The Complete Guide to Catching Bass with a Jig

If you’re wondering about catching bass with a jig, then you’ve come to the right place. When fishing for bass, the jig-head and rubber skirt method is something that’s been used for decades mainly because it’s such a successful method.

fish for bass with a jig

So, how do you catch bass with a jig? Since the technology behind jigs has evolved and we see more specialized products nowadays, understanding the right types of jigs to use for bass as well as how to use them will allow you to catch bass easily every time you fish.

To help you understand a few successful ways you can catch bass with a jig, we’ll break down the background behind jigs. Then, we’ll cover the types of jigs you should use and how you should use them.

Catching Bass with a Jig

catching bass with a jigWhen you’re looking to catch bass with a jig, you’ll need to know a bit of information on jigs. You can purchase a jig in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. The skirt material on the jigs can also vary.

If you want to be prepared to catch bass even in areas where fishing seems complicated, then you need to have some versatility with your jigs. So, we’ll cover some information about fishing jigs and break down the beauty of using a jig as a lure when fishing for bass.

The materials used to make jigs are wide and vast. You’ll find jigs that are comprised out of a bevy of things like tinsel, hair, silicone, and much more. To start, we’ll focus on silicone jigs, since they are simple to use when fishing.

Silicone jigs are great for bass fishing because when they get wet, they become waterproof. That means they can get through thicker vegetation with ease. Also, if you want to help your jig get through thick milfoil, using scent can help.

While jigs can be made out of a bevy of different materials, they also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also come with several different types of heads, including a flipping, swimming, and a stand-up head. Also, heads can come in a bevy of varying weights as well.

To add to the wide variety you’ll find in jigs, and jigs also come in a wide selection of colors and shades. If you are new to bass fishing, it’s best to start with primary colors when fishing. Basic fishing colors are things like brown, orange, moss green, black, and blue.

If you’re looking to pick out a jig by its size, selecting the lightest weight possible is usually best. If you can get a jig that’s lighter in weight, you’ll get a more effective jig that looks real to a bass.

Another reason why you want a lightweight jig is that bass will try to bite the jig when it is falling. So, using a thin jig means the jig will sink more slowly.

Jig trailers are also famous when thinking about how a jig sinks. If you’re looking to fish in warm water, then consider purchasing a plastic trailer. If you’re fishing for bass in an area where the water temperature is less than 60 degrees F, then adding pork helps attract fish. Also, when you select a trailer, make sure you pick one that matches the jig skirt.

How to Fish with a Jig

There are a variety of methods you can utilize to fish with a jig. We’ll cover some of these methods below.

  • Hop and swim type retrieve. When you use the hop and swim type retrieve, you want to use a long cast. After that, let the jig stay at the bottom for a moment. After a minute or two, slightly pull up on your rod tip, then allow the jig to go back to the bottom. Allow for a few hops and then swim the jig a few feet. After that, hop the jig again. The hop and swim type retrieve works well for catching bass in all areas of the United States where bass fishing is popular.
  • Hop and drag the jig. You can also hop the jig on the bottom, then pull it. If you want to be effective with this method, keep the jig close to the bottom or just above a weed line. If you use a seven-foot massive action rod, you should have enough activity with your jig to grab some large bass. Regardless of the rod you pick, make sure that the rod has at least a soft tip and enough strength to pull massive bass out of thick vegetation.
  • The flipping and pitching technique. If you’re fishing around a weed pocket or an area with dense vegetation near the shore, this is an excellent method. If you use this method, consider purchasing a seven-and-a-half foot massive action rod while using a thirty-five-pound monofilament. Using the enormous action rod will give you enough durability to yank a large bass from a tight area as you flip your jig.

The Gear You’ll Need

If you’re planning to fish for bass using jig fishing, then you’ll want to purchase some proper baitcasting equipment. Baitcasting equipment tends to work best for jig fishing. That’s because you can use baitcasting equipment well when fishing with a heavy line and in thick vegetation. Plus, the weight of the lures works better when you use heavier baitcasting gear.

In most cases, you’ll want a rod between seven feet and seven-and-a-half feet in length that brings you medium or heavy activity. That type of rod works best as a jig rod. If you can add a baitcasting reel with 12 to 17-pound test fluorocarbon line to the mix, you’ll have an effective plan.

You want to make sure that you purchase a rod and reel sensitive enough to tell when you get sharp bites. You also want to make sure your equipment is strong enough to get a decent hookset when you get a bass biting at your jig.

Jig Types

There are a few different jig types you can utilize when you start fishing for bass. We’ll cover the different jig types in a bit more detail below.

Standard Jig

Using a standard jig is an excellent idea if you are using a short cast and have a submerged cover. However, standard jigs also work well when you are in deep water and fishing along the bottom after you’ve used a long cast.

Standard jigs are so popular because of their versatility and their attractiveness to bass. The best sizes to use for just about all bass are the 3/8oz and the 1/2oz sizes. Those sizes are great for fishing for bass, but sometimes you’ll want a lighter or heavier jig, depending.

Lighter jigs work better if you’re fishing in shallow water or when you want a slow fall with your jig. On the other hand, if you’re fishing in deeper water, then heavier jigs work better to achieve results.

Football Head Jigs

Football head jigs are named for their unique design. Not surprisingly, football head jigs look like a football. However, a football head jig provides you with an excellent plan if you want to fish along the bottom. You’ll be able to stay in better touch with your lure and not hang up as much with this type of jig because of the head design.

Football head jigs are great when fishing near rocks. They also work great when fishing anything from mid-range depths to deeper water. Using a football head jig in water that is 10 to 50-feet deep is ideal.

When considering the size of your football head jig for bass fishing, the 1/2oz football head jig is great for just about any situation. On the other hand, lighter jigs give anglers slower falls. Heavier jigs, on the other hand, from 1/2oz to over 1oz, work well in deeper water or heavy currents.

Swim Jigs

While you can use any jig with a swimming retrieve, if you’re going to use this technique, then it’s best to get a swim jig. A swim jig has a specific design featuring a pointed top, which means it can move quickly through grass and foliage while you retrieve it.

Many different styles of jigs do a good job when they come in contact with the bottom. However, of all of them, the swim jig is the best one to use when in motion in the middle of the water. That’s because the swim jig is useful in the shallows, and that means water that’s ten feet deep or less.

Swim jigs work well anywhere where there is grass or wooden cover to deal with in the water. They come with a lightweight design because most people use them for fishing in shallow water. That means they are far lighter than most other kinds of jigs. Most swim jigs used for bass are sized 3/16 or 1/4oz. The biggest swim jig used for bass is 3/8oz.

Trailers

Adding a trailer to the end helps the activity of your bait, the forage it is using and helps make the jig’s appearance more lifelike. People that use trailers for fishing for bass use soft, plastic kinds and those come in a wide variety of styles and colors.

When you attach the trailer to your jig, ensure that you rig it straight on your hook of the jig. That way, the activity level of your trailer and jig will look realistic and natural to bass.

Creatures

Creature baits are another option in jigs, and many of them come with extra arms and appendages that easily entice bass. Not all jigs look incredibly realistic to humans, but the way they move in the water is natural enough to attract and hook bass. Most creatures work with bass when used as a trailer for jigs and work best with swim jigs.

Craws

Craws are jigs that closely resemble crawfish traveling along the bottom of a water body. They work well when combined with a soft plastic crawfish. Craws are made in a bevy of colors and match every jig skirt imaginable. Plus, they typically also have claws that make them very attractive to bass. They work well with all kinds of different types of jigs.

Chunks

Another right choice is soft plastic chunks, which also look like crawfish to bass. You get two arms of the bait for every jig movement. If you use a standard jig, then a chunk might be a good idea for you.

Grubs

Another way to make your jig resemble a crawfish or a tiny fish moving through the water is to use a double-tail grub. The tails on grubs look like moving crawfish to bass, so the way they move attracts bass easily. You can use a grub successfully with any jig.

Other Jig Factors to Consider

Now that we’ve discussed the different types of jigs you can use and break those down in detail; we’ll discuss some other factors about jigs you’ll want to consider. Those factors include things like selecting colors, where to use jigs, retrieves, modifications, etc.

Colors

When fishing for bass, you want to search around for jigs that resemble crawfish. So, with that in mind, you’ll want to pick out colors that also resemble crawfish so that they attract bass. Thus, colors you can include green pumpkin, watermelon, and other shades that resemble crawfish. Those colors should provide you with success with jig fishing.

If you’re fishing more often in dirtier water, then you might need to change your color options up a bit. In that case, using a black and blue jig and trailer will help the bass see your bait more efficiently, and entice them to bite.

Some jigs also imitate bluegill, sunfish, and shad as long as the colors of the jigs look similar to the forage. If you’re trying to imitate bluegill for catching bass, then using a green pumpkin or jigs that are different shades of blue will help look similar to prey for the bass.

If you’re trying to make your jig look like shad when fishing for bass, then use a white skirt and a white trailer. That method is usually valid for getting the attention of bass.

Where to Use Jigs

Jigs are such a great tool when fishing for bass because of the work well in just about any type of environment. They offer a weedless design so that they can be used even when fishing in dense color. There is no incorrect area to use a jig in, but they work very well when you are fishing around grass, docks, wood, and rocks.

Retrieves

Jigs are great for all types of bass fishing and work well when casting, pitching, flipping, and fishing around areas that have a cover. With a jig, the bass is more attracted to your lure, and they will typically grab your lure as it falls to the bottom. So, you want to make sure you pay close attention to your jig when it is falling.

As soon as the bait reaches the bottom, you want to use short hops that allow the bait to stay near the bottom but appear alive as you progress through your retrieve.

In some cases, anglers like to use football head jigs for fishing for bass. If you have a football head jig, you can use it easily and attract bass. Start by dragging your jig along the bottom. Then cast it out again, and let it fall to the bottom. As it starts to fall, move your rod so that the bait progresses slowly along the bottom. Then, pull in the slack.

Another way to successfully use a football head jig is to employ short hops as the jig floats along the bottom of the body of water.

If you prefer a swim jib, then you might want to use a steady retrieve to get your jig moving back in your directions. Using small motions with pumps makes the bait move up and down actively, giving it a natural appearance to the bass.

Modifying Your Jig

While it’s typically just fine to use your jig the way it is out of the package, some anglers enjoy changing their jigs to improve performance. There are two ways you can modify your jig to increase the chances of catching fish and make the lure appear more naturally active. Those two modifications are known as trimming the weed guard and skirt.

When you purchase a jig, you’ll find that it probably comes with a weed guard. A weed guard is placed on a jig to prevent the hook from snagging on something. However, many weed guards seem overly stiff and lengthy when they first come out of the package.

That’s why many anglers choose to adjust their weed guards and shorten them. You can adapt your weed guard by cutting off a small piece of the weed guard with scissors. You want the end of the weed guard to be lengthier than the hook’s point, so snipping off a section that’s about a half-inch should be enough.

A second modification often used by those fishing for bass is trimming the length of the skirt. You can trim the length of the skirt by cutting it below the bottom of the hook. That way, your jig will appear to be more compact.

Multi-Colored Jigs

If you want to increase your chances of success when fishing for bass, you might want to think about using multi-colored jigs. Using jigs that are more than one color can sometimes increase your chances of success when it comes to hooking bass.

When I first started fishing for bass, I only knew of one color combination that worked for these fish, and that was the black and blue combo. It took me a while before I decided to try other color combinations. I experienced a lot of success with that first combo, but at the time, I didn’t realize I was becoming overly reliant and harming my success rate.

It took me some time before I decided to start trying new colors. However, after I began working new colors, I was able to find that using different colors made my approach to bass fishing more successful. That’s when I realized I had a lot more to learn about multi-colored jigs and bass fishing.

It takes some time as well as trial and error to tell what colors work best for bass fishing in individual bodies of water. When you first start using jigs for fishing for bass, you might not do great the first few times you hit the water. That’s why it’s essential to try a variety of colors and try different combinations until you discover options that work well for you.

Bass vary depending on their preferences, and sometimes you have to guess what bass like what colors in what ponds. That’s where trial and error can come in. You can read up on what colors bass typically prefer, but depending on their location, their tastes can vary. In that aspect, bass can sometimes be a lot like people.

Most places you’ll find bass also have crawdads, shad, and bluegill—or a combination of those, swimming around as bass prey. So, when you’re thinking about the colors you want to use to attract bass, if you can figure out what the bass are eating in that area, you can match your colors to look like that local bass prey.

If you’re looking to imitate bluegill, greens combined with blues work well. If you tend to fish in dirtier, muddy water, then a combo of blue and black should work well because the bass will be able to see those colors. Also, keep in mind, the more your jig looks like natural bass prey, the better you’ll be at catching bass.

Watching Your Line

When you’re out fishing for bass, you might have a day where you realize you have a bass on your hook and you never felt the bite. Sometimes, bass will grab at jigs or pick up the jigs without biting, so that means you’ll have to get skilled at watching your line.

Another thing you’ll need to learn is to keep an eye out for your line at the bottom. Keeping your eyes on your line will eventually become second nature, the more experience you obtain jig fishing for bass. Remember, line watching is essential when bass fishing because when fishing for bass, you’ll be fishing off the bottom.

Also, when you cast your jig out, flip or cast it into open water initially, and allow the jig to fall freely to the bottom. Keep your eyes on your jig as it makes its way to the bottom. Remember, you have to watch your line the entire way down. Many basses will take on a jig when it’s falling, so it is imperative to pay attention to your jig at this point. You don’t want to wind up missing out on bass.

Remember that you’ll probably be using a lighter jig when fishing for bass because you need something that looks naturally active. Since your jig will probably be lightweight, it will fall slowly in the water. If it’s early in the year, the rule usually is that it’s better to have a lighter jig. Fish are in the mood for lighter food at that time.

However, after the water starts getting warmer and it gets later in the year, bass prefers a more active, faster jig. So, you may need to remember to adjust your jigs as you fish for bass at different points of the year.

You can tell if a bass hit your jig on the fall by watching your line. If a bass hits your jig on the fall, you’ll notice your line move quickly on top of the water. If you see this, you’ll know you need to pull in your reel and start pulling up.

Make Sure You Pick the Right Trailer

Remember, picking the right trailer is very important when you’re fishing for bass. Having a great trailer and jig combination can make all the difference when it comes to catching bass.

I’ve used jig trailers when the weather is colder outside, and it seems like there isn’t much activity out at my local late. When there isn’t a lot of motion, you want to use a trailer that has minimal action, but that’s still attractive to bass.

You’ll also want to make sure if there isn’t much activity, you stick with simple bait that isn’t flashy. When water is cold, you want something that stays steadier and doesn’t shake, so it appears natural to bass.

If you fish when the weather is colder, then you don’t want to activate your jig overly. Try to let it sit in one area for a while when the water isn’t very active. That may mean you need to sit in the same spot for hours, but this can often prove useful.

On the other hand, if you tend to fish more often when the weather is warmer, then you’ll need a different approach. Bass and prey are more active when the weather is warm and move around more.

During these times of the year, you want a more active jig so that it appears like natural prey to bass. You’ll want to make sure you have a vibrant jig, and you’ll want to swim your jig often.

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