The Tip of the Week Presented by Jackson Kayak
A Feel for the Temperature
By Bridgett Howard
Feel baits are classified as lures worked primarily with the action of the rod and not the cranking of the reel. Constant contact with single-hook rigs like jigs, Texas-rigged tubes and worms paint a picture as clear as a graphical readout of bottom contours and structure. My weapon of choice is heavily dependent on water temperature, and I would suggest yours is too.
Temperatures in the 40-50 degree range put the ever-versatile jig in my hands. As with any feel bait, it's important not only to feel but to watch the line. Your line is swimming upstream? Time to wind down and set the hook!
Water between 55-65 degrees calls for Texas rigged, skin-hooked 4.5-inch tubes. Temps of more than sixty degrees have me reaching for seven inch worms rigged the same way. My Texas rigs start with a 3/8th ounce slip sinker, followed by a red bead that adds color, sound and protection for the knot above my 4/0 Daiichi copperhead hook. Skin-hooking the body of a soft plastic bait with the tip of the hook protects against sticks, stumps, rocks and bumps.
Don't be hesitant to throw into a 'dicey' area because you're afraid you'll get snagged – why do you have that $20 lure in your tackle box if you’re afraid to throw it? Bring on the brushy brambles that hold the beastly bass! With these rigs you’ll have no difficulty getting down and around some favorite haunts of the heavyweights.
Single-hook rigs offer a higher-percentage hookup ratio. Simply, it’s easier to drive a single hook into the jaw of your quarry than a multiple-point treble. My preferred jig is a 3/8th ounce trailed with a soft plastic craw imitator. Color and rattle vary with water clarity - I prefer a more subtle, silent presentation when water is clear or fishing pressure is heavy, and I'm a fan of matching the trailer to the skirt. Because I prefer subtle, I throw dark colors in stained water and natural, neutral colors in clearer conditions.
Temperature also dictates retrieve speed. Slow and steady performs better in cooler water versus the rapid, escape-imitating mode in warmer months. Experiment; keep a sharp hook, strong knot and sure hookset. Watch the thermometer, adjust your lures and retrieve and watch your catches rise like the mercury on an August afternoon.