By Shane Beilue
I love catching bass in deep water – well, OK - really anywhere; however, there is something especially rewarding about finding bass on deep water structure. I guess it’s the fact that these deep water techniques require a little extra map study and a willingness to spend a lot of time idling with the electronics pinging until you find that likely looking area.
Some of the lakes I frequent can hold bass in 25-40’ of water in the summer and winter months and in massive Lake Amistad, many anglers catch ‘em much deeper than that due to the often ultra-clear water and deep, rocky canyons. When that deep structure is located and you’re ready to start casting, Yamamoto has the right tools for the job in the Hula Jig, Skirt and Grub. Let’s take a closer look.
You’ll notice on the online store of the www.baits.com site that these jig heads come in two styles and multiple weights. I like the version with a weedguard and the Owner hook. The lakes I fish have too much brush to flirt with the frustration of not using a weedguard. Additionally, that Owner hook is a light wire hook, meaning you get better action on the jig and an easier hook penetration when trying to drive that barb home from afar. With regard to weight of the jig head, I generally like a 3/8 ounce head even in 30-40’ of water; however, wind will dictate the need to go to a heavier version – say a ½ or 5/8 oz size.
You have a couple of options here based strictly on preference. The Hula Skirt is a soft plastic skirt that’s been around for years and can be rigged in tandem with a 4” double tail grub or you can simply rig the Yamamoto Hula Grub, which already has the skirt attached above the grub. The benefit of the former is that you can get creative in varying the color choice of the skirt and the grub. If you can dream it - be it bluegill, crawfish or shad - you can imitate it in the vast assortment of color options available with these baits. I’ve found that it’s hard to beat any of the watermelon or pumpkin options (i.e. #208 watermelon w/ large black and small red flake) in both skirt and grub in clear water.
Locations and Technique
In the summer and winter months, you’re looking for those sharp contour lines on the map that indicate a sudden drop off, preferably forming a deep point. Key areas are often where the river channel swings near that sharp point or perhaps the intersection of two creek channels running together or even a hump rising sharply on an otherwise deep flat. All can be productive but will require some map study to pinpoint the likely areas.
Once located, it’s simply a matter of casting, dragging and hopping that jig until you intercept the bass. Sure it sounds easy, but it requires a leap of faith if you’re new to deep water fishing. I’ve had friends in the boat with me that just can’t get their mind wrapped around being away from the shoreline. You initially feel like you’re casting out in the middle of the lake – and you may be; however, that first bite is all it takes to convince you all that work was worthwhile.
As mentioned above, you can hop the bait or simply drag it across the bottom. Certainly it requires trial and error and mixing up your retrieves, but I’m finding frequent success with a fairly fast sweep with my rod tip to drag the jig/grub combo quickly across the bottom. I think it’s a matter of getting those fish to react to it as it comes by them. When you do feel deep brush or cover during the retrieve, get on point because that’s where the bass will usually be found.