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Jig Fishin'
It's not for the Faint-Hearted
by Charles Stuart

Fishing with jigs is a form of fishing that requires a great deal of patience. The rewards however, of fishing this way can be incredible. You will need strong rods, powerful reels and reliable, fifteen pound test or higher line that is abrasion resistant. You are fishing in rocks, weeds and trees (submerged of course!) which are easy enough to cast to, but not always easy to extract a fish through when attached to a jig!

Various kinds of jigs are available in the market today. I will try to cover as many different types as I can in this article. Starting with the smaller jig head that has a lead body or a shaped lead weight molded to the hook shank. For younger children and newcomers to the sport, these smaller heads can be suspended under a bobber.

Ultralight jigs. The light one thirty-second ounce and one-sixteenth ounce heads will allow your offering to fall very slowly and are used primarily for small grubs (single and split tail), four and six-inch worms, four or five-inch crayfish and two and a half to three and a half inch gitzits. In the case of the grub, worm and crayfish, the jig head is exposed with the weight placed tightly against the nose of the bait. In the case of gitzits, you can expose the jig head, but my own preference is to enclose the jighead within the gitzit body and expose only the eye of the hook to attach the line. Retrieve should be slow and deliberate. Twitching or shaking the rod will also activate fish that would otherwise ignore such a presentation. Slowly “swimming” a jig that is to say, retrieving the line by slowly turning the reel handle can also be a deadly method in certain clear water situations.

Medium jigs. The next jig head types are the one eighth and a quarter ounce size. Again the weight of the jig head, determines the speed at which the lure falls, this can be critical. Here I will use larger grubs, skirted grubs, six to eight inch worms, six-inch crayfish, lizards and larger gitzits.

Large skirted jigs with a weed guard commonly know for the “jig and pig” technique come next. These can be purchased individually or in bulk in half, three quarters or a full ounce size. Colors vary, but the standard black and blue or all black is a reliable “go to “ bait anywhere in the country. Like any other lure, remember to match the hatch! Look at the color of the crawfish in your fishing location and try to duplicate the colors. Remember, a small amount research will reward you with fish you might otherwise miss.

Adding trailers to these large jigs is optional, but it will give the bait a fuller look and will slow the fall of the offering.

Plastic or Pork? That is the question. Plastic is easier to use and the color combinations are more compatible when matching store bought jigs. Pork gives the bait has a more natural look and a textured feel to the fish, which will make them hold the bait longer to assist in the hookset process. The choice is yours!

For myself, the situation will determine the type of trailer I use. If its pork, I will always go to the range offered by Uncle Josh( who produce a full line of pork trailers in a multitude of colors and sizes to match your jig type. If it’s plastic, I will turn to IKE-CON Fishing Tackle and their colorful range of plastics with added crawfish scent. Uncle Josh also produce plastic trailers. These trailers are large and can be fished on a special hook provided with the lure, or as a trailer to your jig. These plastic (pork flavored) trailers have a unique swimming action which makes them irresistible. Talk to your local tackle store for more information on these products.

To present these lures correctly, you must practice flipping and pitching so that the lure enters the water with little or no splash. A bass will be drawn to a subtle presentation but will move away from a loud splash! Practice in your garden for distance and accuracy, then on the water. One good tip to help you glide the jig into the water is to raise the rod tip slightly just before the lure comes into contact with the surface of the water.

Retrieve is critical. The two “standard” ways to move the jig is to hop it in short deliberate movements, imitating the crawfish hopping up and down in a forward motion. Using this technique requires multiple casts to the same area and only moving the bait two or three times before casting again. Swimming the lure as previously mentioned is also a deadly way of fishing the jig. A friend and fishing colleague of mine, Michael Icconelli of New Jersey won the BASS Wrangler Angler tournament, which qualified him for the BASS MASTER Classic in 1999, used this method. Trust me, IT WORKS! I have watched Mike at “work” with his jig technique, he is without doubt one of the masters of this lure. I f you get to watch him on TV or on the water, makes notes!

Finally, with lures of this type, always, always, run the lure in shallow water and see what it does when you:

1. Twitch the rod.
2. Turn the reel handle.
3. Snap the rod upward to create a hopping motion.

This will help you understand what is going on underwater when you cast the lure a longer distance. Presentation is vital with jig fishing. Practice, practice, practice.

Author Information.

Charles Stuart is a pro angler, journalist and NY State Guide who fishes the B.A.S.S., RED MAN, FOXWOODS and the ABC Tours in the Northeast. Born and educated in England, Charles fished professionally in England when he lived there. Charles has now lived on Long Island, NY for over 15 years. He's fished most lakes, rivers, streams and ponds on the island. He has fished from the Canadian border to Florida in search of largemouth and smallmouth bass.

One of Charle's objectives is to use the knowledge he has gained to teach young fishermen and women the joy of the sport and the art of "catching". Charles feels that, unlike other sports, all members of the family can enjoy fishing together. To Charles, fishing is a sport that does not place pressure on a child to succeed, thereby building the child's confidence and self-esteem.

Charles is sponsored by Bullet Weights, G.Loomis, Budz Fishin Wayz, Gamakatsu, Lake Hawk, Chevy Trucks, Hawg-ly Lures, Power Resources cranking & trolling motor batteries, Uncle Josh, Ike-Con Fishing Tackle, Snap-Set Spinnerbaits, Map-Trap, and Stamina Components.

You can email Charles at

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