Lake of Egypt 0011

Far off can be heard the muffled sound of traffic along the roadway.  Dawn breaks through the trees on this cold quiet morning.  Casting toward the weed beds that dot the north end of the lake, the quiet is broken.  No sooner does the jig hit the water than an aquatic explosion takes place.

Jig fishing for bass is a time-honored activity with tournament anglers.  Many others still have not mastered the technique.  However, it is a good tool for the late winter and early spring angler on Lake of Egypt.

The 2,300-acre Lake of Egypt power plant reservoir located in Williamson County about 7 miles southeast of Marion, Illinois has some 93 miles of shore and average a depth of 18 feet.  The deepest areas are probably about 50 foot in depth.

Known as a good bass lake, Lake of Egypt also contains good populations of crappie, catfish and bluegill.  The largemouth bass tend to average about 1 to 3 pounds with fish up to 12 pounds taken in past years.

Most bass tend to come from along the weed lines that grow to a depth of 12 feet.  The warmer northern end of the lake tends to develop weeds earlier in the year.  The power plant discharge can actually create warm water current that will run the length of the lake.  If the plant is discharging water, anglers check the drop-off in this warmer water.

Angler, Ish Monroe, professional angler on the BASS and FLW tournament trails, has some advice on fishing jigs.  He finds jigs particularly good during the spring.  However, he prefers to use them in the early spring months.

Monroe works his jigs slower in cold water and faster in the warmer water situations in response to the habits of the bass.  He fishes in shallow water as the bass move into it to spawn.  This is usually once the water has reached 52-degrees.

When casting, always strip out more line.  The slack line allows the jig to fall in a straight line rather than making an arc.  This makes for pinpoint accuracy when casting to specific structure.

Begin the retrieve slowly until you feel tension.  Once satisfied that the tension is due to a fish taking the lure, reel up the slack line.  Make a quick sweep and set the hook.

This technique works the year around.  Nevertheless, is most effective in the spring.  Bass feed heavily in the spring.  They need good cover for ambushing prey.  Examples of good cover include logs, stumps, lily pads, brush, weed and grass beds, bushes, docks, fencerows, standing timber, bridge pilings, rocky shores, boulders, points, weed line edges, creek beds, drop-offs, humps and islands.

The jig is versatile bait that is fished fast, slow, shallow and deep.  It works in gravel areas, in rocks as well as in the brush.  It works in any water, anywhere.  The jig is finesse bait and the bites are subtle.  You will miss some bites without some practice in recognizing the bite.

Light (5/16th ounce) jigs are combined with 10-pound line.  The lighter line gives the lure a better fall rate and the 10-pound line seems to be just the ticket for the light jigs.

Larger jigs that resemble crayfish are the favorite of some tournament anglers in competition.  Big bass eat big crayfish is the theory.  Bass feed on crayfish the year around if they can find them.

Boat docks are a good place to flip jigs.  The key to this technique is silence.  If you hit the dock or run your trolling motor too close to the fish, the chances are that you will not get bites.  Sneak up on those suckers.

Bass angling begins to pick up after the first of the year for those willing to brave the winter air temperatures.  Often the water is significantly warmer than the air.  If you are seeking an early season bass fishing opportunity, give try this one.


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