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A Day on the Water with Melvin Jiggets - By: C.C. McCotter - Feb. 2004
On a bitterly cold day in early December I met Melvin Jiggets on Lake Anna's hotside for another Day On The Water. With heavy overcast, a light breeze and air temperature of 36 degrees, keeping warm was as important as catching fish. The 28-year-old Jiggets fishes mostly American Bass Angler tournaments from a Gambler Intimidator and calls LaCrosse, Virginia home, not far from Lake Gaston. Jiggets is a Doc Waters pro staffer and came equipped with an arsenal of specialized gear for fishing clear water - the only thing he knew about his day. Here's how it went:

11:53 a.m. - Once in the Gambler, I let Melvin know the parameters of the day on a GMCO Lake Anna Pro Series map. A brief and chilling, high-speed ride brings us to the area, where Jiggets shuts down his 150 XRI Mercury and consults the GMCO.

He begins fishing where we stop, a main lake point (Moss') with a firetiger Fat Free Guppy rigged on a Berkley 6' Cherrywood rod and Quantum XL reel. The boat is in 12' and he is casting to the point.

11:57 a.m. - Jiggets puts down the crankbait and picks up a Carolina rig. "Now we are going to use gloves!" he jokes as he puts a pair on. The Carolina rig consists of a Water Gremlin adjustable sinker and is tipped with a Big Sow floating jig. Melvin takes a moment to "put some Stink" on the bait using a unique Doc Waters roll-on applicator bottle. The entire rig is slung toward the point.

12:04 p.m. - Down goes the Carolina rig and out comes a drop shot rig. Melvin has it rigged with a Big Sow 4" worm not only on the hook, but also on the weight. He does this by using a Doc Waters Swivel Hook as the weight, and threads a worm on the hook, too. He calls this his "Western-style drop shot".

12:08 p.m. - With no bites, Jiggets announces we are "going to look a little bit," firing up the Mercury.

12:15 p.m. - Melvin is idling around the Elk Creek bridge consulting the map and watching his Lowrance LMS-350. He stops in front of the bridge opening and drops the trolling motor, moving over to a nearby roadbed running parallel to the bridge. The water temperature is 67 degrees. He starts casting the crankbait toward the deep end of the roadbed.

12:23 p.m. - We have fished most of the road bed with no bites and moved to the back side of the bridge and Melvin is now fishing the western-style drop shot.

12:34 p.m. - Switches over to Carolina rig, still on the back side of the bridge. There is a lot of current present. "I know there's a fish here," says Jiggets. The water is 28' deep.

12:43 p.m. - The Doc Waters pro staffer misses a bite on the Carolina rig. He notes a bunch of bait present on the front Garmin 160 Fish Finder, just behind the middle pilings.

12:47 p.m. - Looses a fish on the drop shot. It comes off just after the hook set.

12:52 p.m. - Saying he wants to try something completely different, Jiggets rigs up a 9", Texas-rigged worm on a Doc Waters Shark Shank hook. "This hook is perfect for soft plastics because it holds them with the two barbs,"he says as he shows me the red hook. He begins pitching the worm to the rip rap on the back left of the bridge. The 1/2-oz. weight proves too heavy and quickly snags in the rocks. He takes a moment to retie and notes the water is five degrees cooler behind the bridge.

1:05 p.m. - "Back at the store I noticed they were out of smoke grubs, so I chose this Doc Water Spider Grub (salt and pepper) and removed the skirt," explains Jiggets. He rigs the grub Texas-style and begins fishing the rip rap again with a 3/8-oz. weight. Within several casts he feels a fish pick up the bait but misses on the hookset.

1:11 p.m. - He sets the hook again and comes up with half a grub. On the next cast he hangs the rig and breaks it off. "I think these are small fish," notes Melvin as he again consults the GMCO map. Jiggets notes another road bed on the map and idles back through the bridge and stops just on the other side on the right. The Garmin reveals a sharp ditch below the boat in line with a road coming off the bank. The Gambler is in 23' and the top of the road is 15' Down goes the specialized drop shot.

1:23 p.m. - After fishing most of the road bed with no luck, Jiggets again looks at his map and notes another road bed about a quarter mile away. We roar off to fish it.

1:27 p.m. - Using a spinning rod and a 6" Doc Waters Helix Worm rigged on a Doc Waters Shark Shank Hook, Jiggets starts casting toward the road bed. This one comes right off the bank, straight at us. The boat is in 14' and he is casting to the bank. There is a lot of current washing across the road bed.

1:35 p.m. - Small bass are chasing bait on the road bed by nothing bites. Frustrated, Jiggets checks the GMCO and we move again, through the bridge, toward the rear of the Elk Creek and the back end of our fishing area.

1:40 p.m. - A duck blind on a hump marks the limit of the day's water. Ten or so sea gulls are cruising a dozen feet above the water. Melvin cuts off the Mercury and watches intently. "This looks like something is happening," he notes. We watch as several large fish swirl on bait. Jiggets is up quickly on the trolling motor and moving into the area toward the duck blind.

1:45 p.m. - The depth finder reads just 10 feet about 20 yards from the duck blind and the water temperature has dropped to 60 degrees. Fish are feeding on the flat evidenced by their noisy swirls. Jiggets launches a Dock Waters Helix Worm toward one and lets the bait sink. He feels the line jump, reels in the slack and sets the hook on a fish way out on the flat. It jumps once, revealing itself to be a nice largemouth. Jiggets lands it and a Berkley hand-held digital scale reads 3.1 pounds. "Now that's what I'm talking about," says Jiggets with a big smile.

1:48 p.m. - On his next cast, Jiggets catches another bass on the Spider Grub. This one is slightly smaller on the hand-held at 2.3 pounds. The fish continue to break, but are moving away from the boat and duck blind toward deeper water.

2:00 p.m. - Jiggets is still casting the Helix Worm and has had several hits as it sinks, but no hook ups. He theorizes out loud that perhaps small stripers or white perch have moved into the area. He continues to follow the now dwindling instances of breaking fish toward deeper water. The gulls are moved elsewhere.

2:17 p.m. - Switches to casting crankbait.

2:29 p.m. - Sees school of fish in 22' on Garmin and sends down the drop shot.

2:43 p.m. - The sky is completely overcast and the weather turns colder. Ice begins to form in the rod guides. Jiggets is cold, but continues to fish. "Looks like we hit the tail end of a good feed," he comments between presentations with the drop shot.

2:57 p.m. - Jiggets moves the Gambler to a nearby main river point. The drop off is sheer on one side, from the bank into about 22'. He is casting the big Doc Waters Spider Grub. On his first presentation a 14" bass inhales the grub and he brings it boatside for release. On his next cast he catches another, same size, same lure. "Did you see the other two following that one?" he asked excitedly and casts back to the drop.

3:15 p.m. - The grub has been cast to the bank at least 20 more times with no takers. There is still no sign of the sun and it feels much colder that it is.

3:30 p.m. - Happy with our results, and not willing to put up with the cold any more, Jiggets and I agree to throw in the towel for a warm truck. By the time we are back at the ramp, it is getting dark and our fingers are numb.

The afternoon's total is two keepers of 5.4 pounds and two slotties. Jiggets admits he's not much of a clear water angler and says it was difficult to pattern the fish on Anna's hot side.

"If I had it to do over again, I'd wear warmer shoes and run around more on the big motor looking for schooling action like we found late," he notes with a broad grin.

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