Right now we are being blessed with an abundance, even an over-abundance, of water out west. In Arizona, most of our central lakes are filled to the brim, and some are even going over the spillways. Our hope is that the powers that be will let the water stay up for the spawn. Meanwhile, fishing can be tough – all that inflow has muddied up the lakes, and most of the incoming water is cold. The spawn is still a ways off, but some fish are already starting to move up. This means that the best thing to use is something that you can fish fast or slow, shallow or deep; in other words, a jig.
We’ve been having quite the cold spell out west for the past few weeks. After a major tournament on Lake Mohave, anglers were referring to it as “Blowhave”, and the other lakes around here haven’t been much better. It’s cold, it’s windy, and it can be hard to throw a light lure or feel anything with your frozen fingers. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish. On the contrary, you can catch a lot of fish if you know how. You do it with spoons.
Some people might argue that anyone who wants to fly at all these days is a glutton for punishment. That may be so, but I believe there are too many distant great places to visit to avoid it altogether. However, if you’re like me and you enjoy traveling long distances specifically to fish, at some point you’re probably going to want to trust your precious rods to the airlines. In that case, you may indeed be a masochist.
Winter can be a tough time for bass fishermen, but no matter how cold and nasty it is out there, somebody always seems to find them. Tai Au is one of those guys, and we went out with him to find out how he manages to boat decent bass during the toughest time of the year. Just to make it extra hard, we met him at Lake Pleasant, just north of Phoenix, AZ, famous for being a tough lake in any season.
A former Bassmaster Classic champion and veteran FLW Tour pro, Jay Yelas is no stranger to big bass. However, the Oregon angler knows that nabbing big bass often means throwing smaller baits. In his view, small swimbaits exemplify this premise.
“Especially on public lakes that get a lot of fishing pressure, most all of the fish have been caught before and you’re trying to recapture the same fish,” he said. “So, having a small, natural profile in your bait makes a big difference, because these are educated fish.
Whether you call it a Chatterbait, a vibrating jig, or a bladed jig, there is no denying that pro angler Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona has had a lot of success on the unique lure which features a metal blade in front of a rubber-skirted jig.
Hite has a BASS Elite Series win (Lake Seminole) and two FLW Tour wins (Toho and Okeechobee) to his credit thanks to a vibrating a jig. Over the years he has perfected every facet of his vibrating jig system except one: the trailer.