Jig It Up for More Fish

I guess I can’t help the way my mind works. It is the only one I have and can do very little to change my style of thinking. However, my style of thinking is not that unusual when it comes to angling. In fact, I would guess that a lot of anglers have some of the same thought patterns that I do.
One of those patterns is the familiar habit of thinking back to the various techniques that helped me catch fish. Most of us have several tried and true techniques that become our “go to” methods for our fishing trips. During this last year my “go to” method was definitely the jig.

Bambino Finesse Jig

ISG Bambino Finesse Jig

I started out opening weekend last year fishing a small, nondescript lake about an hours drive from home. This lake was only 20 feet deep and basically had no structure. The little structure we could find was pretty much filled with boats.
I don’t really care that much for fishing in a crowd, so we started off in search of something a bit more peaceful. Eventually, we settled on a rock shoreline and started pitching eighth ounce Bambino Finesse Jigs tipped with ISG Pig Tails towards the rocks. We weren’t all that surprised to find scattered largemouth in about four feet of water, which was much shallower than any of the other anglers were fishing.
However, it wasn’t until a storm chased us to shore that we discovered the real hot spot. This location was a rock hump that topped off at four feet and was surrounded by eight feet of water.
When the storm was over we went back and had a ball jigging bass off of this tiny piece of structure. By keeping our distance and making long casts we were able to stick fish after fish without spooking them. Although we experimented with other baits, jigs were the only lure we caught fish on.
Much later in the year, on a trip to Canadian waters, we again put the mighty jig to use. This time the technique was much different. The fish we had going were in 20 plus feet of water and tucked up into a field of tackle eating boulders.
Once again, the versatility of the jig came through with flying colors. By hovering over the bass, we were able to fish very vertically and hang our lures right in the face of these fish. We did get snagged occasionally, but for the most part, we were able to feel the rocks with our jigs and stay out of trouble.
Around home, I don’t fish for walleyes as much as other anglers. I spend much of my

Intimidator Flippin Mudd Puppy

ISG Intimidator Flippin Mudd Puppy

time chasing bass. Another of my favorite lures is an eighth ounce Darter Jighead tipped with a four inch Mudd Puppy.
I catch all kinds of fish on this jigworm rig including walleyes, crappies, and northerns. The mainstay, of course, is the bass, but nearly anything is possible.
The jig may not be perfect for all fishing situations, but ask any angler with a lot of years on the water and they will tell you the jig is about as versatile as a fishing lure gets. Yet, for some reason, many anglers are still afraid of giving the jig a fair shake.
I think many anglers shy away from jigs because it just seems too simple to actually work. I’ll agree with the simple part, but for many fishing situations, the jig is going to put more fish in your boat than any other presentation.
Other anglers steer clear of jigs because the subtle bites can be hard to detect. In response to this, some strikes are anything but subtle. However, I also know that many pick-ups are difficult to feel. I believe inexperienced jig anglers will quickly learn to feel a hit if they just use it a while. Light line and quality rods will make the process of detecting bites easier.
It is certainly possible to catch a fair number of fish without knowing how to use a jig. However, I also believe that if an angler is serious about fishing, they must take that step into the world of jigs.
Once an angler gains confidence in fishing a jig they want to use it more and more. The good news here is that they can. With the versatility of the jig, there are endless ways to fish it.
Jigs don’t fit perfectly with every fishing application. In fact, there are times when jigs don’t work at all. However, by learning to fish the versatile jig, you will take a step up the ladder of fishing success. When this happens you will find that jigs will become one of your “go to” lures.

Copyright © 2000 by Jeff Snyder. All rights reserved.

A Better Understanding of Bass

Bass fishing is a sport like any other. To be successful it takes knowledge. Knowledge and an understanding of the opponent allows you to become successful. Some relate this to deer hunting. The more the hunter understands the scrapes, trails, food areas, water areas, runs, and habitats of the deer the more successful the hunter will become. The same is true with bass fishing, the more you understand the bass along with the many different circumstances and conditions you run across, the more successful you will be at catching them. So let’s talk about a few key factors when it comes to a better understanding of the bass. The first one we will look at would be the survival of the bass.
SURVIVAL: A bass needs three elements to survive:

FOOD
OXYGEN
COVER

If any one of these three elements are not present in a body of water a bass could not survive, and just by knowing why these three elements are so important for a bass’s survival it will already start to make you a more successful angler.
The first element we will talk about is FOOD. Contrary to popular belief, shad is not the primary choice of a bass. Although shad is a very common food for the bass as well as other natural baits, the number 1 food choice of a bass is a crawfish (also known as crayfish, crawdads, etc.). A study was performed several years ago where 100 crawfish and 100 shad were in a tank of water with all species of bass (smallmouth, spotted, and largemouth) and too much surprise the crawfish were eaten 8 to 2 over the shad. There are several reasons for this, but the most important one is that a crawfish is an easy prey for a bass to catch, and they are fairly easy for a bass to find. And once again contrary to popular belief, studies show that there are actually more crawfish found in vegetation areas than around rocky areas (or as some may know as Rip-Rap.)
A bass will eat just about anything at any given time such as: rats, mice, ducklings, frogs, snakes, salamanders, worms, lizards, grubs, baitfish, insects, leeches, etc. Is it any wonder why all the many different tackle-manufacturing companies have so many different shapes and types of artificial baits on the market today?

The next element of the three is OXYGEN. Oxygen is an element that any living creature needs to survive. The main reason an angler should pay attention to oxygen is that a bass requires it to survive. By knowing water oxygen content in various areas an angler will develop a better understanding why a bass acts the way it does under the many different conditions. When a bass has a limited supply of oxygen, it tends to get more disoriented and much slower or lethargic. The “key” in understanding the rules of oxygenic water is that the cooler the water, the more oxygen content and on the other side of the coin the warmer the water the less oxygen content. The more oxygen a bass can get usually during the warmer months the more active it will be. Usually during the summer when the water temperature hits the 80 degree mark or higher, the oxygen in the water will start to diminish.

How does this relate to bass fishing? Well, a bass will usually do one of two things in a condition such as this. A bass will drop down (usually under the thermocline mark) to water that is cooler for a larger supply of oxygen, or a bass will usually head for vegetation areas because of the constant producing of oxygen that aquatic plants provide. This is mostly the case during spring, summer, and early fall.

Here are some areas where ample supplies of oxygen can be found during these seasons:

Rivers – because of the constant flowing of the water.
Mouths of Creeks – again, because of the constant in-flow of fresh water.
Deep water areas – remember, the deeper the cooler water a better supply of oxygen.
Vegetation areas – constant oxygen producing aquatic plants.
Around Trees, Stump, & Log areas – because of the porous wood that will hold oxygen.
Power Plants – because of the constant discharge of oxygenic water
Wind Blown Banks – a constant oxygen source and there are many others……..

The third element we will talk about is COVER. Cover is an extremely important element when it comes to a bass for many reasons, and I would like to cover some of the most important ones.
One of these reasons would be for protection. A bass, being known mostly as an “ambush fish” will use cover such as vegetation, rocks, stumps, trees, fall-downs, docks, structures, holes, etc. — to dart out after it’s prey. A bass really is a lazy-by-nature type of fish and will extend the least amount of energy for the greatest amount of benefit. Bass are also known as a territorial fish and will not travel a great amount of distance.
Now, understanding a bit more about cover and why a bass will usually be found around it should help you “Key-In” when it comes to “Blue Bird Skys” (high pressure periods) and “Overcast or Cloudy Days” (low pressure periods).
Copyright © 2000 by Jeff Snyder. All rights reserved.

We’re Talking Bass Fishing Jigs

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Bass Fishing Jigs

“The Pig’n Jig (Rigged Bass Fishing Jig) is one of the best bass fishing inventions created”

ISG Scorpion Bass Fishing Jig

ISG Scorpion Bass Fishing Jig

Does the thought of huge largemouth bass dancing on the surface get your heart pounding? If not, check your pulse, because few things in fishing are as exciting as a lunker largemouth performing unbelievable aerial acrobatics as he rips line off your spool!

Bass are without question the most popular gamefish across North America. Books, videos, magazines, television shows, mega-tournaments and a host of other events are slated specifically for the “King of Freshwater”. In fact, fishing industry experts believe that upwards of 75% of all tackle designed and manufactured are with largemouth in mind. Yet with all this attention, many anglers still have a hard time finding and catching true trophy size bass. E-Bait delves headlong into this subject with the help of a few of America’s premiere bass anglers readily relaying some of their best-kept secrets in solving the big bass riddle.

“One of the problems I see with the majority of anglers who are eager to catch trophy size bass lies in the fact they have never really learned much about how the fish lives,” said 1998 Bassmaster Classic Champion Denny Brauer. “It’s like wanting to bag a trophy deer and then sitting in your front yard hoping one walks by. The odds are definitely stacked against you,” Brauer laughed. “But learning what bass eat, how they live and how they relate to their environment will help you become more successful.”

Brauer believes anglers should study how bass relate to cover and food and then concentrate on productive patterns to catch them. “Bass will fall prey to just about any lure system on the market,” he said. “But to catch bass day in and day out or when they really don’t want to bite, nothing beats the jig.”

Jigs are without a doubt the greatest fishing invention ever created! Their success as a bass catcher comes from several unique characteristics. To begin with, modern jigs closely mimic the bass’ dominant food sources — crawfish and minnows. They can enter and be retrieved from the thickest of cover, are extremely weed or snag resistant and they hook and hold bass better than any other lure class. When the final tally is counted, jigs always boast the best numbers!

However, just running to the tackle store, buying a jig and throwing into a brush pile will not guarantee success. The angler must first be aware that simply plopping a jig in the water is not enough to entice a nice game of “tug-o-war”. One must pay close attention to the slightest of details in order to bag more and bigger fish. This attention to the little things is what separates professional anglers from “guys and gals who like to fish”!

Bass Caught on The ISG Scorpion Bass Fishing Jig

Bass Caught on The ISG Scorpion Bass Fishing Jig

“I think we are all guilty of not fully analyzing a fish when we finally do catch one,” said Brauer. “You know, did he hit it on the drop? Was he on the sunny side or the shady of the stump — the up current side, the down current side? Exactly what was I doing to that bait when the fish hit? What was the bottom make-up like near that stump? Was there wind? Which way was it blowing? Where is the stump located? Was it on a point or in a pocket?” Brauer advises, “If you really sit and analyze everything about the strike, you’re going to learn a lot more about bass fishing than — ‘Gosh there’s another stump down there, let’s go fish it!’ Thinking in that manner may allow you to miss everything the fish is telling you and cause you to overlook the key to unraveling the whole (bass fishing) secret. That’s what you have to do to catch more bass, be aware of what your lure is doing — concentrating on it — analyzing each and every cast and strike. Anyone can reach this next level of awareness and success!”

Color is often the stumbling block of many bass anglers. “Which are the right ones to buy and do I have enough choices to cover each and every possible situation?” Questions like these have troubled bass fishermen for years! “I read in a magazine that green pumpkin works on Lake Lanier in Georgia, but will it work for me on Lake Winnebago as well?” and “I just started jig fishing. How do I pick the right one for my lake?” Brauer cuts through this confusing subject by utilizing this simple rule of color selection. “The company I fish for, Strike King, makes over 24 colors in their jig line. But, if you look at my tackle box, I doubt if you find more than eight that I rely on.”

Brauer uses water color to base his lure selection. “In stained water, I’ll use black’n blue unless the lake or river receives a lot of pressure than I deviate a little to brown’n blue or some other similar shade. In clearer waters, I like to stick with the more natural crawfish or baitfish shades and in dirty waters, the black’n chartreuse selections work best for me.” But more important, Brauer has the utmost confidence in his lure selection. “I look at the water color and say, ‘This is what I’m going to tie on’! That’s as complicated as I make it!” The end result is a color chosen from experience, confidence and a base knowledge that the lure selected will be visible to the bass.

All jigs need something added to them as an enticement to the bass. These temptations or trailers complete the jig as viable bassin’ tool. Bass Fishing Jig trailers come in a myriad of sizes and styles, but just like anything else, there are times when certain shapes work better than others.

Bassmaster & FLW Touring Champion Tommy Biffle believes choosing the right trailer style is as important as choosing the right jig. “The trailer can be plastic or pork and can be made in a wide variety of body styles.” Biffle recommends anglers pay attention to the season when choosing trailers. “Spring time means a bigger or fuller trailer, usually in a crawfish or the classic frog patterns. These bulkier designs add profile, slow the jig’s fall rate and move a tremendous amount to water,” he said. “But as the year progresses, I start slimming down the profile and change it to more of an eel, leech or baitfish look. This helps me fish faster in warmer waters and offer a more natural look to the jig.”

Another factor to consider is whether to utilize a rattling jig or not. Rattles have always been known as fish attractors, but in the mid-80’s they really came into their own as standard equipment on jigs. “Rattles enable bass to home in on the jig in muddy water or in extreme cover,” Biffle said. “Raising and lowering your rod tip activates the rattles and the bass come, eager to investigate.” Rattling jigs come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. From the “Ohio River Finesse” sizes to the “Texas Magnum” styles — rattling jigs boast tournament win after win across the nation.

“When we decided to enter the competitive jig market,” said Innovative Sport Group (ISG) Product Development Manager Bill Schutts, “we understood that our main-stream jig had to feature a rattling head.” ISG, based in Wisconsin, is truly an innovative company. Instead of making a standard “look-alike jig” that so many companies have on the market these days, they opted to begin at ground zero and engineered their product from the bottom up. The end result — the “Scorpion Jig” line.

“The Scorpion isn’t just another bass fishing jig,” said Schutts. “It’s the culmination of years of study dedicated to the drawbacks of jigs that were and are currently available. Our Scorpion line is extremely snag resistant, yet offers superior hook and hold power. This comes from specially designed head, weed-guard and hook.” Schutts continues. “We didn’t stop there. The head design purposely stands at attention on any bottom environment. This ‘on-guard’ crawfish look also offers a unique rocking action that won’t fall on its side. Add our super loud rattle and we feel we have developed the best bass jig ever. It will do everything a jig fisherman could possibly want. Whether you’re fishing hydrilla beds in East Texas, flipping milfoil in Minnesota or dragging it down rock ledges on the St. Clair River in Michigan, this jig will work for you.”

Once you have decided on a color, stick with it! Brauer believes too many anglers switch lures or lure colors based upon — “I haven’t had a bite in a while so I guess I’ll try this.” Brauer said if there’s a reason to change do so, but usually anglers change lures because they are not around fish or they’re not working the bait properly.

Fish location is another piece of the jig-fishing puzzle. I have a friend that often brags — “You put me on bass and I’ll catch them!” I hate to tell him this, but so can my 7-year old son! Finding bass is where most anglers have problems. They often forget they are hunting for a creature that moves through a rather large territory, hunting in it’s own right. This means the angler must be aware that areas that consistently hold bass must offer a prime ambush spot from which the bass can attack their prey. These ambush spots must feature escape routes to deep water, be positioned near a food source and enable the bass to remain hidden from their prey and their predators. Once the locational pattern is developed, the angler can turn his or her attention to the task of catching bass.

The secret to unlocking jig bass can be best described as knowledge. The knowledge of what the lure is capable of doing. The knowledge of how to choose the most visible color for your particular waters. The knowledge of where the bass will be located and how to present the bait. Understanding these concepts will make anyone a much better bass angler!