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Jig Your Way To More Fish

By Bob Jensen - April 1, 2014
Early in the open water fishing season, jigs are probably the Number One go-to bait for walleye anglers, and folks who fish for bass and panfish also use jigs early in the season. There's a reason for that: Jigs are, plain and simple, fish-catchers. In fact, many anglers, if they were limited to one type of lure to use year 'round, would choose a jig. Jigs come in a lot of shapes and sizes and colors, and determining which jig you should tie onto your line can be a little confusing. It doesn't need to be. Just keep a few considerations in mind and you'll be catching fish on jigs in no time.

We'll get the color consideration out of the way right away. Sometimes color matters, sometimes it doesn't. Go with bright colors in stained or dirty water, more natural colors in clear water. If you're using plastic on the jig, use a jig of one color and plastic of another color. By doing so, you're showing the fish two different colors and increasing the odds of showing the fish the color they want.

Next consideration: Hook style. When using plastic, go with a jig with a longer shanked hook, something like a Slurp!,Gami UV, or Rock-It jig. These jigs all have keepers which prevent the plastic from sliding down the hook, and the longer shank gets the hook farther back in the plastic to increase hooking percentages. If you're using live bait, a short-shank hook is preferred. The short shank enables a compact bait presentation that is really desirable in the cold waters of spring or whenever the fish are finicky. Put the hook in the minnow's mouth and out the hard part of its head and the minnow will stay on the jig longer. The Fire-Ball series of jigs are the best when it comes to live-bait jigs.

Take a look at the shape of the head. Most jigs have a round head, and that shape works great much of the time. But there are times when a special head shape is better. If you're using plastic and swimming it, you'll want a longer, thinner head, something like a Slurp! Jig.

If you're dragging your jig with live bait, consider a stand-up head. These jigs stand up when they're sitting on the bottom, so your live bait stands up also. It's easier for fish to see a stand-up jig presentation when you're dragging the jig. The stand-up style also rips through weeds easier.

Last of all, when the water is stained or if you're swimming the jig, consider a jig with a spinner or propeller attached. These add flash, which is helpful in the stained water, and sometimes fish even in clear water like that additional flash. Think Thumper or Whistler jigs if you like the spinner/propeller idea. Most anglers have some experience with jigs; many anglers have lots of experience with them. If you keep these basic ideas in mind when you're trying to figure out which jig to tie on, you'll jig your way to more fish.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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