Jig Fishing For Bass|
Rob Gleason (Robbie G)
Catch-N Tackle & Bio Bait
You hear the term fishing a jig at every bass tournament you see on TV. Most of the time it is from people that place in the top 10. If you ask the pros many will say that jigs are the way to catch the big fish they need to win a tournament. If you have ever watched ESPN on Saturdays it is common to see great pros like Gary Klein and Denny Brauer exclusively fish jigs on their way to a paycheck.
Jig fishing is very versatile. You can skip them under docks, fish them around downed timber, work them on a deep mid lake hump, drop them threw thick milfoil. Well you get the point. A jig can be fished anywhere and anytime. Jigs come in many different styles and weights. I like to fish a lighter jig if I am dock fishing or running shallow timber. ¼ oz or 3/8 oz is my preference their. If I am fishing the thick milfoil I have fished jigs as heavy as 1 ½ oz to penetrate the top layer of milfoil to get down to where the fish are. Also as a rule of thumb the deeper you are trying to fish the heavier the jig to use.
There are many different styles of jigs out there. I personally like to use Hildebrandt's JigZilla or Strike King Pro Model Jig I like the design of these jigs for the way I fish. There are many jig makers out there so dont be afraid to experiment and find the ones you like. On some of my jigs I will add some bear hair or bucktail. The reason I do this is it slows the fall. Normally bass will hit the bait on the fall. By slowing it down it gives them a little bit longer to inhale my jig. You can also buy jigs with these types of things added if you dont want to tie your own on. Also many jigs are now coming with rattles. Rattles make a nice fish attractant and can really trigger some bites. They also can help bass locate your bait in really stained water.
The second part to jigs is the trailer. I have always fished my jigs with pork until the last year or two. In my opinion Uncle Josh Pork makes the best pork trailers. Also now there are all kinds of plastic trailers out there today. Some I have tried and liked include Yum chunks and Strike King 3x trailer. Now comes the part that excites me the most for the upcoming bass season. I cant wait to try Catch-N Tackle Companys Super Do and 3 Kick-N Craw as trailers. I know what you are thinking just another Pro Staff guy trying to pitch products. That is not the truth. These plastics will help me, and if you try them yourself, put fish in the boat. The reasons being that the Super Dos tentacles are so lifelike and simulate crayfish so well. Just the smallest twitch of the bait and those tentacles are flying around giving the impression of an injured baitfish and a quick easy meal for hungry bass. The Kick-N Craw looks and acts like a real crayfish in the water. If you would compare the looks of it against many other products that simulate crayfish you will be pleasantly surprised at how close the Kick-N Craw really is too a real crayfish. Also the Kick-N Craw is ribbed so it is going to give off some vibration to help you attract fish. In a high pressure or finicky fish situation these little things can make a world of difference.
I cut most of the skirts back on my jigs just to end of the hook. This makes the bait look more life like when you tip it with a trailer. It also does not allow the skirt to hide the profile of your trailer. I like to fish my jigs with a little bit heavier line and a rod with a nice strong backbone. This allows me to bury the hook when the fish hits and haul the bass from the thick stuff. If you have ever caught a 3# bass in thick milfoil you know exactly what I mean. More times than not I use bait casting gear. I feel that with practice the accuracy you can achieve with a bait casting setup is unmatched. I personally like Pflueger reels but there are many out there.
When I am jig fishing I fish it many ways. I will swim it. By swimming it I treat the jig as if I am slow rolling a spinner bait. Cast it out and slowly swim it back to the boat. You can vary this pattern by bringing it back faster or stopping and dropping the bait towards the bottom. A lot of times it is the variation that will make the bass hit the bait. The other variation I use is what I call a pitch and twitch. I throw my jig out and let it sit for a second. I will slowly twitch or hop the bait back to me never letting it get more than a few inches from the bottom. When it is resting on the bottom I will also twitch it to give it the appearance of a craw. This has worked great for me around docks, timber, and rock piles.
When I am penetrating milfoil I look for areas that I know hold fish. Inside turns, indents in the weed lines, points, etc. I make sure I can fish a jig that is heavy enough to penetrate the top layer of the milfoil. If you have ever looked at a milfoil patch it is usually always thickest at the top where the plant gets more sunlight and oxygen. That thick top creates a canopy. The bass love that canopy for a few reasons. Number one it gives them a place to hide and ambush food. Your minnows and other food that bass eat love to hide in the weeds. Secondly it gives them a break from the sun. A bass is able to stay under that canopy where the water temp is not going to get affected by the sun. It provides a great barrier for them. I also look for pockets in the milfoil. By pockets I mean open areas where the milfoil is thin at the top. It creates an area that looks like a hole. These areas are prime ambush points for bass. After pitching my jig out there I like to give it a few extra seconds to make sure it gets to the bottom. That milfoil is thick and it will hold up your bait some so the extra time can be crucial. I will then slowly hop the jig back to the boat letting the line cut through the milfoil on the way back to the boat. I never get the jig high enough to get into the thick milfoil. That way it does not have easy access to the thick stuff and is less likely to foul on you.
Remember bass will usually hit your jig on the fall. Many times you will just feel a thump. Dont be afraid to set the hook on anything you may think is a bite. Hook sets are free! Also dont get discouraged if jig fishing is a challenge at first. I personally hated it. I thought it was something for the fellas from down south to do. I made a deal with myself that I would fish jigs exclusively for the next three times I went bass fishing. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I became more familiar with the jig the more I fished it. With familiarity comes comfort. Now you will never see me in my boat without a jig. Give it a try, it might just turn into your go to technique!
I am also always looking for some new techniques and tricks so if you have some please feel free to post them. I would love to hear what you have to say!
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