(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
In a short period of time, Minnesota pro Seth Feider has rightfully become known as a smallmouth expert, but even he experiences situations where the big brown fish get finicky. In those difficult times, often when the water is flat calm and he can see fish everywhere but can’t get them to bite, he turns to a simple tool: a marabou hair jig.
“It shines when the fishing is really tough,” he said, and added that the “super-duper finesse technique” has been a closely-guarded secret of many Northern anglers for years, and only now is it starting to leak out a bit.
He likes a simple marabou hair jig from Outkast Tackle, going with all black approximately 90 percent of the time and solid brown the other 10 percent. No tinsel, no flash, no bucktail, just straight marabou. While he doesn’t believe that head design is critical, he’s a huge fan of a 90-degree line tie. As for size, 3/32-ounce is Feider’s go-to, and he never goes over 1/8. That can cause a problem because long casts are critical, especially in clearer water.
He does two things to increase his casting distance. First, he adds a small piece of a Senko as a trailer. Second, he does everything he can to ensure that the wind is at his back when making his presentations.
The best tackle that Feider has found for this technique include a 7-foot medium-light Daiwa Steez spinning rod paired with a 3000-size Steez reel. While many anglers like a 2000 or 2500 model, he prefers the big spool, which allows for longer casts and usually has a smoother drag. He spools it up with Sufix 832 braid, usually in 6- or 8-pound, which has the diameter of 1- or 2-pound mono. At the end of it he attaches a 6-foot length of light fluorocarbon using a modified Albright knot, which he’ll continue to cut down as he reties until it’s in the 3-foot range.
With the right gear, it’s a simple technique. Cast it out, don’t let it sink too long, point the rod tip in the direction of the jig and wind it slowly and steadily. It’s crucial to keep your eyes on it as much as you can, because the bass will often track it. When that happens, whatever you do, don’t stop reeling. “You don’t ever want to kill it,” he said. Instead, just slow down your retrieve speed even more until they bump into it and have to make a decision.
Outkast uses a high-quality hook in their jig, so Feider says that he rarely loses smallmouths on this technique unless he pulls too hard. These open-water bass have very little to get hung up on, so he’ll put the trolling motor on 100 and chase them down. Since they often jump, if the tournament rules allow he’ll have a net man ready to grab them as they leap near the boat.
If you want to learn some of Feider's other bronzeback hair jig secrets, including how he trolls them in non-tournament situations, check out his full video, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.