Over the past few years I have learned many different ways that people fish jigs and also many reasons why people don't fish jigs. Well, what seems to come up more times than not is the fact that they don't know how. There are so many videos all over the web that can make learning very frustrating. Some videos say that jigs will only get bit at a slow drag while others say you need to hop the jig at a fast pace to get it bit.
As a jig fisherman I feel that jigs need to be closely and methodically worked for a fish to really key in on and to eat, which might seem like a lot of work but really it's not. The question that anglers need to ask is: What type of "bait" is my jig supposed to represent? Well based on color, size and presentation it can look like virtually anything that lives in the water. A brown and orange jig can look like a late summer craw, and a purple and brown jig can look like a blue gill. When jig fishing you really need to decide what the fish are really keying in on and what they want to eat. Any given day a fish will eat a crayfish, if you're slow hopping or hopping fast enough that you have a constant mud trail. More times than not you will be able to pick up a few fish, but what if you picked up a purple jig and swimmed it?
Ultimately anglers need to present the jig as if it is the forage that they think will produce the most bites. Things to base your decision on would be: time of year, water temp, or is there an abundant amount of one forage. For example, a few weeks ago I was pre-fishing on Clear Lake and my friend Spencer had told me that there was a really big sculpin hatch. We were able to get on a brown and green jig bite and a drop shot bite with creature baits, concluding that the fish were eating on the bottom or better yet sculpin.
Picking the color of your jig is key. The colors of all bait fish and forage changes as the temperature changes and as the seasons change. Early spring, during pre-spawn, crayfish are very dark with a little red. And in the summer time they turn into a very bright red then later changing into a brown and purple color. The selection of size of the jig won't be too much trouble. I try to use the lightest jig I can get away with but still stay in contact with the bottom. Most of the time will be a 3/8 oz. to 1/2 oz. jig. Also look at the way the jig itself looks in the water. How does it look? The best jigs will spread out and make the bait look way bigger than it really is. This is why the jig is known as a big fish bait. Sometimes jigs could need a little trimming. Many people have their own method to their madness, but what I do is round off the skirt, that way they're not all the same length, giving it a more natural flow.
After selecting your color and size you will need to pick a trailer that will ultimately capitalize and make your jig look more appetizing to the fish. Trailer selection and location will be discussed in my next blog.