smaller stuff seems to be a easy catch for the bass . A reward without expending a lot of energy is a way to think about it . Try baby flukes or fluke jrís on a 1/8 oz jighead in the fall around rock points or brush and you will get some bone crushing bites.

Late fall the fish tend to relate to deeper rock points, rock piles and creek channels and can be taken with the finesse worm as well as flukes rigged on the jighead . Also look for deeper brush this time of year and slow your pace as the metabolism of the bass begins to slow . Not as much as in northern lakes but for southern standards it does slow enough to tell a difference in the bite.

Look for brush on the end of flats that rest in 5 to 6 feet of water can often be fantastic areas for the bass to feed after water temperatures have warmed into the 50s .

Winter: The depths of winter are among the toughest fishing conditions available . It is a time of year that is feast or famine . You either locate catchable fish and have a good winter day or struggle to find bites in the frigid water that hoovers in the low to mid 40s . It sounds dramatic but fisherman in the south deal with these circumstances usually only about 6 weeks before things improve . The northern fisherman deal with these circumstances much longer and can only imagine fishing your favorite lake year round and would kill to just make cast and work baits to break winters grip.

I look for deep brush piles on southern banks which should offer the warmest water to be found . I also locate rock piles and ledges because of the heat rock will retain .

The bite times that produce best seem to be from 11:00 a.m. to around 2:00 p.m. .

The main thing a fisherman can do is slow down and then get a little slower . Try working deeper brush with creepy crawler type plastics on the jighead as well as the finesse worms . The other small bait that will produce in the depths of winter is a 1/8 or 3/16 oz hair jig with a small plastic or craw trailer also fished with spinning tackle usually on the lower end of the lake around rock points and bluff type walls.

The jighead/worm can become a very important part of a anglerís arsenal . When you discover the best timeís and locations along with situations to fish this little bait you will see why many proís have made this a weapon they will talk little about .

A famous business consulting firm once said "Donít sweat the small stuff" in this case fish as well as fisherman that do not employ the tactic should fear the small stuff for it will cash checks in many tournaments in the coming years and it will get it share of wins on the tournament scene.

We can be visited at and if you are looking to improve on your finesse fishing tactics feel free to call on us.

Donnie Sims


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