On a hot July day in Knoxville, Tenn., Ott DeFoe was sorting and arranging his fishing tackle while preparing to go fish Bassmaster tournaments at Lake Champlain and the Deleware River.
An artificial lure that was definitely being packed was one that has been catching bass when the money was on the line for about the past 1 ½ years.
It’s the Terminator Weedless Football Jig manufactured for the Rapala VMC Corp. in Finland.
DeFoe, who has been fishing professionally since the early 2000s and has spent the last four years on the Bassmaster Elite tournament trail, said the shape of the football jig’s head and the way it is crafted is what makes it work so well.
The head features a flat spot on the front that makes it stand up on the bottom and adds extra action in the water when it is dragged slowly across the cover, which is how DeFoe prefers to fish it, he said.
“It’s a really good head design, the way it is shaped. It helps you keep it in control of the bottom,” said the pro, noting the angle of the eye enhances the preferred movement on the bottom. “Really, the biggest advantage is the shape of the head and the angle of the multi-fiber weedguard.
“Those are the biggest pluses of it over other football jigs. That’s the thing I like about this one that sets it apart from the others.”
DeFoe said he wasn’t involved with designing the new artificial jig. However, he added quickly, that it’s pretty much perfect.
“I can’t tell you anything I would have changed,” he said.
DeFoe used the predecessor, the Terminator Football Jig, religiously before Terminator came out with the new model it showed at the 2013 ICAST.
That original Terminator, he said, had no weedguard and was designed primarily for fishing around rocks.
With an open-hook design, very few, if any, fish were missed.
The 28-year-old Tennessean used the new, weedless model successfully this year to win the Bassmaster Northern Open on Tennessee’s Douglas Lake in May. Three of his five keeper bass fell for the weedless football jig on the competition’s opening day, and he boated other keepers that were instrumental to his victory.
“It’s definitely been a key for me in the events this year,” said DeFoe, who finished fourth this year in the Bassmaster Classic.
He appreciates the lure because it imitates a skittering crawfish, as well as a bluegill on the run.
He touted the custom VMC Wide Gap Hook, a heavy-duty piece of armament that polishes off the overall effectiveness. He has referred to it as a “meaty” hook.
“Man, it’s not extremely heavy wire, but it’s tough enough where it won’t straighten out the hook no matter what (line) you use,” he said. “If you get the jig in their mouth, you don’t lose many of them.”
DeFoe said he uses 30-pound-test braided line with a 15-pound-test fluorocarbon leader, usually starting with a 5-foot length and using it until it gets to about 2-feet long.
With that combination, he said, he can cast long distances and still achieve maximum hook-setting potential.
Also, he has said, it gives him a chance to wield a “little bit lighter-action rod. You feel everything that way.”
DeFoe moves the artificial jig with the tip of his fishing rod rather than his fishing reel handle. That way he can keep it connected with the bottom better. He also sweeps it to the side as if he is Carolina-rigging, he said.
The Terminator Weedless Football Jig comes in three sizes — ½-, ¾- and 1-ounce. The premium silicone rubber skirt comes in six colors, including green/pumpkin/orange, which is DeFoe’s favorite color. Black/blue ranks right up there for him, as well, he said.
For more information on the Terminator Weedless Football Jig, go to www.rapala.com.