Early Winter and Jigs

Mike Iaconelli
Mike Iaconelli

OK, guys, here’s the deal: It’s getting to be winter. The air temperature is no better than 50 degrees most days and the water temperature is around 55 degrees in much of the country. That’s not nearly as cold as it’s going to get but it’s still cold and the bass know that winter is right around the corner.

Now, to be honest, you need to fish all through the water column right now. There are days when they’re deep and days when they’re shallow. Nevertheless, it’s a rare day when you can’t catch them with a jig, and I’m talking about tiny jigs.

My favorite model is a Missile Jigs Ike’s Micro Jig. The smallest one weighs just 1/16 ounce. If you want one a little bigger, there’s a 1/8 ounce model and a 3/16 ounce model. I usually go as small as possible because the little ones look more like what they’re eating right now — something that’s an easy meal.

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

I know you hear about the bass chasing shad and minnows right now. That’s true, but it’s also true that they’ll go crazy over crayfish. And I don’t care if they’re largemouth, smallmouth or spots.

So, if you’re going to catch them, you need something that looks like the real thing — what they’re actually eating. We’ve already talked about size. That’s a part of it but so is color. You need to match the hatch.

I know you hear that from me all of the time, but that’s because it’s the best way to catch them most of the time. Fish don’t think. They react, and they react best to what looks ordinary to them.  Right now, pick a color that looks ordinary, something that closely matches the local crayfish.

If I’m struggling to figure that out, I go with something like green pumpkin or peanut butter and jelly. They’re pretty much universal. But there’s one exception: Pure black. I know it doesn’t match the hatch very well but it does catch them in the winter, especially smallmouth.

Now you have your lure. The next step is to retrieve it correctly.

I always start slow, dragging it first and only hopping and swimming it as a last resort. If it’s been an especially warm week, though, and the water temperature is moving up, I will speed things up just to see what’s happening.

As a final tip I’ll tell you to fish everything in the lake or river. Bare banks, heavy cover, shallow water or deep water makes no difference. You never know in the winter. 

Changing structure and cover is really easy with a Micro Jig. It comes with a removable weedguard. You can put it on when you need it and take it off when you don’t. It takes 5 seconds to switch from a bare bank lure to heavy, twisted wood lure.  

Pick up a handful of Missile Jigs Ike’s Micro Jigs and go fishing, and I mean right now. You won’t regret it.

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