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lknbassman

Jig fishing guys; Winter question for you

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Been fishing the jig a lot this year with a lot of success from Spring - Fall and now we are getting in to Winter temps here in W. NC and my jig game is a little shakey.

Looking for any guidance on fishing this bait in the cold water other than "slow it down" which is obvious.  My inexperience with Winter jig fishing is more bite related for cold conditions.  The fish hammered it in warm water which made line watching or simply feeling the bite not that tough.  I'm not sure what I'm looking or feeling for in this cold water; ie. what's a bite feel like typically and when will it typically get bit (falling or once it's on the bottom).

Will they hit it on the fall?  Will they pick it up and sit there, swim with it, etc?  I've caught some great crank bait fish recently and they were like reeling in grocery bags and put up very little fight as our temps fell severely recently and the fish got stunned I think as they are all just super slow moving but still eating.  Thanks for any help/guidance you can send my way on catching them in Winter on the jig.

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Worm & Jig Bite

With all the questions about jig & plastic let's address the real question that should be asked the bite. So let's see if we can shed some light on the subject of feeling plastic or jig bite; many people say the two are totally different but I believe they are very similar.

Plastic/jig: with these baits the bass will simply flare its gills causing a vacuum which moves water and your bait into their mouth. With this bite there is very little if any line movement thereby not much is transmitted to your rod tip.

The art of feeling a worm/jig bite is a fine combination of watching your line and feeling for unnatural sensations of what your bait shouldn't feel like. Some times you will feel that classic Tap, some times you'll only see line movement, some times your line will simply go slack, but some times there will only be a feeling of heaviness that is almost like your line will not move. The bites where the bass moves after inhaling you bait are the easy ones to feel because there is line movement, the bites where the bass simply inhales your bait and just sits there are the hardest to feel. Feeling a worm/jig bite requires keeping a certain amount of tension on your line while at the same time keeping a certain amount of slackness in your line. To the average angler this makes no sense at all but the worm/jig angler it makes total sense.

Maintain contact with your lure at all times, allow the lure to free-fall unrestricted, but without letting slack form in the line; follow your lures down with your rod tip.

Pay close attention to the depth you're fishing, any sudden change in the amount of line you're using could mean you've been bit. For instance, if you're fishing 6 feet of water and the lure suddenly stops at the 3 depth, it's possible a bass has taken the bait. If you're fishing 3 feet of water and 6 feet of line sinks beneath the mat, chances are good a bass is traveling with the bait. This is extremely true on the initial drop and no line movement maybe noticed.

Strikes will sometimes so subtle with no line movement that they can go unnoticed if you feel is a spongy sensation, as if the line suddenly got heavy set the hook.

The hook set is the only part of this sport that is still free so when in doubt drop the rod, reel the slack, and set the hook.

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More than 99% of my jig bites come when the jig is sitting or as it is moved, but not on the fall.

The reason for this is that I fish jigs mostly on structure, not cover. For me, the common bite

is a sharp tap, not the tap-tap you get with soft plastics. The soft bite is "anything different."

It took me more than two years to figure out the jig. This really surprises me and I

really have never understood why, since my strong suit has always been soft plastics.

It doesn't really make any sense. My #1 suggestion is fishing the jig exclusively if you

are trying to learn this lure. #2, and perhaps the key to success, is developing a feel for

the weight of the jig. After a while, and it took me some time, this feel will improve your

jig fishing dramatically.

8-)

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The jig is one of my go-to lures in the winter. Get a black and blue jig and just pitch it into the middle of the trees and just let it sink down. If no bite on the fall down, then reel it up and try it again. It covers a lot of water, and I've had great success when I do it.

Another technique I like for winter is just crawling it on the bottom. Very, very simple.

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When I'm fishing a jig in the winter, the most important thing for me is location and weight.

I fish the jig on the steepest banks that I can.  If there is some sort of cover on the bank like laydowns or chunk rock, it makes it all the better.

When I fish these deep banks, I like using light jigs.  Nothing over 3/16oz.  Then I put a Zoom Super Chunk to slow the fall even more.  This will make the jig fall super slow as you stair step it down the bank.

I have caught some giants using this technique in the coldest months.

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Winter time jig fishing one should follow these 4 simple rules  ;)

Think Vertical

Think Deep

Think Bottom

Think Slow

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Do any of you use braid for jig fishing?  I have a tough time getting a good hookset with jigs and I was wondering if I might do better with braid and a fluorocarbon leader than monofilament.  (I have had very bad experience trying to use fluorocarbon as a main line and found myself spending more time picking out overruns than fishing.)

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I never really seen any differents in bites with jigs and trig. If you kept your wieghts the same a t rig and a jig are the same.

If you fish anchored on structure with a 3/8 jig and I fish 3/8 trig all the bites that Catt describe are in play. And it really doesn't matter if it's big fish bites little fish bites or just fish.

Now if the structure has no weeds I would be fishing a jig unless the fish told me they wanted a trig senko.

I might fish the senko on jig because of little better hookup ratio.

Garnet

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Here in So-Cal we do not get the same winter conditions as the rest of the world. Cold water for us might be low 50's with exception to the higher elevation lakes. I fish 1/8, 1/4 or big heavy jigs like 3/4 ounce with 10-12 pound FC. I fish them slow and on structure mostly. Many bites are just the lightest "tick" or they just hammer it. Very rarely do I get bit on the sink in the colder months.

I like to match the bottom with my jig colors too. Dark bottom = dark colored jig. I stay away from green colors during this period as well. Blacks, browns, blues and purples are all good colors for cold water. I like twin tail grub trailers or chunk type trailers this time of year. The twin tails for dirty water and chunk for clearer water.

I like to fish ledges and hard bottom spots with the jig mostly. Any kind of hard bottom/rocky point or rocky high spot is a good thing to focus on as well. Many times there will be more than one fish holding on the structure. I fish it very thoroughly from many different angles before I leave the area. Many times these spots will be better once the sun has been up for an hour or two. Even the slightest bit of light can help warm up those spots where the fish will move to.

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Oh boy, I wish I could give an answer but your winter may not be like my winter ( you 're from the South but how south to the south ? ) have to admit though that unless I fish up in the sierra ( which I don 't do during this time of the year cuz it 's too danged cold for these old bones :( ) I don 't fish "cold" water, "cold" being 15°C ( kinda like your summer water temps ;) ), that being saud I fish a jig in the "winter" pretty much like Catt and Bantam do.

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pretty much what everyone else said. using a consistent weight helps, because you get to know exactly what that 1/4oz jig feels like. once, i went to pop my rod and it felt like i didnt even have a lure on there, so i set the hook and sure enough he had picked it up and moved towards me

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my experience has been that in winter you get exactly the same types of bites as you do in the warmer months - tap bite, mush bite, nothing bite, on the fall, on the bottom, etc.  in terms of feeling the bite, it just seems to be a matter of degree.  bites are generally much less pronounced in cold water.  

to answer the other question, i use braid for all my jig and plastics fishing.  love it and would never go back to anything else.

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Biker I would never use anything but strait Power Pro in florida. Any lake I've fished in Florida your line is allways weeds some how some way.  

Most guys I've fished with in Florida are super trig guys and a pitching jig should be just a little better hook up ratio. Stick with a grass jig the one I use is Hoppy's Brush Bug it's cheap and is the best I've found. Scott Martin promotes one and it's pricey.

Garnet

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Which lakes? In most of the lakes up there in winter I just pull the jig slowly along the bottom because of the lack of cover and the fish relate more to the very bottom when the water temps are in the forties. No hoping the jig off the bottom. Just find some rocky structure and slowly turn the reel handle keeping the jig in contact with the bottom.

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First let me say there is some great information here. I fsh a jig 12 months out of the year and give it alot of soak time from October till March. If the truth be told it's my #1 winter bait for big fish. I use both 3/8 and 1/2 jigs. The weight more depends on depth of water more than fall speed. Key #1 is keeping it on or close to the bottom and getting it there quick. Being that I get very few bites if any on the fall I just want it to get there. Under 12 feet of water 3'8 gets the nod anything deeper I use the 1/2. I like a bulky jig and use only the Buckeye Mop jig with super chunk. Remember there are feeding up for the hard part of winter and are looking for a big meal not a snack. Once it is on the bottom it is a drag until I hit something thanI may hop it an bang into that piece of grass,rock or wood, The bite may be different from day to day and fish to fish. Just pay attention. Sometimes they will knock slack in the line others just move off with it. The main thing is I work it on slack line in case the fish is on there and I feel somehing different. Most of my fish in the winter come in more than 15 feet of water so I use Gamma Floro so there is no stretch. I also do some trimmng on my weed gaurd and take a pair of needle nose and open the bend of te hook a small amount. I also use a extra heavy 7''1" rod so I can wack um. My hook up percentage is much better with combo that using Mono and a MH heavy rod. Hope some of this makes sense.

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This is my observation for around here.

Depth is variable.  I've caught fish in 4-5' of water when the water temp was 35-38 degrees.  Rarely but it can happen.

Its all in the slow fall and slow retrieve.  Plus clear water.  Fishing cold muddy water is not fun.  I wont do it that often.

Most bites on jigs are feeding bites not reaction bites.  Since bass are lazy expecially in the cold water you have to fish extremely slow.  This is where patience is key.  My best retrieve is a craw across the bottom at ever slow speed with a light jig, light line.  

Most bites are extremely subtle.  The line/rod will just become heavy.  My saying is if it doesnt feel right set the hook.  Hook sets are free.  

In all honesty if you want to learn how to fish a jig and how to become a really good jig fisherman in detecting bites this is prime time.  Remember though bites are usually few.  This time of year its all in location.  Main lake rock chunk, grass beds(live), and laydowns are some key areas.

PS,  Flourocarbon, and a great rod will increase your sensitivity.

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GMAN don't leave out the dead grass areas. They detach from the bottom and provide some great off shore structure just like a brush pile or rock pile. I have caught some of my best fish off dead suspending grass mats. Fish right next or in them and the bass use it for cover to ambush the bait.

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true,  dead grass is another good spot.  Just not dying grass.

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lknbassman, there are a lot of good comments here and Catt covered everything in his two posts. The definition of fishing really, really slow is to crawl your jigs a tiny bit at a time. I barely move my rod tip because it translates into more movement at the end of your line. As GMAN stated, patience is key when you're crawling a jig an inch or two at a time. So make sure you dress for the occasion. It's hard to fish slow if you are freezing your buns off. If you take the time and crawl your jig you'll eventually place it in front of a feeding fish, but don't be surprised if you go a few hours without a fish in the Winter. The thread below started by paul. is a good example of this.

http://www.bassresource.com/bass_fishing_forums/YaBB.pl?num=1229136003

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Just keep fishing it, not easy, but not that hard. Never forget "a jig will catch fish 365." 1. Fish a spot that you believe holds fish 365. 2. SLOW DOWN 3. Fight the urge to throw something different. Fight that $&!^ 4. Uncle Josh is your friend. 5. Pretend a fish is looking at it and give it the "Death Twitch." 6. SET THE HOOK never pick up on it to "see" if a fish has it in his mouth. they don't hit it with their tail. 7. Listen to devil rock-n-roll. 8. SET THE HOOK 9. Try LONG pauses. 10. SET THE HOOK

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In my quest for bass fishing knowledge, I found this site about 5 years ago. I knew what jigs were, but they seemed boring to me, a little too simple of a method. I was seeking something exciting, explosive and complex.

I continued to read and see photos of big bass that were caught using jigs. I decided to give this simple, boring jig fishing a try. Success wasn't instant, and I am sure I missed bites with out even knowing it. I had many outings with out a jig fish, but those pics of big jig fish that were posted here kept me using it even with out much confidence.

Then on a tough spring day when nothing else me and my partner threw was working my patience paid off, after thousands of casts, flips and pitches my line starts to run off, I rear back and feel the resistance and I landed my first jig fish. It wasn't a monster, but to me it was a monster break through. I have since landed many quality jig fish under tough fishing conditions throughout the season. Its not a fast paced deal but if you have the patience, you will be rewarded.

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