If you know anything about fishing at all, you know that jigs are one of the most popular and successful bass fishing baits on the market.
Jigs provide so many strategies for presenting your bait because you can fish almost any type of water across any kind of condition. You have the freedom to present your bait however you want when jigging.
With jigs, you also have the choice of choosing any trailer you want. What I’m trying to say is, you have a lot of freedom to experiment with different fishing styles and trailers.
The question is, why is this method so successful, and why do so many anglers turn towards it? The answer to this is not as simple as you would think and like always, it’s entirely dependent on the angler at the end of the rod.
By the end of this article, you can consider yourself a jig fishing expert. Let’s dive into it.
What is a Jig?
When we refer to the term “jigging,” we’re actually talking about the motion created by this fishing style. The jig itself is the tool you’re using to create that motion. A jig consists of two different parts. You have your head and your body.
The jig head comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. It’s usually made of lead with a hook molded directly into the head where you would attach your trailer. Often the jig head is round, but they come in a fish head shape, a cone, and a variety of other forms.
As with every lure, you can also find them in a bunch of different colors and weights as well. The type of jig head you choose depends entirely on the kind of water you are fishing and what size fish you are looking to catch.
If we move down away from the head, you have the body of your jig. Here you have a ton of different choices depending on what you are looking to present the bass. Typically you’ll trail using something that resembles a grub or baitfish. People often use worms or leeches to trail the head as well.
The body can come in a variety of different colors as well, and you should choose your color depending on fishing conditions and the weather. When the weather is cold, and fish are less active, you want to turn towards more natural colors. If the water temperatures are ideal, you can go for a brighter color to try and draw more attention to your bait.
Keys to Successful Jig Fishing
Now that you understand what a jig is, we can get into some of the good stuff. As with every style of fishing, you’ll have people who will tell you right from wrong. There is no right answer when it comes to fishing, but gaining knowledge and information never hurts. There are a few essential things to keep in mind when jigging.
Don’t forget the rod
Your rod is just as important as everything else when you’re jigging. This strategy of fishing
doesn’t usually yield a powerful strike, so you need to make sure you can feel every little nibble. I suggest using a lightweight extra fast action rod with a light reel combination. The key is to make sure you can feel every little bite at the end of the line. You also want to make sure you pay close attention to your line.
Explore the bottom
Another key to successful jig fishing is understanding the water beneath you. When you’re first hitting the water, and you’re all rigged up, you want to take your first couple casts to learn more about the lake bed.
Cast out and let the jig make its way to the bottom of the water. Reel in slowly so you can hop the jig around the bottom to get a good feel for where the fish will be hiding out.
Remember, during warm weather in the middle of the day —fish spend a lot of their time along drop-offs and significant changes in the bed of the lake. During colder weather or rainy conditions, you want to pay attention to brush, vegetation, and structure.
Stay out of the shallows
Jigging is best in clear and shallow water, but that doesn’t mean you can troll the entire shoreline and expect to catch fish all day. The sounds of the boat will quickly spook the fish in the shallows, and they will stop biting. You want to stay out 30-40 feet and cast towards the shoreline.
Keep it clean
I am extremely guilty of this, but I’ll let you learn from my mistakes. Jigging is not for the cheapskates that want to keep their chewed up grubs on the hook all day. You need to make sure you’re putting your best bait forward with each cast so if your trailer is chewed to shreds you want to take it off and start fresh.
5 Best Jigging Strategies
Now you understand what a jig is and you have a few tips and tricks hidden up your sleeve. So what good would this information be if you different understand the types of jigs and when to use them?
1. Swim Jigging
I see this strategy implemented every year on the pro tour, and that means you should do it too. This method is similar to how you would work a spinnerbait; you’ll run the jig horizontally through the water, making your way through weeds and brush.
A swim jig will weigh in around ¼ to ½ ounce, and it’ll have a bullet-shaped head with a weed guard. To fish a swim jig, you want to keep the lure moving through the water, so the bass hit it while it’s still moving. For a trailer, you’ll use a grub, paddle tail, and anything with plenty of action.
2. Flipping Jig
If you are fishing heavy vegetation or brush you want to use a flipping jig. They have a more
rigid head designed to make their way through the vegetation and come out alive. Flipping jigs are also heavier weighing in around ⅜ to 1 ounce. The skirt on a flipping jig also needs to be a bit stronger and more firm to prevent hang-ups from the hook. For trailers, you want to use creatures and craws.
3. Grass Jigging
Grass jigs come in a variety of different sizes with some weighing as much as two ounces. They’re useful for exactly what you would think—fishing heavily vegetated areas. These lures have a conical head with a line tie at the top which allows them to make their way through the vegetation.
The goal is to jig without collecting a ton of grass and screwing up your presentation. You want to fish this bass gold mine but if you can’t present the lure like you intended there’s no point. Grass jigs are ideal in the fall when lakes and ponds are covered in the green stuff.
4. Football Jigs
Now let’s pull away from the grass and weeds and make our way to clear rocky waters. If you are more interested in bouncing your lure off the bottom in shallow water, you might benefit from a football jig.
Using a grass or swim jig would get you hung up in between the rocks on your first cast, so you need something with a sturdy round head that is meant to get banged up and come back anyway.
Football jig heads weigh around ½ to 1 ounce, and they should have a full skirt to disguise the wide hook. You can opt out of a weed guard if you feel it’s unnecessary, but you want to trail a football jig with a full-size creature or craw.
5. Finesse Jigging
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have a ¼ ounce max lightweight jig meant for smaller fish and clear, cool waters. During times when the fish aren’t feeding much, they might not chase after a large weight jig because their metabolism has slowed quite a bit.
At this time, you need to get more creative with your presentation and appeal to what the bass are biting. Use a small finesse skirt and a light hook paired with a small creature bait or grub.
At this point, you should understand the following:
- What is a jig
- What makes jigging different from other fishing techniques
- What kind of rod to use for jigging
- Where to fish when jigging
- What jigs to use for every situation
- What trailers to pair with each jig
If you utilize everything outlined in this article and you pair the right jigs with the proper rod and trailers you should have no problem bringing in a ton of bass this year regardless of where and when you fish.
Jigging is such a versatile fishing method, and there are so many different types of jigs to appeal to every situation. Fill your tackle box full of them and make sure you pull out the right one for every outing.
Do you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns? Leave a comment below!