DEL RIO, Texas – A quick visual survey of the front boat decks at the day-two launch of the Wal-Mart FLW Series East-West Fish-Off on Lake Amistad reveals what most pros already know: heavy jigs and swimbaits are the techniques of the week on the famous big-bass impoundment.
“There’s a snapshot of wintertime fishing on Amistad right there,” chuckled Chevy pro Dion Hibdon at takeoff this morning, pointing down at his rods. “That’s three heavy jigs and a `tuna bait.'”
What Hibdon calls his “tuna bait” is actually a very large swimbait.
“I’m not even going to act like I know what to do with that big swimbait,” Hibdon laughed again. “I bought that one two days ago, and I’m still learning how to cast the darn thing. I hit more bushes with it than I do water.”
“I’ve just got that big swimbait tied on because I’m hoping to run it into a big bass by accident,” he added. “I think there are a lot of subtleties you need to know about that swimbait deal before you commit to it – the right sunlight, the right wind, the depth and cover. Some of these guys understand that very well – they know when to pick it up and put it down – so they have a lot of confidence in it. But as for me, I’m just wishing when I chuck that big old thing out there.”
If day one was any indication, Amistad is being ruled by dragging heavy football-head types of jigs and throwing swimbaits.
Tournament leader Jimmy Reese, Neil Russell (2nd) and Mark Rose (4th) are all in the jig-dragging camp, while Michael Tuck (3rd) and Dave Lefebre (5th) are singing the praises of the swimbait.
But with calmer winds today and warmer temperatures, things might change. While the jig dragging and swimbaiting might continue to be staples throughout the week, other patterns could develop with some warmer weather.
The day-two weigh-in of the FLW Series East-West Fish-Off will begin Friday at 3 p.m. at the East Diablo Launch Ramp at Lake Amistad Marina.