An overview of bass fishing with jigs
I've been putting off posting on jig fishing for a while now. Mostly because when I get started talking or writing about one of my favorite baits, I tend to ramble on and on and usually end up with a long post that some may find a bit boring. But today I'm a bit bored myself so whata heck I may as well bore anyone else that has nothing better to do than read my ramblings on bass jigs.
Jigs or the jig and pig as it is commonly known as, has been one of the most popular baits available among pro's and tournament fisherman for as long as tournaments have been in existence. Among the reasons they're so popular is the fact that they are so versatile and are well known as a great lure specifically for big bass. The average size of the bass caught on a jig is usually much bigger than those caught on most other lures.
Jigs come in so many different styles and forms that I will not even attempt to explain each one and how to fish it in one post. There are jigs that imitate craw fish some that imitate shad, minnows, grubs and just about any other form of life that walks, crawls or swims. Today I'm going to focus on just 2 types of jig which are most commonly used for bass.
The typical basic bass jig
The most popular and widely used is the silicone skirt jig with a fiber weed guard. This type of jig is designed to mimic a craw fish. A trailer is almost always added to the hook to give the bait legs and added action. And the weed guard makes this lure one of if not the best lure available for getting to bass in thick cover.
The selection of trailers that are available is almost endless. Commonly used trailers are soft plastic craws or pork chunks. The soft plastic trailers are the most preferred by bass fishermen these days. But many of the old farts including me, still prefer pork trailers. By the way if you havn't figured it out yet, the pork chunk trailer is where the name jig & pig comes from.
How to fish with a bass jig
This lure with its weed guard is designed to be used in thick cover such as wood, grass, mats and lily pads. But it is so versatile that with the exception of casting it into bushes and trees which are on the bank and no where near the water, there is really no wrong way to fish a jig. However there are common techniques that work best most of the time.
Flipping and Pitching
Flipping is a technique that usually works best in stained or dirty water; as it requires the fisherman to move the boat up very close to the cover where the bass are holding without spooking them. The technique usually involves using a long seven foot rod and heavy line to pull the bass out of the cover. Flipping is a really effective technique of catching bass out of thick matted cover and the technique doesn't just work with jigs it is a also very effective using other weedless baits such as plastic worms, creepy crawlers, spider jigs or any other soft plastic critter.
Check out this video made by Tim Horton, on flipping and pitching jigs
Swimming a jig
Swimming a jig is pretty much what it sounds like. This is a good technique to use when bass are suspended in, or holding on the outside of cover. To swim the jig you want to cast the bait and reel it through or past the cover. Basically fish it just as you would a spinnerbait. I like to swim the bait along the outside edges cover and give it short twitches with the rod tips. This gives a little more erratic action and will often trigger more strikes.
Deep water jig fishing
This lure is not just for fishing shallow cover. In fact, the jig is one of my personal favorite lures for catching bass off of steep rock banks, bluffs and deep water structure. Again here, I normally fish the jig with the same basic presentation as a plastic worm. That being said there are 2 presentations that usually work best for me when fishing the jig in deep water. The first is called hopping the jig. With this method I simply cast the jig out onto the structure, let it sink to the bottom. Then I use the rod tip to pop the jig up about 8" off the bottom; and then let it sink back to the bottom on a tight line. As with most other lures fished in this manner the strike will usually come as the lure is falling.
The second presentation I use is simply dragging the jig along the bottom very slowly keeping contact with the bottom. Just let the bait sink to the bottom. Then lift the rod tip very slowly from 9: o clock position to the 11: o clock postiton. Then reel up the slack line and repeat. This presentation is deadly on those inactive, lethargic fish; especially in cold water.
Hopefully this has given you a good overview of jig fishing for bass. As I mentioned I love to ramble on about my favorite bass baits and the bass jig is certainly one of them. I did say that I would be talking about 2 types of jigs today but this thing has already gotten long so I'm going to leave off here and discuss Hair jigs and give some jig fishing tips another day soon.
Meanwhile if you have not tried jig fishing, I recommend you get a few and get started. You just may catch your biggest bass yet.