Whether he is fishing at home on Lake Wateree or travelling on the road, tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden spends a lot of time throwing a jig. His go-to jigs are made by Buckeye Lures of Augusta, Georgia, and depending on the situation he throws either the Football Mop Jig or the standard Mop Jig.
This weekend in the BFL tournament on Lake Keowee Dearal threw a Football Mop Jig to catch spotted bass. The Football Mop Jig is distinguished from the standard Mop Jig by a football-style head, which makes the jig and trailer stand up vertically on the bottom (like a Spot Remover does with a worm). The basic skirt has small round living rubber filaments which gives the bait action – even when it is sitting still it continues to move. It also features a light wire hook which allows a longer hook set when anglers are casting (as opposed to flipping) and have a significant amount of line out. The Football Mop Jig is also preferred around rocks as the head is designed not to become snagged.
This weekend on Keowee Dearal went with the Football Mop Jig for its light wire hook (because he was casting long distances with a lot of line out), because of the stand up head (so that the bait would stand up when it was sitting on the bottom), and because of the subtle but effective profile the smaller round living rubber creates in the clear water. On clear Lake Keowee Dearal went with green pumpkin and PB&J colored jigs, but the truth was that the hungry spotted bass seemed willing to eat a variety of jig colors. When the bite slows down Dearal likes to switch jig colors to show the fish something new, and at times Saturday he was fishing a PB&J skirt on a Green Pumpkin head. He fished ¾ and 1-ounce jigs with a crawfish trailer.
Conditions on Lake Keowee were suited for football-style jigs, but usually on Lake Wateree Dearal will be throwing a standard Mop Jig. The Mop Jig is distinguished from the Football Mop Jig by the narrower head shape and the heavier hook, but the skirt is also different. The living rubber has larger round filaments, and the overall effect is to give the bait a “bigger” profile with more movement. The Mop Jig also features double rattles which the football-style bait does not have.
At home on Lake Wateree Dearal throws the standard Mop Jig when he is flipping docks, or fishing shallower points out to about 15 feet. He often goes with green pumpkin, although Dearal says that the slogan “Black and blue is always true” will rarely let you down. In the stained to muddy water on Lake Wateree Dearal believes that it is less about bait color and more about vibration/ movement (and sound) in the water, and that a wide variety of colors will catch bass. He typically fishes a ½ ounce bait, and always uses a trailer.
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