Hallman’s Favorite Bait – FLW Fishing: Articles

Little Brown Jig

November 7, 2018
 by Jody White

We all have favorite baits. Usually, they develop over time due to a level of comfort with the technique, some signature successes and that extra feel of confidence when you can lock it in your hand. For some, it’s a topwater. If you’re from Florida, it might be a big jig or a punching rig. If you grew up on the Tennessee River, you might cherish a deep-diving crankbait or a swimbait.

Bradley Hallman’s favorite bait is a “Little Brown Jig.”

Learning the bait

Hallman’s “Little Brown Jig,” or LBJ, is an Eakins Jig. It’s a bait that grew out of the Ozarks, and is essentially just a small ball-head jig with the skirt trimmed off on the front.

He got his initial education on the bait one winter day in 2004. Back then, Hallman paid $40 to enter a pro-am tournament on Table Rock as a co-angler. His goal was to learn the LBJ.

“I went up to Missouri and I drew Jim Eakins,” says Hallman. “I showed up that morning and Jim didn’t know who I was, and I showed up to his boat with one rod and no tackle, except for a bag of jigs in my pocket — that’s all I had. I knew he wouldn’t do anything else; that’s what I came up there for. I was hoping to draw him or somebody like Kelly Power.

“I fished with him that day, and I didn’t fish that much. I watched a lot,” recalls Hallman. “He had a really good day, catching them on docks in 30-foot of water on Table Rock with a Little Brown Jig. Fast-forward nine months later, I was leading going into day three of a BASS Open, my second Open I’d ever fished, on Lake Norfork, doing the same thing with a Little Brown Jig.”

The specs

There are endless permutations to bass jigs, but Hallman’s favorite is pretty simple: a homemade ball-head jig that rings in at roughly 5/16 or 3/8 of an ounce. A buddy makes them for him, and he uses a stock of square rubber skirt material that Hallman purchased for personal use before it came off the market. Hallman likes eyes on the jig, prefers a hand-tied skirt for skipping ease and always trailers it with a piece of a Zoom Speed Craw.

It’s almost exactly an Ozark original.

“I do change the hook in it,” reveals Hallman. “The original Eakins had a lighter wire hook in it. They were fishing them 20 or 30 feet deep on 10-pound-test line, and you can’t get a big hook in those fish. You can’t bring that same hook down to Texas. This jig works real good on Lake Tawakoni, but I’ve also lost 7-pounders in two foot of water on it. That lighter hook will flex out on really big ones.”

Hallman’s setup is very straightforward and perfectly designed to skip and feel the small jig. For his rod, he’s always using a Falcon LowRider finesse jig rod, which is 6-feet, 10-inches and has a fairly soft action.

“This rod was custom designed for this jig, many, many years ago,” says Hallman. “This rod is built so that it skips really well; it has a lot to do with your casting accuracy and the ability to feel and get bites.”

For line, he usually uses 15-pound-test fluorocarbon, but will vary between 10- and 20-pound-test depending on the conditions.

Fish it everywhere

Though Hallman first learned how to use his LBJ under very specific conditions, his love for it is based on how frequently he can apply it around the country.

“It’s a very versatile bait,” says Hallman. “I used it a lot at Grand Lake. We skip it around docks, we skip it behind docks. It’s obviously the same size as the crawfish in the Ozarks. Then we started moving around in Oklahoma. It’s very versatile in this region of the country, Arkansas, Oklahoma, the Ozarks.

“And then it works other places too,” Hallman continues. “It works on the Tennessee River in certain places. I actually finished second to Ramie Colson in an FLW Tour event on a Little Brown Jig on Wheeler in the springtime.”

Hallman narrows it down to one or two factors.

“Basically, what it boils down to is if it’s a rock lake with very little grass, or you’re not fishing grass-oriented fish, that Little Brown Jig plays very well,” says the Oklahoman. “Edwin [Evers] knocked it off and won the Classic with it, and I believe Gerald Swindle basically claimed his AOY in 2016 came on a little ball-head jig.”

The original technique

Like most jigs, you can apply the LBJ a lot of ways. Hallman basically always keeps one on the deck. Back in 2004, on a winter day in Missouri, he learned how to fish it on deep docks from a master.

Fishing docks in anywhere from 10 to 30 feet of water, the technique is fairly simple on the surface. You pitch to the back of a stall, peel line off so the jig falls straight and then subtly work it back a short distance. In all, one pitch might take 30 seconds to fish.

“It’s something you do when the fish are real sluggish, be it in the wintertime or the summertime,” says Hallman. “What I’m looking for is the fish that are related to the shade of the docks, which you can only do on real clear-water impoundments where the shade can penetrate 20 or 30 feet deep. That’s the thing that took me a while to learn. What you’re doing is trying to fish the shade, but on the bottom.”

Done right, you can still load the boat today, all on a Little Brown Jig that Jim Eakins perfected in the mid-90s.


November 19, 2019

Check-in Time: Bradford Beavers

by Kyle Wood

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with South Carolina pro Bradford Beavers.  READ MORE »

November 18, 2019

Why You Should Crank Current Breaks Now

by Curtis Niedermier

“It’s almost like a wintertime pattern already,” Salzman says. “It’s kind of interesting. Because it’s been so hot and then so cold, the fish kind of got into the mouths of the creeks this year and never fully pushed into them. The majority of the bait is on the main lake on every lake in Alabama. The water temp was falling so quickly that the back bays were too cold, so the most stable water is on the main lake.” READ MORE »

November 18, 2019

2020 FLW Pro Circuit Schedule and Details

Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), announced today the full details, including rules, entry dates, schedules and the location for the 2020 Championship. The circuit will feature a field of 150 pro anglers competing across seven regular-season tournaments, which culminate to the FLW TITLE. A new event, the TITLE will showcase the top 50 pros from the FLW Pro Circuit regular season as they compete for an $820,000 purse. READ MORE »

November 18, 2019

FLW Marshal Registration Now Open

How would you like to experience the FLW Pro Circuit on the water with the world’s top bass anglers fishing for the sport’s biggest payouts? Now you can. Registration for the FLW Marshal program opened today for anyone who participated in the Marshal program last season. New Marshals can sign up beginning on Friday, Nov. 22.   READ MORE »

November 13, 2019

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

by Jody White

Wintertime and late fall fishing can be super fun, especially up north, when smallmouths are often fat and fairly grouped up. However, it’s not the time of year when you want a ton of rods on deck, and having a confidence bait or two is a must. For Casey Smith, the go-to winter weapon is super simple: a little bitty swimbait on a jighead. READ MORE »

November 11, 2019

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

by Jody White

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

November 11, 2019

2019 BFL AOY Winners

The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) has long been one of the hardest-fought grassroots tournament circuits and the breeding ground for future pros and local legends. With five tournaments in each division, anglers have to contend against the best in their local area, often fishing against full-time guides or local anglers with dozens of tournament wins to their name on a given body of water. As such, winning the season-long Angler of the Year title in one of the 24 divisions is a monumental feat, something that only a couple BFL anglers have done more than a few times. READ MORE »

November 8, 2019

Check-in Time: Jeremy Lawyer

by Kyle Wood

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Missouri pro Jeremy Lawyer.  READ MORE »

November 7, 2019

Adrian College Wins School of the Year

The bass-fishing club at Adrian College is the best in the country, capping off the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing season in first place overall with 2,350 points, and earning the team the title of 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National School of the Year.  READ MORE »

November 5, 2019

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 4 Airs Wednesday

Join FLW for a watch party for the premiere of Episode 4 of Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire. The episode will air Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. CT. READ MORE »

November 5, 2019

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

by Jody White

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.   READ MORE »

October 29, 2019

Olson Scouts Cumberland

by Jody White

At just 19 years old, Lane Olson is fishing in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Were he from Alabama or Texas or any number of other southern states known for their bass fishing, that wouldn’t be too surprising. But Olson is schlepping all the way to Kentucky from Oregon, where he finished second in the Western Division Angler of the Year standings, missing out on the top spot by just one point. READ MORE »

October 27, 2019

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

by Jody White

Davidson, a West Virginia native, qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship out of the Northern Division and has fished the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division quite a bit. He’s spent a lot of time on Cumberland and nearby Dale Hollow in the cooler months. As such, he’s one of a handful that pundits are definitely keeping an eye on heading into the championship, and he was kind enough to let me tag along for part of the second practice day on the Kentucky reservoir. READ MORE »

October 26, 2019

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

by Jody White and Rob Matsuura

The ninth largest reservoir in the U.S., Lake Cumberland is a perfect stage for the Costa FLW Series Championship. Home to all three bass species and over 1000 miles of shoreline, the lake can swallow up a big field with relative ease, and with the fall bite starting to pick up in earnest and the water level lower than usual, the fishing should be pretty good. READ MORE »

October 25, 2019

FLW Live Schedule for Costa FLW Series Championship

FLW Live is back for the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky. The event will feature daily weigh-in broadcasts, as well as the full FLW Live studio broadcast, with live feeds from top anglers’ boats, on the final two days. READ MORE »

October 24, 2019

2020 FLW Series Schedule and Details

Major League Fishing (MLF) and Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) recently announced the expanded 2020 FLW Series details, schedules, rules, entry fees and payouts. READ MORE »

October 24, 2019

2020 T-H Marine BFL Schedules and Details

Major League Fishing (MLF) and Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) recently announced the 202 BFL details, schedules, rules, entry fees and payouts. READ MORE »

October 24, 2019

2020 FLW Series and BFL Details

Major League Fishing (MLF) and Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) announced today the expanded 2020 FLW Series and T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) details, schedules, rules, entry fees and payouts, highlighted by lower entry fees in both circuits and an expanded FLW Series schedule, along with upping the FLW Series Championship payout to $200,000 for first place and adding a $10,000 bonus for the highest-finishing pro from each of the eight U.S. FLW Series divisions and the International Division. READ MORE »

October 22, 2019

Ebare Eyes Strong Finish

by Justin Onslow

Ebare loves to fish. A lot. And he’s fished in 20 FLW events so far in 2019. His 21st will be the Costa FLW Series Championship at Lake Cumberland at the end of October, at which he hopes to earn his first win in FLW competition. READ MORE »

October 21, 2019

Floyd Cashes in on Guntersville

by Justin Onslow

Last weekend, Floyd added to his already lengthy list of accomplishments with a T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional victory on Lake Guntersville – the tournament was presented by Mercury – with a 44-pound, 15-ounce three-day total, and it all came down to consistency and some really good decision-making. READ MORE »


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