The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

The Essentials

By Bob Jensen

People who like to fish have to make some decisions before they even get on the water.  First, when and where?  Most of us have to fit fishing in between other activities, and depending on where you live, there can be lots of places to go fishing.  When we get to the body of water that we’ve decided on, we have more decisions.  One decision that is perhaps the most fun and important is choosing a lure to use.  There are lots of options, but when it comes to catching fish, if limited to one style of lure, many anglers would tie on a jig.

When I go fishing, it’s just to go fishing.  No tournaments, no guiding, just fishing.  Any kind of fish, any size of fish.  Of course it’s fun to catch big ones, but I would rather catch a bunch of small to medium sized fish than one or two big ones in a day.  That’s just me.

So, why would I choose to fish with a jig over any other type of bait?  Because most fish will eat a jig at any time of the year.  There might be a better choice at certain times, but a jig will almost always get something to bite.

Some types of jigs are better for walleyes, some are better for bass, and panfish like other styles.  If I’m after walleyes, a round head jig will often be my choice.  Not always, but usually.  In the spring the jig might have a minnow on it. Later on the minnow will be replaced with a Rage Swimmer.  Lighter jig, smaller plastic in the spring, heavier jig, bigger plastic as the water warms.  Crankbaits or spinner-rigs might be better in the summer, but jigs will do the job day-in and day-out.

I’m always happy to be chasing smallmouth bass.  They like to bite.  When it’s just a matter of putting some smallmouth in the boat, I’m more than likely going to start with a jig/Ned Ocho plastic combination.  If there’s a smallmouth around this set-up, they’ll eat it.  When the bass are really active other baits will allow an angler to cover water faster, but whatever the bass’s mood, they’ll bite a Ned Ocho.

Largemouth bass:  Again, so many ways to get them to bite, and there are certainly some baits that will work better under certain conditions. But it’s hard to beat a Tour Grade Swim Jig spring, summer, or fall.  Tip it with a Rage Craw.  Black/blue and Green Pumpkin are good colors to start with, but go with any color that you’re confident in.  Work it around reeds, over rocks, or along a deep weedline.  You will get bit.

Crappies, bluegills, or perch. They’ll be in different areas of a lake, but put a jig in their neighborhood and almost every time they’ll eat it.  Start with a sixteenth ounce jig tipped with a Mr. Crappie Lightning Shad or Tube.  Go smaller if the fish are being choosy.  If they’re really not interested, try a Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Hair Jig and add a minnow to it.  Try fishing it under a slip-bobber for ‘gills and crappies.

Most of us wouldn’t like to be limited to one style of lure for all of our fishing.  But if for some reason you can only use one bait, think about making that bait a jig.

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