The Monsoor Effect

The good news about having the pros visit your home waters is that it might clue you in on what’s going on out there.

The bad news about having the pros visit your home waters is that it might clue everybody in on what’s going on out there.

Overlapping pros and cons aside, after talking to Tom Monsoor last week I was excited to get out on the Potomac to throw a black and blue swim jig. His enthusiasm was infectious and the results spoke for themselves. I was up early on Friday morning, at the ramp before 5:30 am, and my friend Bill and I bounced across the river to a likely grass bed and quickly commenced to catching the snot out of them. As we did so, the wind picked up, to the point where it was whitecapping the protected areas, which meant that our plan of exploring some other places on the main river quickly got 86ed.

That was ok, because this one grass bed was absolutely loaded with bass, no big ones, but enough 2- to 3-pounders that we rarely went long without a bite. We’d catch a couple, have 20 minutes of fruitless casting, and then put a few more in the boat. By the time we picked up the trolling motor a little before 3 o’clock, we’d landed a few dozen. Bill caught one on the swim jig and the rest swimming a paddletail worm. I caught my first one on a vibrating jig, and then the rest on a quarter ounce swim jig similar to Monsoor’s.

Of all of the techniques that have emerged during my fishing career, there are three – the Senko, the dropshot and the swim jig – to which I was late to the party. Thinking back on tournaments I fished 10 or even 20 years ago, if I’d been an early adopter and had confidence in those presentations I would’ve won more of them, and with bigger weights. The Senko has probably produced the most, but the swim jig is coming on fast. I’ve used it successfully everywhere from Mexico to Virginia to Wisconsin to Florida, and it has caught fish when spinnerbaits and vibrating jigs wouldn’t, or when they couldn’t penetrate the cover at hand.

Unlike an expert practitioner like Monsoor, I still don’t completely understand what makes one swim jig better than another. Guys like him have strong opinions on the position of a line tie, the type of bait keeper used, and the ideal number of strands in the skirt. All I know is that the ones where most of the strands have been ripped out by surly bass seem to work best for me.