I get a lot of questions about what my favorite technique in bass fishing is; my reply is always deep water football jigs. This is a technique that I have a lot of confidence in and that I have spent countless hours perfecting. For those of you who are interested in it, I'd like to start at the beginning.
I started throwing football jigs about seven years ago on Toledo Bend. This may seem strange to some, but I was taught very early some different ways to use them. Ben Matsubu and I were fishing together in a tournament on Toledo Bend in the fall, and he told me he was on them pretty good. Well, we get out there and he hands me a 1-ounce jig with a Yamamoto Hula Grub on it. I laughed and asked him if this was a little overkill for only fishing 12 feet of water, but what happened next changed my mind.
We would cast the jig out, let it go to the bottom and speed reel it off the bottom for a few cranks of the reel with our rods at 10 o'clock. When we would stop reeling, we would let the bait glide back down with our rods still at the 10 o'clock range. The bites we were getting were insane. The fish would literally rip the rod out of your hands because they hit it so hard. What I learned that day changed my mind about using football jigs.
Now let's fast forward to the present day. Since then, Ben and I became pro staffers for a company called Talon Lures. We partnered with them to help design many of their best-selling baits, including their 5/8-ounce football jig. We changed the elevation of the weedguard and upsized the hook to a 5/0. One secret technique that we use when we get one of these jigs is to hold the jig in our left hand and pull the weedguard away from the hook without pulling it out completely. This helps to make it more weedless.
I made a few colors for Talon, one was exclusively for Rayburn and was for fishing northern waters. The Rayburn jig color was Copper Pumpkin, and the northern color was Goby. These colors are amazing and some of my favorites anywhere I go.
Something to remember when fishing a football jig is that you don't always have to make a super long cast with it. More than 75 percent of the time, my longest cast is my longest pitch. I pitch the bait around, fish it dead slow and barely move it. This, of course, works best with water deeper than 15 feet for me. I'll put it like this: Ben and I were on Lake Amistad a few years back and caught fish all the way out to 70 feet on a jig, but most were in the 40- to 60-foot range. Our longest cast that day wasn't 2 feet past our trolling motor.
Just remember, when you fish a football jig, fish slow and methodical. It will get you larger than life bites. I have to say -- and I know many pros would agree -- Ben Matsubu is an amazing deep water fisherman. He's also a great friend and mentor to me.