Elite Series pro Dennis Tietje is an angler who cut his teeth on the shallow, murky waters of southern Louisiana. As a result, he has garnered ample knowledge about the best way to extract largemouth from thick cover. While he admits that the flipping jig can hold its own, Tietje often prefers to fish a Texas rigged creature bait in these gnarly areas.
When questioned about his preference for a soft plastic offering over a skirted jig and trailer, Tietje doesn't hesitate in his response. "It all comes down to confidence," he states. "One guy will catch them on a jig and another will catch them on a creature bait in the same area. It's all about confidence and what you like to throw."
While his response may seem like an open-and-closed case, there's actually a little more thought that goes into his decision to reach for the creature. Tietje believes that over time a Texas rigged creature bait will simply put more keeper-sized largemouth in the boat.
"I know that a jig has the ability to get the bigger fish to commit, but those big ones will also eat a creature bait," he says. "The difference is that a creature bait will get more bites and catch more keepers. When the bite is tough, I just believe that I can get more bites on a creature bait than I can on a jig."
Tietje also leans toward a creature bait, like a Berkley Crazy Legs Chigger Craw, when he is fishing tight to cover in stained water. The undulation of the flappers and appendages move more water and make it easier for the bass to locate the bait. "I'm usually willing to trade out the bulk of the jig for the movement of a creature bait," he says. "I think that it's a lot easier for the bass to key on in a dirty water situation."
There are times, however, when he prefers a jig. In clear water where the bass are feeding based on sight and not vibration, he says that the jig is often a better option. "I want the bulk and skirt of the jig to create a profile that the bass can actually see and react to," says Tietje.
The jig also gets the nod when heavy vegetation is prevalent. "It seems like a jig will fall through the vegetation easier than the creature baits," he explains. With appendages and flappers, creature baits often become entangled in the vegetation, making it nearly impossible to penetrate the thick cover.
The 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series rookie admits that his affinity for the creature bait may cause him to miss a few big bites, but he's OK with the tradeoff. "I just have so much success throwing a creature bait that I usually don't pick up the jig. That may be a mistake, but, like I said, it all comes down to confidence."