By Bill Quattrucci – Owner of BiCO Performance Jigs
I’ve been bass fishing and running a tackle shop for the majority of my life, and giving advice to anglers interested in getting started with jig fishing has always been my favorite part of the job. I consider myself a well rounded bass fishermen, but there’s no area I have more on-the-water experience with than throwing jigs. I started fishing Stanley Jigs back in the early 90’s, before I started designing my own baits.
Those starting out with jigs frequently ask me for advice on where to get started so I decided to put together this list of tips for people to use as a resource. Because it’s so hard to say one tip is more important than another, they are not in order of importance. One thing I can tell you is that if you apply these tips and techniques to your jig fishing you will improve your success.
1. The Right Equipment
The first thing you need to do to be efficient when jig fishing for bass is get yourself the proper equipment. I typically recommend at least a seven foot casting rod with heavy power and fast to extra-fast action. Using a longer rod allows you to pick up more line quickly when raising the rod tip. These specifications will give you the pulling power, as well as the sensitivity required for detecting hits and landing bass in all types of cover.
For a reel I suggest a low profile baitcaster with a fast retrieve, preferably with a 6:1 or faster gear ratio. The fast retrieve allows you to pick up slack line quickly so that you’re better prepared to detect a bite and set the hook. It’s also better for flipping and pitching tactics since you can quickly retrieve the jig between targets.
And lastly, for line I use twenty pound test fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is the best line for jigs because it’s clear, it sinks, and stays taut underwater. Braid is acceptable too if you’re fishing stained water, in which I would suggest forty to sixty-five pound test. You might also want to consider using a fluorocarbon leader. Regardless of line type, I always tie my jig with a palomar knot.
2. Approaching Targets
How you approach a target can make or break the spot. It can be very tempting to fire away when you see some good looking cover, but it’s so important take the time to align yourself at the right angle and distance from the target you’re casting at. It’s all about setting yourself up for a perfect cast and jig presentation.
It’s also important to be as stealth as possible. I believe if you’re able to see the bass then the bass are able to see you, so try to keep a good distance away. Also try to ease in to areas quietly, especially on calm days when foreign noises will travel further underwater.
3. Casting Accuracy
Making accurate casts on a consistent basis takes time and practice, but it’s such an important skill to have when you’re jig fishing for bass around cover. I personally feel that the first cast at a target can make or break that spot. The difference between your jig landing three inches from the cover your targeting and three feet is greater than most novice fishermen realize. And I find that the larger the bass, the more true this is.
Having good casting skills also allows you to put your jig in hard to reach areas, spots where not all fishermen are going to be able to safely land their jigs. Not only does it present your jig to more bass, it will reduce the chances that you are going to hit something like a boat and make noise or end up stuck in a tree on shore.
4. Maintaining Connection
Maintaining a constant physical connection with your jig is the most important rule in jig fishing. This is the factor that separates jig fishing from fishing with most other bass lures. If you can’t feel what’s going on with your jig then you are leaving way too many opportunities for missed strikes. The way to do this is by not leaving too much slack in your line, keeping your line tight will allow you to feel even the softest bites.
Not only physical, you should also be maintaining a mental connection with your jig, meaning having full concentration on the bait while it’s in the water. Taking your eye off the prize for even a second can cause you to miss a fish, and you’ll never know what you missed. I have found that some of the hardest to detect bites have come from some of my biggest fish.