Lake Fork Fishing Tips
From Lake Fork Guides
Big Bass Combo: Vibrating Jigs
Article: December, 2009
& Live Magic Shads
Chatterbaits were the fad in bass fishing a few years ago and anglers across the country desperately scrambled to get them, paying ungodly sums for them on eBay. After a bit, most anglers moved on to the next hot lure and the vibrating lure category started fading back to obscurity. In recent years though, Texas anglers have discovered that vibrating jigs with Live Magic Shad trailers are remarkable lures for numbers of big bass. Jeremy Guidry used this combo to win the Falcon Stren Series tourney with over 110 lbs in 2008. In 2009, Mark Pack used this same combo to whack the biggest sack of day 2 at the FLW Tour event at Guntersville—almost 26 lbs. As news of this hot lure continues to spread across the country, now is the time for you to get in on one of the hottest big bass baits going.
There are a variety of vibrating jigs on the market. The best one I’ve found so far is the Phenix Vibrator Jig. It has a long hook that is very sharp, along with a durable stainless steel blade that has just the right shape for great action. I normally go with the blue shad color when the water is clear, while chartreuse and white is better in stained or muddy water. As for the size, I use 3/8 oz when I’m fishing over shallow grass or flooded cover, switching to ½ oz for deeper grassbeds. If I’m trying to fish deeper than about 6’, I’ll go up to the ¾ oz size.
Depending on the situation, I use a 3.5” or a 4.5” Live Magic Shad as the trailer. Thread it on like you would a grub as a spinnerbait trailer, then use a drop of super glue to hold the trailer in place. When fishing is tough, in clear water, or if bass are feeding on small shad, the 3.5” Live Magic Shad works best. For bigger bass or aggressive fish, the 4.5” size works better. On trophy lakes like Fork or Falcon, I’ll even upgrade to the 5.5” Live Magic Shad for a true lunker. As for colors, I keep it pretty simple. In clearer water and when bass are eating shad, the Magic Shad, Albino Shad and Blue Herring colors work great. In muddy water and when bass are eating bluegills, Fire Perch, Chartreuse/Pearl and Bar Fish often work better.
Throw the vibrating jig/Live Magic Shad combo on a medium heavy or heavy power rod with a 6:1 or 7:1 reel. I use the Dobyns Rods 734C because this strong, lightweight 7’3” stick will cover a lot of water and controls big fish, yet is well balanced so I can fish it all day. Any time I’m fishing around flooded or submerged grass, I use 30 to 50 lb braid with a 4’ leader of 20 or 25 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line. The braid allows me to cleanly rip the bait from the grass, while the leader keeps it low vis to the fish. If I’m fishing in open water, 14 to 20 lb FluoroHybrid Pro’s low memory allows me launch the bait a mile, while its low stretch allows for good hook sets at long distances.
Once you have the bait rigged, I fish it very similar to a spinnerbait. Cast it out and reel it in, trying to run it into or through any available cover. Once you make contact with grass, stumps, or a dock, let it flutter for a split second and then continue your retrieve. In deeper water or for suspended fish, simply count down a ¾ oz lure and you can fish it at any depth you’d like. The vibrating jigs hang up in wood cover more than a spinner, but they pop off snags very easily. They really shine in grass, coming through more easily than rattle baits or crankbaits if you fish them on braided line. Basically, anywhere that you’d fish a spinnerbait, rattle bait, or a crankbait, this combo will produce big bass.
If you like catching big bass and lots of them, I’d highly recommend the vibrating jig/Live Magic Shad combo. Best of all, most of your buddies still aren’t throwing it, so get it while it’s hot.
Fishing Tip by Lake Fork Pro Tom Redington