Photo: B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brett Hite is the undisputed king of throwing the vibrating jig. He’s won multiple tour-level tournaments from coast to coast and has had several high finishes throwing these bladed jigs around vegetation.
There are four things that he believes are essential to fishing them the right way; having the proper gear, selecting your soft plastic trailer, choosing the right colors and utilizing the correct retrieves.
#1 Gear Selection
According to Hite, the biggest mistake many anglers make is using these baits on the wrong rod. “Most guys will just use it on their jig rod and I feel like that won’t get the best action out of your jig – (it will) hook less fish and also lose more fish,” he said. “I think of (a vibrating jig) like a crankbait and use a glass rod exclusively for these baits.”
His rod of choice may be hard for the average angler to obtain since it is an Evergreen model only available in Japan, but the concept of using a glass rod is something anyone can try and is something he mentions often when asked about fishing vibrating jigs. The rod he uses is a 7’3”, heavy-action Evergreen Leopard that has the right length and action for how he likes to fish these baits.
When it comes to reels, Hite also stresses that choosing the right one will make you better with a vibrating jig. “I like a medium gear ratio like a 6.3:1; because a reel that is too slow or too fast will make it harder to get the right retrieve speed and will keep the bait from vibrating correctly,” he said. “The Daiwa Tatula CT Type R is my favorite and you can get long casts with very little effort because of the T-Wing system.”
Hite is also a fan of fluorocarbon every time he is throwing a vibrating jig. He spools his Tatula with 20-lb Sunline FC Sniper for all situations.
#2 Soft Plastic Trailers
The trailer you use on your vibrating jig is another key. Hite has used many over the years and has now developed a bait for Yamamoto called the Zako. The Zako is made specifically for use as a trailer and will be released at ICAST this year.
“Vibrating jigs mimic a bluegill or shad and if you think about it, they don’t have flapping tails or anything like that, they swim very subtle,” he said. “The Zako has a segmented body and a forked fish tail so it swims much more like they do.”
In addition to the new shape and style of this bait, the Zaku will also come in new colors never before seen from Yamamoto and will be made with a different consistency plastic to be more durable.
#3 Bait and Color Choices
As he mentioned, bluegill and shad are the primary forage that vibrating jigs mimic. Understandably, he matches his colors accordingly. “I use green pumpkin more than anything, but a black and blue and a shad pattern are the two others that I will have tied on at all times,” he said.
The vibrating jig that Hite uses is made by Evergreen and is called the Jackhammer. It is also only available in Japan, at this time. When it comes to the weights, he also keeps that simple. “The majority of the time it will be a 3/8- or ½-oz., but I will use a ¾-oz in deeper water, at times,” he stated.
Vibrating jigs excel in the pre-spawn period, but Hite will fish them throughout the year and with a variety of retrieves.
“Aquatic vegetation is going to be the number one thing to fish them around, but anytime the fish are in water that is less than 10-ft deep, I still catch them on it,” he said.
Since Hite looks at vibrating jigs like he does crankbaits, it is no surprise that he fishes them similarly. “The key is to get it to bump into the cover – whether that is the grass patches, docks, rocks or whatever it may be,” said the Arizona pro.
Hite also adjusts his reel speed and makes adjustments with his rod or reel handle. “I like to vary my retrieve speed to get it to hit cover,” he said. “I’ll pop my rod to try to get it to hit something or I’ll reel very quickly to bump into cover. I really do this at least once on each cast, even if it isn’t hitting something, just to try to trigger a reaction.”
The beauty of vibrating jigs is that they work just about everywhere and will catch bass with a simple cast and retrieve. Those who have mastered the technique, like Brett Hite, have found that subtle changes to fishing them can ensure that they work throughout the year and catch tournament winning bass.