Winter fishing can be slow but there is one new technique that can be very effective and entertaining. With the vast improvement in fishing electronics, a relatively new technique has developed, becoming popular in many reservoirs and lakes in East Tennessee. The technique involves vertical jigging and observing fish response to a lure as it is presented.
Damiki fishing technique
The Damiki or “video game fishing” technique has become a popular method for winter bass fishing, especially smallmouth, in several East Tennessee reservoirs.
The Damiki fishing technique got its name from the most popular lure used for the technique, the Damiki Armor Shad. The Damiki rig is a jig head paired with any 3- to 4-inch shad imitating plastic lure. It’s generally used on deep clear Tennessee reservoirs including South Holston, Cherokee and Norris.
The technique is best when water temperatures are below 50 degrees, and it can be even better when water temperatures are below 45 degrees. The Damiki will start to shine in early winter when shad are grouped up and the water temperatures fall to around 50 degrees.
How to use the Damiki rig
The setup for the Damiki rig starts with the right tackle. A 6.5- to 7-foot medium action spinning rod is the most common, but some anglers will employ the rig with baitcasting gear. The line of choice is small fluorocarbon line ranging from 4- to 8-pound test with 6 pounds being the most popular. Most anglers will want to use a braid mainline to a fluorocarbon leader on their spinning reels to reduce line twist. The fluorocarbon leader length can range from 7 to 20 feet long depending on the angler's preference. A jig head in the 1/4 to 3/8 size is the most popular. Most anglers will use an Erie-style jig head with a 90-degree hook and a weight forward design to keep the lure in a horizontal posture when it is dropped down to the fish.
Start with learning how to read your electronics. Generally, you need a trolling motor mounted transducer and great electronics to be effective at this. You start looking around smallmouth wintering areas such as break lines, humps, long points and bluff end points. The most common depths to look for fish are from 25 to 35 feet, but fish can be deeper at times.
Once fish are located, simply drop your rig down to just above the fish's depth. You should be able to see your lure and the fish on your monitor. It’s easy to see why this technique is sometimes called “video game fishing.” The fish move toward your lure and "bingo" you feel the bite.