BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 52

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fish fast but doesn’t stay down and quickly comes out of the feeding zone. “With a spoon like Strike King’s 5-1/2” Sexy Spoon,” Niggemeyer continues, “you can keep the bait in front of their faces like a jig. The spoon has a bigger profile, but because it falls quickly, you can work it fast and cover a lot of water.” Niggemeyer typically casts out his spoon, lets it reach bottom, then starts re- trieving it using exaggerated hops of one to two feet rather than the more subtle moves he favors with worms and jigs. His tackle consists of 16- to 20-lb fluorocarbon line spooled onto a 6.3:1 Ardent XS 1000 bait- caster, which in turn is mounted on a 7-foot St. Croix heavy or medium-heavy rod. “The overwhelming majority of your strikes will come on the fall. When you’re fishing other lures on offshore structure, you’ll get a subtle tick, but they hit the spoon hard.”

“I grew up fishing the California Del- ta,” Fred Roumbanis comments. “As the tide drops, grass gets exposed, and as summer comes on, the ns icatio n u grass gets thicker. m S Com S A B / I designed Saito

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the IMA Roumba Wake Bait to fish that kind of cover. It has a wider wobble than most shallow cranks and will come through even emerged grass without getting hung up. “In the summer, morning is usually the best time for topwaters, but there are days when I’ll throw it all day long,” continues Roumbanis. “Sometimes I’ll even dress the rear treble with feathers for fishing the early part of the day. Another trick I use is to put a Blakemore Hitch-Hiker on the rear treble and rig that with a 6” straight-tail Ro- boworm. You can hardly believe how much it will make the Roumba look like a mouse coming through the water.” Roumbanis likes to throw his wake bait on a medium-heavy 7’ 4” Roum- BASStik and 30- to 40-lb Power Pro braid or 15-lb P-line copolymer. “You need a line that floats to get this bait over and through heavy cover.” After casting it out, he holds his rod at the 11 o’clock position and slowly winds it in.

As for favored colors, “Hot Craw is hard to beat on the Delta, along with Stink- bug, which is black with a chartreuse nose. My personal favorite, though, is probably Albino.”

Sure, football jigs have been a west- ern bass fishing staple for years. James Niggemeyer, however, notes a couple of recent developments with the lure. One is its growing popularity all over the country. Another is that Elite pros are now throwing it year-round. “I love their fast fall,” claims Nigge- meyer, “and it’s that initial drop on the cast that often triggers fish. It comes flying by them and they either have to eat it or get out of the way.” The pro notes that if the initial drop doesn’t close the sale, he’ll many times get bit within the first couple of feet of scurrying it along the bottom. Like other Elite pros, Niggemeyer employs football jigs for

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July/August 2009