“The more action you add, the less fish you catch,” said Tennessee River guide and bass pro Jimmy Mason about working a YUM Money Minnow on a jighead. Mason has found that to be true whether he’s slow rolling a Money Minnow over offshore structure 30-feet deep in the middle of the summer or swimming it slightly faster in strong tailwater currents through the cool months.

The steady swimming action of a Money Minnow is just right, according to Mason, and experience has shown him that either pausing the presentation or twitching the rod to make that bait move more erratically is far more likely to turn a fish away than to trigger a strike.

From now through mid-Spring, Mason does most of his Money Minnow fishing in current, primarily in the tailwaters of Wheeler and Wilson dams in North Alabama. Smallmouths are the main attraction in those waters during the cool months, but Mason noted that the same basic approach will produce largemouths and spots in other waters.

Mason uses the 5-inch Money Minnow and rigs it on a ½- to ¾-ounce jighead that’s armed with a stout 5/O hook. He’ll normally start with the ½-ounce, but will upsize if the current is too strong to control the bait while swimming it close to the bottom.

The presentation is simple: Make a long cast across the current, reel slowly until the bait bumps bottom and then speed it up just enough to keep it up from the bottom. Mason tells clients to “parachute” the bait down, keeping the line tight and moving bait slowly so it swings down instead of just dropping.

“If you let it fall on a slack line, you’ll end up hung most of the time,” Mason said. His guideline for retrieve speed is that you want to feel bottom every 20 seconds or so. If you aren’t feeling it at all, your lure is most likely out of the prime strike zone. If you’re feeling it repeatedly, you’re about to get hung.

Mason’s ideal is to drift freely, in which case he directs clients to cast straight across the current so the boat and the lures move downstream at the same speed. Tailwater currents are complex through, so if the boat is an eddy or Mason is having to control the speed or direction of the drift with his trolling moto, casts might need to be angled upstream.

Fish normally slurp in Money Minnows when they bite, and with the big open hook and movement of the lure and current they pretty much hook themselves, so Mason advises just leaning into them, as opposed to doing a big hookset.

One note about fishing a Money Minnow in the current. It is indiscriminate, and anything that ever eats a big minnow is apt to bite. So while you might officially be bass fishing and bass might indeed dominate the catch, depending on where you are, any fish that hits could turn out to be a striper, hybrid, walleye, pike or something else.