Brett Hite started his 2014 season with exceptionally stout performances as he competed in two professional circuits. He dominated his first B.A.S.S. Elite Series event at Lake Seminole Florida in March competing as a 'rookie' with a thirteen pound margin. Earlier in February of this year on Lake Okeechobee, another Florida fishery, Hite fished his way to his fourth career FLW Tour victory. Coupling these wins with a 6th place finish at Lake Hartwell South Carolina, Brett Hite has been on fire!
It is no secret that one of Brett Hite's favorite techniques features a vibrating jig. Not long ago I had the opportunity to talk with him about the vibrating jig, also known as a chatter bait. While Hite leads the angler of the year in the FLW Tour I couldn't think of a better time to share his insights on one of his favorite ways to catch bass.
The Early Days
When the vibrating jig first made the bass fishing scene, 2005/2006, Bryan Thrift used this lure to win a FLW event on Lake Okeechobee. Shortly after Brett Hite recalls picking up a few vibrating jigs for a California Delta tournament. At the time he didn't really know how to use them effectively and his chatter bait cache soon found its way to an ignored storage spot in his garage.
Shortly after, while fishing with a buddy at Clear Lake who was using vibrating jigs, Hite and his friend had a great day catching bass. On that day Brett Hite gained confidence using 'vib jigs'. Most of us know what confidence can do for an advanced angler and Hite is certainly no exception. He took the vibrating jig and his new found assurance to an 2008 FLW event at Lake Toho Florida and won.
Hite explains that the vibrating jig shines in particular environments such as grass lakes like Toho. He characterizes the vibrating jig as having the combined qualities of a rattle trap and a spinnerbait. Producing vibration similar to a rattle trap but being more weedless than a spinnerbait when fished in aquatic vegetation.
Two weeks following his win at Toho Hite returned to the California Delta. The Cal Delta is also a fishery full of aquatic vegetation and with more mounting confidence he produced another win. After these back to back victories Hite knew he had a lure which was superior in and around submerged foliage but would soon learned that this lure also excels in other situations as well. Conditions with clear water, rocks, brush, you name it, Brett Hite calls this lure the 21st Century spinnerbait.
With a heavier vibrating thump than a spinnerbait Hite loves how a vibrating jig upon striking an object or when twitching a rod the lure will veer out of its retrieve line and then return back to its original tracking path. Just like a square bill crank bait he attributes this dynamic as triggering mechanism to entice bass to strike. He explains that vibrating jigs have cut corners on the lures leading plate and the result is the erratic action.
Brett Hite's favorite trailer is a Gary Yamamoto Swimming Senko but he notes that there are countless trailers that can be adapted to a vibrating jig, a Bass Trix, Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper, Zoom Fluke or a Double Tail to name just a few. He loves how this quality allows an angler to bring this lure to life.
On a large body of water such as Lake Mead Hite explains that you are not going to find fish in every cove so he uses the vibrating jig as a search bait. Once he locates that first bass he knows it is not the only fish there. So depending on the situation he may continue to use the vib jig or if circumstances require a change, he will slow down and fish other slower techniques such as a drop shot.
Time On the Water
Hite credits his success to hard work and time on the water. He will be the first to tell you that there is no substitute for time on the water. You can attend as many seminars as you like and listen to angler's like him talk about lures and techniques but you will never be successful until you get out on the water and do it for yourself. Being on the water fishing the countless variables and putting the time in searching, finding and catching bass is what builds confidence.
"Time on the water is crucial", says Brett Hite. You will learn from not only successful days but also failures. When competing against one hundred and forty nine excellent anglers Hite strives to put in as much time as possible during practice. By maximizing his practice and spending quality time on the water Hite feels this puts him in the best position to be able to fish in the moment and adapt to the inevitable changes that are going to occur during tournaments.
During practice you may have clear windy conditions and do well catching with top water techniques. The tournament starts and on day one its hot sunny and calm and now maybe, unlike practice, you need to present a worm or some other slower tactic. Hite says it may seem simple to say but until you have been through all types of conditions it's very difficult to trust your instinct and make the necessary adjustments. Having the ability to seize the moment, is something that doesn't come easily or quickly especially at high level competition.
The One Thing
Brett Hite explains that when listening to advice from experienced anglers such as himself you must use critical thinking, you can accept the pointers given but adapt them to your style of fishing. Everyone fishes differently so the goal is not to 'carbon copy' the information but learn how to apply it to how you fish. Within any given discussion there may be only one piece of advice that's useful to any given angler. So when you gather all these 'bits and pieces' of instruction you have to put it all together and at the end of the day 'catch your fish'.
All the great advice Brett Hite has given us applies to so much more than tournament fishing. So if you just having fun on the water or in a local event, Hite's guidance will make your trip to the lake a success. I can't help but notice the parallels within Hite's advice and the lessons of the Big Bass Zone. I want to thank Brett Hite for taking time to speak with the readers here at the BBZ and wish him continued success out on the tournament trail.