Winning Baits

Ish Monroe’s 3rd-place T-Bend pattern

Ish-Monroe-fish-Toledo-Bend-bass-fishing-160517Three of the top 5 guys in the Bassmaster Elite on Toledo Bend mostly cranked. Chris Lane, who finished 2nd, mostly fished topwater. Ish Monroe had a really cool jig pattern. Deets:


> “I fished north of the bridge – basically main creek arms, the middle section. The middle section had the biggest population of bluegills.

> “The water wasn’t as hot as all the way in the back [of the creeks], and if you’re more toward the mouth they have an option to try to go deeper. In the middle section they don’t have that option.

> “People have a misconception that all fish go deep in the summer. They only go deep if deep-water accessibility is close.”

> “I was fishing bushes and cypress trees – hard cover – no deeper than 2 feet.”


> “I was fishing a River2Sea Tommy Biffle Junkyard Jig in black/blue, 3/4- and 1/2-oz, with a Missile Baits D Stroyer in bruiser.”

> Why he used the black/blue color to mimic bluegill: “These bluegill were really, really dark. I don’t know why. You could see thousands of bluegill, and the majority of them were black. Even the bluegill fishermen around me were commenting on how black those bluegill were.”


> “The heavier a jig is, it creates a reaction strike when hits that hard cover. And it falls through [the cover] a lot easier. I started out with a lighter weight and got more bites, but bigger fish started biting the heavier jig.

> “I watched the bluegill. If one got chased by a bass, another bass would eat it. It was that triggering – the more commotion you could generate, the better.

> “The first 3 days I was just flipping it in and letting it go to the bottom. The last day I hopped it really hard in the cypress roots to get them to bite. I was hopping it and making it hit hard on the roots. They would bite it when I hopped it out. They’d jump up and grab it, and run out from the root system.

> How he got on that day 4 retrieve: “I wasn’t getting bit and got snagged in the roots, so I hopped the jig [to unsnag it] and one ate it. I hadn’t been getting them to bite so I started doing that.”


> The rest of his gear: 8′ heavy Daiwa Steez SVF AGS rod, Daiwa Zillion HD reel [7.3] and Maxima braid: 65-lb on the 3/4-oz jig, and 50-lb on the 1/2-oz.

> Why he flipped: “I love flipping. And one of [his early years on tour] we fished Toledo Bend and several locals told me, ‘When the water’s high and in the bushes, regardless of what time of year it is, go and fish those bushes – because the fish are there.'”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Alex Voog

    May 17, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    As always, CRUCIAL info, and info, that as a die hard jig fisherman, I am absorbing and using it to confirm my own experiences/results/knowledge. MAKE them HAVE TO eat the jig. Any time you even THINK the fish are in the roots, undercut banks, or flood water junk mats then you are remiss if you fail to bash them on the head with a heavy jig.

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