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Josh Douglas

Minneapolis, Minn.

Strokin' Touch Down Jigs

I’ll never forget the first bass I caught on a football jig, it literally changed me forever. For whatever reason it didn’t come easy to me, perhaps it was because I was so green that I can recall flipping Maynard’s boat docks on Minnesota’s, Lake Minnetonka with a football jig, definitely not the best choice in a jig but as I said, nothing ever came easy to me.

Though and behold, I did manage to put two and two together and remember like it was yesterday my first bass that I clothes-lined with a ½ oz. football head. I was on Cook’s Bay on Lake Minnetonka’s west end. Lowrance Structure Scan wasn’t available just yet and I was forced to try to figure out where these hard bottom areas were by studying my Navionics Mapping Chip and actually fishing all the underwater points and humps. What a concept right? Actually needing to fish to practice! A lot has changed in just a few short years; I’m surprised I ever managed to catch fish without my Structure Scan. 

 ** Josh Douglas showing off his go-to football jig setup and his hand-tied Outkast Touch Down JIg and new G Loomis GLX series jig rod.**

 I recall making the perfect cast to the very edge of the grass line, I snapped the jig free off the grass and as the jig fell from the grass and started banging into the rocks I felt that infamous “tick”. I swung back and loaded into a solid 4 pound largemouth! I can honestly say to this day, I’ve never been the same.

That day changed me forever. I caught that fish on the first cast but after making the same cast about ten times in a row, I managed to catch at least a half dozen fish all three pounds or better. I went from being a shallow water flipper and boat dock skipper to a legit deep water fisherman in a very short time.

Ever since that day, I lean on a football head jig as one of my go-to baits as I continue to climb the ladder of professional bass fishing. Now living in Tennessee and fishing the giant reservoirs that litter the Tennessee River, I use a football head as much as any other bait and there’s no better than the Outkast Touch Down Jig. No matter where I’m at in the country, the Touch Down Jig comes through the thickest cover and is virtually snag free over the nastiest of structures and the stout hook insures excellent penetration on long casts.

I’ve also learned to fine tune my presentations over the years. I’m a firm believer in creating a reaction bite as bass generally only eat for two hours a day. Being that they don’t have hands, they are forced to use their mouths to react. This is often why studded anglers like KVD are so successful, they use crankbaits to force feed unwilling bass. Imagine you are standing next to me but not paying any attention to what I was doing and all of a sudden I call your name and toss you something undesirable and unexpectedly. Even though you have zero interest in holding whatever it is I’m throwing at you, I took you by surprise so your instinct is to put your hands out in an attempt to catch or stop the object from hitting you. In a basses world, bass don’t have hands, so instead they are forced to use their mouths to react, couple in the fact that they are highly territorial and you can seemingly catch bass all day that have no interest in eating your bait, you’re simply forcing them to react.

I’ve used a Biovex Deep Runner Crankbait to do this for years as its erratic swimming action and its ability to grind through the gnarliest of structures makes it an awesome way to power fish and catch both active and inactive bass. Although this is a hardcore power fishing way to catch them sometimes a bit more stealth is required or perhaps the cover is so heavy that a crankbait is simply not an option. When this is the case, there’s no better choice than the Outkast Touch Down Jig but there’s little things you can do to make this presentation better produce.

 ** Josh Douglas showing a screen shot from his Lowrance Gen2 HDS 10 of a rock pile scattering out toward deeper water. Make note of the upper right hand corner where the rock is the thickest and the smaller little dots showing a school of bass.

 First off, pull up to your favorite rock pile and use your Lowrance Structure Scan to map out the rocks showing you everything from the thickest structure, to where the baitfish are concentrated as well as aiding you in setting up your casts so that your jig is in the strike zone for the longest period of time. Generally, I mark a waypoint on my Lowrance where the rocks start and again where they end so that when I jump up on the deck, I can see my boats position to the structure through my ability to sync my Lowrance network together.

Once I’m familiar with the structure, I’ll heave a cast or ten with the Touch Down Jig. It’s important to keep them honest and if they are hungry, they’ll bite it every single time. If I’m not getting any bites working the jig like a crawfish over the rocks it’s time to force feed. There’s two ways I’ll do this but first I need to modify my jig. First off, I’m going to remove any rattle. The fish already know of my presence and after 10 casts are very familiar with my tricks, it’s time to get stealthy. My goal is to creep up on them all finesse-like and then startle them, forcing an angry bite and at this point, the rattle will surely give me away. Next I’m going to trim down my skirt and also put on a smaller more compact trailer like the Lake Fork Tackle 4” Craw. I don’t want a big bulky skirt or a bulky trailer as that will slow my fall, instead I want something that I can snap up and down quickly and at the same time falls fast, again think reaction. One more small modification would be to use lighter line; I generally always use 15lb. Seaguar Invizx as the lighter the line the quicker the fall and the lighter the line, the better action your bait will have. Don’t go too light though remember you are sticking hogs in their terrain, anything from 12 to 20 lb. fluoro will do the trick depending on conditions. Just remember, the lighter the line the better the baits action.

Once I’m ready and I’ve fine tuned my jig there’s two ways to create that reaction strike, first I’m going to make a long cast but my goal is to land the jig into the edge of the weeds alongside the rock structure. This annoys some but I catch giants doing this, as soon as I know my jig has landed in the thick vegetation I’ll snap it free and almost every time that motion will create a bite. I’m convinced that largemouth live in the weeds and cruise the rocks when they’re hungry. This technique pulls the big ones away from the cover and startles them into biting. The other presentation is very similar but instead I use the rock boulders to my advantage and try to snag up my jig, once I do this I stroke the jig with a hard upward motion of the rod and then allow the bait to fall on a slack line and repeat this technique all the way back to the boat, creating an erratic action and coaxing that big bite.

It’s important that you use the right setup for this technique as you’ll need a long rod for long casts and ultra sensitivity for detecting these bites out in deeper water. My setup that I use is a G Loomis GLX 855C, which has a extra heavy backbone to pull the bass away from cover and helps penetrate the hook on a long cast. I always use a fast gear ratio reel to help pick up the slack line quick, because when stroking a jig, the bass will grab it on the drop 90% of the time. I like the Shimano Chronarch 200E7, which has a large spool that will hold plenty of Seaguar Fluorocarbon for making long casts.

To take it to the next level, Bassmaster Central Open Pro, Andy Young, who resides right off the shores of Lake Minnetonka in nearby Mound, goes further yet to entice that reaction bite. He agrees that the weedline is the super highway that feeds the deep rocks but also knows that the end of the rocks, wherever the bottom transition changes from rock to mud will hold another school of bass and generally fat ones too. 

 ** Andy Young showing off two giant bass caught off the same rock pile on  consecutive casts with a 3/4 oz. Outkast Touch Down Jig.**

 “I’ve found that the Outkast Touch Down Jig has specific properties that produce more bites,” explains Young. “The stand up head design keeps my craw style trailer pointed up exactly like a live craw does when it feels threatened.”

Andy also tries to create a reaction strike when the bass aren’t cooperating but he too finds it beneficial to think outside the box by switching out his craw trailer for that of a 10 or even 12 inch ribbontail worm. “A lot of times, I just need to trigger a single strike from one in the school and that will activate the rest of them to start eating,” explains Young. “That big ribbontail worm will not only compliment a reaction strike by allowing my jig to hop up but it’s large profile size will elicit a strike from the largest bass in the school.”

With all the outdoor consumer shows coming up and the cabin fever consuming your every thought, get out and check out these fine products because the big bass will be roaming the deep haunts before you know it! See you on the water!


Josh Douglas is a professional tournament bass fisherman who spent endless hours fishing Minnesota’s, Lake Minnetonka. Now living off the Tennessee River, Southeastern Tennessee, he’s got the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Evertstarts and the PAA Tour slated for the 2013 season with the ultimate goal of qualifying for a world championship. When not on the water, Josh enjoys writing about his passion of bass fishing through numerous outlets including his personal website,

Andy Young is a professional angler who has years of experience on Lake Minnetonka and is a perennial tournament check casher no matter which body of water he fishes throughout Minnesota’s vast waterways. Andy has the Bassmaster Central Opens slated for the 2013 season as well as many local tournaments. For more information, check out his website at

Finding Winning Fish

Bass fishing is a one man sport and in this sport, there isn’t anyone to help but yourself and fate. Fate is often times mistaken for luck; people create their own luck which ultimately dictates their fate. A hard work ethic will excel you in both. Bass fishing is a true David vs. Goliath style matchup. You make up your team, yet you face the best and most well oiled team in existence, Mother Nature. Your opposition holds all the cards, it’s up to you to unfold her hand and use what is shown to capitalize on these given opportunities.

Developing a work ethic will not only help you succeed off the water, but will also develop into a confident approach to both your practice and the tournament as well. There are three stages to a winning pattern; location, presentation and execution.


Locating active bass hangouts is always the first step but not always the easiest. However, thanks to today’s electronic advances we now find ourselves inching ever so close to better matching up with good ole’ Mother Nature.

The fishing world has never been as sophisticated as is now in regards to what’s available to us as consumers. Navionics, who is known for producing the best and most accurate lake maps available, allows the public to view their maps and study them well before launching your boat, from your own home simply by visiting their website, This works great for me as I use this technology to help develop my game plan by considering the natural migration of bass and using the HD Navionics mapping to give me a starting point, familiarizing myself with any complex waterway.



On the water, I’ll break these areas down using my Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch system. There’s not a better or faster piece of equipment available that offers all the technology and ease of use than does the new Lowrance Touch System. These touch screen HDS units offer many features such as GPS, traditional sonar, StructureScan, StructureMap, DownScan as well as a camera function, that all expose a significant piece of the lakes puzzle.

I combine my Navionics Platinum Mapping Card with my Lowrance Structure Scan to quickly turn a relatively large area into just a few casts. I idle up and down points, ledges or weed edges in search of something different. This could be baitfish, a brush pile on a flat, a stump out on a ledge or a rock pile protruding from a weed bed. Once I find something that attracts my eye, I’ll start to break it down further using DownScan to get a perfect view of the structure as well as what inhabits it. Bites are precious in tournament fishing and making one too many casts can result in hooking and burning a fish that a day or two later may have been more than willing to go for a boat ride. Once you get familiar and confident in the advantages of Lowrance’s HDS advancements, you’ll find that you don’t need to make extra practice casts, in return saving you fish and enabling you a more efficient practice.

A new function to the Gen2 Touch line is the built-in plug and play camera attachment. I find this feature to be very useful in developing confidence in recognizing what my DownScan is telling me. If in question, simply plug the camera in and drop it down and have a look for yourself.

Here’s a little secret for when I find myself on a good flippin’ bite in practice. A milfoil bed makes a canopy where there is actually open water underneath the bushy vegetation; this vegetation also cleans the water making the water in these beds very clear, all perfect conditions for a camera. Once I get a bite or two in the grass, I simply drop the camera down and analyze the size of school I’m dealing with, save a waypoint and leave with the mindset that I’m going to come back and jack their jaws when the dough’s on the line.

Another tool in my arsenal is my HydroWave, which is no secret to any die hard bass angler. I know the importance of this technology on tournament days but it especially shines on practice days. The sounds that the HydroWave omit stimulate the entire underwater community and I can accurately assess how healthy the area is that I’m fishing. The better the environment the better chance I catch a big bag. This goes for all fishermen up north for that matter, the HydroWave excels at pumping out big bags and that goes for you walleye guys too!

On practice days, I turn the HydroWave’s volume up, way up, and excessively stimulate the environment in the areas I’m fishing. If the area is good, the “activity” level will definitely pick up. The forage will start showing themselves as they start to sense the presence of feeding predators. No matter if the forage is shad or bluegill; they all resemble each other when they’re swimming scared by getting all erratic and twitchy like, these are the exact traits that will stimulate a predatory response from inactive bass.


Once you’ve located fish, now it’s time to figure out how to make them bite and who better to offer advice than Rapala Pro, Seth Feider. Seth has a knack for busting big bags and has the versatility to do it anywhere and at any time but even he acknowledges that finding a productive area and capitalizing on its potential are two different deals. “Depending on what region you’re fishing dictates where the largest group of active bass will be, in the upper Midwest it’s all about the grass,” claims Seth. “All underwater life utilizes the grass, both predator and prey”.

So if you want to catch bass, fish the grass. Something which is much easier said than done.  Anyone who’s ever spent time fishing some of the natural lakes that litter the Upper Midwest knows that there is no shortage of vegetation and some of the most productive areas can be the largest grass beds the lake harbors.

Seth breaks it down by season and again if you have any knowledge of bass fishing north of Illinois you know winter is not in our game plan, the lakes are frozen solid. “Spring, summer and fall are the key seasons up north and all offer up different scenarios in order to successfully bag a nice limit,” explains Seth. “During the spring, I focus most all my attention to the inside weedline, the bass have just finished the spawn and are slowly working their way out to the main lake. I like to find areas that have a solid edge with good weed growth on one side and a sandy to rocky bottom on the other, the added presence of spawning bluegills doesn’t hurt none either.”

Post spawn fishing can be very hit or miss as the bass are on different agendas this time of year and more often than not, its one fish here and one fish there. Seth agrees and chooses his tackle arsenal accordingly, “I like to stay moving while searching for quality bass, my go-to this time of year is a Terminator Swim Jig in green pumpkin or anything that resembles a bluegill. Come tournament day I’ll still throw the swim jig around but my main choice will be a wacky rigged Trigger X Flutter Worm, this finesse presentation gets finicky bass every time”.



As spring makes way to summer, outside weedlines starts to develop, the bass move deep and so does Seth. “Bass start schooling up this time of year and stay that way well into the fall”, he says. “Basically I work the deep weed edge looking for any and all irregularities I can, this can be turns, points or hard bottom areas.”

Similar to his spring time approach, Seth likes to move water to find better concentrations of bass and finds the buoyancy of the Rapala DT-6 or DT-10 to be a perfect choice when dealing with a thick weed edge. “Since the bass are schooled this time of year, they get very competitive over food and won’t hesitate to jump on my DT when it comes wheeling past their face,” he says. “Once I find them, I put on the breaks and switch to something that will penetrate the grass better by flippin’ a ¾ oz. Terminator Pro Series Jig. I can get away with a stronger rod and heavier line when pitching the jig and that’s important when dealing with thick milfoil. You can’t afford to lose them this time of year; one spooked fish can shut down the entire school.”

As the cooler nights set in and the water temps start to plummet, the grass starts to die off as well. Seth reads the grass by finding the healthiest and thickest mats he can find. “Fall is a great time of year to catch big fish, but you need to go shallow” he explains. “I use a Terminator Tandem Buzz buzzbait as a search tool all the while keeping my eyes peeled for quality mats. Once I find a good clump of weeds I penetrate the mat with a heavy texas rigged plastic such as a Trigger X Goo Bug. I find it important to use a heavier weight than most do as I don’t want to give the bass anytime to think about eating my bait; it’s all about the reaction bite. I also pay extra special attention to my presentation and making sure I have a no-splash entry. The bass are shallow and it’s important to not spook them, especially with a heavy sinker!”


Once you’ve put in the practice and you’ve located the fish, there’s still much to be done, you still need to execute. Minnesota bass pro John Figi agrees that finding fish is only part of the battle, bringing them to the scales is a whole other. “You’ve got to have the right mind set both on and off the water,” explains Figi. “You need to develop discipline in your life which will spill over into your fishing.”

When not on the water, Figi counts on a disciplined routine of exercising and muscle building to up his game and give him an advantage over his competition. “Nobody wants to work out every day, but forcing me to do something that I don’t necessarily want to builds discipline, giving me much more than just the obvious,” explains Figi. “Lifting weights and taking care of my body obviously will assist me on the water with longer and more accurate casts, stronger hook setting power and better endurance in less than ideal weather conditions, but will also help mentally by providing me more confidence, probably the most important tool in a fisherman’s arsenal.”



There’s no denying that to be at the top of your game in any sport you need to have both physical and mental endurance. Whenever Figi is not on the road preparing for tournaments, he finds himself at his local Anytime Fitness, always working on his ultimate goal of competing at the highest level of bass fishing. “I try to focus on exercises that inevitably help me perform out on the water, simple exercises like wrist curls and bicep curls, as well as stretching all prove effective on the water when the money is on the line,” he says. “Anytime Fitness has all the equipment one would need and works with my hectic fishing schedule by being open 24/7, 365 days a week”.

It’s important that you make your workouts convenient to your lifestyle and no one knows this more than Figi. “I’m always on the go, but no matter where I am, I always have an Anytime Fitness just down the road,” he explains.

With over 1800 stores worldwide, Anytime Fitness is perfect for a tournament angler providing the ability to go month to month instead of being locked down in a contract. “It’s important that I have the ability to freeze my membership when I’m not able to get to the gym, “explains Figi. “It’s bad enough knowing I’m missing out on my routine; I don’t need to get charged on top of it!”

Figi knows that keeping a disciplined workout as a part to his daily routine is a major player to his success and will continue to assist him down the line. “Really, its simple.” he says. “If you feel good physically then you’ll feel good mentally, all key ingredients for making the right decisions when the money is on the line.”


Josh Douglas is a professional tournament bass angler and a full time guide on Tennessee's Lake Chickamauga and the Tennessee River. He's slated to compete in the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Everstarts and PAA in hopes of qualifying for his lifetime goal of competing on the elite tour levels. When not on the water, Josh enjoys writing about his passion of bass fishing through many different outlets including his personal website,

Seth Feider and John Figi are professional tournament bass anglers as well as guides on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka. Follow their Facebook pages to find more information and to learn more!

Seth Feider Facebook Page

John Figi Facebook Page