Get on the bus!

Stephen Headrick

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

 

When I was approached to do this blog for Bassmaster.com I did it with the understanding that I'd need to be open and honest and tell some secrets.

Well, here's the first.

Giving up secrets is not something most fishermen like to do. After all, revealing those secrets can cost you fish, which might cost you money … or at least bragging rights back at the dock.

But I don't see much point in keeping secrets. I'm not a tournament fisherman looking for an edge or a meat fisherman looking for my next meal. I'm a smallmouth fisherman who gets just as big a charge out of watching someone else catch a fish or hearing that someone else caught a fish using advice I gave them as I do if I catch it myself.

Besides, some of the secrets I'm going to tell you are so wacky, so offbeat and so counterintuitive that almost nobody is even going to try them.

It's like that with this first secret.

Now, if you know me or even if you're just getting to know me through this weekly blog, you know that I love jig fishing. It's my passion, and I think the jig is the very best lure ever designed for smallmouth bass fishing.

This blog is all about my favorite wintertime jig technique. If you read last week's blog, you know I love the float and fly. But there are times when I can catch more and bigger bass by using this other method. As a result, when the water's cold, you'll always find me with both outfits on the front deck of my boat.

I'll start with the tackle because that's the easiest part to believe. I use a G.Loomis spinning rod that's 6 feet, 8 inches long and has a medium-heavy extra fast action. It's part of their Mossyback Series and is as fine a light jig rod as I've ever fished. On that rod I use a Shimano Stradic 2500 reel spooled with 6-pound-test fluorocarbon line.

The strange thing is the jig that I tie on the end of that line … or at least the color of the jig. I use a 3/16- or 1/4-ounce Hoss Fly jig (www.punisherlures.com) that's SCHOOL BUS YELLOW!

That jig is so bright and so gaudy that anyone who sees me fishing with it probably thinks I'm after crappie. But it's also the best color I've found when the water temperature is in the low 50s and below, and I have a theory about why.

I think the crawfish are mostly hibernating at this time of the year, but that a few of them will pop out of their deep water holes from time to time. When they do, I think they're probably very light colored, and that bright yellow jig gets the attention of any smallmouth nearby.

The other thing you need to know about this jigging technique is that it's for deeeeeeeeep water. I usually fish it in 30 to 50 feet around steep drops. Cast that jig out, be very patient as it sinks all the way to the bottom, and then pop it up off the rocks. You want it to jump up a foot or two with each pop.

Then, just as soon as it falls back to the bottom, pop it again. Keep it hopping and expect your strikes to come on the fall. Fishing it so aggressively seems contrary to just about anything you read or hear about wintertime fishing, but I promise you that it works. I think the bass think the bait is getting away and hurry over to grab it.

Give it a try!

Until next time, if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you. Please e-mail me atStephen@thesmallmouthguru.com.

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