Cold Water Jig Fishin'Cold Water Jig Fishin' Jig fishing is the way to catch big bass! Discover how inside!
During the early months of the season, when the water is still cold, bass can be about as picky as a spoiled high school kid. It seems that no matter what you do, the little jerks are never satisfied. You spend all of your hard-earned money to give them everything you think they want, but you get no love in return. Often times the lack of attention can make it difficult to even locate bass.
Begin searching for areas that are on the deeper edge of the first dropoff from the shoreline. For example, if the water drops off to fifteen feet deep, twenty feet from the bank, that is where I would begin my search. Try to find slight differences to which the fish can relate. Whether it is a log, boulder, or a depression in the lake bottom, it does not matter as long as it is something that is different from the surroundings. When you find these areas, be sure to mark them on your GPS. If you do not own a GPS use landmarks on the shorelines as references to locate your area again.
After you have located areas that meet the criteria that you are searching for, you need to determine the ideal jig combination for each area. The jig needs to be able to slowly descend vertically into the strike zone. If the area is free from cover such as trees and other items that need penetrated, a small jig will work. Using jigs as small as 1/16th of an ounce, can be deadly during the cold months. If you need more weight, feel free to step it up to 1/8- or ¼-ounce.
In order for the jig to fall at the correct speed you will need to match it with the right trailer. I prefer plastic crawdads from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits and plastic jig chunks that are shaped like the old pork trailers. When you need to get the jig to fall slower, you can simply add a bigger trailer. There may be a situation that calls for a ¼-ounce jig to get down to the target. However, the rate of fall is a little to fast when you use a Fat Baby Craw as a trailer. To combat the problem, remove the Fat Baby Craw and add the new Medium Yamamoto Craw. The increased bulk of plastic behind the jig will cause the bait to fall a little slower. This also holds true when using Chunk trailers.
Once you find the correct combination of jig and trailer, position the boat far enough off of the drop off to allow you cast far enough to cover whole strike zone. Cast your bait onto the shallow side of the drop off. After the jig hits the bottom, slowly drag and hop the lure towards the target. When you feel the jig drop off the edge, allow some slack in your line so the jig will fall vertically. If you do not provide some slack, the jig will actually fall towards you. Once the bait hits the bottom, be sure to allow the bait to sit still for extended periods of time (up to 15-20 seconds is not uncommon). It is not abnormal for bass to hit the bait once it starts moving after a long pause.
Mentally remind yourself to thoroughly work the entire area. During this time of year, bass often refuse to hit a bait unless it is right in their face. If the bite is extremely tough, do not be afraid to flip the script and position your boat so you are casting towards the deep side and working the jig up the ledge as well. Additionally, if you do pull a fish from one of these targets, do not automatically move on to the next area. If the targets are big enough (e.g., a tree or large boulder) they may hold more than one fish. Be very methodical when dissecting each area. Your persistence will definitely pay off in the long run.
Jig fishing is not going to be technique that produces huge numbers of fish on most outings. What they are widely known for is producing quality fish. The reduced number of bites is often a deterrent for anglers new to jig fishing. They find it tough to build confidence in the bait and/or technique because they are not catching tons of fish. Just remember, in a tournament you can only keep five bass. You might as well catch five good ones and jig fishing is the way to do it.
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