By Mike Frisch
In reality, a fishing jig is a pretty simple device. A chunk of lead with a hook molded into that lead. Pretty simple, but probably the lure that has accounted for more fish catches than any other lure! Here are this angler’s favorite methods for fishing jigs for various fish species during summer.
Summer means crappies roaming the weedlines on lots of Midwestern lakes. Small jigs in the 1/16-ounce size fished with an action tail can be a dynamite presentation for catching these fish. A simple ball-head jig with a grub-style tail can be cast and retrieved along weedlines.
Casting jigs and soft baits are common for catching summer crappies. Another method, though less popular, is to use the same jig/grub combination and swim it along the weedline using a trolling motor to parallel the weedline. This is a great way to cover water looking for active panfish. Once a school is found, the cast and retrieve method can then be employed.
Various jigs and grub bodies work for this presentation. My favorite grub is the scented, flavored Impulse Swim’n Grub in the 2-inch size range. As for jig choice, I use a simple ball-head jig like the 1/16-ounce RZ Jig. Various color patterns will work for weedline panfish but I like a brightly colored jig head tipped with a simple white grub body.
Not only do summer weedlines host lots of panfish, but they also are home to largemouth bass. Casting and retrieving bigger jigs with bigger soft baits will put these fish in the boat.
Often these schools will be found near an irregularity in the weedline like a point, turn, or change in weed type. Again, an Impulse bait, this time a soft plastic stickbait in a dark color pattern like junebug or camo is my favorite.
Panfish and largemouth bass roam summer weedlines. The always popular walleye often lives there too. A great method for putting these fish in the boat when fishing jigs is by using a weedless jig tipped with a medium-sized minnow for “snaking” along the weedline and actually penetrating the weeds a bit.
The Weed-Weasel Jig was designed with this style of fishing in mind. It comes with a sleek head and plastic weed guard and, also has a sharp hook. Baiting these jigs will medium-sized redtail chubs or sucker minnows will put summer walleye in the boat, though expect to hook some bonus northern pike and bass as well. Jigs in the 1/8- to 1/4-ounce size range, depending on the depth and cover being fished, and in the firetiger or parakeet color patterns are my favorites.
Regardless of what your favorite fish species is, it probably lives on a Midwestern weedline and is susceptible to a jig. And, using the suggestions just presented can probably get you in on a good summer jig fishing bite. Good luck on the water this summer!
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the Fishing the Midwest TV series. Follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more “fishy” information!
photo – Mike Frisch caught this bonus perch while working a jig along a summer weedline. Jigs and weedlines go hand in hand during summer!