Jig Skipping on Steroids
By Josh Dorr
I have fished all over the central, and north east to south eastern United States, and we all love going to those lakes that are full of vegetation, or have an incredible blow down at every turn, but let’s face it; that just isn’t the case on most lakes. One thing that most lakes do have in common, especially the older reservoirs lacking natural cover, is boat docks. I love ‘em and as obvious as they are it kills me to watch so many fishermen make a cast down one side, then the other, and move on. Meanwhile that 5 pound lunker is laying deep in the shade of that dock laughing. Read carefully and you, my friend will have the last laugh.
Years ago when I was first learning the ropes of tournament fishing, I fished as a co-angler and drew a gentleman that spent the day skipping docks. I remember being in awe of how accurately and how far he could skip it. He didn’t get many bites, but the ones he got were all huge fish in a tournament that wasn’t giving up its treasure very easily at the time. That day I said I am going to figure out how to do that, so that is exactly what I have done. The trial, error, backlashes, high blood pressure, and aggravation of learning this art was well worth it. As a matter of fact I believe that I have improved it thanks to some new baits on the market. There is skipping, then there is super skipping. We are going to discuss super skipping.
To understand fully what is going on here we need to look at the basic physics of jig skipping. We will refer to Newton’s first and third laws.
1.and object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force
3.two forces acting upon each other will be equal and opposite.
For the sake of explanation we are going to take variables such as friction, water and lure density, rod, and reel setup, etc. out of the equation and solely look at what is happening to the jig. You are putting this object on motion by force of your wrist (notice I didn’t say arm), and the rod tip. It is going to accelerate and hit the water at some point. When it does the water is going to hit it with an equal and opposite force. While your jig is in the air increasing its velocity on the way to the water it is building kinetic energy. When it hits the water and skips, the water will absorb some of the energy via Newton’s first law, and the rest will be transferred back to the jig via Newton’s third law. After that first skip the jigs velocity will decrease therefore its kinetic energy will decrease. The trick is to keep the water from absorbing so much energy per skip while maintaining jig velocity, ergo kinetic energy to carry your lure to undisturbed bass territory. Everything has to be in order for this to happen.
If your jig has too much drag it is going to do two things to slow you down. First, it will slow your jig down, and by doing so allow the water to rob more energy from the water/jig reaction. What needs to happen here is that you need to trim the skirt of your jig almost completely on the bottom so that the slick plastic of your jig trailer is exposed. The springy, slick plastic is going to produce less friction than 30 flailing silicone strands hitting the water. Next, regardless of water clarity, you need to be using heavy line such as 17 pound plus fluorocarbon. Line size here isn’t as much of an issue since we are seeking a reaction strike and fluorocarbon line refracts light the same as water. The fish we are going after aren’t going to care. The heavy line is crucial to keep it up and off the water. If your line grabs the water you WILL NOT achieve a super skip. Lastly, the heavy line will come in handy when you hook up with a bruiser buried deep in a no-longer-secret brush pile 20 feet under the dock.
Increasing the Contact Surface
In order to receive as much energy back as possible from the water/jig reaction we need to increase the size of the contact surface as much as possible while maintaining our forage profile. I have found that an ½ ounce wide arkie head jig works best with a “Zoom Z-hog” as a trailer. The Z-Hog is wide and slick on the bottom, and leaves no gap from the jig head to the trailer as a traditional chunk would.
Rod and Reel Setup
I have experimented with rods of all actions and lengths, and have found that a shorter rod allows me to maintain proper casting mechanics as well as accuracy which is crucial for skipping to a center walkway of a houseboat community dock with a 6 inch gap to skip. I prefer a 6’10’’ medium heavy action rod. At 6’1’’ tall this allows me to make my cast without slapping the water.
For super skipping, you will need to set your reel up pretty loose. You do not need to be attempting a super skip if you aren’t already seasoned at skipping and have developed a knack for feathering line with your thumb.
Take a lower case “d” and a capital “L” and rotate the “d” counter clockwise 180 degrees. Now rotate the “L”180 degrees counter clockwise. Then connect them. This is your casting motion from beginning to end (see illustration). It is very important to focus intently on your target, not the dock ropes hanging all over the place, or the pier, or the dock float. Your body, eyes, and focus are toward and on your target. Just like instinctive shooting in traditional archery, your focus will guide your body to align with your target once you are comfortable with your mechanics.
This is my formula for a successful 25-35 foot skip with a jig. It has served me well and with enough practice and patience it will you too. I firmly believe that the easiest bass to catch is the one that is undisturbed and uneducated. On today’s fisheries just about the only place to find those fish are where other anglers dare not go.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!
FLW Everstart Series Pro
FLW Bass Fishing League Angler Savannah River, South Carolina, and North Carolina Divisions
2011 FLW Tour Co-Angler
BASS Federation Co-Angler of the Year