What’s the greatest bass lure ever invented?
That’s the one question I’m asked most often, and it’s a tough one considering all the lures that are out there. So, in order to answer that question I have to take the following factors into consideration:
- The lure has to be effective in all four seasons and all those times in between those seasons.
- The lure has to be effective in any water temperature.
- The lure has to be effective anywhere it’s fished — reservoirs, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.The lure has to be effective in any type of water conditions — muddy all the way to perfectly clear.
- The lure has to be effective at any depth from right on the bottom to all the way up on top, and be able to be fished slow to fast and at every speed in between.
What lure style meets all of those requirements? The skirted jig. My favorite is a full size one, the Missile Baits Flip Out. It’s available in three sizes — 3/8-ounce, 1/2-ounce, 3/4-ounce — and in at least eight colors. It’s listed as a flipping jig but it’s really the best all-around jig I know about.
Now that I’ve identified what I think is the greatest bass lure ever created, I’m going to give you a few tips on how I make modifications to my jigs, why I make them and how I fish them.
About 99.9 percent of the time I add a trailer. When the water’s cold, 60 degrees or lower, I want a neutral-type action. That calls for a chunk. I prefer the Berkley Powerbait Maxscent Power Chunk. When the water’s warmer, I generally add a Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw to my jig.
If I want to downsize my offering, I thread the chunk all the way up the hook shank to the lure keeper. It’ll end up snug right behind the head. And, I might trim the skirt a little depending on how small I want my bait to look.
If I want to make a bigger profile with my lure, I punch the hook right through the middle of the chunk part. It’ll look longer and fatter that way. That can get in the way of a good hookset, though, when the chunk flips up, over the hook point. So, I thread a worm or stickbait — the Berkley The General — up the shank of the hook between the head of the jig and the bend of the hook where the chunk is attached. An inch or a little more is about the right length. That holds the chunk in place and keeps it away from the point of the hook.
When the water’s warmer, 60 degrees or higher, I go with a trailer that has more action. That calls for a single-tail grub, a double-tail grub or more often a Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw. I change the size and profile of my bait exactly like I do with a chunk except that I might do one other thing. If I want to shorten my presentation, I sometimes cut a couple of segments off of my Chigger Craw.
Now that we’ve covered water temperatures we’ll turn our attention to colors. How many times do I have to say this? MATCH THE HATCH! But, if the water’s dirty to muddy, you might want to go with dark colors. It’s hard to beat black.
With all of that out of the way, let’s take a look at how to fish a Missile Baits Flip Out.
The first is the traditional slow and low presentation. Drag it along the bottom. When it hits something, stop it. The skirt will flair and look like a creature in a defensive posture. Overall, this is probably the best way to fish a skirted jig.
The next way I fish a skirted jig is to stroke it. I drag it along the bottom like before but about every foot or so I pop it up with my reel and my rod. This will trigger reaction strikes from bass that aren’t actively feeding.
The third way is to swim your jig in the water column. Count it down to where the fish are holding and bring it back. Sometimes I twitch the rod tip a little and sometimes I just bring it straight back. This is a great subtle technique when you want to target suspended bass.
The last way I fish my jig is on top. That’s right, on top! I crank it fast with lots of action from my rod tip. Sometimes it even jumps out of the water — like the real thing. This technique is easier to do with a lighter weight bait.
Before I go I want to give you one last tip. If the cover is heavy, leave the weed guard on your Missile Flip Out exactly like it is in the package. If the cover’s light, trim about 30 percent of the fibers back a little with your scissors. Cut at an angle. And, if you’re fishing where there’s nothing to snag on, cut all of the fibers back about a quarter-inch behind the hook point.
OK fellow fish heads, there you have it. The skirted jig is my pick for the greatest bass lure ever invented.
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