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Six Jigging Techniques for Fall and Winter Fishing

Even though they’ve been around for decades, jigging spoons remain underutilized by many freshwater anglers. There’s hardly a fish that swims that won’t eat a jigging spoon presented in the right place with the right action – especially during the critical fall feeding period. But the subdued and unpredictable movements of many traditional jigging spoons mean that “right action” can be challenging to predict and even more challenging to repeat. Their appearance limits effectiveness, too. Most jigging spoons don’t look realistic. They look like crude, cumbersome hunks of stamped metal, and lack the realism necessary to trigger strikes from wary fish.

LIVETARGET created an all-new jigging spoon design that is anatomically accurate with maximum strike-provoking action, the Flutter Shad. We covered this lure in a previous article. The Flutter Shade has many advantages aside from the lure’s remarkable, controllable action, additional benefits include the extra mass provided by the Exo-Skin and the realistic core. The Inner-Core is much smaller than the entire lure. That means anglers can present a smaller hatch size while retaining the various advantages of throwing a bigger bait. The Exo-Skin adds about 30% more mass, which adds weight and enables anglers to cast farther and maintain more direct contact with the lure. That means more controlled presentations and increased strike detection.

Freshwater anglers will find increased success using LIVETARGET’s new Flutter Shad in any traditional spoon or jigging spoon application. Here are seven hot patterns happening right now or very soon.

Jigging the Trees

Once water temperatures dip in southern reservoirs, it’s no secret that bass and crappies hold tight to standing timber. They’ll do the same in northern impoundments before freeze-up as well. The predictable and repeatable action of the Flutter Shad makes it the ideal vertical jigging lure for plucking bass and crappies from the treetops.

Suspended Fish

Stripers, wipers, white bass, black bass and other gamefish will suspend around the thermocline during the fall turnover. Once fish are marked on your electronics, they can be effectively targeted with the Flutter Shad by vertical jigging, or by casting and counting the lure down and retrieving it through the strike zone with a lift and fall retrieve.

Surface Feeding

For many, nothing beats the excitement of casting to stripers, white bass, hybrids or black bass breaking shad and other baitfish on the surface. This can be a regular sight throughout fall, as schools of shad concentrate in key areas like the back ends of creek mouths. Cast the Flutter Shad past observed feeding activity and immediately begin a rapid retrieve with a high rod tip once the lure hits the water, occasionally skipping the Flutter Spoon over the surface. If it doesn’t get blown up, stop and let the Flutter Spoon fall seductively for a few seconds. Keep a fairly tight line and hang on!

Ledges and Other Deep Structure

The LIVETARGET Flutter Shad perfectly mimics a dying shad, shimmying and cradling as it descends past concentrations of bass stationed on creek channel ledges and other deep structure. Cast the Flutter Spoon across the structure, allow it to sink on a taut line, and work it back with long sweeps of the rod tip, allowing the lure to sink between sweeps while imparting regular twitches. Short, sharp rod tip snaps cause the Flutter Shad to twitch like a dying shad making a last-ditch effort to flee.

Standing Green Weeds

Wherever they exist throughout fall and into the winter, stands of green weeds are magnets for all fish. Pike, bass and musky patrol these beds and ambush smaller fish attracted by the oxygen and cover the weeds provide. The Flutter Shad can be retrieved at various speeds to keep it wobbling and kicking right over the weed tops, inviting vicious strikes from aggressive predators fattening up for the winter.

Fall Great Lakes Smallmouth and Lake Trout

Jigging spoons excel at targeting fall Great Lakes smallmouth bass in deep structure, as well as lake trout, which spawn in late fall over submerged riprap breakwalls, reefs and other structure. Cast the Flutter Shad over the target structure and allow it to sink to the bottom. Twitch the lure once or twice before making a longer lift, then allow it to rock back to the bottom on a tight line. Repeat the cadence and be ready for fish to strike on the fall. Walleye, jumbo perch, brown trout and steelhead can also be caught with this presentation.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing season is coming! Numerous gamefish, including perch, walleye, crappie, whitefish and others will readily strike a jigging spoon – especially when it looks as life-like as the LIVETARGET Flutter Shad. “Poofing” bottom transition areas (hard to soft transitions) is a proven tactic for perch. The Flutter Shad “fishes heavy”, making it the perfect vertical jigging spoon to punch through slushy holes and quickly get down to suspending basin crappies. The most aggressive crappies will rush the Flutter Shad on the fall. The rest can be coaxed into striking the bait’s realistic profile by slowly pounding the bait as it’s being raised and lowered in the water column.

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