A great football coach once said, “The more you know the better you play.” Makes perfect sense... Picture a quarterback pouring over film, banking to memory the formations and tendencies of a formidable defensive secondary. Heck, the field general will be able to take snaps and throw from his studied mind’s eye without making any game-time assessments. Right?
Not if your QB is Bassmaster ELITE angler and recently-recruited St. Croix pro Jesse Wiggins. Sure, he’s interested in historical evidence, but Wiggins isn’t going to hang his helmet on past performances. And that’s precisely how he’ll approach the Bassmaster Classic on Houston, Texas’ Lake Conroe: assess, adjust and conquer.
It’s been a successful ploy, too. The Cullman, Alabama basser had never dipped a toe in Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes, but that didn’t stop him from earning the podium at the 2017 Bass Pro Shops Southern Open #1. And that open-mindedness has propelled Wiggins all through his career. “I always fish with an open mind,” says the Zen-like competitor. “I haven’t been to most of the ELITE lakes.” No surprise, really, since Wiggins is a rookie on the circuit.
Yes, a rookie…
Now even though Wiggins fancies himself at “doing things others aren’t doing,” he does understand and appreciate seasonal bass behavior. Moreover, Wiggins has done enough research on 21,000-acre Lake Conroe to surmise certain strategies will be in play.
First off, he plans to pick apart some docks, as pre-, post- and spawning bass uniformly relate to these manmade shoreline structures. “There are so many boat docks on Conroe, but not all of them will have fish.” So, with memory in mind, coupled with a live assessment of the lake, Wiggins will focus on specific dock structures. “I’ll start with docks on points and the last dock on any outside pockets.” Any docks associated drop-offs or brush-piles are a bonus, he says.
Wiggins expects to open the show skipping Zoom trick-worms on a shaky-head jig, weaponizing with a 7’ 6” St. Croix Legend Elite spinning rod. “The sensitivity of the Legend Elite blows me away.” And he’ll be spooled with 12-lb. Seaguar INVISX, his universal brand of choice.
Conroe, being an impoundment, is sure to feature some lake-making riprap. And that’s where Wiggins will be if the dock fish are misbehaving. He’ll first check-out the topwater scene, chunking a Jenko Flea Bag 100, trying to walk that dog to victory. If surface acrobatics aren’t in the script, Wiggins intends to muscle big worms midst the rocks. Either way, he’ll be making ends meet with a 7’ 1”, medium-heavy, x-fast, St. Croix Legend Xtreme casting rod teamed with 30 lb. Seaguar Smackdown braid and 20 lb. mono leader.
Timing-wise, the dates of the Classic land smack-dab during that ‘tweener period. The bass could be anywhere from pre-spawn feasting to post-spawn recuperating, biological clocks influencing their daily activities. Wiggins says if post-spawn is in play, he’ll search for roosting hens on offshore brush, especially wood linked to humps and breaks. Such a scenario begets cranking, so he’ll bust out an assortment of St. Croix’s new, award-winning, Legend Glass rods. The advanced glass rods cast long with exceptional smoothness, while a limber tip section absorbs slack and flexes freely when bass lose their minds boatside. He’ll inaugurate crankbait-time with a Jenko CD25 tethered to 12-lb. INVISX.
So, welcome St. Croix’s newest professional bass fishing ambassador, and appreciate his conscious blend of on-the-water training and rotisserie of proven methods.
Jesse, we’ll be rooting for you.