Brainerd, Minn. – When an angler conjures up visions of catching largemouth bass, the scene usually includes some sort of surface lure being smashed by a hungry bass as the sun sinks below the western horizon, an orange sky reflecting on a lake’s calm surface.
For Lindy Frasl, of Brainerd, a successful part-time bass tournament angler, the above rarely occurs.
“I catch about 90 percent of my bass on jigs,” Lindy told me.
If you are an bass angler and you haven’t fished using a jig, you need to come out from under your lily-pad hideout. Jigs are one of the most versatile lures an angler can employ. They probably account for more fish (of all species) than any other artificial lure.
Lindy uses jigs in a variety of ways to entice hungry largemouth. When pressed, he admits his most productive method of boating bass is to fish clumps of coontail (a submerged aquatic plant that, well, resembles a raccoon’s tail.)
“If I can find coontail clumps growing on a flat in 8 to 12 feet of water, I can usually find largemouth bass,” Lindy said. “I’ll especially work the edges of the coontail clumps. I cast a jig and allow it to sink to the bottom. Oftentimes a bass will hit the jig on the initial fall. If not, I prefer to drag the jig along the bottom using short strokes instead of the traditional hop, hop retrieve.”
Lindy finds that bass often strike a jig while it lies motionless on the bottom. “Sometimes they’ll take it even after it sits for as long as 10 seconds,” Lindy said.
Lindy emphasized that every lake is different. Some lakes are noted for bass-holding clumps of coontail, while other lakes produce more bass in the bulrushes.
“I most often fish the bulrushes by flipping jigs,” said Lindy. “Flipping” is a bass angler’s term for making short, underhand casts to likely bass haunts in heavy vegetation. This stealthy approach allows the jig to fall straight down through thick weeds, a more natural presentation.
Because largemouth bass are most often associated with some type of weed growth, Lindy uses medium-heavy casting rods and loads his reels with 20 pound test Fluorocarbon line.
Lindy prefers to fish with jigs weighing a quarter ounce, but in high wind, deep water, or especially thick weeds, he’ll use jigs up to a half ounce.
“I like to make my own jigs,” Lindy said. “I buy jig heads and silicone skirts and make my own color combinations.”
Lindy also uses commercial jigs made by Outkast, to which he usually adds a Berkley Power Craw. In addition, Lindy uses Lake Fork Craw Tubes, which he rigs Texas style. He pegs the bullet sinker so the resulting combination is more weedless.
For Lindy Frasl, jig fishing is his go-to method for putting largemouth bass in his boat.
Bill Marchel, an outdoor writer and photographer, lives near Brainerd.