Last week figured to be my last shot at shirt-sleeve fishing for 2014, so I made the most of a meeting with top Bassmaster and FLW pros. Among them was Chad Pipkens, winner of the recent Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake St. Clair.
Like many top bass men, Pipkens has made the bladed jig a primary tool on the tournament trail in recent years.
Remember when the Chatterbait hit the tackle scene a number of years back? As hot as it was then, a lot of elite anglers today claim that the bait is even more popular in their ranks today!
Both Pros and Average Joes have deciphered more of the bladed jig’s mysteries.
First and foremost, they’ve worked their way down to the very fundamental fact that a bladed jig has the properties and advantages of both lipped baits and skirted jigs!
That truth alone opens your options and makes these baits versatile indeed!
The first time I cast a bladed jig was on a lake in Northern Illinois during late fall. Five bass—including several that topped the three-pound mark—and four northern pike fell to the bait during that short afternoon. And all I needed to do that day was cast and crank.
A couple of years later, I watched Boyd Duckett jig a Chatterbait patiently along the edges of a Carolina sand pit. “First and foremost, it’s a jig,” reminded Duckett.
So what’s the real deal?
Only this: you can do a lot with a bladed jig! The only mistake would be not to take advantage of its versatility!
“Sure, you can fish it like a crankbait,” noted Pipkens as he worked the stair-step hydrilla beds of Walter F. George Reservoir, a.k.a. Lake Eufaula, on the Alabama/Georgia border. “But it’s a jig, too. You can stroke a jig. You can snap a jig out of cover… And that is when this is really effective!”
Pipkens proceeded to demonstrate the latter presentation as he fished Eufaula’s hydrilla beds, working the bait slowly over the top of a tapering weed flat. Each time he felt it tip the vegetation, he gave it a rip.
“That’s when they like to hit it!” he said.
Another difference in today’s bladed jig fishing is the variety of soft plastics that anglers are using as trailers. Swimbaits and fluke-type lures are chief among the options, but don’t short-suit your imagination here either!
If a trailer looks like it might work, it probably will!