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Jig Fishing Techniques

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This bait has remained relatively the same over the past 30 years. It has gone through some cosmetic changes, such as better hooks, livelier skirts, and a broader spectrum of colors and sizes, along with plastic trailers, which enable a wider variety of color options, but this bait, dressed with either plastic or pork, continues to catch bigger bass when other baits fail. Because of the popularity of the flipping technique used by most of the veteran anglers today, the jig has remained among the most popular baits in many anglers tackle boxes. Because of so many recreational anglers concentrating on the flipping technique, the jig's universal effectiveness has been overlooked.

Many people have forgotten that casting a jig is an effective technique also. The jig can be presented at a lot of different depths and around a variety of structure. You are really limiting yourself if you only focus on the flipping aspect of it. Many times during the summer months, we have come in behind other anglers flipping obvious targets, or casting more traditional summer lures, and we have caught bass making roll casts, and looking for isolated pieces of cover that other anglers have missed.


Jig sizes have changed in recent years, along with skirt material and colors. The 3/8 ounce size remains the most popular, with smaller versions are being used more and more with great success. The smaller finesse type of jigs are much more effective in clear water, while the heavier, bulky versions are great for fishing stained to muddy water. Not that the heavier jig isn't effective in some shallower, open water, but a more compact 1/2 ounce bait is more effective, than the bulkier style. I use a shorter trailer for this. This is especially true when fishing some of the finger lakes of New York State, or any of the waters where smallmouth bass are also present. The heavier jig is more effective when the bass are aggressive, as it allows you to fish it faster and cover more water. When the fish are suspended, or you need to keep it in the strike zone longer, the lighter jig is more effective. We always keep experimenting with several sizes, letting the bass tell us what they want. In the summer months, when we swim the jig around boat docks, we opt for the lighter 1/4 ounce size, with a plastic trailer, to imitate a crawfish or baitfish. Swimming the jig is a very effective technique that is overlooked by many weekend anglers. Most small jigs don't have a big enough hook to handle quality bass, which is why we use a Spotsticker handpoured Jighead. We have been using this bait since 2002, when we had great success with it in several local tournaments in cold water as well as in the summer. The Spotsticker has a bigger hook than most, and it handles larger bass well. In warmer, clear water, we like to use a grub or swimming worm as a trailer, this is very effective when you are trying to imitate a crawfish. In colder, or more stained to muddy waters, we like a bulkier trailer, as they displace more water and make it easier for the bass to home in on the bait.

The design of the jighead is another thing you have to think about. They need to be matched to the type of cover you are fishing. A jig that has a head that is more pointed, with its eyelet coming out of the front rather than the top, is going to pull through weeds better than a broad shouldered jig. We like to use a Jungle Jig, by Northland, or a Terminator Pro's Top Secret jig for this. The Terminator has a recessed eye, as does Mann's Stone jig designed by Mike Iaconelli, and they all come through this cover well.These jigs helped us win the Big Bass World Championship several times. They were very effective here in the Northeast, in some of the heavier, weedy cover. When we fish around rocks and wood, we use a jig with more shoulders to help stop it sometimes. Many companies make this type of football or stand up jig, which is great for these situations. When you pull it over an object, the jig tips, adding more action. We have used these jigs effectively on many of New Jersey's reservoirs such as Spruce Run. You must also match the size of the line to the size of the jig hook you are using. A heavy-duty jig hook requires a stronger hook set, so you need heavier line to handle it.

Of course, it helps to know when you're getting a bite. Big bass really thump a jig with the same vigor they do a plastic worm, and many other strikes are felt simply as spongy sensation, or just like you're dragging weeds. That's why it is important to set the hook on anything that feels unnatural, it could be weeds, or it could be a seven pounder!


While a black and blue jig seems to be the favorite, we like to match jig colors to the water conditions. A dark colored jig with a big crawfish trailer, moving on the bottom, does a great job imitating a crawfish, but a white jig swimming over cover and around boat docks does a good job of imitating a baitfish. This is great when bass want a slower presentation, or when you can't fish a crankbait or jerkbait with ease. Many times when bass are feeding on shad, but want a slower presentation than a spinnerbait, this is the best choice. It can also catch the bigger bass that are ignoring the spinnerbait. The new "Sweet Beavers" by Andre moore's company, "Reaction Innovations", have been the hottest and most productive soft plastic this year all over the country.

We like the plastic trailers in the summer months, and the pork in the winter.The new Uncle Josh Pork is more pliable in cold water, while plastic gets stiff. In places where many anglers cast tubes or small finesse worms, such as clear water flats, we cast jigs in neutral colors, and catch bigger bass. Many times when bass ignore other baits, the jig will trigger a strike. This is also a great bait for night fishing.

Walleye Fishing Jig - Casting & Retrieve Jigging Tips to Success!

When you start fishing with walleye fishing jigs, you need to develop a keen sense of touch and concentration. Walleyes are finicky biters and you may feel anything from a sharp tap, or you may just see your line start to go tight slowly. An active walleye will inhale a walleye jig as they swim, then they will exhale the water back through their gills. The sucking action by a walleye will produce a sharp tap sensation so immediately, set the hook. Many times when walleyes are not actively feeding they will just put their mouth over the jig. All you will see is your line start to move slightly! Set the hook!

Newbie walleye fisherman go home empty handed many times because they fail to set the hook correctly. Manny beginners make the mistake of waiting for a sharp tap or strike on their walleye fishing jig like if they were fishing for other game fish with a crankbait. Key Walleye tip: Walleyes will hit your jig when it is sinking not on the upward and forward movement.

The best thing you can do is set the hook any time you think something is out of the norm of your rhythm. Just a quick jerk of your rod with your wrists.If there's nothing there nothing hurt anyway. If the walleye jig sinks differently than your normal rhythm set the hook! More then likely there is a walleye "mouthing" your jig. If you think you have caught a weed on your retrieve and the drag is spilling line, set the hook! this could very well be a walleye. Those pesky little perch will sometimes just peck at our jigs,or is it a perch? Set the hook! that pesky little peck could very well be a walleye!

Key walleye tip: You need to be able to feel even the smallest peck, or line movement so you need to keep your line taut when ever the jig is sinking. If you twitch your rod tip, then drop it back rapidly as the jig sinks, slack will form and you will not feel the strike. Instead , lower the jig with tension on the line, as if you were setting it gently on bottom.

You will detect more strikes if you carefully watch your line and rod tip. Many times, you will see a that you cannot feel. If you see your line twitch were it enters the water, or the line moves slightly to the side, set the hook.

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Key Steps: How To Cast and Retrieve A walleye fishing jig

Step#1 LIFT the jig with a slight pop of the rod tip, then let the jig sink all the way to the bottom. How much of a "pop" will depend on how the fish are reacting the day you are fishing. If the fishing is real slow, and the fish are not moving much then try a very slow retrieve.

Step#2 Lower the rod tip, key point: this is when you will get your walleye strike or bite. Make sure you keep the line taut at all times when the jig is sinking. Go ahead and repeat lifting and lowering your rod tip. Try to develop a good pattern and make sure you reel your up a bit after you twitch the walleye jig.

Step#3 STRIKES Remember a walleye hit will come when the jig is floating back to the bottom, not when the jig is moving upwards or forwards. If you feel a sharp tap that means the walleye has sucked in the jig, set the hook immediately!If the fish aren't active all you will see is your line tighten slightly, or the jig doesn't descend to bottom naturally.

Step#4 SET THE HOOK immediately when you feel anything unusual, a walleye spits out a walleye fishing jig quickly. A Flick of the wrists result in a faster hook set then a long sweep of the arms, but you will need a stiff rod to sink the hook.

Float Fishing With Jigs For Salmon and Steelhead

Float fishing with a jig for salmon and steelhead is one of the most popular and productive methods for pursuing salmon and steelhead because of the many advantages. Less gear is lost to the bottom and snags than other methods of steelhead and salmon fishing, and jigs often times out produce other methods. When other methods are failing, jigs are still producing strikes. The underwater pulsing action of marabou jigs drives salmon and steelhead to strike jigs oftentimes on the first or second pass.

The methods outlined in this article can be used to help with your success when jig fishing for Steelhead or Salmon. We like to use these jig fishing methods with a marabou or schlappen jig when fishing in the Pacific Northwest rivers for Salmon and Steelhead, but these methods will work anywhere you choose to fish including the Great Lakes and more.

First off, to rig up for jig float fishing there are several specific pieces of gear you will want to use. You will want to use a long rod in the 10 foot range, which will be explained later in further detail, a good sliding float, a float stop, a lead alternative sinker like brass, steel, or tungsten (or lead depending on where you are fishing), and a jig.

Some anglers prefer inline sinker weights when fishing jigs but you can also use slip on weights of various sizes tied to or between barrel swivels. The use of a sliding float is helpful because you can adjust the depth that you are fishing at very easily to match the depth of the river. To adjust the sliding float you will need to use a float stop which is essentially just a piece of yarn that is slipped onto the line, tightened, and trimmed. It can be moved up and down your main line to adjust the depth you will be fishing at. This is especially useful when jig fishing lots of varied stretches of water in a day. Usually, you will want to fish your jig 1-2 feet off the river bottom, so it is important to be able to adjust the depth you are fishing to match the specific run or hole you are fishing. Thill and Beau Mac make good sliding floats that offer excellent cast-ability and are easy to spot on the water.

A definite must for float fishing is a floating line like Pline Hydrofloat line which is designed specifically for float fishing or another floating braided line. This lets you see and manage, or mend, your line on the surface and will help you with stronger hook sets. The reason for a longer than normal rod becomes apparent when you are jig fishing and attempting to minimize the drag on your float, and while attempting to keep your line off the water. A rod in the 10 foot range will help you immensely with your line control. The benefit here is the ability to mend, or adjust your line on the water as well as pick it up and get a solid hook set when a fish strikes your jig. When float fishing with a jig, a strike simply looks like your float stopping its downstream motion, or going underwater. The general rule is that anytime you see your float go underwater or behave unnaturally, set the hook!

Many anglers use spinning reels while fishing jigs while others prefer casting reels. It is simply a matter of personal preference. Generally we will use a lighter spinning rod outfit when fishing smaller jigs in micro sizes or when fishing lower flowing or smaller water. When using larger jigs or fishing larger water we like to use casting outfits because of the ability to free spool line out downstream while controlling the spool with the thumb. Whatever your choice, it is important to choose a reel that free spools easily to help in feeding out extra line.

It is extremely important to minimize drag on your rig when float fishing jigs, which again brings us back to the use of long rods and floating lines. Throughout your drift you may have to free spool line out to keep the float standing straight upright in the water. If your line starts to drag and the float turns on its side, you aren't getting a good presentation and aren't fishing your jig correctly. To help fix this problem throw a downstream mend in your line, like you would while fly fishing, to decrease the drag on your line. This may sound confusing but once you get on the water this method will be intuitive and you will understand why it is necessary. You can free spool line out when drifting downstream but don't go too far because if you let too much line out you will have trouble setting the hook and playing your fish back upstream to where you are fishing from.

Fishing with jigs for salmon and steelhead is an immensely popular method, and it is only growing in popularity as the benefits become apparent. Less lost rigs to snags, and the fact that fish love the action of marabou and schlappen feathers underwater make jigs a great option.

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