I would like to offer up a couple of different techniques that may help you to put more fish in the boat especially when your jig bite doesn’t seem to be the ticket.
Most of the time I start off just like every one else, pounding the banks. But when the fishing gets tough I start looking for other ways to get the fish to bite.
Often time’s fish are affected by various weather patterns or by the increased fishing pressure that we anglers put on the fish. I have noticed on lakes like Shasta and Oroville that the fish will often pull off the bank and suspend out over deeper water. Now that really does create a problem especially when the fish were pounding your jig the day before.
It may be that the fish are still interested in your jig and you just need to present it in a way that appeals to those suspended fish. Of course we all know that suspended fish are the toughest fish in the world to catch, right? Wrong! Here’s where the fun begins.
When the bass suspend I often try to locate the depth that the fish are holding I do this with my fish finder and by idling over areas that have held fish. I start looking for fish on the meter and mentally note the depth the fish are located at. I also try to locate and determine the position of baitfish. Once I have established the depth the fish are at I will back off and start my presentations.
Like I said before, there are several ways to present your bait to fish, but when they are suspended it takes a little bit of creativity to get the fish to bite.
I like to use forage matching baits, and one of my go-to baits is a 3/8ths ounce Duh!!!Jig in a Shad, Morning Dawn or Purple Ghost color, tipped with either a 5” single tail or double tail plastic grub. Yamamoto, XPS and Rainbow Worms make good trailers that impart a lot of action. The combination of jig and trailer seem to match most baitfish that swim in California waters. Not to exclude the Delta or Clear Lake but either a crawdad color or bluegill matching bait is the ticket in those waters. Duh Jigs have a nice compact profile in the water and the head and eye design really make it look like a natural target in all kinds of waters.
I prefer to use a medium/heavy rod with heavy line in 15 pound test even in clear water! The larger diameter line helps to suspend the bait and keep it from falling too fast. And if I need more depth I will go to a smaller diameter line or a fluorocarbon line.
I like to cast the lure out over the suspending fish, towards the bank or even quarter it a little, then I just let it fall and count it down until I reach the desired depth. I first start counting the bait down in ten second intervals until I reach the depth that the bass start to bite. Once I locate the magic depth I will just fan cast and repeat the depth as before.
Now that I’ve located the fish and cast to them, I start by slowly reeling in my line and pumping the rod to impart an even yo-yoing action. If I don’t get a response doing the yo-yo I will switch to a swim and shake retrieve. I do this by gently shaking just the rod tip as I retrieve the jig back to the boat. Now for my last trick, I will swim and pop the jig on the retrieve. This is a lot like fishing a rip bait and if any of you have seen me do this on the tank at the sport shows you know this works.
The last presentation is used more to create a reaction bite from the fish, the other two retrieves are a lot like slow rolling a spinner bait but a lot more subtle presentation.
Pumping, shaking or just a stop and go retrieve makes it hard to detect the strike more often than not the bite will be just like your jig hit the bottom, but on occasion when the fish are active they will crush your jig. I have found that to be truer on the Delta more than any other body of water. Of course when a big old large mouth sees a crawdad moving through the tulles it’s just like the dinner bell starts to ring.
So when the jig bite dies, and the fish are suspended, get your self some Duh!!!Jigs and give these techniques and tips a try. You might just salvage a fishing trip.