UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Okeechobee

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Using Chunks Doesn’t Make Me a Dinosaur

(photo by David A. Brown)

I’m 48 years old, but until a month ago I didn’t realize that made me a dinosaur. Well, I at least felt like a dinosaur a few times while I was conducting a seminar at the Costa FLW High School Fishing Summer Camp at Kenlake State Park. My age showed again when I competed with a couple of local high schoolers in the FLW Foundation Marshall Strong charity tournament on Kentucky Lake.

And no, I didn’t feel that way because I’m not familiar with the latest Googan Squad video. It was because I still use chunk trailers. How 1990, right?

The situation started at camp, when I was describing some of the ways I store my soft plastics to a few student participants. One of the tackle boxes I showed them was a “big box of chunks” I keep in a deep Plano StowAway that dates back to when I made the T-H Marine BFL All-American in Huntington, W.Va, in the late ’90s. I met my good friend Andy Morgan at that tournament, back before we could ever be considered dinosaurs, when he and I were both budding tournament pros and fans of the Zoom Chunk and its many iterations. When I saw how many types of chunks and colors that Morgan had with him in his boat, I knew I needed to expand my collection. Hence the big box of chunks I now carry.

When I showed that box to the students, I got some unexpected reactions.

“Wow, you must like chunks,” one of them said.

“Why do you have so many chunks?” another asked. “We never fish chunks.”

Even fellow FLW Tour pro Cody Kelley, who joined me at the seminar and isn’t that much younger than me, chimed in.

“You sure like those old-school chunks,” he said.  

Old school? You’re hurting my feelings.

I got the same reaction from my high school teammates at the charity tournament on Saturday after camp. They were fishing other more modern creature and craw trailers on their jigs, and I was plugging away with my classic Zoom Chunks.

“Why do you throw chunks,” one of them asked me.

I tried to explain that when I was his age, all we had were pork trailers and eventually chunks. They’ve worked for 35 years, and they still work now.

He seemed skeptical. I explained that, in late summer, a chunk is a great jig trailer because the fish like to suspend, and the right chunk can really slow the sink rate and get those suspended bass to bite. I told them they should always be prepared after the cast to set the hook as soon as they picked up on the jig. Those fish will eat it on the fall … if the presentation is right.

I wasn’t making much progress convincing my younger tournament partners until I did exactly as I described. I made a cast, picked up on my line and felt what turned out to be a 4 1/2-pounder swimming away with it.

Awhile later, I did the same thing on a 5 1/2-pounder as my jig tumbled over the limb of a brush pile.

I guess young folks learn better by example, because by the end of the day everyone in my Ranger was fishing a chunk on the back of his jig. We ended up weighing in 17 pounds, 8 ounces and finishing fourth. We didn’t earn any money, but we helped out a great cause, and I like to think I taught those boys a lesson that can help them improve their jig-fishing skills.

So what is it about a chunk that makes it such a great option as a jig trailer? For me, it’s all about the ability to customize a jig presentation. Chunks, while they lack a lot of flapping, fluttering action, contribute to a nice gliding presentation on the fall. By choosing the right size and style of chunk, I can really dial in the sink rate. I like that feature.

In clear water, I really like my jig to sink quickly. It gives bass less time to study the bait and spot that it’s not a real meal. In dirty water, I want to slow down my presentation so fish can find it. I also like it to sink slowly in cold water, when bass aren’t too aggressive.

I can go either way by choosing the right chunk. A big, meaty chunk like the Zoom Big Salty Chunk or Super Chunk has broad appendages and a lot of plastic in its profile, and that creates drag in the water that slows the descent. A smaller option, such as the Zoom Super Chunk Jr., encounters less resistance. Of course, you can further dial in the presentation by adjusting jig size. It’s all about finding that “just right” balance.

A bigger chunk is also my preferred choice for skipping docks. That broad, flat surface acts like the flat face of a good skipping stone.

This is all stuff that those of us who’ve been around the fishing block started figuring out back in the days of the Uncle Josh Pork Frog. That was the original jig trailer, but it had its drawbacks. If you left it out on the deck too long in hot weather, the pork dried out. Or if you spilled the salty brine out of the jar it came in, you couldn’t replicate the effects of the brine with just any old water. Plus, not all Pork Frogs were the same. We used to open jars in the tackle shop and peek at the pork inside to see which ones were trimmed just right. Fishing life was tough in those days …

After the Pork Frog, we eventually got more jig trailer options. There was the Gene Larew Salty Craw, and then, when Guido Hibdon won the Classic with a Guido Bug, his trailer became the hot ticket.

When Zoom’s plastic Chunk came out, it really just opened things up for us. You didn’t have to worry about your pork drying out. You had good flexibility. They were all really consistent. I, like many, was won over.

I suppose that’s similar to how it is today. Every year, a new latest-and-greatest jig trailer comes out that everyone wants to fish. They all advertise more action and better action and on and on. But that doesn’t mean they should replace what has and always will work. Besides, action isn’t what I’m looking for in every situation.

I use a more modern craw or flapping trailer with moving pincers in May and June, when fish are usually very aggressive. I also like a twin-tail bait or something similar when dragging a football jig, which stays on the bottom during the retrieve.

I go back to the chunk when the presentation involves a jig not glued to bottom. That applies to casting jigs early in the year when the water is cold, or in dirty water or when they’re suspended along edges and brush. A chunk is often my choice for swimming a jig, because the flat surface helps me keep the bait up. I also use one on a flipping jig, or for pressured fish that are more likely to eat a jig with a trailer that’s not flapping all over the place.

My last bit of advice relates to colors. I don’t carry many jig colors. Black and blue or green pumpkin cover a lot of scenarios, with a couple others for specific situations. Yet I can manipulate my color profile by keeping all sorts of chunk colors on hand. A black or black and blue chunk will darken the profile. Green pumpkin chartreuse lightens it up. Sapphire blue is very bold and has a lot of applications too. You get the point: Carry fewer skirt colors and more chunk colors to expand your range.

It seems ironic to me that, when I was coming up in the sport, the problem we had was not having enough options. That slimy pork was the best thing out there. Today, young anglers almost suffer from the opposite: fishing tackle overload. There are thousands of soft plastics and hundreds of jig trailers. I now understand why the simple chunk might go overlooked. I just don’t think it should. I’m not saying it’s the one and only, but it certainly has its place. 

After all, they’ve bit it for 35 years, and they still bite it today.

 

Tags: pro-tips-weekly  terry-bolton  blog 

/tips/2019-01-18-get-more-out-of-guide-trips

Get More out of Guide Trips

Guide trips are great opportunities to learn about bass fishing and to have an enjoyable day on the water without the pressure of having to find fish and figure out patterns on your own. I highly recommend them, especially if you’re sitting around during the offseason with nothing much to do. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-beight-rings-in-marshal-program-in-big-way

Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Timmy Beight won the FLW Tour Sam Rayburn Marshal prize after marshaling for Jordan Osborne and Terry Bolton. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-15-top-10-patterns-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Fishing crankbaits, Carolina rigs and drop-shots around flooded hydrilla for Sam Rayburn Reservoir largemouths dominated the top 10 at the FLW Tour opener. Check out the top 10 patterns feature to learn more about effective patterns for working grass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-14-kentucky-s-bolton-wins-flw-tour-at-sam-rayburn-reservoir-presented-by-polaris

Kentucky's Bolton Wins FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Polaris

BROOKELAND, Texas – After fishing the FLW Tour for 23 years, competing in his 168th career event, Rapala pro Terry Bolton of Benton, Kentucky, finally got it done. Bolton earned his first career victory in a dramatic final-day weigh-in Monday at the FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Polaris after bringing a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 6 ounces to the scale. Bolton’s... READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-12-kentucky-s-bolton-holds-lead-on-day-three-of-flw-tour-at-sam-rayburn-reservoir-presented-by-polaris

Kentucky’s Bolton Holds Lead on Day Three of FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Polaris

BROOKELAND, Texas – It was more of the same Saturday on Day Three of the FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented Polaris – big limits, big bass and big smiles from tournament leader Rapala pro Terry Bolton of Benton, Kentucky. Bolton weighed a solid five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 10 ounces to maintain his lead heading into Championship Sunday in the tournament... READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-12-sam-rayburn-day-3-coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of day three at the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-11-kentucky-s-bolton-vaults-into-lead-after-day-two-of-flw-tour-at-sam-rayburn-reservoir-presented-by-polaris

Kentucky’s Bolton Vaults into Lead after Day Two of FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Polaris

BROOKELAND, Texas – Rapala pro Terry Bolton of Benton, Kentucky, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Friday weighing 33 pounds, 9 ounces, to vault to the top of the leaderboard on Day Two of the FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented Polaris after starting the day in 10th place. Bolton’s two day total of 10 bass weighing 54-3 will give him a 5-pound, 15-ounce... READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-25-martin-s-final-prep-for-the-2019-tour

Martin’s Final Prep for the 2019 Tour

Getting mentally prepared is the biggest thing for me. There’s a process, and it has to be done. Everything has to be ready so when I roll into Texas to start practice for Sam Rayburn on Jan. 6 I know exactly where every piece of tackle is stowed and exactly how every piece of equipment works and exactly what I need to accomplish to support my sponsors and keep my own media  projects on schedule. Sometimes the preparation goes into panic mode, like I’m in hyperventilate mode or something, but that’s just part of it. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-21-life-between-seasons-for-a-pro-angler

Life Between Seasons for a Pro Angler

As busy as a Tour pro stays from August until December, getting things lined up for the following year, I still find time to relax a bit. Like most fishermen, I also enjoy passing time in the fall and winter by going hunting.   READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-19-how-to-catch-winter-spotted-bass

How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

Some of the best fishing of the year in the South occurs on the reservoirs with spotted bass in Georgia and the Carolinas. As a guide on Lake Lanier, FLW Tour pro Rob Jordan is adept at staying on the spots all winter. He knows when to fish deep or go shallow, and how to apply a jigging spoon, jig, underspin and crankbait to take full advantage of the opportunities. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-14-how-to-fish-umbrella-rigs-for-bass

How to Fish Umbrella Rigs for Bass

Castable umbrella rigs, also called Alabama rigs or A-rigs, were first deployed in tournament bass fishing by Paul Elias in the 2011 FLW Tour Open on Lake Guntersville. Since then, they’ve garnered a lot of controversy and caught a lot of bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-12-meet-the-latimers

Meet the Latimers

I know everyone isn’t in the same situation, but personally, I wouldn’t want to try to be a pro angler and not have kids or a family. I got married in 2008, and I fished the EverStart FLW Series the first year I got married. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-10-sinking-a-staysee-for-winter-bass

Sinking a Staysee for Winter Bass

Fishing late and early in the season is often challenging. Because the water is cold, it can take a lot more patience to find fish or to coax them into biting. If you truly want to put your patience to the test, you might consider fishing a jerkbait ultra-slow. If you want to try for superhuman patience, you might want to fish a jerkbait like Cody Murray. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-05-hallman-s-5-go-to-baits-for-new-lakes

Hallman’s 5 Go-To Baits for New Lakes

Deciding how best to figure things out on a new lake is one of the toughest challenges Tour pros and regular anglers alike encounter. Sometimes familiarity with the style of lake makes it easy, but other times you eventually need to stretch well outside of your comfort zone. Bradley Hallman has had success all over the country, and he’s got a stable of baits that he likes to rely on early in the process of breaking down a new lake. Your starting baits might be a little different, but Hallman’s approach to new water is worth considering. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-02-how-bryan-thrift-catches-winter-bass

How Bryan Thrift Catches Winter Bass

You might not always catch bass as well as Bryan Thrift, but in early December you sure can fish like him by throwing the same three baits he usually has tied on when he’s out fishing in the winter. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-30-create-a-base-list-of-go-to-baits

Create a Base List of Go-To Baits

Every season, my garage goes from organized to absolute chaos as I come and go from one tournament to the next. By the time I empty out my boat in the fall to sell it, I wind up with a mountain of tackle that needs to be dealt with. It needs to be culled, cleaned up, organized, re-stocked or replaced so it can be packed into my new boat, organized in the garage or stowed in my truck bed camper, keeping in mind all the lakes and reservoirs the FLW Tour will be visiting from January through August. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-30-cecil-s-shallow-cranking-menu

Cecil’s Shallow Cranking Menu

You can get by with a favorite crankbait or two for a lot of situations, but expanding your arsenal might not be a bad thing either. For cranking less than 6 feet deep, Cecil has six main baits he relies on, with a slightly different application for each. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-28-webster-s-late-fall-scenarios

Webster’s Late Fall Scenarios

By Late November across the country, a lot of people have switched their focus from chasing bass to watching football and going hunting. Certainly, this time of year can lead to some hit or miss fishing, but don’t give up just yet. As the doldrums of winter creep closer, FLW Tour pro Joseph Webster has a simplistic, yet efficient approach to putting bass in the boat. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-27-how-to-fish-buzzbaits-for-bass

How to Fish Buzzbaits for Bass

Buzzbaits are old-school topwater lures that are simple to fish and deadly effective in the right situations. They’re relatively weedless and are great for fishing fast and covering water. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-26-carolina-rigging-with-castledine

Carolina Rigging with Castledine

Todd Castledine has long been one of the most fearsome anglers to fish against in Texas. The Nacogdoches pro is good at nearly everything, particularly sight-fishing, but one of his secret weapons is undoubtedly a Carolina rig. From using it for finding offshore structure to catching finicky bass, he’s almost always got one or two tied up on the deck of his Ranger – and you should too. READ MORE »