What specific techniques were key to your big 2011 FLW victory at Lake Hartwell? I had several patterns that I ran for my win at Lake Hartwell. I caught several shallow (2-5 feet deep) skipping a Senkos around docks. I also caught a few on a Picasso Schoolie Rig (umbrella rig) over deep trees leading into creeks. Those two patterns played a role but the bulk of the fish came on a drop shot and a Phenix football jig. The bigger fish and the majority of fish came on the football jig. I was using a 3/4 oz brown jig with a Yamamoto 5 inch twin tail green pumpkin trailer.
Not long ago, jigs were used primarily for flipping or pitching in heavy cover. Now they are also used to cover water. How has this evolution changed the way you fish? I actually rarely flip a jig. 99% of the time I cast a jig. I prefer using a heavy jig so I can fish it fast and cover water. It is a great search tool for finding fish. It has changed the way I fish in a sense that I can cover more water now and use it like a reaction bait.
As a California native, what were some of the challenges that you faced when getting started in the FLW tour? The biggest challenge for me was fishing new water that I didn't know. When I was confronted with that challenge, I fished dumb. I chased what I heard was the way to catch them instead of fishing my strengths. The challenge for me was getting over that hump of just fishing my strengths instead of chasing something I wasn't comfortable with.
What advice can you provide for someone who has never fished a jig, or someone who doesn’t have a lot of confidence in them? The best advice I can give is pick it up and never put it down. Plan a day to go fishing and do nothing but fish a jig. Don't take any other bait out of the box. Sun up to sun down for at least a day. The only way to get confidence in something is practice.