The way to Gary Klein's heart is to tell him he can spend an entire tournament with a stout rod and rubber-skirted jig in hand.
And that is exactly how his 25th Classic appearance played out for the veteran Texas pro — but with a twist.
Klein strung together limits weighing 11-6, 17-5 and 15-10 to finish fifth with 44-5 on the strength of not one, but two jig patterns. Both involved a prototype football-style jig he is developing for Spro.
A 3/4-ounce jig was the key to catching bass atop a breakline(that dropped from 12 to 30 feet) running through a field of standing timber. The 3/8-ounce version provided quality bites from bass suspended out in front of shallow docks in Spring Creek.
"Going into the Classic, I knew getting a limit would be no problem," Klein explains. "When I ran the deep pattern all day I'd get 20 to 30 bites. But I didn't know what size fish to expect because I wasn't setting the hook in practice. I was pleasantly surprised when I caught quite a few 3- and 3 1/4-pound spots. Spotted bass love standing timber, and rock was key. If I found timber and rock, it was a guaranteed bite."
As a fallback pattern, Klein targeted docks with his jig.
"The fish were not under the docks until the afternoon sun warmed the water. Once the water warmed a bit, the bass would suspend on the outside corners in 3 feet of water. Even then, I had to work the jig really slow and methodically to get the fish to bite."
NO. 5 GARY KLEIN
LURES: Brown/purple 3/8- and 3/4-ounce Spro prototype football-head jig with a twin-tail trailer (green pumpkin dipped in chartreuse dye).
TACKLE: 25-pound-test Berkley Vanish Transition fluorocarbon, 7-6 Quantum PT Gary Klein Signature Series flipping stick, Quantum Accurist 570 reel.
TECHNIQUE:Klein flipped a jig around the outside edges of docks, as well as cast to standing timber in deeper water.