The Jig Worm: Not Just For Finesse Fishing

By Dave Duwe - July 1, 2012
Over the last few years jig worm fishing has become very popular. Very versatile, a jig worm can be used in deep weedlines, skipped under docks, and of course, finesse fished around shallow cover. A jig worm is simply a lead head jig with a piece of plastic on it. With the increased popularity of the jig worm, manufacturers have created a jig with a larger hook, usually a 1/0 or 2/0 hook. This larger hook aids in better hook ups. The real beauty of the jig worm is that it works when fish are spooky in shallow waters or during cold front conditions when nothing else seems to work.

For fishing a jig worm, my favorite set up is a spinning combo. I like a 6'6" or 7' medium action rod with a matched spinning reel, which can handle 200 yards or so of 8-10 lb test monofilament. Limp mono seems to be the least problematic, such as Silver Thread. Jig worm fishing is a good application for fluorocarbon, but I'm old school and still use monofilament. In clear water conditions I will use clear line, with a little color in the water, I will use colored line. The longer rod allows you better control of a battling bass.

The jigs I prefer are the All -Terrain Mighty worm jig, Arkie's U-Bolt jig or a plain round lead head jig. The basic two colors I use are black or brown, in sizes 3/32, 1/16 or 1/8 ounce. The smaller size jig with a 4" worm gives the rig a more natural appearance. When the jig is on bottom with the worm upright it resembles a small bait fish. My tackle box has only two kinds of worms; one is the YUM 4" Houdini worm and the other is a Berkley finesse worm. Both of these worms are thin straight worms. Color choices are black, purple or green pumpkin. When rigging the worm or the jig head the only rule is keeping the hook straight into the worm. If the hook isn't straight the rig will spin creating some line twist.

Now that we have the basics down for getting the rig onto our pole, we then need to decide when to use it. The answer is simple; anytime.

Usually the first time of the year I fish them is when the largemouth are post spawn. Fish are cruising in the shallows around structure and the inside weedline. These fish are here to feed. Long casts are necessary when fishing shallow fish in clear water as they can spook easily so keeping your distance is important. Make sure you keep your line tight and retrieve with short hops and shakes mixed with some dragging. Remember to hold on as the strike can be aggressive. Do some experimenting with the retrieve to see what the fish are in the mood for as it can change from day to day.

As spring winds into summer, largemouth bass move to the deep weedlines on the outside edges. When fishing the deep weedline, the key locations are the points and inside turns. Scattered rocks underneath coon tail or cabbage weeds seem to be the easiest and the best to fish. Eurasian milfoil is too soft to effectively fish the jig. Soft weeds will stick to your jig head and are not easily snapped off. When fishing deep weeds it's more of a swimming action than bouncing off the bottom. Using light jigs allows you to fish the lure up in the water column slightly. When the rig gets hooked up on a weed you want to lightly shake it free, normally this is when the strike will occur. I try using the lightest jig I can get away with. It is almost always a 1/16 oz or 1/8 oz jig. If windy, it might go up to a ΒΌ oz. It is a feel thing with the weeds and the fall. Use the size you need to feel the fall of the jig without much line bow.

The last method of jig worm fishing I enjoy is around the docks. It can be easily skipped under them. When you get bit, you need to horse the fish out, clearing the structure. One tip I use is if the worm is slipping down the jig head, I will apply a little super glue to adhere the worm to the jig head. When fishing docks I always have the best success when it is sunny. Bass are hiding in the shade to ambush their prey.

The jig worm is one of the most versatile fishing methods for bass. Though small in stature it can catch bass large or small. Try one soon and see the success. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.

Author Dave Duwe
Dave Duwe
Full-time guide Dave Duwe owns and operates Dave Duwe's Guide Service, featuring the lakes of Walworth County, WI. Dave has been guiding for over 20 years and is one of Southeastern Wisconsin's best multi-species anglers. Dave is an accomplished outdoor writer and seminar speaker. He is a member of the Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Association and Walworth County Visitor Bureau. Sponsors include: Lund Boats(Jerry's Sport Service Inc.), Mercury Marine, Arkie Jigs, and Vexilar Marine Electronics, a pro-staff member of Minn-Kota trolling motors,Hummingbird graphs, Cannon downriggers, Lindy, Pure Fishing and All Terrain Tackle. For more information, please check out Dave's website www.fishlakegeneva.com .