knapp 4-25-22

Deron Eck showed off a nice largemouth taken on a heavy skirted jig

Though this year’s whimsical weather has yet to provide a consistent spell of seasonable weather, odds are the eventually warm temperatures will arrive and area lakes will experience an explosion of life.

In ones that support submerged weed growth, largemouth bass will relate to the inside and outside edges of this cover from spring through fall. And when they do an extra heavy skirted jig dressed with a crawfish imitating trailer can do a fine job of evoking a reaction bite from bass.

For several years, bass fishing enthusiast Deron Eck of Armstrong County has used heavy jigs to quickly pick apart the edges of weed lines, a high percentage spot for contacting largemouth bass.

Whether he’s fishing deep humps out in Lake Erie, or skipping baits to shore under overhanging tree limbs, Eck is systematic in his approach. The same is true of the method he employs to work weed edges.

Eck’s system starts with a heavy skirted jig — as light as three-quarter-ounce up to 1.5 ounce — but most often a 1-ounce model. He chooses jigs with bullet-shaped heads so they rocket to the bottom. He’s not looking for a slow descent. He wants the jig to quickly reach bottom. The skirted jig is tipped with an appropriately large soft-plastic crayfish or chunk trailer.

Eck is looking to make some noise, to trigger a bite from a bass that might turn its nose to a more-subtle presentation.

“Dropping a big jig next to a largemouth is like stepping on the tail of cat,” Eck noted. “The reaction to strike out is instinctive.”

Eck’s methodical technique goes like this:

Keeping an eye on the electronics to keep his boat just off the weed edge, he makes tight 15- to 20-foot pitch-type casts to the edge of the cover. The jig is allowed to fall unimpeded to the bottom. Once on the bottom, he reels in the slack, then smoothly tucks the handle of his casting rod under his arm to anchor it and serve as a pivot point. Gripping the rod at the reel seat, he imparts a couple sharp snaps to the jig, lets it settle for a second or two, takes in the slack and employs another couple sharp jigs, and then reels in for the next pitch. The interval between each pitch cast is about 10 seconds in duration, unless of course a big largemouth intercepts the jig. He keeps the boat moving at a good clip the whole time. So it’s not only effective, it’s efficient too.

Eck’s heavy-jigging system takes a fair degree of physical effort, since the jigs are so heavy, and the method intense. To lessen this, he used rods/reels well suited to this type of fishing. Rods are 7-foot, fast-action casting rods of high quality, i.e., light in weight to reduce fatigue. To this he couples a low-profile bait-casting rod loaded with 20-pound test fluorocarbon line.