How to Catch Giant Smallmouth on Small Marabou Jigs

marabou

Another secret’s out — tiny marabou jigs yield giant smallmouth bass in gin-clear waters. And although Bassmaster.com spilled the beans on this “last secret bait of the pros” when covering a recent Elite Series tournament, an important detail was missing — the right line to make the tactic work.

“You try to cast a tiny hair jig on 8- or 10-pound-test mono or fluoro, it literally doesn’t go anywhere,” says James Holst, host of In-Depth Outdoors on the Fox Sports North channel. “But with the new Sufix NANOBRAID, it’s easy.”

A long-casting, super-sensitive micro-braid that increases hook-up ratios, Sufix® NANOBRAID™ works well in wind and doesn’t require a special knot to tie. NANOBRAID is made from 100 percent Dyneema® fibers, giving it both an ultra-thin diameter and extreme sensitivity.

A frequent visitor to Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin, Holst had long heard whispers of a secret finesse tactic for super-sized smallies. “In many of the tournaments over there, the heavy bags have been augmented in this way,” he recalls. “The local bass community knows about it, but it’s just not discussed much outside of tournament circles.”

Before long, however, Holst learned the local trick — 1/16th-ounce, black marabou jigs. “And man, they’re deadly effective,” he says.

A handful of Bassmaster Elite Series pros found this out recently while competing on New York’s St. Lawrence River. “If you’re watching Bassmaster Live, you know the secret’s out,” Bassmaster.com’s Steve Wright reported during the tournament. “The last secret bait of the pros, in this case, is one of the oldest fishing lures on Earth.”

Although jig brands weren’t mentioned in the Bassmaster.com report, a great option isVMC®’s Dominator Marabou Jig, which features natural hair dressing to impart lifelike action and flashabou fibers for added attraction. A high-carbon steel Power Gap hook ensures successful hook-ups and 60-degree rotated jig eye allows greater control. They are available in three sizes (1/16th, 1/8th and 1/4 ounces) and three colors (black, brown and white).

One angler told Bassmaster.com’s Wright that “there’s a small community of these northern dudes” that throw the tiny ‘bou jigs for big bass, “and they jack ’em up here.” But tied to the wrong line, Holst cautions, the tactic ain’t worth jack. “You’ve got very little mass and a lot of wind resistance,” he explains. “So they’re just a bear to cast on regular braid, fluoro or mono.”

Before the advent of NANOBRAID, patient anglers would use extra-long rods with soft tips “that could load up under the weight of that tiny little jig and propel it,” Holst says. “But it was still a pain.” But because NANOBRAID is “ridiculously thin,” he says, it creates less wind resistance. Ten-pound-test NANOBRAID measures only 3/500th of an inch in diameter; 2-pound test measures a mere 1/1000th of an inch. That also makes it ultra-sensitive for superior bite detection and practically invisible in water.

When targeting clear-water smallmouth with tiny marabou jigs, Holst throws 2-pound NANOBRAID tied to a fluorocarbon leader with a uni-to-unit knot. Using NANOBRAID does not require learning a new, complicated knot. “There’s some other micro-braids out there, but they’re just miserable for tying knots,” Holst says. “Just about any knot that you are used to using with regular braid you can use with NANOBRAID.”

NANOBRAID is excellent also for other finesse-fishing techniques, including shaky-heading, jig-worming and drop-shotting. It comes in Sufix’s “Aqua Camo” color, on 150-yard spools.

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