Fishing Jigs Jersey Style by author unknown
Fishing jigs is easy and a big bass producer. I’ll start out with the equipment and add some tips as I go along. After reading some of my posts, you’ll see that I am a pitcher and do very little flipping. Pitching is where you are back off of cover and using an underhand swing of the jig to the target. It’ll be hard when you first start pitching, but after some practice it’ll become second nature for you.
This list of equipment, are the things that have helped me master the technique.
Rod: The best rod I have found is a MH 7 1/2 (Cranking Stick) from Bass Pro Shop. $49.95.I keep an eye on BPS sales lists and got some for $39.95. It’s a great rod, that has a good bend, and will load up to send a jig 20 ft. back under trees and hard to get to spots with no problem. A rod like this is very important for this kind of fishing. Need the length to keep the jig off the water on the swing and to be able to load it up to shoot it like a bow and arrow.
Reel: You’ll need a high-speed low profile bait caster so you’ll have good control over it and be able to stop on a dime. Got a rod locker full of Quantum’s. A good cheap one is a Quantum Classic Express that I use only for pitching. $59.99.This reel also has a magnetic cast control that helps with the backlashes. You will get backlashes; the pros get more than you would think. If you are already pretty good with a bait caster, go with a left-hand one. You wouldn’t believe how many more hook ups you’ll get if you don’t have to change hands after casting. A lot of hits come on the drop and if your changing hands you don’t feel it. I have found that this helps a lot. You’ll need the high speed because sometimes the bass comes out of cover so fast with the jig, that you’ll have a hard time catching up to it, more on that later.
Line: P-line Floroclear works for me. Tough as nails and the fish can’t see it. Helps with the backlashes too. 20# or 20#XL
Jigs: Down to just using FLW mini jigs from Wal-Mart. I carry every color that they make. You never know what color or size bait that they’ll want or hit from one day to the next. My main two colors are a pumpkin looking one and black. All are small without rattles. It’s got a light wire hook that you’ll be able to straighten out when you get hung up. They are still strong enough to get the biggins in. The only jigs that I lose are from the hook breaking off from being straightened back out so much. If your not getting hung up your not fishing in the right spots. I think that the big ones have been gotten on rattletraps and other rattling baits so much that they wouldn’t hit one after they get so big say 3 1/2-4 lbs. Never had a biggin run a rattle-trap down. Only got them from landing on them after a long cast, reaction hit.
Baits: Big fan of (Zoom) Baby brush hogs. The colors that I use most are pumpkin and root beer. One or the other has been real good to me so far this year. I doctor it a little. Cut the wings so that it will flip up and cut it off at the base of the wings before you add it to a jig. This little trick really helps. It makes it real compact bait. Great for pitching into holes on the shoreline and into downed trees. It’s something that the bass don’t get to see too much of. That helps a lot. The combo of a mini jig and baby brush hog makes for slow falling bait that they’ll hit if you put it in their face. You can put allot of different baits on a jig like lizards, grubs, and worms. The list is endless. If I don’t get hit within a half hour I’ll start changing colors then size. Some days the used bait cup will be half full before I find what they want.
Cover: Shoreline cover can be weed line, bush, logs, under trees and limbs. Shade plays a big part on where big bass will be. The harder it is to get bait back into cover the better your chances of getting a biggin is. For shorelines I look for one that drops off fast. 8″ or more in the first foot. I’ll pitch to every hole in the weed line or anywhere I think there may be a under cut bank or anything on it. Under big trees that have limbs almost on the water produce best. The farther they come out on the water the better they are. I can get a jig under and through a hole 8 inches high and wide 20 ft back under a tree a few inches off the water without making a splash on entry. If you really get into this technique you’ll be able to fish places that no one else can. That’s where the biggins hang out. Downed trees, I’ll start pitching to the tip the farthest out first. Then work every branch that comes off it. A lot of hits will be as you craw a jig over a branch and let it fall back down. You’ll get the feel of a hit or if it’s just another limb or something. One moves and the other doesn’t. On the shoreline just hop it a few times in each hole. Under trees and around downed trees drag it slowly up and over anything it comes across. Always stop reeling if you feel something to see if it’s moving. Always stop reeling if you feel something to see if it’s moving. That was worth repeating.
Hook Set: Never, ever try to set the hook till you feel the fish and then only when you start getting a bow in the rod. A jig is big bait that takes a little time for them to get it all the way in their mouth. If I see or feel the line moving, I’ll start to reel down slow to where I can feel the fish. If they drop it, let it set for a while. 9 out of 10 times they’ll come back and pick it up as long as you didn’t jerk on it. If you didn’t feel the fish, they didn’t feel you. On a drop, put some slack in the line and watch the line for the pick up. Then reel slowly to where the rod tip is almost touching the water and you feel the bass before you set the hook. That 7.5′ rod picks up a lot of line fast for a good hook set.
Pitching: This is a close up technique and the most important thing I can tell you is (silence is deadly) No noise in the boat or on the pitch. If your making a big splash on the jig entry all your chances of getting a big one just left, it’s not going to happen. Go around to your local lake to practice. That way you’ll see how much of a splash your making. I can’t tell you how important a good pitch is. If you can get it down to where it sounds like a baitfish jumping on top it’s ok. Your almost there. A perfect pitch makes no sound or ripples (silence is deadly) it took me two full years with a flipping stick in hand to master this technique. By the time you can make a 15-30 foot pitch accurately with no noise you’ll know where and how to fish a jig. Your skill level only limits the length of a pitch. It takes time and practice to get this down right. But it’ll pay off in some of the biggest bass of your life.
You’ll have to become a line watcher. 99% of the time you don’t feel a hit. They just pick it up and swim off with it. All you’ll see is a twitch or see the line moving. If you hop a jig and don’t feel it, something’s got it and swimming towards you. Reel up the slack till you feel the fish before you try to set the hook. A lot of times I have had them swim all the way under the boat before I could catch up to them. This will happen allot. Expect it.
This technique will work all year round. The only difference is, in the summer you’ll get more bass. The main thing is you have to have the right rod to get it to work right. For most people, they can’t set the jig right. With the 7.5′ rod you wouldn’t have too many problems. Just wait till you feel them. On the shoreline or shallow water I leave slack in the line after pitching it, that will give you something to watch for a hit. Leaving slack in the line also helps to keep you from moving it too much when you’re jigging it. If you pitch next to a log, you don’t want to move it too much. Just enough to make it move an inch or so in between pauses. In the summer you can work it a little faster than in the winter. In the winter you have to almost dead stick it.
In deep water, still pitch it. Just to keep the noise down. You’ll have to keep in contact with the jig on a tight line. Most of the time that I am jigging, the rod is in the 10-11 o’clock position. That also helps to keep you from moving it too much. If you feel something, drop the rod tip and see if the line is moving. If you don’t see it moving, reel down to a tight line again and feel for the bass before you try to set the hook.
Best thing about jigs is you have a little time before you have to set the hook. During the winter, most people try to set the hook way to soon. Sometimes you’ll have to let them swim with it for a while before they have it all the way in their mouth. If you gut hook one, you’ll know to jerk sooner. It takes a different amount of time from day to day.
One more tip. If you gut hook one. Reach into their mouth and push the jig head over to the gill plate. Stick a finger on it through the gill plate. Then reach in with your other hand and hook the jig with a finger in the bend and pull. With the mini jigs they’ll pop right out without hurting them too much. You won’t gut hook a lot of dinks; they don’t hit a jig that much. Most of your fish will be keeper size and better.