By Mark Fong
Over the course of his long professional career, GYCB Pro Dave Lefebre has established himself as one of the most consistent anglers on tour. The long time FLW and current Bassmaster Elite Series Pro is one of the most well versed anglers in the sport. As well rounded as he is, Lefebre is perhaps most often identified for his proficiency and skill with a jig. While there are many great jig fishermen in the professional ranks, some are either short line experts or deep water structure specialists, but there are few that can match Lefebre's comprehensive mastery.
Lefebre is a self-proclaimed “Jig Crazy Man.” He custom builds a large majority of the jigs he fishes. In doing so, he has complete control over the head shape, weight, weed guard, type of hook, hook size, color, skirting material, and profile.
Just as there are many variables related to selecting the proper jig for the task at hand, the same can be said for picking the correct jig trailer. For Lefebre, the 4” and 5” Yamamoto Double Tail Grubs have long been an important component in his jig fishing arsenal. The GYCB Double Tail not only does an excellent job replicating a crawfish, but the movement created by its swimming tails mimics bluegill, shad and anything that swims. When discussing the Double Tail, Dave is quick to point out that the Hula Grub should also be included in the conversation as well, a fact this often overlooked by other competitors. Lefebre employs the Double Tail and the Hula Grub when he is fishing tidal river systems or deep clear water fisheries.
Lefebre has a neat little trick to increase the profile of his bait. “I'll use a Hula Grub as a trailer under the silicone skirt of my jig, it slows the jig way down,” he tipped. “Sometimes I will use a Hula Grub with a contrasting top, like a blue top and black legs. Underneath the silicone skirt it provides some contrast and this can really work well. I'll use the Hula Grub on a casting or even a flippin' jig. I have won a lot of money on it both as a trailer and just as itself. I'll Texas rig them, too. I do all kinds of things with them, it's just a real versatile bait that not a lot of people carry but it's really invaluable to me. I keep one storage box loaded with them. It's pretty much a staple in my boat.”
Conversely, when he wants a more subtle offering, he turns to the 4” Double Tail. “I use a lot of tiny little homemade jigs; a 5/32-, a 3/16- or a ¼-oz, they are real tight little compact jigs,” said Lefebre. “The 4” Double Tail is really invaluable to me. When fishing gets tough and the fish are stubborn I often use the tiniest little stuff I can get away with.”
A Skinny Water Favorite
“As fancy as today's trailers get, with craws and all kinds of stuff, I still don't think you can beat a double tail trailer on a jig in tidal water,” said Lefebre. “On the Potomac, James River and down in the Delta in Louisiana, the fish bite when the tide is moving. Usually the water is somewhat dirty or stained and they can be super shallow a lot of times. That trailer (double tail) turns a flippin' jig into a swim jig at the same time. It's just a universal trailer- it’s so good for pitchin' around, or you can just swim it.”
Lefebre tips the last hour of the outgoing and the first hour of the incoming tide as his most productive periods of the tide. “I run the tides most of the time, but sometimes when I find a school of fish I will try and follow them back and forth. I would say that 90% of the time I am trying to hit all my best stuff at the tides that I like.”
While Lefebre literally has a boat full of different jig styles and sizes he usually starts out with a 3/8 oz arky style jig in tidal water but will adjust accordingly to the conditions. His base color jig and trailer selections are simple, citing black, black and blue, brown and green pumpkin as top choices. He often uses subtle variations to achieve the look he wants. For example, he tipped that a brown blue and orange combo is a great color for imitating the crabs found in the Eastern tidal waters.
For pitchin' around cypress trees, weedlines and reeds, Lefebre gears up with a 7'4” heavy action 13 Fishing Muse Black Casting Rod matched to a Conept “Z” Casting Reel spooled with 17lb to 20lb Sufix Invisiline Fluorocarbon.
Deep and Clear
When other anglers are throwing swimbaits, deep diving crankbaits or big spoons for big deep water largemouths, Lefebre likes to add a jig to the mix. ”If I'm fishing for big largemouths, on ledge lakes like Guntersville or Kentucky Lake, I want a big bulky jig,” said Lefebre. “I'll use a 3/4oz skirted casting jig with a Hula Grub underneath it. It just adds so much bulk and makes a bigger profile jig to drag and catch those giant fish. When I am casting a jig I usually use either 10lb or 12lb fluorocarbon max, usually 10lb which is lighter than most people throw. I use a really light wire hook, but still the jig is big and I catch big fish on it.”
Casting a jig can work equally well on lakes like Beaver or Table Rock where spotted bass inhabit deep water. “I usually want a fast fall with the Double Tail look,” Lefebre offered. “A ½-oz or ¾-oz jig with that little 4” trailer falls like a rocket on 10lb line. I'll trim both the jig and the trailer down. If you have too long a jig, spotted bass have a tendency to short strike it and bite your tails off.”
Lefebre largely fishes a green pumpkin or watermelon base color on his clear water jig and trailer with accents of orange, chartreuse, blue or purple mixed into the skirt strands and or trailer tips.
“Usually it's long casts and deep water,” said Lefebre. “When I get a bite, I need to be able to move the jig down there.” He employs a 7'6” medium heavy action 13 Fishing Muse Black Casting Rod matched to a Conept “Z” Casting Reel spooled with 10lb Sufix Invisiline Fluorocarbon. “I want more length in the rod with the 10lb test, I have to move more line and I want a more moderate action so I don't break off.”
Take a tip from Dave Lefebre: Don't sleep on the Double Tail.