No serious bass fisherman, can call themselves one, if they have never used
a jig. Sure it’s a bold statement but no other bass lure has had the success
or the reputation that the jig has.
In summary of the 2006 Bassmaster Elite Tournament Series, the lure that helped
anglers win the most tournaments was jigs. In fact, the data says that over
35 percent were won with jigs and the next closest lure presentation was 21
percent. Now, even though that is a large enough margin for me to believe in
its clear-cut advantage in catching high-quality fish. The thing that confirms
it for me is this. Baits that closely mimic that of a crawfish won over 78%
of the time. Enough said. Once thought of as a cold water lure only, the jig
has proven itself as a year-round big fish magnet.
Believe it or not, the favorite food of both large and smallmouth bass is the
crawfish. Yep, it’s true. Some may think that it’s a worm, frog
or minnow, but it’s actually a crawfish. And the Bassmaster data clearly
supports this claim. Furthermore, any bass angler that has put a bass into their
livewell will find crawfish remains in the bottom at the end of the day. You
may have been slop fishing all day and caught all your largemouth on slop frogs.
Or maybe you were fishing smallies in deep open water situations; nevertheless
at the end of the day there will still be crawfish parts in the livewell. It
is tough to dispute. It doesn’t matter whether or not it takes longer
for the bass to digest crawfish over other things. The point is there will always
be crawfish parts in the livewell if you do as Rapala says and “take a
But to better understand why the bass jig is such a phenomenal lure, it helps
to dig into the habits and food preferences of the bass.
Bass, particularly the big ones, seem to occupy the best cover and locales.
They set up shop in areas that meet all their needs. The right cover, the right
temperature and access to the right food source. Bass love cover, especially
weeds like coontail, reeds and milfoil, and they are also ambush predators.
And it just so happens that crawfish eat decaying vegetation and other things
they can get their pinchers on. So figure it out. Bass love cover. Crawfish
like vegetation. Sounds like a good combination for the bass. So let’s
get back to the jig.
Almost by definition a bass jig has a weedless design. They are comprised of
a large heavy head with a stout hook and a bunch of bristles to protect the
hook from fouling with weeds. Most bass anglers in this part of the country
choose the JungleJig from Northland. The simple reason is that it was designed, tested and
proven for all the conditions that we face around here. It works great flipping
into cattails, reeds, milfoil, docks, cabbage, laydowns, wild rice and coontail.
The bass jig has to be able to go into the places were bass hide. Although it
isn’t always required, it certainly does help to make this jig look more
like a crawfish. How do you do this? By simply adding an appendage (trailer)
to the jig that looks like crawfish pinchers.
For many years, anglers tipped their jig with an uncle josh pork trailer. Hence
the name, “jig and pig”. This was basically a strap of leather that
was marinated in a salty solution. When you got it onto a hook, you would have
to cut it off, especially if it had dried. But when they were wet and limber
they did have great action, scent and longevity.
Then soft plastic manufacturers started making jig trailers, which of course
are scented and come in all shapes and sizes.
Bass hit jigs on the fall, so a trailer is not only designed to call more attention
to the presentation, but also to slow the rate of fall. Some of my favorites
are the Slurpies Jungle Craw Chunk, Slurpies
Brush Beaver, and Northland Fishing Tackle’s double
Like most things, jigs come in all sorts of sizes and it helps to have the
right one for the application. Because bass do hit on the fall, its helps to
use the lightest jig possible to be able to effectively fish the cover you are
fishing. Couple that with the fact that you need to fish it like a crawfish
so it must be on or near to bottom to be effective. Hop it, drag it, deadstick
it, scoot it just make it look like a crawfish.
Denny Brauer is the only angler that I know of to make it onto a Wheaties box.
And he has proven the world over that the bass jig is a bait you can rely on
all year in many different conditions. There are better times of the year, but
when you consider the design of the presentation and where the bass live, it
is a match made in heaven. I know that the opening statement was a bold one,
but if you are a bass angler that never has used a jig, now is the time to start.
Believe me and all the other seasoned bass anglers around the world, you won’t
Posted on Sun, March 22, 2009
by Steve Mattson filed under