A jig and it's trailers
A lot of years have went by since I caught my first bass. As with all fish I don’t care how I catch them as long as I put the pieces of the puzzle together. However, I must admit that when the Jig bite is on, it is one of my favorite ways to catch bass. Changes are when a bass picks up your jig, it’s not going to be a small fish. A jig has always had the reputation of catching bigger bass. What some anglers don’t like about it, is that they may not get as many bites with it as they would a plastic worm. Well there are some cases where that can be true, but the biggest reason that some fisherman have a harder time with a jig is that: they don’t have confidence in what a jig is supposed to do and secondly they are not sure how to fish it. So let’s see if I can clear that up and give you some options as well.
To fish a jig is NO difference than how I fish a plastic worm. I can hop the jig, swim it or drag it, the same with any plastic worm or creature bait. In most cases a jig is meant to represent a crawdad. Yes I know it can easily represent a baitfish when you swim it and I do that too but for the basics of fishing a jig, lets stick to its use as a crawfish imitator. In this situation the jig is used in a vertical presentation. It is pitched to likely shallow cover to probe around and find bass that may be buried up in cover such as a brush pile, log jams under boat docks etc. When I pitch the lure to my visible target, I then strip line off my reel so the lure drops straight down into the cover. This is essential for the lure to get a straight fall into the target area. My rod is then held at the two 0’clock position and as I slowly drag or hop the lure till my rod is around the 1 0’clock position. This does three things: Forces me to work the lure slow, it allows me to keep the lure in the strike zone longer and finally with-in that range I’m in perfect position to set the hook.
MY SET UP
My jig fishing set up consist of a Grandt All American Pro series 7’ medium heavy rod(www.grandtrods.com) an Abu Garcia Orra bait cast reel spool with 17 pound test Sufix Titanium line and a jig and trailer that I will get to in a minute. A 7’ foot medium heavy rod fits me well and is a great jig rod that can also be used to fish a Carolina rig as well as any plastics so it’s versatile too. Sufix Titanium is a very strong and abrasion resistant line that holds up extremely well under adverse conditions and is perfect for this technique. Now as far as jig and trailers go, there are 3 difference trailers that I use. When fishing an area and to just “get bit” I use either a small creature bait such as the Trigger X Flappin bug or the much forgotten twin tail grub. The twin tail grub is definitely “old school” and can literally be a KILLER. Now going back over an area or out for the big bite I’ll add the Trigger X Flappin craw. This is a BIG FISH bait. On the back of any jig this craw will attract big fish. Trigger X is bio-salt infused and when fish suck it in, they crush it!
SETTING THE HOOK
These are the questions I get the most during seminars. How do you set the hook? How long do you wait? What does the bite feel like? First of all I use what’s called a slack line hook set. With my rod in the one – two 0’clock position, I always have some slack between my rod tip and the jig. Just enough so I can feel what’s going on. You must be able to feel your jig at all times and now what’s its doing to be successful. Never guess or hope! Learn what you are fishing. It’s not magic! When I drag a jig over a tree limb and let it fall on a slack line, I’m watching the line as well as feeling for any change in pressure. The line may get heavy and /or it may start moving off to one side. When that happens I immediately set the hook slightly off to one side the opposite direction the fish is swimming. This should instantly drive the jig home. Rod is kept up and fish is hauled from the cover out into open water where my rod can then fight and wear the fish down. How long do I wait to set the hook? Bass do not bite a lure, they flare their gills water rushes through their gills and anything in the way gets sucked in. It can happen faster than the blink of an eye and when you feel it, set the hook. I don’t wait, I set the hook! That fish is not playing with it, he wants to eat it, set the hook!
I hope between the explanation and the pictures you can get an idea of jig fishing. As I have always said, there are no magic lures, just another tool to get a job done. To be a consistent bass angler, vertical presentations such as jig and worm fishing are essential to your continued success. They are powerful tools to pull bass from heavy cover as well as dissect cover thoroughly where lures like crank baits and spinner baits fall short. A jig fished properly and with practice can lead to your biggest bass of the year. Its definitely a lure that will put the odds in your favor of doing so. My recommendation to all of you, learn a jig and its trailers.