The Versatile Bladed Jig
In the judgement of many walleye anglers, a leadhead jig that sports a shiny metal blade is good only for fishing dirty water or vertical jigging a river. It’s an opinion with which tournament ace and Team Northland member Mark Martin strongly disagrees.
In fact, the hard-fishing Michigan angler has used Northland’s venerable Whistler® Jig, with its iconic propeller blade, for many years in various situations, and says both it and the Thumper® Jig, which features an ’eye-catching belly blade, are useful in more ways than fishermen realize.
“Without a doubt, the Thumper and Whistler create more vibration that draws a fish’s attention in dirty or deep water,” he says. “But I’ll also use a bladed jig in early emerging weeds, even in shallower, clearer water, if I think it will attract a walleye from several feet away.”
Here are a few more ideas:
- Split Tail Rigging: After losing minnows to short-striking walleyes on Lake Erie’s rock reefs, Martin began tipping his Whistler® Jig with two baitfish rather than one. “If a walleye gets away with the first one, I think it gets more confident and comes back to engulf the second one, jig and all.”
- Bulking Up: Adding bulk to the jig in the form of a soft plastic bait like an Impulse® Smelt Minnow or Ringworm boosts its auditory and visual appeal. Use live bait with the plastic for even more bulk.
- Snap Jigging: This technique is used to entice reaction strikes from walleyes holding in shallow weeds or rocks, and the Thumper® or Whistler® often make it even more deadly.
- Trolling: Use a jig head heavy enough to swim no more than a foot from bottom at trolling speed. Martin discovered the technique’s effectiveness after placing a rod in a holder while snap jigging. Now, where fishing two rods is legal, he puts a trolling rod out every time.
- High-Vis Line: In many situations a subtle clear or camo line is the way to go, but when jigging a Thumper® in deep water, Martin opts for a neon braid. “You need to be able to see the line move on a light strike,” he says.
Bladed jigs deserve more attention than you probably give them. Tie one on next time and see what happens.
Posted on Fri, August 19, 2016
by Kyle Waterman