Jigs Provide Hot Action as Water Temperatures Cool
The temperature is finally starting to fall and the waterways have become ghost towns. At this time of the year, you may not see another boat for hours, even at the community honey hole. The great thing about this, the fish are still there and they have had less pressure. When the temperatures drop, jig fishing can be the route to go to put a big bass in the boat.
This is not new information by any means, but there is always room for improvement. A jig seems like a very simple bait to fish, but if you dig a little bit deeper, you will see that there are many subtle changes one can make to produce better results.
What Makes a Good Jig?
It takes a few things to make a good jig for jig fishing. L.A. Jigs has hit it out of the park by meeting these basic needs. Hand-tied skirts are a must. With hundreds of bait companies in the fishing industry, you can’t use lures if the rubber bands holding skirts in place fall apart.
Another must is powder-coated jigheads. Let’s face it. We have all had bad days and that usually reflects in our casting. Even if we’re casting a perfect game, rocks can wreak havoc on our baits.
Last, but not least, a jig must have a great hook. This is not just about the sharpness, but also has a lot to do with the weed guard. Too much guard and you won’t catch fish. Too little guard and you will catch every piece of structure on the lake floor.
There are many types of jigheads. One of the most popular is the Arkie-style head. This also happens to be my personal favorite. The Arkie-style head, like those from L.A. Jigs, are supremely versatile. The shape of the head allows this bait to come through many types of cover. Probably the most beneficial feature is that it can be skipped under obstacles with minimal effort.
Another factor that many people don’t realize is that the flatter surface of an Arkie style jig gives the bait a unique fall once it’s in the water. Of course, the heavier the jig the quicker the fall, but the flat surface can slow it down a bit and gives it a slight wobble as it sinks. As you work this jig along the bottom, the wider surface also tends to deflect off the structure to help give it a more erratic action.
Flipping jigs can also be pretty popular. A flipping jig tends to have a more pointed head, allowing this bait to penetrate some of the thickest covers. Once the jig hits the water it’s almost like a bullet headed straight towards the bottom. You have a reduced chance of hanging up with this jig because, unlike an Arkie jig, a flipping jig does not wander on its way to the bottom.
“A flipping jig tends to have a more pointed head, allowing this bait to penetrate some of the thickest cover.”
Now there is a downside to a flipping jig. If the bass are suspending, you may feel fewer bites due to how fast this bait falls. Hooking a larger trailer on the back of the bait can slow the fall down by creating more surface drag against the water, but that can also decrease its effectiveness by making it more likely to hang up in cover.
A flipping jig also tends to be more effective when fishing a muddy bottom. With the head of the bait coming to a point, it will tend to dig into the mud stirring up the bottom as you work the bait back to the boat.
Picking a Color
All anglers have their favorite colors and even the top anglers frequently disagree on the best ones to use. Some people say that there is only one color to throw and if it’s not black and blue then it’s wrong. Through the years, my jig box has grown tremendously, but I still have my go-to colors.
Personally, I pick my color choices based on the conditions that I’m fishing. Whenever I’m fishing dirty water, I will throw some form of a black jig. Jig Fishing in clearer water can be an entirely different story. It’s hard to go wrong with a green pumpkin color, but don’t hesitate to try some different colors. I will usually start with a green pumpkin and go from there to see if a different color produces more bites. It’s not unusual to see the front deck of my boat-dotted by a few different colors tied on when the bass are biting jigs. My go-to colors are black and blue, summer craw, peanut butter and jelly and Okeechobee craw.
Now the key to this one-two punch is that the jig trailer is just as important as the jig itself. One thing that I like to do is use a larger trailer. I typically use a Paca Chunk Sr. from NetBait for any jig larger than 3/8 ounces. This trailer gives the bait a bit of a slower fall while at the same time providing some great action on the bottom. With any jig smaller than 3/8 ounces, I will use the Paca Chunk to have a similar effect.
If I’m jig fishing in extremely dirty water or trying to work the jig with a little bit faster retrieve, I will use the Kickin B Chunk, also from NetBait. This trailer gives off a ton of vibration when in dirty water and is quite enticing when moved at a fast pace.
Another trailer tip, be observant of the fish you’re catching. Sometimes if bass are feeding on crawfish, they will spit them up when caught. This can be some useful intel if you catch it. Sometimes crawfish can have very subtle color changes. A bit of orange on the claws could be exactly what the bass key upon and an orange trailer on the back of a green pumpkin jig could mean all the difference in the world.
The next piece of this equation is in your hands, literally, the rod and reel combination. When jig fishing you might find yourself in some thick cover and a fast retrieve reel is essential to pulling these fish out quickly. I rely on the 7.0:1 gear ratio in the Crius reel from Sixgill Fishing Products to help haul fish from thick cover.
Typically, my rule of thumb when it comes to the rod I use is dependent upon the weight of the jig I’m fishing. When fishing anything larger than a half-ounce, I use a heavy-action rod. When fishing baits weighing a half-ounce or less, I use a medium-heavy action rod also made by Sixgill.
The rod and reel are just as important as the line spooled on the reel. While fishing thick cover, I prefer to use a thicker fluorocarbon. I have found that I can produce more bites using 22-pound-test Shooter fluorocarbon line from Sunline. It provides me with a little stretch like braid, but fluorocarbon isn’t as visible as a braided line.
In some clearer water, I will use some smaller diameter line like 16-pound Sniper from Sunline. Sniper offers a higher pound test with a smaller diameter so that I feel confident my line can withstand some of the toughest conditions.
Don’t let the cooler weather keep you from getting out on the water. While the fish can be a bit lethargic, they will still bite. Be sure to keep an eye out for some of the subtle things out on the water.
The sunny banks should be where you spend most of your time. This is where you will find the warmer water. Also, remember that wood and rocks will hold heat better. Go ahead and be different, hook up the boat and get out on the water.
You never know. Your cold water fishing expectations may just be blown out of the water with a good jig bite.