How to Pick a Jig for Year-Round Fishing

Mike Iaconelli
Mike Iaconelli

I’m really excited about this series of videos and blogs because it gives me a chance to talk about one of the best lures ever created: The skirted jig. It’s a lure that can intimidate a lot of newcomers because it doesn’t necessarily look like anything natural and there are lots of different options on the market. That can be confusing.

I can vividly remember when I was 17 or 18 years old and I started hearing about this lure category. I bought a few and had no idea how to fish them. In fact, the first few times I’m not sure I even used a trailer. But over time, through trial and error, I gained confidence. Now I know why it’s one of the all-time greats – because it catches big bass! Just as critically, it catches them year-round, in all different types of fisheries and under all conditions. How many other lures can make that same claim.

Missile Jigs Ike's Micro Jig
Missile Jigs Ike’s Micro Jig

In order to become a good jig fisherman, you need to understand the different types of jigs. As far as I’m concerned there are five major styles, each of which have their own time and purpose.

The first one you have to have are what I consider “micro jigs.” They’re small, itsy-bitsy, and finesse-oriented. There are some situations where they beat everything else. The second option is a little bigger, but it’s still compact. It’s not in the micro category but it’s not full-sized, either. I like the Missile Mini Flip in this group, but more and more manufacturers have come out with their own versions.

Missile Jigs Ike's Mini Flip Flipping Jig
Missile Jigs Ike’s Mini Flip Flipping Jig
Missile Jigs Ike's Flip Out Flipping Jig
Missile Jigs Ike’s Flip Out Flipping Jig

Next up is a big, full-sized jig, like the Missile Baits Flip Out. It’s probably the most versatile of all five that I’m describing here. You can do a ton of different things with this one, especially if it has a flipping or pitching style head. Another must’-have is the football jig. This is also full-sized like the last one, but has a really specialized head. As you might expect, it looks like a sideways football. That makes it a tremendous weapon around rock, everything from pebbles to chunk rock to boulders.

Missile Jigs Ike's Head Banger Football Jig
Missile Jigs Ike’s Head Banger Football Jig

Last but not least is the swim jig.

Berkley Powerbait Swim Jigs
Berkley Powerbait Swim Jigs

Just like the football jig, it has a specialized head and perhaps a more limited set of applications. It also has a line tie that’s unique. All of those distinctions taken together make you able to swim it horizontally around, over and through cover.

No matter which jig you choose, your choice of trailer allows you to further customize it. You can affect its color, shape, fall rate and action. I depend on three basic kinds. There’s a time and a place for each one.

Berkley Powerbait Meaty Chunk
Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw
Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw

The first is what I’d call a “non-action” or “neutral” trailer. Usually this is a traditional plastic chunk. They create a fluid motion for the entire package, but not a lot of heavy movement. The second type provides a little more action. It’s the standard craw-style trailer. It moves more than the chunk, but not super-fast. It’s more of a moderate action. Moving up the ladder, the third type–you may have guessed–is what I’d call a

Berkley Powerbait Crazy Legs Chigger Craw
Berkley Powerbait Crazy Legs Chigger Craw

“high-action” trailer. Some of these may look like the craws, but they have bigger curl tails or arms. That creates a tremendous amount of movement. It activates the jig, draws the attention of the fish, and moves a lot of water.

Choose the right jig, for the given situation, and you’re set up to catch any species of bass you come across—from largemouths, to smallmouths, to spotted bass. That’s another great thing about this lure class. As we get further into this series I’ll dive deeper into the topic. There’s so much about jig fishing to learn, and I’ll try to accelerate the process for you. I want to tell you about my tackle, how to detect a bite, and even how to set a hook. Once you get those basics down and choose the right tools, you’re on the road to becoming a well-rounded jig fisherman.


The Ultimate Jig Guide
The Ultimate Jig Guide________________________________________________________

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