I dodged a bullet...twice

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Darren Jacobson

Greg Vinson (16th, 23-13)

This has been an interesting year, so far anyway. I’ve managed to dodge the bullet twice.

The first time was with my concussion. It was severe. But, thanks to my doctors and my wife, I was able to get straightened out enough to fish the Classic. My 22nd place finish wasn’t really what I wanted, but given all the circumstances I’ll take it.

At least I was out there competing instead of sitting around the hotel watching it over the Internet. The B.A.S.S. coverage is good, but it isn’t as good as experiencing it as a competitor on the water.

Fishing after my fall was kind of weird. At times I was in pretty good shape — almost back to normal — but then at night I’d get headaches and have other issues. Anyway, I’m almost 100 percent now so there’s nothing else to say other than thanks to everyone who helped me recover and wished me the best.

The second time I dodged the bullet was when I made the first cut and earned a check at the St. Johns River. My goal is always to win, but sometimes you have to be realistic. Given my head injury and the fact that I’m not a Florida guy I figured that if I could get out of there without a disaster the rest of the year would look pretty good.

The problem with bombing early is that it’s almost impossible to recover. There are always enough guys who have good and consistent seasons that you just can’t climb out of a hole that you dig early in the season. Thankfully, I didn’t fall in so I don’t have to dig my way out, at least not as of right now. If I can do the same thing on the Winyah Bay, I’ll be in good shape.

Now let’s catch some bass:

Here in the Southeast we’re mostly in the early postspawn phase. That can be a great time to bass fish if you approach things correctly. I like to start by watching for the shad spawn. You can load the boat when that’s happening. I’m told that they spawn at night so I make sure I get out early, well before daylight.

Look for them around docks, riprap, bank grass, shallow sandbars or anywhere else they can put their eggs if the water’s around 70 degrees. They have a clear to white cast to them, are slimy and some have black dots. At times those dots will look almost like eyeballs.

I prefer white or pearl colored baits when I’m fishing the shad spawn. It seems like those colors imitate shad better than anything else. My starting lure is a plastic jerkbait. Every lure company on the planet makes one. My preference is the NetBait Super Twitch.

Another great combination during the shad spawn is a white jig with a white action trailer. My choice of trailers is a NetBait Paca Slim (creature bait) or a Little Spanky (boot tail swimbait).

The key to success with all of these lures is to get them right up against whatever is holding the shad eggs. The bass are used to feeding that way so a close presentation looks natural to them. Be alert. A lot of your strikes will come as soon as the bait hits the water.

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