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Publication: Bass Matters
A Beginners Guide to Jigs

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><> ><>         BASS MATTERS - May 10, 2006          ><> ><> 

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Hello Anglers,

A reader wants to know what water temperature is best for 
catching bass. Bass like water that is around 60 to 75 
degrees. The water temperature often varies from cove to 
cove and from coves to the main lake. Find water as close 
to the 60 to 75 degrees as possible. If colder or if warmer, 
bass often move deeper. 

Enjoy a week of fishing!
email Brock

A Beginner's Guide To Jigs
By Don Applegarth

Jigs have been around almost as long as anglers and they 
come in a wide variety of colors, styles and materials. From 
the beginning jigs have been a great fish-catching tool, and 
can be worked in various ways under a wide variety of 

Most anglers who want to learn to fish jigs get frustrated 
and don't spend enough time using them. That is understand-
able, as these baits often do not produce as many strikes 
as some other baits, and usually require the patience of 
Job to fish them slowly enough.

First let's examine exactly what it is that a jig is 
supposed to represent to the fish. The most common thought 
among many anglers is that a jig resembles a crawfish. True 
enough, but only when it is fished like a crawfish and in 
crawfish colors and patterns. What about other styles and 
colors…say a white bucktail? That certainly doesn't 
resemble a crawfish to me.

A white bucktail jig with either a red head or a white head 
with some red thread tied around the skirt resembles a bait-
fish with red gills, in my opinion. Most anglers find these 
work best when cast and fished back with a steady retrieve 
or by using a hopping technique along the bottom. They are 
also excellent baits for trolling as well.

Similar jigs are made with rubber skirts as well, and these 
too can be fished in the same manner. Normally, I fish a 
white or any light colored jig a bit faster than a darker 
crawfish color, simply because I want to imitate baitfish.

Now let's talk about the crawfish colored jigs. These can be 
found in just about every shape and size imaginable, and for 
good reason. They all work.

I think that overall the most popular colors for jigs any-
where (universal colors if you will) are black/blue, black, 
black/chartreuse, brown, brown/orange, brown/chartreuse, 
black/brown/purple, and many combinations of green or green 
and brown.

All of those colors are great crawfish colors, and will work 
under all conditions. Many anglers prefer to use a pork 
chunk such as the #11 or #1 Uncle Josh Frogs. Those are 
great trailers and will work fine, but they will also dry 
out, and need to be kept wet in warmer weather to work 

Another alternative is to use some of the new plastic pork 
trailers, such as the Zoom Super Salty Chunk which allows 
the same advantages with the slower fall and movements of 
the pork tails, but also allows you to be carefree about the 
risk of it drying out. Another advantage to using these 
types of trailers, is the fact that they also allow a wider 
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Many companies also offer a crawfish trailer as well, and 
these can be deadly at times. Another advantage to using 
these baits, is that they can also be fished on a Texas rig 
or Carolina rig and therefore are much more versatile than 
the standard chunks.

A Spider Grub or Twin Tail grub is another alternative to 
fishing a jig. These can be worked in the same fashion as 
other jigs and are in my opinion the easiest of all jigs to 
learn. Simply rig them, and fish them as you would a worm. 
The swimming tail action will draw strikes, and they can be 
fished a bit quicker than the standard pork chunks. 

The slender body will allow them to fall a bit more quickly 
and therefore you must have several sizes of jigheads avail-
able to adjust the fall when needed. Most times I want the 
bait to get down pretty quickly, and the deeper I fish it, 
the heavier I want the head to be. The added weight gives me 
a much better feel and allows me to stay in contact with the 
jig much easier. It not only allows you a better feel for 
the bottom's contour and make up, but also makes strike 
detection easier.

A twin-tailed grub can be deadly fished with a soft plastic 
skirt or behind either a hair or rubber skirted jig. It is 
a very versatile bait.

Another thing to consider about jigs is the type of weed-
guard you will be using. If you are fishing open water, then 
no weedguard is needed. For most of my fishing along rocky 
areas with little heavy cover, I use a leadhead with a twin 
wire, which I spread to form a V making it pretty weedless 
but still allowing an easy hookset.

If I am fishing thick cover and pitching or flipping, then 
I use a heavier head, which is streamlined and penetrates 
easily through the thick stuff. A good monofilament bristle 
guard is the most commonly found for this type of jig, but 
some companies such as Bass Browser Jigs use a wire guard 
making it easier to set the hook, and still quite weedless.

If you are fishing a bristle guard, be certain that you 
spread the strands apart so that they form a slight V and 
are thin enough for the hook to penetrate, and still come 
through thick cover easily. This takes some practice, but 
it is not difficult to learn, just hard to remember at 
first. If you do not spread the guard, then you end up 
missing a lot of fish when trying to set the hook.

Sometimes fishing a jig requires it be dropped into a 
specific spot, and lifted and dropped a couple if times in 
that same spot to trigger strikes from fish holding tight 
to cover. Flipping and pitching are good examples of this 
technique. There are also times when the fish want the jig 
slowly crawling or hopping up and down across the bottom. 
The best advice is to experiment, and let the fish tell you 
what they want on any given day.

Learning to fish a jig requires determination, and time. It 
is not a technique that will produce numbers most times, but 
it is a technique which could produce the largest fish of 
your life. It is an essential weapon to master and make you 
a much more versatile angler. Once you catch a few on the
bait, you will gain the confidence it takes to throw it.

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        GopherCentral's Question of the Week

Have you voted for any American Idol candidates this year?

Question of the Week

                  FISHING JOKES CORNER

Have you heard the one about the three blondes that went ice 
fishing and didn't catch anything?

By the time they cut a hole big enough for the boat to fit 
in it was time to go home.

Questions? Comments? email: Email brock
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