Jig Bites with Kyle Patrick
Stop number 3 of the Bassmaster Central opens on Grand Lake set up perfectly for me. The fall transition was happening as we arrived, and the jig bite was on! My strength is catching fish on a jig. It doesn’t matter if it’s in grass, on rock, deep, shallow, or anywhere in between – I have confidence that it will produce big fish.
The jig happens to be my favorite bait by a long shot. I figured out very quickly the largemouth were biting a jig. What I was doing was finding pockets off of the main lake and areas in the back of creeks that had a large population of sunfish. Many people were finding success targeting the shad but it seemed to be very hit or miss for me. The most consistent deal was finding areas where bass were feeding on sunfish.
I used 3 types of jigs in this tournament. The first was a Missile Baits Ike’s Mini Flip jig n the 1/2-ounce size paired with a Mini D Chunk. This was my setup for situations when I thought a faster fall would trigger bites. The second jig setup was a Missile Baits Ike’s Mini Flip jig in the 3/8-ounce size paired with a hard flapping craw trailer. This was my go-to setup for a slower presentation. Lastly, I used a football jig in the ¾ ounce size paired with a slightly shortened D Bomb as the trailer. This was my setup for slightly deeper presentations.
The bass were in three main areas for me. The first was on wood in the shallower areas of the lake. This was in the back of creeks, on the shallower main lake flats, and on shallower flats in the pockets off of the main lake. The wood I was fishing was not on the bank. This was offshore wood in around 3-10 feet of water that the bass would sit on top of or just below. These bass were not on the bottom but rather suspended. This was the first pattern I figured out and I dialed it in using my electronics. I would see the piece of wood sticking up with my eyes and pan over it with my Garmin to see if there was a bass on it. Most of the time there was. I had to use a ½ oz Mini Flip jig in brown purple with a Mini D Chunk in bruiser flash. The reason I had to use this setup was because they needed a fast fall, so they didn’t have time to think about it. I was also throwing this jig in semi-stained water so that purple/blue combination was allowing the bass to see it very well. The bites would come either right on the fall or on the next tiny bit of movement I gave my jig on the bottom. The rod I used for this pattern was a 7’6 medium heavy paired with 25-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon line. This allowed me to jack these fish out of that wood without worrying about breaking off.
The second area where the bass were sitting was suspended under deep docks. These docks were in 10-30 feet of water. However, the steep bluffs were right behind these docks, so these bass had the ability to travel right to the bluffs if need be. This bite took some more time to figure out. I started off by using a ½ oz jig with the Mini D Chunk to see if I could get bites on these docks. That did not work out. What I quickly realized was the bluegill were suspended right up against the underside of these docks. This made me switch to a 3/8-ounce Mini Flip jig in brown purple with a hard flapping craw trailer that was green pumpkin colored for the semi clear water. This led my bait to fall much more slowly next to these docks to allow for the bass to have time to react and eat it. The second piece to the puzzle I had to solve was I that could not cover enough water with this presentation to find which docks were the good ones. So, I took that Ike’s Mini Flip jig and swam it with the hard flapping craw trailer on the back. This allowed me to keep the jig in the strike zone for much longer and cover much more water. I cut off the weed guard completely on the jig to allow for a better hook up ratio. The rod I used for this pattern was a 7’4 medium heavy flipping rod. I used 20-pound Seaguar flurocarbon on this setup because the water was slightly clearer and there was not as much danger in getting caught on something. The bass would eat it right at the corner of the dock or at the boat. I missed multiple bites reeling that jig in too fast and not working it until the last second. This is why your cast is not over until its completely out of the water when swimming any bait.
The third area I found that the bass were set up on was the rock bluffs that are scattered all over grand lake. This pattern was born through that dock pattern I found. The bass would sit on the rock and as that sun got up, they would pull out under the docks. They would transition between the docks and the rock throughout the day. In the morning I would start on the rock and cast that football jig as close to that rock as I could and slowly drag it out to the deep section. This was a bite that required hyper focus on what you were feeling on the bottom. The bites were very subtle, and you needed to set the hook into them immediately. I used 25-pound fluorocarbon due to the jagged rock eating away at the line. The rod setup was a 7’4 medium heavy rod so I had some more feeling for those subtle bites but enough backbone to get them off those rocks
This was a tournament that I learned a great deal from. I didn’t end up finishing where I had imagined. I felt like I did not give enough time to moving baits as I should have and that hurt me. The morning topwater bite was on and it seemed like it continued to be good throughout the day for a lot of guys. I totally missed it. But that is just gasoline on the fire for next time.