The bass market is saturated with an endless supply of lures. Most, however, fill a one-dimensional niche for specific applications or seasonal tactics.
One gem, amongst a cast of thousands, legitimately holds the title of best bass bait. It is an all-purpose lure that shines throughout the seasons, can be worked shallow or deep and fast or slow, is at home in any cover or structure, and consistently puts big bass in the boat. This "bread and butter" bait is the jig and pig.
What Makes it Special?
The jig and pigs' prowess lies in its multi-functionalism. It can be tossed ANYWHERE on the water, although it truly shines when worked alongside docks, adjacent to undercut banks or slop, and in and amongst thick mats and weed clumps. Its snagless construction allows it to go where most other lures can't.
The vertical design is another attribute that is particular noteworthy. Able to probe and penetrate each segment of structure thoroughly, it allows an angler to methodically "work" a spot — and not just "fish" one. It is this vertical significance that easily enables it to work the entire water column, whether it is a foot deep or thirty. Most baits can't make this claim.
Revered as an all-season lure, the jig and pig shines from opening day until close. In fact, its uncanny ability to catch fish in the cold conditions of fall make it the one lure I consistently throw past Labor Day.
Its simplicity is also endearing. There is no wrong way to fish this bait. You can flip, pitch, jig, swim, shake and dunk. Largemouth bass don't discriminate.
Big Bass Producer
The jig and pigs' credibility lies in its penchant for producing big bass. It certainly is no slob at putting average fish in the boat, but for those searching for a trophy fish or that one big bite of the day, this is the bait to toss. My personal best fish of 6 pounds highlights this fact.
A jig and pigs' large profile, crayfish or frog replication, and its ability to delve into the snarly lairs trophy bass call home are reasons why this bait works so well on the big girls.
Stocking the Box
Jig selection is fairly straightforward. Fill your box with a selection of 3/8-, 1/2- and 3/4-ounce flipping jigs. Shallow water (upwards of 15 feet deep) is conducive to 3/8- and 1/2-ounce models. A 3/4-ounce jig gets the nod for the deep stuff.
Ensure hooks are wide-gapped and strong and sharp. Rattles are an option that excel on many occasions, especially when working overtly thick stuff or murky water.
I like to keep color combinations simple. Skirts in hues of black/blue, crawfish, green pumpkin and peanut butter and jelly should cover the bases. Experiment to figure out which works best on your body of water.
Partnering With the Pig
The "pig" part of a jig signifies the trailer. Options are endless but some proven baits are plastic craws and creatures, chunks and pork. A 2- to 4-inch trailer is preferred and color can either match or contrast the jig. Both have their merits.
Experiment with action on the back end and decent rates. The fish will quickly show their preference.
Tune It Up
Although effective straight from the package, a flipping jig can be improved with some DIY.
- Trim weed guard back to just past the tip of hook point.
- Thin weed guard out (cutting at base of jig head) leaving only 10 to 12 strands of nylon.
- Bend weed guard back and forth 10 or so times and fan out.
- Trim skirt so it is approximately 1 inch past the bottom of the hook bend.
- Bend the hook gap out approximately 10 percent with a pair of pliers. Careful not to damage barb or point.
- Run a bead of Super Glue along hook shank where plastic rattle casings (if applicable) are held. Also, add a dollop or two to the end caps of rattles to keep BB's inside and secure.