Zoneloc On Tour: Alton Jones, springtime soft plastics
Dave Landahl Published March 6, 2017
Zoneloc pro Alton Jones loves fishing soft plastics. In fact, it's rare to see the deck of his boat not have some form of a soft plastic rigged and ready to go.
With the myriad of options available, Alton decided to narrow his choices down to three baits and techniques appropriate to rig on his favorite Zoneloc Wide Gap Magnum Worm Hook for springtime success in this week's Zoneloc on Tour.
Alton Jones (Joel Shangle/BassFIRST)
Carolina and critters.
"I love to fish the Carolina rig," said Jones. "I tend to fish it a little different than other anglers. I like to use a creature bait. My choice is the Yum Christie Critter. I rig it on a 5/0 Zoneloc Wide Gap Magnum hook. It's the perfect hook for this lure. I always rig those Tex-posed. That's where you push your hook all the way through and just skin-hook the tip so it gets a better hook up, but is still very weedless."
Jones fishes his Zoneloc Carolina rig in a slightly different location than most anglers.
"Most fishermen think of using a Carolina rig in deeper water," said Jones. "It works there for sure, but I like to use it in the shallows in the springtime. I will catch a lot of fish up shallow on this rig. It's ideal when your fish a row of docks. Put your flipping gear down and pick up the Carolina rig to fish in the stretch where there are no docks. Look for points or other hard bottom areas like seawalls.
"Use a heavy weight like a 3/4 or a 1-ounce. Since I'm fishing a good distance from the fish, I like the weight so it makes a splash in the shallows. This isn't pitching where the fish see you, so the natural instinct is to investigate the noise, the splash and then the heavy weight stirring up the bottom. It is a great big fish option. So simple, but so effective."
The Zoneloc bend locks bass on and helps you land more fish. (Joel Shangle/BassFIRST)
"One of my favorite soft plastic baits is the tube," said Jones. "I'm known to fish my Zoneloc hooks dressed with a Yum Dinger, but I feel there is no better all-around sight fishing lure than a tube.
"I prefer the Yum Vibra King Tube. It has a solid head and a ribbed body. I'll use a 4/0 Zoneloc Wide Gap for this bait. You need to match the hook size to the bait size so it fishes properly. I use a 1/8-to 1/16-ounce weight pegged. You want the lighter weight so the bait can glide or spiral. Also, you want a less noisy entry since this is used for sight fishing or flipping/pitching at visible targets."
"One of my favorite power finesse approaches with soft plastics involves a Yum Christie Craw," said Jones. "I rig the bait Tex-posed and have a ¼-ounce weight pegged in front. Looks like a normal pitching bait, but I don't fish it that way.
"I use it where most anglers are fishing spinnerbaits. Not in really muddy water, but under all other conditions. It's ideal for less aggressive fish when they follow your spinnerbait, or swim a jig and just swirl. You can often toss this in there and catch them.
"I've had days where I was catching only a few bass turn into days where I catch dozens just by switching to this approach. If the bass are biting a spinnerbait they'll usually bite this as good or better."
All three of Alton's techniques are fished with braid and a fluorocarbon leader.