Fishing jigs are one of the most versatile and productive lures you can fish. You can fish them as a swim bait or fish them on the bottom. You can also fish any color scheme to represent any type of prey! Jigs come in a variety of weights and styles; 1/8-ounce through 1-ounce are the most common. I usually will fish the 1/4-ounce, 3/8-ounce and 1/2-ounce most of the time.
My most commonly fished jig is a 1/2-ounce; it’s my jig that I will start with.
A 3/4-ounce jig is good for deeper water or when trying to penetrate thick grass or wanting the bait to fall faster to create a reflex strike.
As far as colors, I like natural colors the best, whether I’m trying to imitate a crawfish bluegill, or shad, which are the three major sources of food for the bass.
The main things I look for in a jig is how weed-less the head design is, and the hook. I like a good strong hook, and I like it to be large enough to hold a good fish. This is a problem with a lot of smaller jigs: The hooks are not large enough to hold a bigger fish, 3 pounds or more. So when choosing your smaller jigs, make sure that the hook is large enough to hold the bigger bass. I use a lot of small jigs when the water is cold, the water is clear or when fishing for smallmouth. These small jigs will catch a lot of big bass, so be aware of this.
On about any jig, you can give it a larger profile or smaller profile by the size of the skirt and trailer. If you need a smaller profile, there are two things I do to the skirt. One is to take out some of the strands of the skirt, and the other is to trim it with a pair of scissors! Also, you can use smaller trailer chunks on the jig. The same goes when trying to increase the bulk or size of a jig. I will go to a bigger size chunk -- I like the ZOOM baits and lures like the Super Chunk, Super Chunk Jr., Big Salty Chunk or a Brush Hog to make a big, bulky trailer.
I prefer a Duckett 7-foot to 7-foot, 6-inch extra-heavy action rod whenever I’m fishing a jig, by using an underhand pitching technique. I will use 20- to 25-pound test line, depending on the situation. In most cases, I will use Seaguar AbrazX Flourocarbon fishing line Fluorocarbon, and I use mono or braid if the water is stained.
As far as mistakes I see anglers making while fishing in my boat: They fish the jig too fast, pulling it out of the cover from the bass. I will catch so many fish by pitching the bait in the heart of the cover and leaving it sit there, without making it move at all. I will lightly shake the bait with my rod tip, not moving the bait forward but just giving the bait some movement while it’s sitting still, and then pausing, letting it sit motionless. Then I will repeat this process for up to a minute or more before taking the bait out of the cover. When I do go to pull the jig from the cover, I will do it slowly. So many times, a bass will follow the jig as it’s coming out of the brush and crush it.
by Scott Patton