15 Minutes with: Capt. Tyler Nonn
Here’s what we learned…
Location: Susquehanna River, Maryland
Tides: River levels can change dramatically depending on the Dam’s output.
Approach: While fish are present in the river year round, peak fishing begins in early April when herring and hickory shad migrate up coastal rivers to spawn.
Rigging Selection: Hogy® 10/0 Barbarian Jig Series. Jig weight will need to be adjusted depending on current. Generally 1/2oz – 3oz is appropriate for most conditions.
Bait Selection: Hogy® Swimming Jig
Why this bait? Fishing shallow, snag ridden rivers in heavy current can be a challenge for anglers. The Hogy Swimming Jig features an over sized paddle tail and musky grade silicone skirt to help slow the descent of the jig. This allows you to fish a heavy bait for long distance casting, while being able to retrieve the lure in very shallow water with minimal snags.
Colors: So far, the most productive color combinations have been a Chartreuse skirt with bone or chartreuse Thumper Tails. It certainly doesn’t look like a herring or shad, but it does contrast very well in the water. This helps the stripers locate and eat your bait.
Retrieve: The best way to fish swim baits in heavy current is to stem the tide. For this technique to really be effective, you’ll often need to fish very tight to structure. This can and will result in some snags, but it will also result is some quality fish!
It will probably take some time to feel how your bait will present in the current. Adjustments in jig head weight are a good way to slow down or speed up the sink rate of your jig. Often, you’ll need to swap out jig head sizes while fishing the same area, increasing weight as tide picks up, then dropping weight as it slows down. As a rule of thumb, I try to find the lightest jig head that can barely maintain contact with the bottom. Too heavy, you’ll have constant snags, too light, you’re probably not fishing within the “strike zone.”
Once you’ve got your weight and casting down, simply bounce the jig across the bottom while reeling it. I try to go just fast enough to feel the tail thumping. With the oversize paddle on the Hogy Thumper, it’s not hard to feel, even on a heavy rod.
Rod: St. Croix Mojo 8′ Fast Action Heavy Casting Rod.
Reel: Shimano Curado 300
Line: 30lb Power Pro Slick
Leader: 40lb Mono or Fluorocarbon.
Leader Knots: Use a simple albright special or uni to uni knot for line to leader. A loop knot should be tied from leader to your bait.