By Chris Berzas
On Saturday, February 9, Nick LeBrun of Tyler, Tx. was pre-fishing for an upcoming Bass Champs tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir located 70 miles north of Beaumont. Joining him on this scouting foray was his team partner, Chris Lee of Keithville, La.
These two anglers were fresh from a third place win at a previous Bass Champs tourney on January 19 – with the team earning Big Bass honors with LeBrun’s 10.42 lunker taken on a ¾ oz. watermelon/chartreuse Stanley Football jig.
And now the team was back on Rayburn’s majestic bass waters, hoping they could again find bass in preparation for the competition to come.
“We were fishing a hump with a hard bottom ranging from 20- to 25- feet in depth on my Lowrance HD 10 graph,” said the angler. “And we caught a fair amount of small bass on it.”
At approximately 8 am, LeBrun makes a long cast on his Bass Pro XPS rod with the same jig on the end of 17- pound test fluorocarbon.
“On the retrieve halfway back to the boat, I felt a thump,” said the angler. “The fish then loaded up with the jig and I set the hook.”
The angler had no drag set on his Quantum EXO reel, and he remembered the bass staying in the depths yet coming to the boat.
“I eased her up and got her in the net,” said LeBrun.
The bass was weighed at 7 pounds, and a series of photos were immediately taken. Following the photos, LeBrun carefully released the bass into the depths.
It is certainly clear that football jigs are a mainstay in most bass anglers’ tackle these days. And LeBrun is quickly mastering techniques on how to use these popular jigs.
The angler admittedly fishes the Stanley Football jig year round.
“It really shines from November through February as my go to lure,” said LeBrun.
LeBrun explained his technique of fishing the jig that has made him quite successful at catching big bass.
“I like to work it like a Carolina rigged bait,” he said. “I keep it in constant contact with the bottom as I think it imitates a crawfish really well when worked like that.
“I make long casts and just keep a steady drag on it by using the reel to slowly pull the bait on the bottom,” he explained. “When I do this I keep my rod at a 45- degree angle and wind slowly with the reel.”
LeBrun has found this method useful for him in his quest for hefty stringers. Other anglers use a variety of techniques to work a Football jig – to include small and long hops as well as flipping maneuvers in cover.
“Especially in cold water months, bass have a tendency to bite with subtlety, and I find my constant contact method really works well under such conditions,” said the angler.
LeBrun is 28 years of age and he is sponsored by the following companies: Bass Pro Shops; H&W Marine; Triton Boats; Mercury; Elite Tungsten; Motorguide; Stanley Jigs; Quantum; and NUMA Optics.
For a look at the Stanley Football Jig lineup, visit http://www.fishstanley.com/wkg_jig_bugeye.html.