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Jig Bites Issues

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I have been fishing 3/8 ounce jigs with chunk trailers lately. I'm in Indiana so it has been pretty cold. I have been working them across the bottom very slowly and I have only been able to land 2 fish so far. I have been getting a lot of bites but I end up missing on the hookset. I'm fishing braid with a flouro leader so I can feel the bottom and the bites very well. Are the bass nibbling at the trailer or am I getting too excited on the hookset? Often times the trailer is about to come off once I reel it in after the bass keep nibbling at it. What am I doing wrong? Or is this typical fall behavior?

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Sounds like the bass just are not committing very well . If your on fish and getting bites try something different . I'm in northern Missouri and having good success on crankbaits still .

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Have you tried threading the trailer on, rather then just skewering the tip of it?  That will sometimes "tighten up" the presentation, and get them to commit to the whole package.

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If it's a decent sized bass it'll suck in and blow your jig out in a matter of seconds. If you have the slightest idea you got bumped... set that hook! 

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As noted LMB don't nibble anything but if you have Smallmouth or spotted bass they sometimes pick up a jig by the end of the trailer. The easy option is to thread on the soft plastic trailer like John suggested. Another option is change the trailer to a 3" or 4" double tail grub and thread it onto the hook. I am not a fan of plastic chunks prefer the real thing a pork frog that is nose hooked.

Always must add that swings are free to new jig anglers, set the hook on anything that feels different.

Tom

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Maybe try reeling down and waiting for the rod to load before setting the hook. At least then you get a shot at a follow up bite if the fish hasn't fully commited. My experience though is that good fish rarely miss something they intend to eat.

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

As noted LMB don't nibble anything

I agree.  It isn't remotely ordinary that largemouth "nibble' baits.  However, and I only saw this once during a tournament in fall.  Temps had dropped, but there was that "migratory frog bite" going on.  We came in second, using frogs, and a few times - maybe 6 of the bites out over at least 50, the fish grabbed the skirted "legs" and pulled the bait under.  Eventually they would gulp or spit.  We trimmed them, or switched to old school Scum Frogs, but we both saw it clear as day.  Never saw it before, and never since.  It was REALLY weird.

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4 minutes ago, J Francho said:

I agree.  It isn't remotely ordinary that largemouth "nibble' baits.  However, and I only saw this once during a tournament in fall.  Temps had dropped, but there was that "migratory frog bite" going on.  We came in second, using frogs, and a few times - maybe 6 of the bites out over at least 50, the fish grabbed the skirted "legs" and pulled the bait under.  Eventually they would gulp or spit.  We trimmed them, or switched to old school Scum Frogs, but we both saw it clear as day.  Never saw it before, and never since.  It was REALLY weird.

Sorry to get off topic, but at what temperature range does the fall frog migratory bite occur?

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I think surface temps were in the high/mid 50s.  I really just judge it by the bite, and throw a frog much later than many would.

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Just now, J Francho said:

I think surface temps were in the high/mid 50s.  I really just judge it by the bite, and throw a frog much later than many would.

Thanks, i'll try a frog next time i'm out now that the rain messed up the jerkbait bite.

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Could be something other than bass biting your jig..

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Along with trreading on a smaller trailer, try trimming the skirt back to the hook bend. This will give the jig a much smaller look yet still transmit the information back to you. 

 

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Or....use a finesse jig  Seiberts 5/16 oz  Sniper with shorter trailer.

Tom

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I'd go 1/4oz even 3/16. SK bitsy bug with a rage chunk has always yielded me at least one fish. I agree with trimming the skirt, threading the bait on, and you could try trimming the brush guard back.. 

Natural colors are the way to go. Browns, greens, and black. 

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I agree with those suggesting going smaller.  You haven't mentioned your rod, but if it's short, hooksets will be poorer than with a longer rod.  Also, a faster action sets the hook better than a slower action, in my opinion.

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Fall bites may be more subtle, but as said above,. Bass really don't nibble, especially a jig/craw combo. These "nibbles" are most likely panfish or perch. The also mentioned downsizing is a step in the right direction, 

But the "nibbles" are telling you something, these nibbles mean that there are either more panfish than bass in that area, or the area is void of bass entirely. If the panfish are hitting, bass are most likely active as well. A jig/craw combo should be receiving the tell tale "thump, thump",... lack of this hit, would be telling me to move on to a different area, or relocate yourself within the area you are fishing, and this may not be so far away. The water your fishing is holding fish, just not many bass, so try moving slightly deeper, or the opposite,.. shallower.   

 Also, I'd consider adding a little color to my jig, like a body of a grub, or piece of worm, on the jigs hook before the chunk trailer. This will hold the chunk trailer up on the bend of the hook, stopping it from swinging around during the cast and blocking the hooks point, and you can also be customizing the color, and rate of fall as well. Even just a slight difference in color of the grub body, compared to the jig/trailers color can make a difference. Or you could significantly change the color, with a white or chartreuse grub body. The rate of fall change will occur as the jig now has more bulk, adding more resistance to water as it falls. 

 These changes in color and such, will have absolutely no impact if your not fishing bass waters anyways, relocation is the key. BUT,..adding this "change of color/rate of fall" can make a big difference this time of year, while fishing the "bass water"

  Also, another rate of fall change will occur by changing out a plastic chunk trailer, for a pork trailer,. The pork is more buoyant, therefore creating a slower falling jig. This may be actually "needed",.. as,..  when the water cools down, so does the bass. A faster moving jig may get a look,.. but not trigger that fall bite.  Because it just doesn't appear natural. I "typically" use a plastic trailer in the warmer months of the year, and pork during the slower/colder months. That's not to say you wont find a pork trailer on my flippin' stick in summer, because you may. But mostly the plastics get the nod in warmer waters, just as they are easier to deal with.

 I hope this helps you some, I know it does for me up here,                

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I started jig fishing for bass when rods were 5', reels were knuckle busters and line was Dacron braid, about 6 decades ago....and I caught bass. Today the tackle has evolved to 7' rods of various actions and power, reels cost what cars did and there is more line choices than anyone can remember. The 2 constants over 6 decades of jig fishing are; bass haven't changed they don't have hands and anglers need to detect strikes.

The OP has caught 2 bass where he fishes therefore is detecting strikes and catching bass. The questioned was about the nibbles which means he is in contact with his jigs. 

The consenses that nibbles are from bluegill is possible but could be from crawdads, small bass or smallmouth bass.

Regarding hook sets, every angler needs to develop their own hook set style that works for them. I have developed the reel set with rod sweep technique that works for me, others rely on cross their eye rod whip set.

My advice is stay with what you are doing and in time you will develop your own hook set and increase your strike detection skills.

Tom

 

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I ran in to this last night; I was fishing a bulky jig with a big rage craw and swung as soon as I felt the bite, but didn't peg either of the two fish that bit. I switched to a little baby Booyah jig with a bit-off trick worm and was able to land one on that.

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Bass don't nibble?

Y'all ever fish for Kentucky Spotted Bass?

They are notorious for hitting your jig or T-rig like they are nibbling at it. The classic tap-tap you feel from a largemouth is 3 or 4 rapid taps.

There is an under water ridge near Palo Gaucho creek on Toledo Bend has been nick named Machine Gun Ridge by the locals because the largemouth hit with the same rapid series of taps.

Do bass nibble?

I don't know what ya call it ;)

Edited by Catt
Operator error
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12 hours ago, WRB said:

I started jig fishing for bass when rods were 5', reels were knuckle busters and line was Dacron braid, about 6 decades ago....and I caught bass. Today the tackle has evolved to 7' rods of various actions and power, reels cost what cars did and there is more line choices than anyone can remember. The 2 constants over 6 decades of jig fishing are; bass haven't changed they don't have hands and anglers need to detect strikes.

The OP has caught 2 bass where he fishes therefore is detecting strikes and catching bass. The questioned was about the nibbles which means he is in contact with his jigs. 

The consenses that nibbles are from bluegill is possible but could be from crawdads, small bass or smallmouth bass.

Regarding hook sets, every angler needs to develop their own hook set style that works for them. I have developed the reel set with rod sweep technique that works for me, others rely on cross their eye rod whip set.

My advice is stay with what you are doing and in time you will develop your own hook set and increase your strike detection skills.

Tom

 

A ton of wisdom right here folks!  This type of post is one of the many reasons this site Is the best out there. 

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There are many ways to describe how to set a hook when you're jig fishing.

This video by Greg Hackney is one of my favorite.

btw - this man has knows some stuff about fishing a jig.

A-Jay

 

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^^^   Thats how I do it .   Drop the rod , reel in the slack and hit em hard .  Sometimes you have to duck the flying dinks .

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Greg is the man at jig fishing (among others).  He's a favorite of mine!

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Not much more to add, but several things stand out to me. Learning to jig fish in the cold may not be the best thing to build confidence, so just recognize that it will get easier with spring/summer etc. I saw Hank Parker wait several seconds for his hook sets in cold water, but...he missed most of his fish. The better jig fisherman I have studied prefer to set the hook IMMEDIATELY. The old saying is the first bite means they are on, the second bite they are off. Like Tom says, they do more bites than we know. Downsizing the trailer helps with short strikes. That's what kvd always recommends. Your other options are changing color and/or speed. For a slipping trailer, I superglue my trailers on now. Some anglers may be terrified of the smell, but when I fish 3 or 4 people in a boat, I have done just as good if not better. If paranoid, just keep 3 jigs with glued trailers on so you quickly retie without worrying about the smell. Quicker than reglueing the trailer. Some people keep extra fishing line and tighten it on that way. For hookset, I like to reel into the hook set. This solves the problem of setting the hook away from the target if you miss the fish. I just reel quickly with the rod pointed at the fish and if the line starts tightening, I set the hook, if the line keeps coming, then the fish has let go and I can keep working the jig.

Shimmy

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Three Tap Theory as explained to me by Shaw Grigsby 

 

The first tap the bass has inhaled your lure

 

The second tap the bass has expelled your lure

 

The third tap is me tapping you on the shoulder asking way you didn't set hook!

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