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Jig Fishing 101

Mark Armstrong
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You may have heard of jig fishing and are wondering just what exactly it is or even how you can get started. Many anglers can have great success with jigs when it comes to catching fish, especially bass.

So to help you discover a little more about it and give you some advice on how to get started, we’ve put together this informational guide.

Jig Fishing 101 - PinterestPin

What Is Jig Fishing?

Jig fishing is a style of fishing that involves trying to make your lure look alive so that a fish will want to take it. This can involve using jig baits and moving your rod around in various directions using quick actions, which can simulate the look of injured prey.

It can be a useful method of fishing when it comes to catching large bass, as it can let you fish effectively in areas with weeds and cover where the bass might be lying in wait for prey to pass by.

Rather than just casting your line out and waiting for something to take your bait, jig fishing can require a little more active participation on your part.

> “Walk The Dog” with lures

You have to work the lure in order to catch the fish, which can be more fun than simply sitting waiting for something to take your bait.

> How to handle bass

When To Fish With Jigs

Jig fishing can be effective for catching many types of fish, including both freshwater and saltwater species. Fishing with jigs can work well at all times of the year and can be a particularly common technique for bass fishing.

Because the jig baits are weighted, this can allow you to get your lure to the bottom of the water and into the areas of cover where your target fish should be hiding.

What Do I Need To Get Going (Jig Types)?

Strong Line

When choosing the line to use with your jigs you should consider the type of conditions where you’re fishing. For example, you may find that a braided line can work better in areas of weeds and cover because of its strength.

Braided line can be ideal for jigging, as it has high sensitivity so you can feel the fish bite. It also has low stretch and added abrasion resistance, which can help you keep a hold of your fish and stop your line from breaking.

Rod And Reel Type

heavy action rod can be better for jig fishing because of the cover you will tend to fish in and it should also be better able to handle large bass.

Your reel should ideally have a high gear ratio so that you can quickly reel in when you have a bite. It can also mean that you can cast and retrieve at a faster rate, which could mean you have more casting attempts and subsequently the potential to catch more fish.

Types Of Jigs

You’ll find that there are numerous types of jigs out there, which can make it difficult to know which one you might want or need.

When it comes to bass fishing you might find that bucktail jigs can be useful and there are many different types of jigs within this category that can be used for bass fishing, such as flipping jigs, swim jigs, finesse jigs and football jigs.

> Guide to finesse fishing

The jigs are designed to cut through weeds and mimic the action of prey, such as crawfish. The football jig, for example, has a football shaped head that can easily move over rocks and is designed to hit the bottom, giving the lure a more vertical appearance.

The color of jig you use will likely depend on the conditions where you’re fishing and the color of the water. You may want to choose more realistic colors that will appeal to the fish in that particular environment. For example, muddy water may call for more of a dark shade of jig, such as blacks and browns, whereas in clear water you might find that lighter colors work better.

You’ll also find that jigs come in different weights. Heavier ones are usually designed for deeper water and lighter ones for shallower water but sometimes the weight you’ll need will depend on other factors, such as the water temperature and weather conditions.

Because a lighter jig will often be slower in reaching the bottom, this can be useful when fishing in colder conditions when the fish are slower compared to a heavier one that is faster and therefore can be better utilized during warmer temperatures when fish are more active.

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Football Jigs

Reaction Tackle Tungsten Swim JigsPin

Football jigs, like this one, have heads in the shape of a football, which can make them ideal for bouncing over rocks, as they are designed to offer improved balance in order to roll over the bottom more easily.

Swim Jigs

6th Sense Divine Swim Jig - Darkwater GillPin

Swim jigs, such as this one, can be ideal for fishing in and around vegetation, as they tend to have a smaller profile head which can make them less likely to get caught up in weeds. They are designed to swim to mimic a baitfish as you reel them in.

Flipping Jigs

Terminator Pro jigPin

Flipping jigs, like this one, are probably one of the most popular types of jig because of their versatility. They can be ideal for flipping and pitching in vegetation but also for fishing on the bottom and for using them as a swimbait.

Finesse Jigs


Finesse jigs, such as this one, are designed to have a much smaller profile so that they can be used for finesse presentations where lighter gear is required. They can be ideal for times when fish are not actively feeding or during busy periods on the water.

Jig Trailers

Strike King Rage Tail CrawPin

Adding a jig trailer can add extra dimensions and movement to your jig, creating a more enticing potential meal for fish. A lot of the time, creature or crawfish baits, such as this one, are added to jigs, giving the jig a larger profile and mimicking the appearance of crawfish when fished along the bottom.

So, What About Jig Trailers?

 While many jig baits can be fished on their own, adding a trailer to your jig can be one way of improving your catch rate. A trailer can increase the vibration in the water and help to lure in the fish.

The right trailer can add additional movement to the jig to give a more lifelike appearance to your lure, as well as bulking it up. You might want to opt for a trailer that is the same or a similar color to your jig to help maintain a more realistic look.

Video: How To Fish Jigs

The time of year can affect the type of trailer you use, as during the summer months the fish can be more active, which could call for a more active looking trailer.

In the colder months, you might want to go for more of a slow action trailer to mimic the slower moving fish in the winter.

Video: Jigs And Jig Trailers – Matching Them Up

How To Jig Fish: The Basics

Step 1: Hit The Bottom

When you cast your line out with your jig bait, one of the main aims is that your jig hits the bottom.

In order to do this effectively you will likely need to adjust the weight of your jig to suit the depths of the water where you’re fishing, as you will probably need a heavier jig to get to the bottom of deeper water.

Step 2: Snap Up Your Jig

Jig fishing is really all about the presentation of your jig, so once you can tell that your jig has hit the bottom and is no longer falling, pull up on your rod in a fast, snappy action using your wrist.

This should make your jig move quickly upwards back towards the surface. Let it fall back to the bottom and then repeat the action. Remember, you’re trying to mimic the actions of the fish’s prey.

You can also jerk the rod from side to side as well as vertically, to create the illusion that the jig is swimming. You may want to reel in your line slowly to create a swimming motion, which can be done more successfully if your rod is at a 60 degree angle.

Step 3: Maintain Your Rod Angle

While you don’t necessarily need to maintain the same angle on your rod the whole time (as you will likely need to change angles in order to snap your rod to jig and when reeling in your fish), maintaining a manageable angle might be beneficial when it comes to setting the hook.

Video: Basic Jig Fishing Technique

If your rod tip is at a 90 degree angle you may find you don’t have enough power to set your hook when the fish bites, as you have nowhere left to go.

Step 4: Keep A Tight Line

When jig fishing, it can be important to keep an eye on your line so that you can notice the slightest touch from a fish. Keeping a tight line can help you notice a bite.

A fish can often take your jig during its freefall, so paying attention to your line at this point can mean the difference between catching a fish and losing one.

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Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It (Conclusion)

Hopefully you have found this short guide helpful and are ready to attempt some jig fishing yourself. It can be a great way to catch a whole range of fish and can be especially suited for bass fishing.

Just remember to keep an eye on your line and let your jig hit the bottom before you start jigging your rod.

Tell us about your favorite jig fishing setups in the comments and let us know how successful they are. Maybe your angling buddies need a helping hand? Share this with them.

1 thought on “Jig Fishing 101”

  1. I think jig fishing, is the Online way. But I’m only a perch jerker , welo…professiinal perihele jerker.
    I’ve used a Rebal brand bait, for 20+ years. And usually catch fish. My poles are only 2 ‘ long, a Suede, but I’d make the real serious fisherman on the river, jealous.
    The jig comes in several forms, cricket, crawdad, &…?
    Also come in 2 sizes. Cricket hoppers, is what
    I call them…Just Tuesday night, in the city, at Rovk Creek, had my poles w/me…do threw a yellow cricket hopper, in ….2nd cast, caught a lil crappie… then the 5th cast caught a lil blue perch…And the damn water, wasn’t anything re than 18”…the whole 50 yard area, I was playing in…Had more trouble staying on my feet; ya know nasty banks….hung out a few more minutes, cause I love fishing….right about dusk, well it was fairly dark, and I’m lollygaging around the trash, rocks & mud holes, I took 2 more casts, very shallow….2nd cast BOOM, it was a good one…I said hey I got another crappie, cause they fight much better than perch….I had my hands full of fish….fat 8-9” long, big mouth, carried it around for 5 minutes, just to keep from falling in….oooops dropped my phone, in rite after taking a pict. So scatteled outa there. Not a great pict, but come to find out it was a bass, Large Mouthed Bass….what a wonderful way if life, Fishing w Higgs, and imatating fish food. LOVE IT…& thanks fir the tips…I learned a few great things from you, tonight…..bless you….Bets


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