Friday, September 18, 2009

Down to One

By Jason Sealock

Fishing is about mindsets, and mental fortitude often exceeds equipment in terms of importance. One of the biggest “psych-outs” in fishing occurs when an angler runs out of a lure that the fish are readily annihilating at that moment. Get the fish going, catching one after the other, and then it happens. Frantically reach into the tackle bag, flip open the tackle box full of plastics, and it’s not there. You start pulling out bags and bags of plastics. None left. This can’t be happening. The one thing the bass would eat, and there aren’t any more of them.

You make the switch to another lure but you’re second guessing yourself the whole time and your confidence starts to waiver. That leads to fishing faster, running spots and an overall anxiousness that derails your focus.

That happened to me this year, and the day on the water was a nightmare. I later realized that was because my jig fishing had become so simplified, that missing one component left me empty handed. The whole system boiled down to one football jig and one simple trailer – a 3-inch Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw. I’m quite certain, worms not withstanding, that I could live with just that trailer. Now don’t get me wrong; I still love a Zoom Super Chunk Jr. on my finesse jigs in cold water or a Yum Craw Papi threaded on my flipping jigs on occasion when I need to mix and match a skirt and trailer better. But if I can only have one bag in my pocket, nine times out of ten it’s going to be a pack of green pumpkin 3-inch PowerBait Chigger Craws.

The reason is simple. After hundreds, more likely into the thousands, of bass caught on this trailer, I don’t see the point in changing a good thing. As some anglers can relate, I’ve fostered paranoia in thinking about a jig without that trailer. Now, if I’m not getting bit on the jig with a different trailer, the first thing I switch is the trailer. It does not matter what color jig or what color the water is. The first thing I do is revert back to my confidence trailer.

Big bass were eating the PowerBait Chigger Craw so good in the spring, I was catching 20 to 40 bass on a ragged nub of a trailer – no claws or tentacles, just the tattered mass threaded up the hook shank. By the time it finally fell off it was impossible to lace a hook through it.

I’ve tried various jigs and trailers over the years, but I’ve never caught so many fish on any one trailer as I’ve now caught on the PowerBait Chigger Craw. So now I’ve spent the year stock piling my supply. When the bite is really on at Kentucky Lake, it’s nothing to go through 6 to 10 packs of trailers between me and my partner. That’s a lot of PowerBait Chigger Craws when you’re jig fishing. I wish I had a mold of one so I could melt all this PowerBait back down and mold it again!

Now, some guys like the PowerBait Chigger Chunks and other guys like the 4-inch PowerBait Crazy Legs Chigger Craw, but I’ve settled on the 3-inch PowerBait Chigger Craw for several reasons. It’s not too bulky on a lighter jig. I can spider cut my skirts and thread the trailer up the shank of my jig hook and have a real small profile. I can bite (or cut because PowerBait doesn’t taste as good as garlic) the end off a trailer and run the hook through the middle like a chunk and give it a longer profile. When the fish bite one of the paddle arms off, I will unthread it, turn it so that one paddle is more like a keel on my jig and use just the one until another fish pulls that one off.

Sometimes when I’m casting big worms or other plastics, I’ll swap them out for the PowerBait Chigger Craw and pick up another keeper on a spot where they had been biting bigger plastics. It’s been a limit getter for me on occasion.

It can be a great punch bait for flipping heavy cover because of it’s small profile. I’ve caught countless bass out of the buck brush on them.

So you can say I’m officially a PowerBait Chigger Craw convert. My affliction is so bad now, that I feel naked when I can’t recall exactly where I have a pack of them. It’s that same feeling you have when you slam your locked car door shut, and you can’t feel your keys in your pocket.

So the question is why that bait. I know the PowerBait has something to do with it. I know the shape has something to do with it. And I know the action has something to do with it. But honestly it’s my personality more than anything. After using literally thousands of soft baits over the years, the choices got dizzying. So a few years ago, I started to simplify my choices – partly for my own sanity and partly because we fish in so many other people’s boats that packing a 40-gallon tub of soft baits wasn’t practical.

In fact, I’ve simplified the art of tackle storage, but I’ll save that for another blog this month. But basically now I have two boxes called boat boxes. One has the worms, trailers, and creatures I use most on my home waters in the colors I’ve proven work over the years. And one of those compartments is always completely full of PowerBait Chigger Craws.

I caught my personal best largemouth this year on a homemade football jig and PowerBait Chigger Craw. So maybe that’s why I’m stuck on just one trailer for now. The point being that we all get indecisive when we aren’t catching fish. Part of fighting through that is picking up something you have proven works and just plowing through those fishless periods.

It doesn’t mean we should quit experimenting with other soft baits and presentations. But I’ll continue to experiment with PowerBait Chigger Craws as well because they fit my fishing style and produce in a lot of situations. Perhaps I have yet to unlock their true potential, but I also know I won’t get psyched out with just that one trailer like I can with 50 trailers.

No comments:

Post a Comment