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Brian_Reeves

Jigs, everything you need to know

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I rarely get to check the forums out now that I'm in Iraq, but imagine my surprise when I do sign on and see a ton of posts asking questions about jigs.  My personal favorite.

I figure it would be easier for jig novices to be able to get all of their questions answered at once than to have to piece the tremendous puzzle together by themselves.  So I'll run through everything that you should need when fishing jigs.

First off, lets define a jig.  A jig is typically understood as a rubber or silicone skirt on a jig head, often with a fiberguard.  While this is true, it's only the tip of the iceberg.  A jig is more correctly described as a lure where a type of lure is fixed onto a jighead.  This could be anything from plastic worms, rubber skirts, creature baits, craws, or just about anything else that can fit onto a jig's hook.

Regardless of what type of lure you use on your jighead, the presentations remain the same.  You can flip, pitch, skip, swim, pop, crash, hop, bounce, flutter, deflect, rip, or burn them.  Basically you can use a 'jig' in any application in the water, from open water structure fishing to heavy cover flipping, the versatility is amazing.  This is why every angler should not only learn how to use a jig, but master it.  Most professional and experienced bass fishermen will agree that it is the one lure that they couldn't live without.

Jigs can be appropriately used for power or finesse fishing.  I personally do not define these as presentations as much as I do by lure size and weight.  Smaller, lighter jigs will fall into finesse fishing while heavier and larger jigs will be categorized by power fishing.  All of what I am about to explain is for LARGEMOUTH BASS.  I am not a smallie angler because they are sparse or non-existant in the waters that I fish.

Finesse Jigging-  Usually, when the bite is tough due to weather conditions, pressure, sunlight, water clarity, or whatever other reason, I'll tie on a smaller jig and target cover in depths less than 10ft.  I prefer 3/16 to 1/4 on spinning tackle with 8-10lb test.  Normally, I'll abandon traditional skirted jigs and use a GYCB Hula Grub (3-5in") Fin-Tech lures Title Shot jighead.  I'll pitch these near laydowns, docks, vegetation, rip-rap, and timber, hoping to generate subtle reaction strikes on the fall.  When forced to use finesse tactics, I will almost always prefer a slow, hopping retrieve near the bottem.  When fishing such conditions, natural colors are almost always the key.  I'll get into color selection later.

Power Jigging-  Powerfishing is the polar opposite of finesse fishing.  When powerfishing, I'm trying to use big and heavy baits to triggre violent reaction strikes and cover water quickly.  Most pros powerfish their way to victories all the time on the pro tour, but finesse tactics still have their place and are sometimes more effective.  My preferred tactic is to use a 3/8 to 3/4oz jig. Depending on depth and clarity, I'll flip flop between skirted jigs and creature baits (most times going with the same Hula Grub as mentioned before).  I'll always, always, always use the Title Shot jighead when using soft plastics.  This is just my preference, but I'd recommend it to anyone.  Anyway, when powerfishing a jig, I'm flipping and pitching into heavy cover, often bounding or swimming the bait back after the inital fall.  The goal is to put the bait in the water near cover and structure, let it fall (which generates tons of reaction strikes so PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR LINE!!!), then get it to cover water quickly back to the boat.  I choose weight based on depth.  In 10ft or less, I'll use a 3/8.  10ft-15ft I'll be throwing a 1/2 oz.  Greater than 15ft, I'll use the 3/4.  I rarely like to fish deeper than 30ft, but any deeper than that and you might want to use a full ounce jighead.  With the larger jigs, I am able to use heavy baitcasting gear with 10-17lb test for clear water.  In muddy water, I'll be using spider wire with the diameter of rope.

Color Selection-  Most anglers fish in stained to gin clear water.  There are some places where muddy is the best you can get, but you only need two colors for muddy water.  Chartruse/Black and solid black.  I prefer chartruse/black 9 times out of 10, but use whichever the fish prefer.  For clear water, there are a million options.  I'll go with green pumpkin, green pumpkin with orange, brown, brown with orange, white, cinnamon/purple, or white and grey (or blue).  For stained water, I prefer blue/black or brown/chartruse.  

Color Representations-  Bluegill, perch- Green pumpkin/Orange or Brown/Orange

                                  Crawfish-         Green Pumpkin, Brown, Cinnamon Purple

                                  Shad-              Whites and greys

*In muddy or stained water, I'm not trying to "Match the Hatch" so much as I am trying to make the bait stand out.  I will not use rattles for Ultra clear water but rarely fish without them for stained or muddy water.  Always experiment with the rattles, sometimes there will be a preference from the fish.  

When to use What-  As far as colors go, you have to figure out what the bass are eating and what they prefer.  This will vary a lot in each lake, as areas provide better habitat for one type of forage or another, so you will have to play with it some.  Things that will clue you in are if you see baitfish near the top of the water or on your depthfinder, shad colors will be a good bet.  If you see a bluegill school near cover, go with bluegill colors.  If you are fishing rip-rap or vegitation, crawfish colors will be a good bet.

Seasonal Jigging-  This is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of jig fishing.  Sure, you can flip and pitch them all year round and have moderate success, but there are better applications for different times of the year.  I'll break them up several sections and elaborate on each.

Winter-  Bass will go deep to find warmer water and will be lethargic.  They will rarely leave their depths to feed, but find it hard to resist an easy meal.  If you find an area with steep dropoffs then you've probably found the fish.  Use about a 1/4-3/8oz hair jig with a pork trailer in natural colors.  Let it fall on semi-slack line and watch it carefully.  If it ticks, moves, jumps, or pulses, set the hook.  If it makes it to the bottem, barely hop it back to the boat, ensuring that you have contact with the bottem.  This is my least favorite time to use a jig.  I'm cold, the water is cold, the fish are cold...no one is happy.

Pre-Spawn-Bass will start leaving their winter haunts and move to primary lake points and drop-offs next to spawning flats.  Look for cover along the points or dropoffs.  I will almost always imitate a crawfish coming out of hybernation, so I'll use a hula-grub/title shot jig in natural colors and hop it along the bottem.  Crawfish are more active now and will move around a lot, and so should your jig.  Use the depth of the water to determine your jighead size.

Spawn- Bass will move to shallow flats with hard bottems (if able) to lay eggs.  The females will move off the nests once they complete their egg-drop and males will move in to defend the nest and fertalize the eggs.  Males will RARELY feed, therefore you have to play a different card.  They are very tempermental and do not like things intruding on their nest and messing with their eggs.  Forage that is notorious for this is crawfish and bluegill.  Set your jigs up to look like a crawdad or bluegill and dead stick them into visable nesting areas.  If none are visable, Hop, shake, pause, and repeat.  Multiple casts to the same area are the key.  This will cause VIOLENT strikes.

Post-Spawn-  Remember where the fish were in prespawn?  Go back there and look for reaction strikes with heavier jigs (unless they are being picky)  Bass are looking for an easy meal because spawning takes a lot out of them.  The warmer water will have them semi-active, but they will not have a whole lot of energy to chase down fast moving baits.  Heavier jigs will allow you to penetrate further into heavy cover while lighter jigs will entice them with a slower fall rate.  Play with it based off of what type of area you are fishing.

Summer-  Deeper water and shade is the key.  Bass will stay shallow in the summertime if there is shade and something to eat.  Especially in the  mornings, bass will leave deeper water and cruise nearby shallows looking for a quick meal before the mid-day heat boils the water.  Target these morning cruisers by swimming a jig like you would a spinnerbait or crankbait.  Booyah makes an excellent jig for this application.  Later in the day, some fish will remain shallow, you can pick these off by getting far under docks, laydowns, lillypads, or thick cover.  Once again, choose your jig weight based off of what type of area you are fishing.

                                          Continued on next post...

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hows everything going there?

nice article ,very informative!!

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EXCELLENT!

Thank you.

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Merci Beau Coup  ;)

I'm toying with the idea of combining 3 or 4 of the better articles on fishing jigs into 1 but I've got to figure how to simplify it.

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Glad to hear from you soldier. We're all glad to hear you are still safe and sound. Thanks for your service to our country and know that we are always behind you guys and gals over there.  

Oh yeah...and thanks for the great jig article.   Between you, GMAN, earthworm77, and many other jig afficianados we have some great material here on jig fishin'.

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Thanks for the excellent post Brian.  Glad to see your doing well, and you remain in my thoughts and prayers.  

Take care over there.

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Thanks for the excellent post Brian.  Glad to see your doing well, and you remain in my thoughts and prayers.  

Take care over there.

A little OT, but that is a ridiculous limit you have in your avatar!  What did those five go, and was that in a tournament?  

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Thanks for the excellent post Brian. Glad to see your doing well, and you remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Take care over there.

A little OT, but that is a ridiculous limit you have in your avatar! What did those five go, and was that in a tournament?

HAHA, dude, you are gonna kick yourself over this one....That is Ike in his avatar!!   ;)

Great post, BTW. Printing it after this message  

Wayne

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Thanks for the excellent post Brian. Glad to see your doing well, and you remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Take care over there.

A little OT, but that is a ridiculous limit you have in your avatar! What did those five go, and was that in a tournament?

HAHA, dude, you are gonna kick yourself over this one....That is Ike in his avatar!! ;)

Great post, BTW. Printing it after this message

Wayne

Or maybe, just maybe, BASS Fisherman is Ike?  ;) Ike, is that you?

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HAHA, dude, you are gonna kick yourself over this one....That is Ike in his avatar!!   Wink

Oh!  Hehe...my laptop only has a 12" screen, so I can't tell who it is.  If would be a lot cooler if it was him!

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Great article!

Thanks for protecting our freedom so that we can still enjoy the comforts of our lives such as fishing.  You are a true hero.  

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HAHA, dude, you are gonna kick yourself over this one....That is Ike in his avatar!! Wink

Oh! Hehe...my laptop only has a 12" screen, so I can't tell who it is. If would be a lot cooler if it was him!

Sorry to disappoint you guys but no, I am not Ike.  He is my favorite angler, so I put him in my avatar.  One day you can put me in your avatar though.  8-)

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HAHA, dude, you are gonna kick yourself over this one....That is Ike in his avatar!! Wink

Oh! Hehe...my laptop only has a 12" screen, so I can't tell who it is. If would be a lot cooler if it was him!

Its cool, no worries.  ;)

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Great info Im going to start jig fishing this spring your info just help me alot more than I could get out of a book and very basic too. Im a ex army man infratry you guys keep up your hard work and return home safe. god bless you for keeping this country safe.

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this is a wealth of jig information  at the right time. Just got a Plano tackle box full of assorted jigs for Christmas, rattlers, spider jigs, and heavy ones also. Problem was I'm a horrible jig fisherman but its time to stop ignoring this bait. Thank you soo much for a great article perfect timing. Also i couldn't thank you and the rest of our boys overseas enough, you make this country free and make me proud to fly the red white and blue colors. Come home safe and soon brother

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Thanks AT. I've been making myself fish jigs all year, but still haven't caught bass on one. I have confidence in them, but apparently still missing something. My fav jigs are the Picasso and Vertical Jig-X.

Prog

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