Scoring big with a jig

Derek Remitz is throwing strikes with his favorite, the football jig

Success is inevitable when a hot bait gets in the hands of one of the rising stars of the Bassmaster Elite Series.

That's exactly what happened when Derek Remitz won the Battle on the Border on Lake Amistad in Texas earlier this year with a four day score of 20 bass weighing 111-07.

The top angler from last year's Bassmaster Northern Tour caught most of his heavyweights on a football jig, the key lure the last couple of years in several regional tournament wins, including the 2006 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Western Divisional.

Remitz believes the football-style jighead has been a success on the tournament scene recently because of its ability to proficiently probe deep structure.

"You're fishing a jig so, chances are, you are going to catch some good fish on it, especially when fishing structure," said the young Alabama pro.

"You're not going to get as many bites, but you will catch better quality fish."

In Texas, Remitz keyed on prespawn bass positioned on 30-foot ledges that dropped down to 50 to 70 feet deep. He discovered the fish were staging right on the break of the ledges so he needed a lure and a presentation that allowed him to slowly probe the rocky structure and cover.

"At Amistad I was just trying to keep my lure in one spot or barely move it just along those edges because it was such a short strike zone," said Remitz.

For the task, he selected a 3/4-ounce Omega Tackle Football Jig and a Yamamoto Hula Grub because the jig was heavy enough to reach the deep ledges and its head rolled more easily over and through the rock and rubble without snagging.

Positioning his boat parallel to the ledges, Remitz would pitch out his jig and let the line free spool until the lure reached the bottom. He then made short pulls with his rod tip, inching the jig along the bottom with pauses in between the pulls.

The key to his success, he said, was differentiating between a strike and a snag in the rocks. "A lot of times I would just feel that slight little tick." At other times he would just sense a mushy, heavy feeling on his line, signaling a fish had engulfed his jig.

Dragging a football jig works best for Remitz on steep ledges, but he employs other retrieves depending on the cover he's targeting and the time of year.

During the postspawn period, he likes to "stroke" a football jig for suspended bass along drops and ledges. While keeping some slack in his line, Remitz points his rod at the bait and jerks the rod from the 9 o'clock to 12 o'clock position to rip the lure off the bottom and then let it fall back on a slack line. Strikes usually occur as the football jig falls back to the bottom.

When bass congregate on sloping points in the summertime, Remitz hops his jig 1 to 2 feet off the bottom in the same fashion as retrieving a Texas rigged plastic worm.

He uses a 3/4-ounce football jig for most of his deep water tactics, but he switches to a 1-ounce model during the summer to make his lure fall faster and trigger reaction strikes. For shallow water presentations (5 to 15 feet), Remitz relies on the 1/2-ounce model.

A Yamamoto Hula Grub is Remitz's favorite trailer for the football jig, but sometimes he chooses a Zoom Super Chunk instead. Both trailers help create a large profile bait that appeals to big bass. The top color combination for Remitz's bait is a brown jig with a green pumpkin trailer.

"I don't know if the fish will ever stop eating a brown jig," he quipped.

The Bassmaster Elite Series rookie tosses his football jig on a 7-foot medium-heavy St. Croix rod and a Shimano Curado baitcasting reel spooled with 16-pound-test Yamamoto Sugoi fluorocarbon line.

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