“It’s football season.” Man, it feels good just to say those words. The NFL had its annual Hall of Fame game to kick off the season, and summer camps for colleges and high school players are in full session all across our great country.
It’s also a good time for footballs that are more closely related to bass fishing – I’m talking about football jigs. They get their name from their typically oblong football-shaped lead heads. And they serve as the perfect deep water dredge here in August when water temps are at their hottest, and bass are still relating to deeper ledges, brushpiles, roadbeds and humps in 12 to 30 feet of water.
Remember, lures are just tools, they’re not magical, and the fact that a typical football jig will weigh around 3/4 ounce makes it the perfect weighty tool for sinking fast and maintaining contact with the bottom that you’re able to feel as you pull it along.
A football jig most closely imitates a meaty crawdad scurrying across the bottom, so it’s important to note that I best describe it as “pulling it along.” First, wait until you feel the heavy jig hit the bottom following the cast, and then just drag it along for 2 to 3 feet at a time, winding up slack after each short drag or pull.
I can’t stress enough how critical it is to maintain “feel” with your football jig in deeper water. Sometimes they’ll thump it so hard that your line jumps, even though your bait may be 60 to 70 feet from your rod tip. But other times, the jig just seems to be dragging across the bottom, and then falls off into outer space – in that case, you better jerk, because a bass likely has it.
Speaking of jerking, you need to use a fairly long rod for two reasons. First, because this is a heavy lure that you’re aiming to cast a long distance, in order to drag it across your targeted bottom habitat. And secondly, when you do get a bite and you’re ready to jerk, you need a long rod to pick up all that line. I use a 7-3 rod from Mud Hole; specifically, model MB873.
As far as line, I use 15-pound fluorocarbon in lakes where the water is clearer, but most of the time, I use 20-pound fluorocarbon. My football jig colors are kept simple – green pumpkin or watermelon with a few skirt strands of orange, blue or red mixed-in works well just about everywhere.
In closing, I hope your team has a great season. I’ll be rooting for my home state LSU Tigers, and the New Orleans Saints – I’m thinkin’ Drew Brees has at least one more great year left in him and can take us deep into the playoffs.