Gotta fish this jig! Still kneelin ‘n reelin? Fly rod tourney win??

ALMOST dropped my boat in the water this weekend. Almost. Heck yeah I wanna get the tug and stick my thumb in a fish’s mouth, but it’s cold and they ain’t bitin’! Anyhow, it was all cuz of an ultra-sweet little jig CatchCo came out with, talked about below.


Almost. Maybe this weekend! Hope you got out and caught some. Still waitin’ on global warming to get up here to our NJ waters….

Today’s Top 4
How could you not fish this jig!
Lookit that thing! That’s cold-water money yo! Picture that jig + Uncle Josh pork = cooooold water bites!


Chased down the 2 dudes who invented it – name of Popcorn and JayPee – and here’s what they said. Btw that’s Popcorn “Ryan” Whitacre of StrayCasts infamity, and his bud JayPee Hey (real name-ish) who met sinkin’ jigs into big smallies off the Chicago coast:

Lil’ Q&A:


1. What’s the story on this jig? [Called the Tight Rope Baby Firework Super Jig, only available here right now.]


> Popcorn: “Myself and JayPee started making this thing in early 2013 and basically what it was, we were doing a lot of shore fishing in the spring, in downtown Chicago. The shore fishing is amazing down there in the spring…all the [big smallies] are up against the seawall.


> “JayPee was throwing a 1/2-oz flipping jig with an Erie Darter on the back…going through like 10-20 jigs a day from the zebra mussels, but every time he got bit it was a bigger fish than anyone else….


> “The first time I saw that, I knew we needed something that could come through that stuff. At first I was using a ball-head jig with no skirt…with a wire weedguard. I was nose-hooking plastics with it for like 2 years, and I just decided to try to find a way to tie a skirt on that jig…the hook shank as if you’re tying a fly.


> “I figured out a system to do that, and it ended up looking like koosh ball – all flared out. It had a big puffed-out head to look like the head of a goby, and with a straight-tail trailer it looked like a goby.


> “I made up like 5 and gave him 1. It was 1/4-oz and he was making fun of it…too small…. We fished the same spots that whole week and were smashing fish on this jig. After a week [of fishing] he came to me and still had that jig [tied on]. The skirt being flared out wasn’t allowing it to slide down into the cracks of those rocks…. He said, ‘Dude we have to make more of these.’


> “That’s where it started. I started posting some fish on Facebook…floods of messages coming in. That’s when I was like, ‘Well I’m broke, I can use some extra money, maybe we should start selling them. JayPee and I met at a bar and put some stuff on paper. We put in $250 to buy materials and never had to put money back into it til then.”


He said a dude named Matt at CatchCo love their jigs and called when CatchCo started doing collaborations and [it] “ended up working out great.”


2. How do you fish it?

> JayPee ^: “A big misconception with it right away is everyone thinks ‘spinning rod’ and that’s truly not the case. That’s not why we made it. We made it to fish with baitcasters and heavier line [to snatch fish up out of the zebra-coated rocks]. I want people to try that before they put it on their spinning rod.


> “You also have so much more control – it sucks to hook [a big fish and] break it off or lose it. I was so sick of that happening. I was like, ‘Look dude, I’m not fishing the 8-lb line anymore like all the magazines are telling me to do. I’m fishing 15- to 17-lb line with it, and I’m jacking on ’em.’


> “You can’t fish it too slow. There’s times I barely move that thing. We’re trying to mimic gobies a lot of the time – I think people think gobies swim around like baitfish. They don’t. They scoot around an inch a time on the bottom and sit there. Sometimes we’ll swim it but I don’t think it’s representing a goby when you do that.


> “My #1 trailer is a Poor Boys Erie Darter Jr [3”]. It’s just a straight-tail do-nothing…perfect pairing for the goby image. If you look at goby, they have these big fat stupid heads and a body that does nothing. That pairing is perfect.

> “But you can put anything on it. I really like the Baby D Bomb, the Baby D Stroyer, Baby Rage Craws – so many trailers work on it.


> “I like gp-[color] jigs. I make one on our website called ‘JP’s trash’ which is gp brown and black…started from leftover pieces of other jigs I was making. And the color…melon with gold flake.


> “There’s something about picking a different-color trailer than the jig, just to add contrast to it. I feel like that works a lot of the time. Sometimes I’ll use a gp jig and just a straight black trailer, or a watermelon red trailer on a balck/blue jig. It doesn’t make sense but I feel like I get more bites…..”


> Popcorn: “Most of the time we keep the rod tip down and move it with little tiny 2” snaps of the rod tip. Then hold the line tight.


> “Cross their eyes. …sturdy hook, not a typical finesse jig hook…Mustad 2x HD hook. We boat-flop 5-lbers with that thing.”


3. Do you use it for largemouths?

Popcorn ^ talkin’ 1st, who’s fishing the Northern Opens this year:


> “For largemouth…I’ll fish it anywhere…just a ball head, and a ball-head jig will fish anywhere. It just has more finessey skirt on it. …really any craw on there. I like the ExoPod a lot, I like the Speed Craw, the Baby D Bomb, the Chigger Craw – really anything on there that’s not sticking out too far.


> “I like skipping docks with it, but it really shines in rock – riprap, any rock that might be exceptionally snaggy it seems to come thru real well. Also flats – silt flats, sand flats – get it down there and scoot it, churn up some silt.


> “[The CatchCo version] has a 5-strand clear fluoro weedguard – you can flare it out and comes through brush much better. You can flip it into wood in water you’ve already gone through with a 1/2-oz jig or a TX rig and it seems to get few extra bites….


> “We do put a swimbait on it – like a 3.25-inch ExoSwim, cut an inch off it, let it hit the bottom and reel super slow and like you would a swing-head.”


> JayPee: “It’s not my #1 for largemouth fishing with a jig. I use it and it catches a lotta largemouth, but it’s always kind of been like a happy accident.”


4. Does it feel weird that someone took something you did that seriously?


> Popcorn: “Absolutely. Yeah. We’re still totally weirded out by it. We never even made it to sell it. We’re just hardcore bass fishermen. Always tinkering with stuff, trying to get an advantage in a tournament….


> “We didn’t invent anything incredibly original…just tweaked a jig to fish everything we wanted to fish it through.


> “I would’ve been happy keeping it in my back pocket, but when I found out it could help me fish more [pay for entry fees] it was a no-brainer.”


5. JayPee, why do you go by J-a-y-P-e-e instead of just JP?


> [He told me but I can’t tell you sorry mang!] “It’s always been my street nickname and it’s different you know? Not many spell it out.”


Fo sho. Outstanding stuff from 2 regular (for Chicago) dudes. 1 mo’ tiddybit:


– The CatchCo version only comes in 1/4-oz. The guys have 3/8- and 1/2-oz on their website, as well as a heavier largie jig with the same ball head and 90-degree line tie…which Matt Lee said here last week he values because of Gerald Swindle, and JayPee said Swindle’s old signature jig was the inspiration for the Tight Rope line tie too.

“If I catch me about a 25-lb sack, I’m going to be looking for a bag-carrier.”

Larry “Bee Branch” Nixon talkin’ on the MLF site about getting back to 100% after his latest surgeries. Bad wing so he can’t carry the bag. Dude is a LEGEND and a WARRIOR. Love it!


Btw believe Larry will be on the SprayedMats shew tomorrow night.

Another TX 13-lber!
Beeg congrats to CJ Oates for this 13.02-lb lard-head melon from Lake Austin, first 13+ from Austin since 2014 but the 21st 13+ from that lake:

Look how chill he looks! Like he just woke up from an amazing dream…which maybe he did! Post says he caught it on a football jig next to a dock? At night.


Hello CA? FL? What up with the teens out your way? You need this guy:

One dude on a tourney-winning team used a dang fly rod??
Think I’m gonna be sick man… For whatever reason I thought fly tackle was illegal in Bassmaster tourneys, which most other trails base their rules on, but apparently not. Anyhoo, this was at the Wild West Bass Trail Lake Shasta team derb:
> [Right: Ryan Williams’] efforts with the fly rod accounted for about 50% of their total team catch…5 fish with a combined weight of 13.87 lbs…biggest was 4.55 lbs.


> In cold winter water…Williams says that’s when fly fishing shines. He used a 10′ 6-weight [rod]…and a Float ‘N Fly rig, which is a Jaydacator float, fixed-length leader, and a small jig-type fly tied with feathers or with bucktail like a SPRO Phat Fly.


> Williams is a fly-fishing guide for trout, steelhead and bass in the Sacramento Region. He also won the most recent Costa Bass-N-Fly Tournament on the Sacramento River Delta….


> “There have been many of us who have competed in conventional bass tournaments with fly rods,” said John G. Sherman, Simms sales rep and founder of the Costa Bass-N-Fly tournament. “While there has been moderate success, and some small club tournament wins, Ryan and his partner’s win at Lake Shasta is the major win we have all dreamed about. I’ve already seen the social chatter from gear guys looking to grab a fly rod, with many signing up for fly casting lessons! This has the potential to be a major catalyst for the growth of fly fishing for bass!”


Okay so:


– Float ‘n fly so sounds like a fly rod wasn’t needed? Btw looks like B.A.S.S. does have a 10’ max rod length but the WWBT does not, not that it would’ve mattered in this’n.


– “Many” Cali fly-fishermen have competed in bass derbs? And they’re all “dreaming about” winning? What’s next out there, tofurkey burgers after the weigh-ins??


Lol all good man. Guess these are the flies he used, pics from Fly Fisherman mag:



Believe he was Quantum?


2. Jason Christie is running a tin Xpress.


Was Ranger. Jason’s also on the BassEdge podcast this week, and here he is giving a little “sexy” to a “TN special” BOOYAH XCS Series squarebill:

3. Dave Lefebre gets Fishing Online.


All good tho this line from Dave is a head-scratcher:


> “We merged and became friends that way.”


Really hope it wasn’t something like this kinda merger:

Dave is also all 13 Fishing now, no Rapala officially (Rapala owns part of 13), and is making fishin’ changes:


> “I have to work on not setting the hook so fast. With the luxury of all that video to review, I see that’s been a mistake that I’ve made. I always thought (a fast hookset) made me better. Watching myself, I have to relax at times.


> “I’ve had the bites to win, but just lost a lot of fish. I lost 30 fish at the Heavy Hitters on Toho during the first 2 days, all on ChatterBaits and topwaters. One change is to relearn things like a ChatterBait retrieve: holding the rod at a 90-degree angle, not pointing directly at the lure. It’s not going to be easy. It’s all muscle memory, but I have to make the changes to be able to win.”


4. Contest to COMPETE with Cliff Crochet or Boyd Duckett…


…on Gville, live-streamed — love it but can’t link it, check it at


> On Feb 22 two anglers will team up with Boyd Duckett and Cliff Crochet to compete for the Head-to-Head Pre-Spawn Title. 


> …win an all-expenses-paid trip to fish in the 2 v 2, Boyd Duckett vs Cliff Crochet team…team with the most catches on Lake Guntersville wins.


5. Jake Whitaker got Big Bite Baits.


Cool and fer sher better than Big Chigger Bites…hahaha!


6. 5 dudes get Sunline.


Elitists Drew Cook, Bryan New, Pat Schlapper and Kyle Welcher, and MLFLWer AOY Ron Nelson.


7. Abu signed that motocross dude Malcolm Stewart.


Guy who had the Quote of the Day last Blaster:


> “I told all my buddies…hey’re like, ‘No way, Abu Garcia! I got a bunch of rods and reels with them.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m pumped.'”


8. FL: A $5,000 tagged bass is swimming in Apopka.


If you catch it, don’t lose the orange tag with the phone # on it — 200 bass were tagge among other fish, but only 1 bass is worth that $5K:


> …Lake Apopka Fish Tag Challenge, which opened Friday and concludes May 31.


9. TX: Charity derby Saturday on Whitney.


To help family of a bass brother who is in the hospital fighting Covid. Please help him Lord!


10. FL: Okeechobee guide reccommends punching Senkos.


Innerestin’. No appendages so makes sense?


11. Lew’s/Strike King has a college scholly program.


12. REP Outdoor/Tackle HD will make/sell Trophy Bass Co stuff.


No link 🙁


> REP Outdoor Group LLC and Tackle HD announced, effective Jan 13, it has reached an exclusive license agreement to manufacture, distribute, and sell Trophy Bass Co products.


13. OK: Eufaula has heated indoor docks for fishing??


Sounds like 1 step removed from ice fishing, which is literally crazy…which is why Candians, Paul Mueller and Dave Lefebre do it…. Just messin’…sorta….


14. OK: Dude is stocking ponds with sterile hybrid stripers…


…to eat stunted bass and bluegills. Interesting idea.


15. ME dude wants to jail folks for illegal stocking??


Really man, jail?? He also wants “higher rewards for turning people in.” WTHeck some folks really need to get their chill on.



Headline of the Day


Scientists surprised to find that electric eels sometimes hunt in packs


> …have observed more than 100 electric eels in a small lake in the Brazilian Amazon River basin forming cooperative hunting parties to capture small fish called tetras.


100+?? Makes me wonder if 100 bass boats could corner a bunch o’ bass

On right now… 


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Tip of the Day


Gonna be the first to out it right here – Paul Elias is Josh’s granpappy! That’s right! Mail that fact in with your tax return and see what happens mang hahaha!


Okay not really (far as I know) but Paul IS the grandaddy – or daddy or stepdad, all good, we appreciate you step-parents! – of kneelin’ ‘n reelin’, title he got after winnin’ a little derb called the Classic way back in 19 and 82.


Paul did it to get his crankbait deeper – which I guess is the only reason anyone would do it, including Josh. Here’s a little more about it from the Bassin’Fan:


> One of the biggest advantages is it gives an angler the ability to get a smaller-profile bait to depths…. “Those fish down there aren’t seeing (the smaller offering) over and over and I just think it looks more natural.


> “The biggest challenge before was always boat control and you were up and down and up and down the whole time. It can take quite a while to fish a cast with a bait that’s going down to 20′ and even a 5 mph wind would be enough to make you drift totally off what you’re fishing. With anchor-lock, it’s so much easier….


> …Berkley Dredger baits, which come in 6 sizes to reach depths of 9-26′. He uses a 7′ 10″ Abu Garcia Ike Delay Series Rod and an Abu Garcia Revo EXD Reel (5.4)…10-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.


> “Having the rod under the water that far dulls everything down and you don’t feel everything quite as well, but if you’re reeling along and a fish eats the bait and the rod loads up, most of the time the fish hooks itself.”


A-HA! Is that the real secret to cranking hookups – don’t jerk at all? I remember when Seth Feider couldn’t not catch ’em crankin’ at St Clair, and he literally was laughing that he was catching without even really trying (no hookset).


Haven’t fished those Dredger baits yet but they’re co-designed by David Fritts so you know they’re good. Here he is talkin ’bout ’em:

Quote of the Day

“I have packs and packs of Zoom Lizards that I never use. I bought them when I first started fishing and just can’t part with them yet!”


RI bass-head talkin’. I’m sure we all recognize this as a symptom of bassin’ “hoarditis,” which afflicts us all and far as I know is basically harmless to everything except sometimes the marital relationship but maybe not in the Zaldains’ case…unless Chris has more gear and needs more space – and is messy? And doesn’t share well?

Shot of the Day
Real nice action shot of bass-head @ryan_love flinging a crank posted by @myyolotek. Better believe YOLOtek or it didn’t happen yo!

Apparently no one involved in this deal was a bass fisherman but I know a couple dudes who coulda been responsible for the idea…. Posted by @USCGSoutheast on the Twit:


> USCG Station Key West crews recovered a reportedly stolen tiki hut boat near Hawk’s Channel. The person aboard showed signs of intoxication and was taken into custody by @MyFWC. Don’t drink and boat!

Ya got me!
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup of the best and funniest (sometimes worst) stuff in bassin’, picked by me — Jay Kumar. I started, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin’. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass so thanks for readin’!


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