Jiggin’ Spoons

Jiggin’ Spoons thumbnail
Mike Iaconelli

I’ve been out in San Diego, California, doing some saltwater fishing for my new TV show. We’ve been using jigging spoons, but in two ways besides just letting them fall to the bottom and then jerking them up or snapping them at a predetermined depth. So, for this blog the term jigging spoon is a little misleading.

Early in the morning when the baitfish are up on top we’ve been casting them out and holding the rod tip real high as we cranked them back with an occasional twitch of the rod tip. They work really well for that kind of fishing.

Later in the day, when the sun was up higher, the baitfish would drop down and so would the fish that were holding under them. When that happened we’d let our spoons drop down to where the baitfish were — one foot per second — and then bring them back the same way except that we’d hold our rod tips lower to help keep our spoons down.

Molix Mike Iaconelli Lover Spoon
Molix Mike Iaconelli Lover Spoon

Finally, in the middle of the afternoon when the sun was high and it was getting hot, we fished them in a more traditional manner, snapping them up off the bottom.

A lot of anglers think only of jigging spoons as jigging lures. But they are much more than that. They’ll do the exact same thing in freshwater for you that they did for us in saltwater. All you have to do is pull them shallow and horizontal early, pull them deeper and horizontal in the late morning and pop them off the bottom in the afternoon.

I’ve done everything I’m describing to you here in Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments. It will work for you just like it has worked for me.

My choice for a jigging spoon is the Molix Mike Iaconelli Lover Spoon. My usual preference is the 3/4-ounce size. It’ll cast a mile. It’s as tough as a 10 penny nail, and it looks like the real thing. But, good as it is right out of the package, I make two modifications to it that make it even better.

The double hook is tucked tight to the body
Molix Mike Iaconelli Lover Spoon

First, I replace the back treble with a feathered one. (I don’t mess with the two prong front hook.) I don’t really know why but this makes it more effective. And, I never tie directly to the lure. I always add a split ring or a snap to the line tie. That gives it just a little more action, especially when it’s moving horizontally.

VMC X-Rap Tail Treble Hook
VMC X-Rap Tail Treble Hook

My Lover spoon comes in 5 colors. The best color is the one that most closely resembles the local forge where you’re fishing. This is a reaction lure but it needs to look natural. Color is a big part of looking natural.

Hobie Mirage Pedal Kayak
Hobie Mirage Pedal Kayak

PS: If you want to have as much fun with a spoon as I had out in California, fish one out of a  Hobie Mirage Pedal Kayak. You’ll be right down at the fish’s level. There’s nothing better than that.



Watch Mike fish the jigging spoon in San Diego:

Iaconelli in San Diego

Going Ike Episode 1: Kayak Fishing For Yellowtail In San Diego

And here Mike talk about the jigging spoon:

Going Ike - Season three, Episode 1, Recap
Going Ike – Season three, Episode 1, Recap


Subscribe to Mike’s YouTube channel, Going Ike,  to ensure you see every adventure video.

Return to Mike Iaconelli’s website

The Umbrella Rig

The Umbrella Rig thumbnail
Mike Iaconelli

If you’re even half-serious about bass fishing you should learn to fish the umbrella rig. It’s somewhat controversial but in the end it’s a real fish catcher, controversy or not.

However, let me give you a warning before we go any further. Some tournaments allow it, some don’t. And, the number of hooks that you’re allowed to have on one rig or rod varies widely from one state to the next. Make sure you know the rules before you start throwing it.

Another thing: Right now, on Going Ike! I’m fishing one with Britt Myers. Check it out if you want to see some real action.

Shane's Rig
Shane’s Rig

With that out of the way let’s get started.

The umbrella rig is at its best in the early spring and in the late fall. That’s when bass are seriously relating to baitfish, and no lure or rig on the planet mimics a ball of baitfish better than an umbrella rig. It’s a crazy looking thing with its mass of wire and turning blades but it absolutely mesmerizes bass when it’s rigged properly.

Proper rigging means starting with the right harness. My choice is a Shane’s Rig.   (I’m not sponsored by them. Nevertheless, it’s the best one I’ve ever used.) I like the ones that can be rigged with anywhere between five and 10 lures.

VMC Darter Head Jig
VMC Darter Head Jig

My favorite head is a VMC Darter Head, and I don’t worry much about the color. I’m partial to the 1/8-ounce weight but at times I will go up to 1/4 ounce. I rig everything except the one in the center with a small Berkley HAVOC Beat Shad. I always pick one that looks like the local shad — white, gray, smoke, ghost or whatever.

Berkley HAVOC Beat Shad
Berkley HAVOC Beat Shad

On the center head I use a Berkley PowerBait Hollow Body usually in a Hitch color. I use this bigger bait, and in a different color, because I want to create a target for the bass. If they’re moving in on the center lure, they’re more likely to grab an outside lure during an attack, a feeding frenzy or just out of desperation

Berkley Powerbait Hollow Belly
Berkley Powerbait Hollow Belly

Note: My tackle does not include a heavy saltwater rod and reel and I’m not using rope for my fishing line. That is totally unnecessary. Don’t overdo your tackle. Use medium-heavy bass tackle and you’ll do just fine with an umbrella rig.

Abu Garcia Ike Power Series Casting Rods
Abu Garcia Ike Power Series Casting Rods

The only thing you do when you fish an umbrella rig is throw it out and wind it back. Vary your depth in the water column until you find them. I suggest you hang on after that.

Nothing else need be said.

Mike Iaconnelli
Mike Iaconnelli





Umbrella Rig Fishing with Britt Myers Recap Bass Fishing Video



Mike Iaconelli, Gerald Swindle, Adrian Avena
Mike Iaconelli, Gerald Swindle, Adrian Avena


Ike, Swindle, Avena Talk about A-rig or Umbrella Rig Bass Fishing Video




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Trolling Motor Installation: Minn Kota Ultrex

Step one in our bass boat retrofit is a new trolling motor. We’re upgrading from the Maxxum Pro to an Ultrex 112. Matt explains each step of the process as he shows just how quickly and painlessly these motors can be installed. Start to finish the installation takes less than an hour.

If you’ve considered the Ultrex for your next trolling motor its definitely worth the investment! Once you’ve experienced spot lock, heading, and a few of the other features there really is no going back. It adds an incredible level of convenience to your day on the water.

Ultrex Trolling Motor w/ I-Pilot Link: http://bit.ly/2vFQypW

Ultrex Trolling Motor (Non-Link): http://bit.ly/2NPTY6c

Cleaner- Safe & Easy Hull Cleaner: http://bit.ly/2xAJNID

We use the 112 lb with 52″ Shaft. If you are combining with Humminbird Electronics be sure to use the “Link” version of the motor so you gain all of the available features.


Need Apparel? Tacticalbassin Gear is in stock! Get your hats, Hoodies, and sunshirts by emailing Tacticalbassinapparel@gmail.com

How to Make Your Bladed Jigs Weedless


Bladed jigs have become a very popular bass fishing bait since they exploded onto the scene from Ron Davis’s workshop a little over a decade ago. The only downside to them, however, is how easily they snag wooden cover like brush piles, laydowns or docks.

Because of the big exposed hook and design of bladed jigs, if you cast them into gnarly wooden cover there is a high probability you’ll become snagged.

That changed for pro angler Terry “Big Show” Scroggins once he figured out how to make his vibrating jigs weedless. Although he was reluctant about it, Scroggins has agreed to share his process after a few years of keeping this tackle tweak hidden from the public eye.

The thought process behind it

Being a Florida native and no stranger to fishing lakes with an excess amount of grass, Scroggins fishes with a Chatterbait very regularly. It was after one successful day of bladed jig fishing during a Florida winter that got Scroggins thinking about making his ChatterBaits more resistant to hang-ups.

“A buddy and I had spent the day on a little lake in Central Florida and we caught the heck out of them on Chatterbaits,” Scroggins said. “We were fishing around a few brush piles in 8 feet of water and the bass were loaded up. The biggest bass we caught came on a Chatterbait, but the problem was we had to break off a lure every few casts because we kept hanging up in the brush. While driving home that night I couldn’t stop thinking of a way I could make bladed jigs more weed less.”

Using nothing more than a power drill, a tube of marine epoxy and a spool of 200-pound monofilament, Scroggins discovered a relatively quick and easy method of accomplishing his goal.

Drill the holes

Scroggins starts by taking the skirt off of his Chatterbait and then uses a 3/32-inch drill bit and a power drill to create the holes for his weed guard to sit in. He has found a 3/32-inch bit is perfect for the 200-pound mono he likes to use. Depending upon what you use for your weed guard, this may change.

Scroggins advises using a drill bit slightly larger than what you intend on using for a weed guard. While Scroggins is partial to heavy monofilament line, he has also experimented with weed eater string along with thin, pliable wire as weed guards.

Scroggins settled on monofilament for several reasons. It’s much cheaper than other options and it’s also clear, so it doesn’t change the overall profile of the lure. It’s also stiff enough to deflect snags, but pliable enough that he can form-fit his weed guard to whatever shape he chooses.

“Start by drilling two shallow pilot holes straight into the head of your Chatterbait,” Scroggins said. “Start slowly and even add a little beeswax or Vaseline to your drill bit so it doesn’t try to run on you. Once you have the two holes started, move your drill bit to the angle you would ideally have your weed guard sit, and drill into the head of the bait 1/4-inch or so. You don’t want to drill all the way through the head, obviously, you just want a deep enough hole for your weed guard to sit in.”

Place your weed guard
After his holes are drilled, Scroggins rolls one end of his two weed guards in marine epoxy and then simply places them inside his Chatterbait head.

“The epoxy only takes about five minutes to dry,” Scroggins said. “Let your bait sit and dry for three or four minutes until your weed guards are mostly set. Then with your last 60 seconds or so you can gently move your weed guards around so they lay out exactly like you want them to. Start by using a weed guard that’s a little too long and then trim them with a pair of scissors after the epoxy has dried.”

Once your epoxy has dried, add your favorite skirt color, a soft-plastic trailer and your bladed jig will be ready to meet the deepest, darkest, hidey holes a bass calls home.

Scroggins hasn’t noticed the homemade weed guards affecting his hook-up ratio and insists the weed guards last through countless fishing trips if allowed to dry properly.

Is it worth it?

Realistically, this tackle tweak is not something you need to do to every vibrating jig you own. Adding a weed guard is strictly situational for Scroggins. If he is planning on fishing open water or a grass flat, Scroggins won’t make any adjustments to his bladed jigs whatsoever.

However, if Scroggins is fishing a Chatterbait around dock cables or heavy cover he won’t hesitate to add a weed guard. The increased snag resistance gives Scroggins the confidence to make pinpoint casts in hard to reach places, in addition to assisting the lure to come through snags more easily. Therefore Scroggins is able to put his vibrating jigs in places bass aren’t used to seeing them, resulting in more bass in the boat.