August 24, 2015
VMC has created two unique finesse jigs. One is called the Gliding Jig Oklahoma. The other is the Gliding Jig Willow.
Each jig sports a 1/0 extra-wide-gap hook and a large eye-line tie. It is not made with lead. It is also endowed with a double-hook bait keeper that is constructed out of fine-gauge wire, and the bait keeper allows an angler to affix a soft-plastic bait to the Gliding Jig Texas-style. If an angler elects not to employ a soft-plastic bait, the bait keeper can be easily removed.
In essence, it is a jig and a spoon. During the retrieve, both of them flash, as well as radiate a vibration.
It is manufactured in two sizes: 1/8-ounce and 3/16-ounce.
It is available in the following colors: Antique Copper, Antique Gold, Antique White, Candy Black, Candy Red, Gold, and Silver.
An angler can purchase a package of two for $6.97.
On July 9, we had a telephone conversation about the Gliding Jigs with Mark Fisher of Nowthen, Minnesota. He is the director of field promotions at Rapala, talented tournament angler, and designer of the Gliding Jigs. We also exchanged several emails about the Gliding Jigs.
When we talked to Fisher and exchanged emails with him, we asked him nine questions. Here are those questions and his insights about how, when, and where he has used the Gliding Jig:
Q. Where have you used it?
Fisher: I have used it in shallow water in cold-water conditions and along deep weed-line edges in the summer.
Q. What size has been the most effective for you?
Fisher: The 1/8-ouncer is the most effective one when the bass are tentative and abiding in shallow water early in the spring. The 3/16-ouncer is the most effective once the bass become more aggressive and move into deeper water.
Q. How deep have you used it?
Fisher: I have used it in 14 feet of water.
Q. Does the Oklahoma Gliding Jig work better in deeper environs than the Willowleaf Gliding Jig?
Fisher: No, the Willowleaf is more effective than the Oklahoma Jig around the deeper lairs.
Q. What colors have been the most effective for you?
Fisher: The color concept of the Gliding Jig has three basic roles. The polished finishes, such as the gold and silver ones, replicate bait fish. The antique finishes emulate the natural water bug, such as the Lethocerus americanus. The remaining colors — Candy Black and Candy Red -- are subtle and unique, which bass are attracted to at times.
Q. What is the most effective presentation for both styles and sizes?
Fisher: The Oklahoma blade falls slower and gives a wider fluttering action, executing a side-to-side wobble. The Willowleaf blade drops faster and flashes harder as it rotates from side to side. Anglers can cast and retrieve both models the same way that they cast and retrieve a Texas-rigged shaky-head jig and soft-plastic worm or a mushroom-style jig and soft-plastic worm or a jig-and-tube combo. It can be dragged. It can be lifted and dropped.
Q. How many presentations do you use?
Fisher: My favorite way is to make long casts on shallow flats and rocky shorelines for smallmouth bass. My second favorite tactic is to ply deeper lairs along the outside edges and inside edges of patches of coontail, broadleaf cabbage, curly-leaf cabbage, tobacco cabbage, milfoil and other kinds of aquatic vegetation. When I retrieve it, I primarily use two presentations. One of them is executed by popping the rod tip and picking up the slack with the reel as the Gliding Jig falls after the pop. The second way is simply a steady and slow and swimming retrieve back to the boat.
Q. When you are retrieving it, what rod positions do you use?
Fisher: I use the same retrieve as I would use for most jigging situations. The tip of my rod will range from the three o'clock position to the one o'clock position. When I pop or lift it off the bottom, the rod is at the three o'clock position. Then I lift the rod to the one o'clock position. Once it reaches the one 0'clock position, I drop it back to the three o'clock position, and as I reel up the slack line, the Gliding jig flutters to the bottom.
Q. What size rods, lines, and leaders do you use for the different sizes and different applications?
Fisher: When I am fishing for smallmouth bass and making long casts on shallow flats and rocky shorelines for smallmouth bass, I used a medium-light-power spinning rod that is seven feet long. My reel is spooled with 10-pound-test Sufix Nanobraid. I tie a small swivel to the Nanobraid and a 12-inch leader, which is eight-pound-test Sufix 100% Fluorocarbon Leader. When I am pursuing largemouth bass along outside and inside edges of aquatic vegetation, I work with a medium-power spinning rod. My reel is spooled with 10-pound-test Sufix Nanobraid, and I tie a 10 pound-test Sufix 100% Fluorocarbon Leader, which 1s 12 inches long, to the swivel.
Q. Does one size and style work better with a trailer than the other?
Fisher: They all can be fished alone or without trailers for a variety of species and situations. However, when anglers add a trailer, they have to make sure to find a size and length for the trailer that will bring action to the trailer but not impede and over-power the unique and alluring gliding-action of the jig. For example, a three- to four-inch straight-tail finesse worm or a Zoom Bait Company's Super Fluke Jr. will not overwhelm the action and flash of the Gliding Jig.
During our conversation with Fisher, he suggested that we should get Randall Tharp's perspectives on the effectiveness of the Gliding Jigs. And on July 10, we had a telephone conversation with Tharp, who resides in Port St. Joe, Florida, and we garnered his observations about the Gliding Jig, which he has been field testing for nearly eight months. We also exchanged several emails with him in which he provided more insights.
Tharp is 46 years old, and his stellar career as a professional bass angler began in 2008. Across those eight years, he has competed on the PAA, Bassmaster, and FLW circuits, as well as the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. In 2014, he competed in 18 top-of-the-line tournaments, and in 2015, he elected to compete only on the Bassmaster Elite circuit, which is eight tournaments.
Here is an edited and condensed version of the telephone conversation and emails:
Straightaway in our conversation, Tharp heralded the Gliding Jig as a new genre, explaining that he has never fished with any bait that does what it does. He has used it in freshwater to catch largemouth bass and saltwater to catch redfish and spotted seatrout.
He has fished the Gliding Jig in Arizona, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.
He prefers to use the 1/8-ounce Gliding Jig around lairs that are covered with five feet or less of water, and he used the 3/16-ouncer in deeper applications.
His three favorite colors are antique copper, gold, and silver.
Tharp observed that not only does the Oklahoma Gliding Jig flutter more and fall more slowly than the Willowleaf one, but it also exhibits a spiraling action as it falls. The spiral is similar to the way Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, and late Bobby Garland used to employ a tube, which Tharp has found to be one of the many alluring attributes of the Oklahoma Gliding Jig.
He said both work well with a trailer or without one. He noted that a trailer changes the action of the Gliding Jigs, and he has found that it is critically important to use a small trailer that doesn't hamper the intrinsic action and vibration of the Gliding Jigs, which he described as part jig and part spoon, and a jewel of a finesse bait.
For trailers, Tharp has used a three-inch soft-plastic shrimp, a short soft-plastic finesse worm, and a small soft-plastic fluke-style bait, and each of these trailers exhibit a different action.
He describes the Gliding Jigs as being extremely versatile baits, which can be retrieved a variety of ways and speeds. But from his perspective, it is best not to over work it.
He said that he lets the fish dictate what size, what color, what trailer, and what style of the Gliding Jigs to employ.
He wields both styles and sizes of the Gliding Jig on a seven-foot, two-inch medium-power spinning rod. His reel is spooled with 10-pound-test braided line. To the braid, he affixes a fluorocarbon leader, and depending on the water clarity, location of the fish, and disposition of the fish, he will use a six-, eight- or 10-pound-test leader that is about six feet long. He uses a palomar knot to tie the leader to the eye of the Gliding Jig.
As the Gliding Jig is plummeting and spiraling to the bottom, he holds his rod at the two o'clock position.
He is eager to catch smallmouth bass on the Gliding Jigs at the Bassmaster Elite tournament at the St. Lawrence River, New York, on July 30-Aug. 2 and Bassmaster Elite tourney at Lake St. Clair, Michigan, on Aug. 27-30. And after those events, perhaps we can write an update to this gear guide that focuses on how and where he used the Gliding Jig.