There is no such thing as a secret lure that any angler can pull out of their tackle box that works 100% of the time catching fish. However, jigs may rival for that power position. Jigs are versatile and highly effective and can be used year-round with success if done right. Gary says the cool part about a jig is its simplicity – it’s just a weight on a hook with a skirt tied on. You can fish a jig shallow or deep, slow or fast, in clear water or off-color water, swim it or fish it on the bottom. Jigs are very high percentage lures that you can catch largemouths, smallmouths and spotted bass on. There is enough versatility in jigs, Gary says he could fish the rest of his career with a jig in his hand. Your success with a jig will be determined by your presentation though and how you build it. Gary says that he likes tying and building his own skirts. Jigs with long material will react slow in the water column which makes them ideal for cool/cold water, whereas a jig with short material will react faster and will be good for warmer water situations.
Although your lure plays a huge role in bringing fish to the boat, the reality is that in order to successfully land bass on a regular and consistent basis, it’s almost impossible without the help of electronics. These electronics allow anglers, or any user, to get a better idea of what is happening beneath the surface. Gary says vertical or down imaging sonar has largely been perfected over the years accomplishing a crystal-clear output that leaves anglers with no doubt as to the depth and what it is they are looking at. However, forward view imaging offers a new perspective and opens up a new world for anglers to thoroughly explore. Forward view imaging, Gary says, is essentially the imaging technology that allows you to look at what is in front of you before you drive over it. This is a huge advantage, Gary says. Long ago, he notes, he learned that when idling in shallow water, 15-20 feet or less, active fish would not let the boat run over the top of them. As a result, looking at the onboard electronics he would be able to see the cover and get a feel for the environment below the surface, but very rarely would he see an active fish below the boat. Forward imaging technology, like Lowrance’s LiveSight Sonar, enables you to scan in front of the boat before you get there. Gary says that he has been spending some time getting to know the Lowrance LiveSight and says he appreciates the challenge of learning the equipment and becoming a better angler. In particular, he’s excited about the forward view because it’s another tool that will help him interpret the environment the fish are living in. The real-time benefits of the LiveSight Sonar are also incredibly helpful. Gary says when many people cast and once the bait dives below the surface, they have no idea what is happening under the water. The Lowrance LiveSight enables anglers to throw their bait out, watch the fish track to it, and watch their reaction, positive or negative. In being able to see a live view of how fish are responding, it better enables an angler to modify their strategy based on actual fish response, rather than guesses. It’s a whole new frontier, Gary says.
Using his vast amount of experience on the water chasing bass, Gary is giving back and mentoring young anglers through a really interesting program out of Texas called Bass Brigade. Bass Brigade is part of Texas Brigades, a student leadership development program with an emphasis on fisheries conservation. Gary says, each summer, the Bass Brigade 5-day camp is held on a private ranch in Texas. Twenty-four cadets, made up of 13 to 17 years old high school students, get to spend an entire week with industry experts, like Gary, learning not just about fishing, but also about conservation work. Gary talks about the competitive nature of the camp, the skills taught, and how cadets are different people at the end of the Bass Brigade camp.
Finally, Gary will highlight the upcoming Major League Fishing REDCREST Bass Pro Tour Championship on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The REDCREST is the championship stage where the top 30 MLF Bass Pro Tour anglers who have accumulated the most qualifying points over the course of the 2019 Bass Pro Tour’s eight-event season will battle it out to bring home the top honor. Gary says it’s going to be a big event and he’s excited to go and cheer all the anglers on. While he may not have qualified for the REDCREST this year, Gary says it’s okay and that the end of the season feels a lot like the beginning of the new one as they wait for the tour to start again. In the meantime, he notes, they are already working on the 2020 Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour schedule and he says the 2020 REDCREST is poised to be a blowout. It will be one of the biggest events, if not the single largest event, that has ever taken place in competitive angling, Gary says. Listen in to find out more.
Be sure to watch Gary Klein and the rest of the Major League Fishing pros on “Major League Fishing”, Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. ET on Outdoor Channel. You can also catch all the Major League Fishing action on MyOutdoorTV with both live and archived events.