BassBlaster

Weekend’s pro winning baits, New JackHammer deets, Long-distance jigging!

Little behind today cuz WOOHOOO a couple big derbies this weekend FINALLY! So great. Hope you burned up your wifi like I did — but the Bassin’masters was live on ESPN2 which was pretty cool.

Some innerestin’ similarities in the winning deals — brush, 3 baits includin’ a certain swimbait, and a couple virtual unknowns won ’em: Buddy Gross and…JORDAN LEE! Again! Daaaaaaaaaaaang man! Gonna start there…

…but first gotta shout out our bassin’ bros in law enforcement — NOT a political statement! For sure one of the toughest jobs there is. My wife and I both had grandfathers who were the 5-0. Wonder if that’s why she’s always interrogatin’ me…lol!

Hope y’all stay safe and rational out there — just love on each other man, it’s great! Shoot I even call Bowman sometimes…and he’s 5-0 so….

>> If you’re getting the BassBlaster for the first time it’s cuz a bud signed you up!

Today’s Top 4

JLee does it again!

Bass Pro Tour + Kissimmee Chain + Jordan Lee = Win. Happened last year at the first BPT ever, and happened last weekend at the first BPT Heavy Hitters ever. So if you’re a science/math-type dude, you have there the thesis and the proof…boom! Hahaha!

Here’s how he won a cool $200K — by almost 30 lbs over 2nd Bryan Thrift. That $200K is the win plus the $100K Berkley Big Bass Bonus. I mean, it’s there to win so J Lee’s like:

Here’s his baits but the FULL DEETS are in the winning pattern post on the BB website here:

> “One area about the size of a football field had 4-5 brushpiles…a couple were isolated with nothing else around, just kind of by themselves.

> “I went through a lot of different baits that first day trying to figure it out. I started off throwing a big worm and was catching good ones on that, a big squarebill, a Carolina rig…changing a lot…figured out the lineups and where I needed to sit.

> “Every day was just a little bit different, but it was consistent. Even with that wind and the clouds…sun and wind was when I caught my biggest ones. It seemed like they were a little scattered when the clouds were out — the sun brought those fish close to that brush.”

His best 4 baits:

1. 40% on a 2.5 squarebill
2. 40% on TX Rig worm
3. 10% on a swimbait
4. 10% on a Caroina rig

> “I was mixing up my baits every 10 minutes it seemed like.”

Squarebill

> 2.5 squarebill (chart shad-ish, looks like “summer sexy shad”) — “I wanted a big bait that didn’t run real deep…a big squarebill that wouldn’t get hung in the brush and something that wouldn’t run very deep. Color didn’t seem to matter.

> “A big squarebill really doesn’t come up that often in a tournament. Most times guys are throwing a 1.5-style bait. But I felt the bigger profile would get a bigger bite.

> “I was changing my hooks on it — that was a big key too. #2 Berkley Fusion19 round-bends…think I jumped only 1 fish off. I caught that 8-14 on ’em. They’re strong hooks that don’t flex.”

> “I was burning the bait — really reeling it. Seemed like the faster you reeled it, the more bites you’d get.

> “You just had to get it around the brush [not in it]. It seemed like if you went right over top of it you could get bit, but the fish were just sitting around [to the sides of the brush] too.”

Worms

> 10″ Berkley Power Worm (plum) and a 8″ Berkley Maxscent Kingtail Worm (plum or junebug). “The Kingtail I actually didn’t have any of so I went to Bass Pro. I was mixing it in. It seemed like I could get more bites sometimes with the Maxscent when they wouldn’t bite anything else.”

Swimbait

> “I starting mixing in a swimbait on a belly hook — it was catching some bigger fish — showing them something different…. After days of fishing [the same stuff over and over] I was just getting bored really, or I was throwing something to try to catch a bigger fish or more fish.”

> 6″ Scottsboro Tackle swimbait (natural light), 8/0 weighted belly hook, 7′ 9″ H MF Abu Veracity Rod, Abu Revo Premier Reel (6.6), 20-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluoro.

Carolina Rig

> 7″ Berkley Powerbait Maxsecent Magnum Hit Worm (plum), 5/0 Berkley Fusion19 Offset Worm Hook, 1/2-oz weight, 20-lb Trilene 100% Fluoro to a 20-lb Berkley Trilene Big Game mono leader (“it helped the bait float up a little bit”), Abu Revo STX Reel, 7′ 6″ H Abu Fantasista Premier Rod.

Couldn’t fit it all here so for the deets on the hair jig — he fished it on 12-lb line! [mind blown emoji], click it to >> the BB site. One bonus Q:

Is it a goal to win one of every tournament and format there is or what??

> “I don’t know if I’ve won ’em all. I won there last year at Kissimmee, so I guess there’s something special down there in those waters. I don’t know.

> “…going to a 3-lb minimum, that was pretty awesome. I’ve never been in a tournament where there’s been a 3-lb minimum. So you had to be on the right caliber of fish just to weigh in a fish. I just happened to be on the right stuff. It just was pretty much a perfect week.”

Buddy Gross is battin’ .500!

GA’s Buddy Gross won his first blue trophy this weekend — and he’s only fished 2 Elites so far so that’s pretty dang good!

And he came from 10TH PLACE to squeeeeeze by ’19 AOY Scott Canterbury for the win. Buddy had a massive 27-11 on the last day for a 4-day weight of 84-08 — and Scott in no way left the door open after catching a solid 19-03 the last day. Shout-out too to Drew Benton who had 24-08 on the last day and ended up just 1-05 behind Scott. How crazy is it to have that much weight win and it’s still that tight in the top 3!

For ALL the deets on how Buddy found his fish and caught ’em, let your fingers do the walkin’ over to the BB post on that. Here’s some deets:

> “I had a milk run of about 5 brushpiles. I fished 60-70 a day, but if I got within a mile or mile and a half of those 5, I’d hit them multiple times during the day. I think they just had fresh fish all the time. I don’t think they were residents — they were just coming and going.

> “The Humminbird 360 was key. Every time I’d pull up I’d figure out the perfect cast to hit [the brush] as effectively as I could. If I didn’t get bit in 3-4 casts I was leaving. I wanted to hit the ones that were actually firing….

> “…couldn’t see fish on a lot [of the brush he fished]. The 3rd day I sat on brushpile — Spot-Locked, I could see it the whole time on the 360 — and caught 15 out of it. I think a lot of guys weren’t fishing the ones they couldn’t see fish on.

> “I fished everything, whether I could see them or not. I made a few casts and if I didn’t get bit, I’d leave. I had that trolling motor up and down 500 times a day.”

Jig

> “We’re throwing at brushpiles and ledges further than we used to. We’re making 100′ casts now, and being able to penetrate a fish 100′ away from you [is key]. Fluorocarbon seems to have more stretch than what it had….

> “I’ve been working on a jig with a good hookup ratio…had trouble keeping a lot of them on, so I downsized the weedguard and hook to get penetration.

> “A buddy of mine is a sponsor and friend…owns BoatLogix [graph mounts]. We’ve been working on [a jig], been perfecting it — it’s coming soon. Nichols will start a line with this type of jig.

> “It’s kind of a hybrid between a heavy and finesse jig: 3/4-oz with a lighter wire [hook] and lighter weedguard, and it doesn’t get hung up. I lost 3 jigs in 4 days, so it’s pretty special.”

> 3/4-oz (gp) with a Zoom Super Chunk (gp). “I only carry a Pro Chunk, Super Chunk and Super Chunk Jr — that’s my 3 favorites. I try not to get real complicated.”
> 7′ 3″ XH Fitzgerald All Purpose Rod (XH for the long-distance hooksets), Daiwa Tatula SV Reel (7.3), 17-lb P-Line fluoro.

Swimbaits

> 5″ Zoom Swimmer (TN shad), 3/4-oz weedless swimjig head, 7′ 3″ H Fitzgerald All Purpose Rod, same reel (6.3), same line.

> 5″ Scottsboro swimbait (natural light), 3/8-oz 8/0 Owner Beast Flashy Swimmer belly-weighted hook, same everything except the rod was XH: “You need that hook driven a little harder. They’d bite that bait above them, crush it and run straight toward me.”

How Buddy confused the fish.

2 things:

1. He was fishing Eufaula but his boat said:

The fish were like:

2. He made loooooooong casts — more on that deal in today’s tip below. SUPER innerestin. Great talking to Buddy, love how he thinks.

Here’s you a few Buddy bonus Qs too — to get to know the feller:

1. What’s more fun than fishing?

> Just hanging out with my buddies, doing anything outdoors. We ride around on side-by-sides…family time and friend time.

2. What would you consider on a PB&J sammich that’s not jelly?

> Peanut butter and banana. Don’t eat ’em on the lake but they’re a great sammich.

Is that because of the whole bananas in boats thing?

> I’m not real superstitious but I don’t wanna take chances.

HAHAHA! (He cracked up too as soon as he said it!)

3. How many times have you looked at that blue trophy since you won it?

> It’s still in the truck, seatbelted in. It’s riding around with me right now.

Lol love it!

The new Z-Man JackHammer is a stealth version.

Called the JackHammer StealthBlade:

Click that pic to see a YT vid of some dude named Brett talkin’ ’bout it (heehee!).

More from the Z-man site:

> Brett Hite: “The StealthBlade is the antidote for bass that have seen endless parades of traditional bladed jigs. Throw it in clear water. Skip it under heavily-fished docks and laydowns. Cast it for big smallmouths. Pitch it anywhere you want, and present bass with a totally different sound and cadence than other bladed jigs.”

Says Brett designed it, and just like the regular JackHammer it’s a co-deal between Z-Man and Japan’s EverGreen:

> “2 years ago…we were already working on the next lure in the ChatterBait evolution….”

More on the bait:

> …a clear polycarbonate blade produces a totally different sound and vibration, but like its predecessor, starts thumping intensely with the first half-turn of the reel handle.”I’d say the vibe of the StealthBlade feels a little tighter, hunts with a slightly higher frequency vibration.”

> …the clear blade is physically smaller and thicker than that of the JackHammer. It’s beveled on all edges, tapers down to a razor-thin tip [with] that trademarked ChatterBlade shape. “…gives the jig’s head a sweet wobbling action, which also activates the different trailers you put on the hook.”
> “…the bait’s propensity to hunt and juke randomly, side-to-side, way better than other bladed jigs. You don’t need to jerk the rod tip to activate it. Just quickly speed up the retrieve to make the bait initiate its natural hunting action.”

> …the blade’s specialized oval split-ring, which adds more stealth, less surface area and no protrusions to catch vegetation or other snags.

> “The fluorine nanocoating let us build the bait with a thinner wire-gauge hook that’s just as strong as the heavier hook on the original JackHammer. The gap on the StealthBlade hook is the same, but the shank is about a 1/4-inch shorter for a slightly more compact presentation. The wide gap means I can still use my same favorite jig trailers, but in a subtler, ‘finessy’ package. The bait won’t overpower the trailer or vice versa.”

First of all, I’m skeptical…that Brett has ever used the word “propensity” in his life. I mean, who talks like that man! But he rest of it is believable (heehee!).

Says it’ll be available in Aug, 6 colors, 3/8- and 1/2-oz.

If this thing’s as good as the regular JackHammer, I’m gonna buy stock in Hite…even if he doesn’t let me. I’ll be like, you’re on Nasdaq now man good luck and make sure you send that dividend check on time yo!

News

1. Gerald Swindle outed 3 new Zoom baits (vid).

Should be happenin’ more and more now with ICAST being canceled this summer:

– Medium-sized speed craw
– Medium-sized Brush Hog
– 7.5″ U Tail Worm (current version is 6.75″)

2. Keith Combs is talkin’ crankin’ tomorrow night.

On Shimano’s FB page @FishShimanoNorthAmerica and YouTube @FishWithShimano.

Please take it easy on Keith cuz he’s never talked about crankin’ before…HAHAHA! Please lmk how many times he says “XD” on that deal….

3. Brandon Palaniuk’s on BassEdge Radio.

4. MLF moved the next BPT to Sturgeon Bay, WI.

Was gonna be on Champlain but VT Gov. Phil Scott says all visitors to his state have to self-quarantine for 14 days when they get there.

Way I read the gov’s executive order (pdf), sounds like residents and non-residents can travel in/out of the state for approved work so it ain’t exactly sterile there?

5. Zimbabwe: 48-lb limit weighed but…

…sounds like not all at one time — couple here and there cuz the scales were open all day — but some bigs caught for sure.

Not sure what this means but never heard of it happening at a bass derby before:

> …before long the early morning sky was ablaze with lights as the first of 45 boats was launched….

What could “lights” plural be? Comets? Meteors? Area 51 residents??

6. ME: Half of fishing guides might go out of biz.

Cuz of the Covid lockdowns. Sure hope not.

7. OH bass fisherman caught a 4′ catfish crankin’.

Ol’ whisker-face hit it right as it was going by a stump, in 3′ of water.

8. Sounds like Minny Kota’s coming out with something new.

June 29…or before if I can find out what it is…lol kidding.

9. MN: Zebras found in Farm Island Lake.

On BassBlaster.rocks right now…
Note: The TackleWarehouse links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase I might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in the BB.

Tip of the Day

Buddy Gross: How to stick ’em from far away.

Buddy doesn’t necessarily LIKE to catch ’em at long distances. He just feels it’s IMPERATIVE…mostly because of fishing pressure — and not just the actual fishing part:

> …the pinging [of electronics] and thrusting of trolling motors, boat traffic coming by and slapping the bottom of the boat….”

So the dude’s obsessed with a stealthy, long-distance approach, and figuring out a) why he doesn’t stick ’em all the time from far away and b) how to correct that. Check this:

> “I was jig-testing last winter. Friends of mine and myself were in about a 60 x 80 garage. So the garage is about 80′ long.

> “80′ away a guy could hold a jig with 2 fingers, and when I set the hook 80′ away — not crazy hard — I couldn’t jerk it out his hand.”

C’mon, right? I mean, 80′ isn’t even 30 yards! He swears it’s true and no reason not to believe him:

> “When you throw 80-100′ away from the boat on fluorocarbon line, when you set the hook it’s essential to make sure you get penetration. [So] I’m changing everything to get penetration.”

Like using a heavier rod, meaning XH:

> “I don’t want to hold an XH rod all day long, but I’m doing everything I can to get penetration.

> “If I throw a H [for long casts with a jig] I lose 30% of the fish. The fish come up, open their mouth and the jig comes out.

> “Now [with the XH] I feel comfortable when I set the hook, when I used to worry about it.

> “I’m not saying I’m right — I’m saying it fits me. I try to stay away from the fish as far as possible.”

Since he can spool his Daiwa SV with 17-lb fluoro on a cast, he actually had The Tackle Trap in AL change out the normal spools for deeper ones…for even longer casts.

Asked him if long hooksets are the deal, why doesn’t he use braid to fluoro? Answer: He hasn’t mastered the FG Knot yet, so he’s not confident in it.

REALLY enjoyed the heck outta talking to Buddy. Love it when a guy like Buddy or Hank Cherry or whoever obsesses over something and wins with it — at any level but especially the bigs. Amazing.

Quote of the Day

“There are 2 business you want to be in right now — the bait business or hardware stores.”

– Yep! Jimmy McCormick, owner of KY’s The Bait Bucket, talkin’:

> “Everybody is stuck in the house. They are bored. Once they get their work and improvement projects done on their houses, they’re going fishing.

> “It’s the busiest we’ve ever been [since 1984]. It’s good for our pocket books, but it’s bad for people who are not working.”

Shot of the Day

Just cuz this is the least put-together I’ve ever seen Brent Ehrler in a bassin’ shot. Still lookin’ good tho bro!

Ya got me
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup

of the best, worst and funniest in bassin’, as curated by me — Jay Kumar. I started BassFan.com, 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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