The only bad part about a “secret weapon” lure is that eventually the secret gets out. Ask Oklahoma bass pro Chris Jones. He watched that happen with his favorite lure – a swim jig now known as the Mobster and soon available from BOOYAH Bait Company – when he used it to win a 2020 Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River in Oklahoma and then rode it to a third-place finish in the 2021 Bassmaster Classic last week on Lake Ray Roberts in Texas.
The Open win, which qualified Jones for this year’s Classic, coupled with Jones’ Classic success, brought national attention to the jig that Jones has been winning tournaments with for the better part of two decades.
The Story Behind the Mobster
The Mobster was created in the early 90s by the late Rick Short, a longtime tournament angler from western Arkansas. Short, who made his swim jigs at home and sold them locally, passed away a few years ago.
Jones and other members of the Muddy Water Mob convinced BOOYAH that this bait still needed to be made and modified Rick Short’s design to create the BOOYAH Mobster, with top-quality components, skirts and paint schemes.
The Muddy Water Mob is a group of Arkansas River specialists from Oklahoma and Arkansas and the namesake of the Mobster. Muddy Water Mob anglers, including Jones, were among the first to discover this swim jig’s virtues, and their success has kept demand high over the years.
“When you’re always catching fish on something, it gets hard to hide,” Jones said.
The Mobster excels because of its unparalleled ability to plow through all kinds of cover and because of its lifelike wiggling action, according to Jones. The Mobster’s head design and 30-degree line tie contribute to both. Other important features include pro-selected skirt colors, a double-wire keeper to securely hold trailers, a weed guard with optimal stiffness and an ultra-stout large hook.
“When I set the hook, they’re coming in the boat,” Jones said. “With that hook I’m not worried about getting fish out of cover. I’m boat flipping 6-pounders.”
Fishing the Mobster
Jones virtually always fishes the Mobster swim jig in or around cover, moving in it quickly to imitate fleeing forage fish and making presentations as erratic as possible. Specifics of color, size, trailer selection and whether he casts or pitches the bait depend on the forage, conditions and cover type.
A shad spawn was occurring at the Classic, especially on the first morning when Jones amassed his best catch. He fished with The Cleaner, which is all white, matched with a Pearl Silver Flake YUM Spine Craw and worked close to flooded bushes, pitching to every little hole he could get his bait into. He moved quickly, with short presentations, to hit as many holes as possible and to maximize time with his bait in the prime zone while the morning shad spawn remained active.
“The narrow profile of the Spine Craw was a perfect match and let me fish very quickly,” said Jones, who noted that he actually caught a few shad on his jig when they would bump the bait, trying to spawn with it!
At the Arkansas River Open, Jones used a color that is named Too Tall for him and includes blue, chartreuse, black and purple. It is his favorite color on the river any time bass are relating to bluegill, which is exactly what was happening. He matched the Mobster with a Blue/Black Shadow YUM Craw Chunk, cast or pitched it to water willow and worked it erratically through the vegetation to imitate a scared bluegill.
Jones likes a Craw Chunk when he wants extra bulk and when he wants to keep his jig higher in the water column.
For every situation, Jones fishes the BOOYAH Mobster on a Sixgill 7-3 medium-heavy rod, Sixgill Hamarr Series reel and 50-pound Vicious braid.
Jones said he has a Mobster swim jig tied on at least one rod about 300 days a year. Except through the dead of winter, it is part of his plan, and often it is Plan Number 1.
After the 2020 Open win Jones said, “I did what I’ve always learned to do on the river – swim a jig, swim it some more, and whenever they aren’t biting, you swim it some more.”
During the Classic he was thrilled for an opportunity to use the same the same lure that got him there and to fish the way he most likes to fish.
The BOOYAH Mobster will be available in early July. It comes in 5/16- and ½-ounce sizes and nine Muddy Water Mob colors: Grand, The Fuzz, Too Tall, The Cleaner, Tommy Gun, Shorty Small, The Numbers, Badabing and Enforcer.