Jon first developed the original Bondy Bait out of a need for a heavy, balanced lure for vertically jigging the Detroit River for musky in the deep shipping channels. Every other bait on the market had problems when using them in that manner. Either they were too light and you couldn't feel the bottom on a choppy day, or the hooks tangled on the leader repeatedly because they were not made for jigging or they were such poor quality that they couldn't hold up to the beating a big fish would put on them. Jon set out to make the ultimate bait for this deep water style of jigging, and came up with what is now internationally known as the Bondy Bait.
Although Jon had originally made this lure for one purpose, anglers across the globe have been having tremendous success with it by adapting it to their own geographical area and local predatory fish species. Jon primarily vertical jigs the Bondy Bait in deep water with current, or casts the junior version in open water, but other anglers cast the bait and 'stair step' it down breaks and drop offs. It can be used for suspended fish like striped bass on a hot summer day, or it can be jigged for tarpon in places like Boca Grande Pass in Florida. The Bondy Bait has been extremely effective for giant lake trout in NWT and it was one of the number one baits for lake trout during the last few seasons on Lake Athabasca and other top lake trout lakes.
Jon has personally made and sold thousands of these baits and is working on new colors as anglers request them. New baitdesigns have been developed as well such as the Meal Ticket and '2.0', and as expected they are being made with the same high quality components as the original Bondy Bait. Please click on the 'Buy Online' pages to view the entire catalog.
How to use the Bondy Bait for deep river musky jigging
Jon likes to fish the bait primarily for musky, but as you can see from the photos on the home page it works great for any large predatory species. Here is an explanation on the correct way to jig the Bondy Bait for musky in current. Hopefully you can use these tips to adapt it to your own local style of fishing.
Using a bow mounted trolling motor, Jon Bondy vertically jigs the bait in heavy current by always aiming the bow of the boat into the wind, or if you are using a transom mounted trolling motor, by backing into the wind. The idea is to keep the bait, the current and your boat all going the same speed down the river. The stronger the wind, the higher the speed you have to set it on and the more you have to use it, just so you can stay straight up and down.
What can make matters difficult is that you usually need to drift along drop offs or breaks in the river to find the fish. Jon follows along breaks as he jigs and pays special attention to any turns or points along the drop. If the wind is blowing real hard, staying in a constant depth can sometimes be difficult. That is why having a trolling motor is key.
Instead of using 6"-12" hops as in walleye fishing, Jon makes exaggerated 3'-4' hops and lets the bait fall on a tight line so he can feel the bite. If you let the bait fall too quickly it will sink too fast, and the fish won't react to it like they will on a slow, longer arch. There are two main types of strikes when musky fishing, the first is one where the fish hits at the very peak of the lift. In this instance, the bite will feel like a hard tap and then the line will go completely limp. In this case, you must set the hook the best you can and then reel down very hard to catch up to the fish. A second hook set is beneficial because your initial attempt at setting the hook may have been mediocre due to the rod being at the top of the lift on the bite. The 2nd type of strike, and everyone's favorite, is when the fish just smash it nearly ripping your arm off. With this type of attack there is no mistake about the size of the fish, and this could happen at any time so you must always be ready.
The outfit Jon Bondy has been using most frequently in the last year is a Pflueger Trion 56 round reel spooled with 80lb Spiderwire Stealth and a Fenwick HMX 8' musky rod (model number HMXT 80MHC). Jon uses his own 200lb home made 14" leaders when jigging. The key is to use long rods, at least 7'6" models because the shorter rods don't have enough give to use when jigging braid and will often snap in half on the hook set, and also because the longer rods provide more room to 'sweep' upwards on the hook set. That longer sweep is what you need because 'catching' up to the fish after setting the hook is important and can sometimes be difficult.