I grew up fishing the Coosa River of Alabama for big spotted bass and my favorite time to fish there is from late October through March.
About 80 percent of the time, I “wash” a jig. It’s a technique for rivers that have strong current. What you do first is pick a target – a rock, lay-down, edge of an eddy pocket or whatever – where a bass might be. Then you calculate where you need to cast upriver of it to get the jig to land downstream at the target. You have to take into account the weight of the jig, the speed of the current, the depth of the water and the size of your line.
I use some shade of brown jig made by Dirty Jigs, in weights ranging from about a 1/2-ounce to 3/4-ounce, with maybe a twintail or crawfish trailer. To be effective, you’ve really got to develop a good sense about how all the components are working together. For instance, if it’s a fairly light jig, and you’re using a heavier line with a bigger diameter, the jig will take a longer drift to reach the bottom because the line is slowing it down. Spots aren’t going to move far to get to a bait in cold water, so you’ve got to be as precise as possible. Hit the target, move the jig a little and then get it out of there and wash it to the next target.
I’ll use fluorocarbon line of at least 15-pound-test until the water temperature drops below about 55, and then switch to monofilament, because fluorocarbon gets brittle and breaks more often in cold water. Also, I might switch to a plain chunk trailer because the colder the water, the less action the fish seem to want.
Washing a jig is a very difficult technique to master, but it’s worth it when one of those big river spots gets on your line.
---- Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala.