Ditch the jig when it gets tough

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I’ve learned this lesson the hard way about 20 times. Finally, as I’m older and (hopefully) wiser, I think it has been drilled into my thick skull: When the flipping bite gets tough, stop trying to force-feed them a jig. You can downsize and tinker with weights and trailers all you want but I think it’s awfully tough to beat a realistic crawfish imitator when the bass get lockjaw. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen underwater footage of a skirted jig but it’s pretty dang big when the skirt expands. When you combine that with the fact that every bass in the lake has seen 475 jigs each Saturday and Sunday for the last few months, they can get pretty spooked by one this time of year. They’ll simply turn their nose up at it and swim the other way. 

It could definitely be different at your local lakes, but around here, they’re either on a jig bite or not; there’s really not much in between. So if it’s not working, don’t force it. I have lost a bunch of tournaments by making that mistake. 

I’ve had good luck with the Berkley Powerbait Champ Craw lately. It’s meaty enough to stay on the hook well without tearing but it’s also not too big when the bass are being lethargic. I’ve been using the 3 1/2-inch model and I’ve really liked how the claws stand up while the bait is at rest. 

Where to fish it: As the bass slowly start to move shallow and follow baitfish in to the creeks right now, I’d strongly suggest looking for shallow laydowns or grass lines close to deep water. You’ll usually find these areas at the mouths of small creeks and the bass will use them as stopping points as they migrate back to the shallows. A slow and deliberate drag and yo-yo presentation over limbs and large grass stalks will get some really impressive bites.