Classic Champ Likes Jigs For Autumn Bass - 10/08/2008

"I'll have two jigs, a spinnerbait, and a shallow running crankbait tied on and ready," notes the Yamaha pro, who's already spent time scouting Louisiana's Red River where he'll defend his Classic title next February, "but jigs are definitely my favorite lures this time of year.

  Alton Jones
It's autumn, and that means Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones will be fishing jigs.

"A lot of bass will be feeding on crayfish, and jigs imitate crayfish very effectively. During the fall months bass are moving shallow so jigs are fun and easy lures to use, too.”

Jones looks for fall bass in tributary creeks, generally from mid-way in to the back of the creek; seldom does he look at water deeper than 12 feet and many of his bass may be as shallow as 12 inches.

“The most important ingredient is that the creek have a well-defined channel,” he continues, “and while I will certainly pitch or flip my jigs to visible bushes and stumps, I generally catch more fish around rocks because they have more crayfish.

“The vertical edge of the channel is important because water temperature is gradually getting cooler as autumn progresses and bass like to move vertically with those temperature changes. For example, if I’m fishing on a colder day I’ll definitely concentrate on the steeper side of the channel or the outside of a bend, but if I’m fishing on a bright, warmer day, I’ll fish the shallower side of the channel or the inside of that same bend.”

The two jigs the Yamaha pro has tied on are normally a small profile 3/16-oz. finesse jig and a slightly larger ¼-oz. normal jig. He wants to use the lightest jig possible for the conditions, although he doesn’t fish in true “finesse” fashion; even with a 3/16-oz. model, Jones often uses braided line.

Although green-pumpkin and black/blue are among his favorite jig colors in autumn, Jones generally includes some crayfish red or orange in his jig trailer just to make it look more attractive. He doesn’t worry about matching the jig color with the trailer as much this time of year as he does during the spring and summer months.

“I want the jig to fall as vertically as possible, so I pitch or flip rather than make casts,” he explains, “and once the jig reaches the bottom, I don’t hop it and jump it. I’ll crawl it a short distance, especially if there is other cover around, or I’ll raise my rod and then lower it again to allow the jig to fall again, but then I’ll reel it back.

“I’ll try to cover a channel bank thoroughly, pitching every three feet or so as I move along. You seldom find schooling bass in the backs of creeks this time of year, but you often find areas or specific stretches of a bank that are more productive than others, but to locate them you still have to cover the water.”

Although jigs are favorite lures this time of the year, the Yamaha angler cautions that most bass fishermen use jigs that are too heavy. The key to successful jig fishing is getting a slow fall because the bass themselves are less aggressive in the cooling water. “With a lighter jig that falls slower, you’re also forced to fish slower,” he concludes, “but that’s the way you’ll catch bass this time of year.”

Reprinted with permission from Yamaha Engines.