Bobby Belmonte (pictured above on the right) is an Ontario angler that I have known from a previous site that I used to run. Bobby is a great angler who smashes largemouth and smallmouth bass. Bobby is a very proud user of The Perfect Jig company’s jigs. We focus in this interview on how Bobby goes about flipping The Perfect Jig for Ontario largemouth bass.
How was your 2017 fishing season?
My 2017 fishing season was awesome. I got to spend quite a bit of time on the water and was able to catch a handful of new species as well. Started fishing the hardwater and got a new love for fishing lakers and whitefish through the ice. I also did quite well in a few events with my partner Joey DiCienzo.
Highlights of the season would be catching my first 6 pounder, beating my personal best muskie and placing in the top 5 at the Peterborough Open on Rice Lake.
You are sponsored by The Perfect Jig. There are a ton of jig makers out there. What do you like about this company’s jigs?
Great Question, The Perfect Jig has always been a company I’ve been passionate about. The owner Brendan Knaggs is an awesome dude and I’ve worked with him for several years now. The main thing I love about the jigs, the quality. All the jigs are hand-made by Brendan himself who puts his own passion for the jigs into the production of them.
Each colour and style of jig is used for a different purpose. In fact, a lot of the colours created by Brendan were made by examining the tank of crayfish he owns himself and seeing how they change colour throughout the season. Its really interesting to see how much they change throughout the year. With all these options I can choose the exact colour and style of jig I want for the water that I’m fishing and for the bait/crawdad colour I’m trying to mimic.
I know you love to go flipping for big Ontario largemouth. What model of jig are you using from their lineup for flippin’?
I do love flipping for buckets. When I’m targeting largemouth the main jig I used last year was the Elite Jig in a variety of colours. The screw lock system it has allows you to screw your trailer tightly onto the jig and prevents it from pulling down countless amounts of times throughout the day which is an issue we’ve all dealt with. So if I’m fishing thick milfoil or flipping into heavy mats, my jig and trailer are going to stay together, continue to look presentable for the fish, and result in more bites. Things may change this year with the new Tungsten jig that was just released this season though, I’m expecting big things.
Do you flip all year around?
I don’t flip all year round. I wish I could but the fish don’t always want a vertical presentation bait. For early spring pike all the way into July once bass season opens, the main bait I throw is a swimjig. I find that with the lack of weed growth and the fact a lot of the fish are chasing baitfish, the swimjig is a much more effective bait until the thick cover grows in and the bass move to the bank. Once the fish move into those stumps, trees, docks, mats, lily pads and all the fun places we all love to pull them out of; then I pick up the flipping jig.
What are your favorite types of cover to flip in the Ontario waters you fish?
My favourite cover to fish now would have to be big fallen trees. They all look so good and I have caught and lost some of my biggest fish to date off of trees. The more limbs and deeper the tree sits in the water, the better.
When I pull up to one my game plan is to usually flip to the front first and work right to the bank from there. The more flips the better. I’ve caught big fish off of all kinds of structure on my 15th, 16th, 17th flip at it. Those big ones are smart and sometimes you have to force feed them.
What are your favorite weight sizes for flipping jigs?
In my box I have 4 sizes of jigs for Ontario, 3/8oz, 1/2oz, 3/4oz and 1oz. My favourite to use is 3/8oz jigs. I like when the fall isn’t super fast and that bait has some time to fall in front of the fish. I upgrade my size depending on wind. If its crazy out there, I’m using a heavier jig so I can constantly feel my bait while I’m fishing it.
Also depth is a factor. If I’m fishing shallow cover I can use a lighter jig. If I’m fishing deep weed I wont use anything lighter than a half ounce and that’s only if its calm out.
How about colors of The Perfect Jig for flipping?
When I’m choosing colour, I keep two things in mind. What are the fish feeding on and what is the water clarity like. If I’m in dirty water, black, white or a chartreuse jig are my go-to’s. However if I’m fishing stained or clear water, I will match the hatch and throw a jig that mimics the main forage for that lake, whether it’s perch, sunfish, dace or a crawdad pattern. Toss your first fish in your livewell and see what he spits up in 20 minutes.
What are your favorite trailers to use with The Perfect Jig when flipping?
For trailers, I use a perfect chunk or a perfect jig craw cut in half. I use the same trailers for most situations. Black matches with everything and always works well. Using the craw however allows your bait to fall a bit slower with the flapping claw action which I like when I’m wanting the jig to fall slower.
Do you try to match colors between jig and trailer?
For the most part I like my trailer to blend well with my jig. Using black a lot does this for me because it matches with everything. If the water is really dirty, a trailer with chartreuse on any colour of jig can be productive as well due to the chartreuse standing out very well.
What rod and reel combo is your favorite flipping stick?
My favourite flipping stick would have to be my 7 foot 6 inch Heavy Shimano Crucial paired up with a 7:1 gear ratio Shimano Curado, the old green one. Amazing quality and its caught me so many fish that it holds a special place in my heart.
Who are your other sponsors?
I also represent Rahfish, Edge Eyewear and most recently joined Team Liquid Mayhem. Rahfish apparel keeps me comfortable and stylish on and off the water. My Edge Eyewear Khor lenses are perfect for cutting glare and allowing me to see what i’m fishing for a reasonable price. Finally dabbing some Liquid Mayhem on my baits, including my jigs, stinks them right up, the fish love it and causes them to hold on to my bait for a split second longer so I can stick them and get em in the boat.
Thank you Bobby! Enjoy your upcoming season of flipping The Perfect Jig.