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Jig n' Pig Fishing
by Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau

This article is on the ever popular jig and pig. The jig is known in bass fishing circles as the big fish bait. During most of my guide trips I have someone ask "how to" and "when do" you fish a jig. I'll tell you my secrets in this article.

Let me begin with a little background on the jig. The jig can be fished year-round in all seasons and all depths. January and February is a prime time to fish a jig in Texas. As I said earlier the jig is a big fish bait. Most of the fish I catch on a jig are bigger in comparison to any other bait. There are days in the spring when the big females will eat a jig in a heart beat. During January and February I normally fish a half ounce jig with a Big Daddy pork frog. The winter months are prime times to use pork over plastic trailers. Because the water is cold the plastic has less movement than pork.  Pork will have a fluid movement in all conditions. The Big Daddy pork frog has a lot of bulk causing the jig to fall slowly. Pork can be used year round, but in the summer months when it is extremely hot, or the sun is out, pork has a tendency to dry out and become hard. Once this happens you can cut it off your hook and throw it away. That is why pork is primarily used in the winter. So remember to keep the pork wet at all times.

During January and February I like to pitch a jig around tree trunks and stumps in eight to fifteen foot of water. You can work the outside edges of feeder creeks that are going back into major coves. I will pitch the jig several times at each target because the big females are very finicky at this time. As cold fronts move in and out and the water temperature goes up and down the big females will do the same. As I said earlier my favorite way to fish a jig is to pitch rather than cast like a worm. When the hydrilla was very thick I will take a three-quarter oz. jig with a grub trailer and pitch it along the wall of grass were there are openings, or some type of wood structure. I let the jig fall through the openings, or tear an opening and once the jig hits the bottom I lift it up slowly and let it fall back to the bottom. You need to watch your line very carefully as it is falling back to the bottom. Sometimes as the jig penetrates the grass the fish will pick it up on the fall and as you are peeling line off the reel so taht the jig goes to the bottom the fish will be swimming off with the line. Some of the strikes will be very subtle and sometimes it will be like a baseball bat has hit it. Sometimes the fish want the jig hopped. I let the fish tell me what retrieve they want. I find a likely spot to pitch the jig, let it go to the bottom then I lift it off the bottom two or three times and let it sit for a couple of seconds, then hop it a couple of times. The fish will let you know what type of retrieve they want.

If you can find some good hydrilla that is growing in about eight to ten foot of water and you and your fishing partner work these edges slowly you can catch some very large fish. When fishing a jig you will not catch the numbers of fish you would with a Carolina rig but normally they will be a lot larger in size. When working on the outside edges of taper grass or wall grass you need to work this area slowly. Two or three people can fish these areas out of the same boat but normally it is a lot easier with two people. When pitching the jig you and your buddy can work along tree lines, fence rows, old road beds and creek channels. One person can take one side and the other person can take the other side when pitching creeks and roadbeds. It is very hard for a guide to have two people in the boat with him and fish a jig. On most of my guide trips I'll have one good fishermen and the other person is a beginner.

The best way to learn to fish a jig is go to your favorite worm hole and work the area with a worm. Once you have started catching fish switch over to a jig and see if you can get the fish to hit the jig. You can fish a jig as you do a worm but normally the short hops will be the ticket. You will have to choose what style of jig works best for your type of cover. When I am pitching timber I like to use a half oz. jig. The half ounce does not hang up as much as some of the heavier jigs do. The colors that I like to throw are a black and blue combination, white, and green pumpkin. In the summer I like to fish the jig in deep water. I get out in 25 to 30 ft. of water over submerged creeks and take a three-quarter oz. jig and cast it out and swim it through the branches of the submerged timber and bounce it through the limbs. Most of these fish will be suspended around the tops of these trees. The reason I use a three-quarter oz. jig for this style fishing is because of the depth of the water. Also the three-quarter oz. jig will make a little more commotion in the tops of the trees.

The rod that you are using is a key factor in fishing a jig. I fish with a six-foot six inch heavy action Falcon Graphite rod. I use the FC-7-166 in the silver series. The reason you need a heavy action rod it will help eliminate a lot of hangups and when you are fishing the grass it will help you pull the big hogs out of the grass. As I said earlier the best way to learn to fish a jig is to tie it on and keep it handy. Go to your favorite worm hole and use a worm, as soon as you start to catch fish you will have confidence that there are fish there. Now switch over to your jig rod and cast the jig where you are catching the fish on the worm and see if you can start catching them on a jig. This will help you to get the feel of the bite on a jig. Once you gain the confidence of fishing the jig now you can go out and experiment in different kinds of water. Before you hit the water take a couple of magazines and lay them out in the yard about ten to twelve feet from you and practice pitching around the sides of the books. You can also practice pitching on top of the books, this will help you when pitching the openings in the grass and in the timber. If you would like some first-hand experience book a trip by yourself so that you and I can spend the whole day fishing a jig for big bass on beautiful Lake Fork.

Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau

Author Information.

Jim has the experience to help you have a marvelous fishing trip having been a full time guide for eight years. Uncle Larry Bolton taught Jim how to fish as a young boy and got him interested in bass fishing. Jim has been fishing for bass primarily since the age of 13. He even hunted on the land before Lake Fork was built.

He is no stranger to fishing in tournaments either. Jim started fishing tournaments in 1973 on Lake Livingston -- winning a couple and placing in several. While in the Houston area, Jim was a member of the Humble bass club.

Jim & his wife, Sherry, have been married for 28 years. Sherry is from this area. Eight years ago a move from Houston brought them to the Lake Fork area permanently. As a couple, being associated with the area for the past 28 years, it was coming home.

Give Jim a call: Toll Free 1-888-918-5088 or 903 383-3320
Visit Jim's web site at
Email Jim at

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