How to Fish with a Jig Like a Pro

Mark Rose • March 15, 2023

For the longest time, when you thought of a bass jig, you were talking about a straight-up flipping jig. That's basically all that there was for a long time. Now there are so many different kinds of jigs out there and it can be a little bit intimidating. I have a jig that has come along in the last decade called the vibrating jig. It's a Strike King Thunder Cricket. There are several different versions out there now. You can put different trailers on them, but it's like a flipping jig. You can match your trailer to the color of the water, the time of the year, and whether you want a lot of action, or not a lot of action.

A vibrating jig is a jig that you just cast out there and, when the water hits the blade, it kind of goes back and forth. This jig is kind of a mix between a lipless crankbait and a jig, because it vibrates in the water the whole time. It's a very good bait that you can get in a lake. I'm fishing in a lake right now that has lots of vegetation, and the water is fairly clear. I can just chuck it, wind it, and cover lots of water to find those aggressive fish. If it's early in the year, pre-spawn, I like to go to a 3/8 and I like to slow-wind this jig and then, later on, as the water temperature gets a little warmer and those bass get a little more active, I like to go to the half-ounce, although I will use a half-ounce early if the water's a little deeper. You can always adjust your line size, gear ratios, and your reels to make those adjustments for different presentations.

There's also the typical flipping jig. That's a jig that just has a weed guard on it. I use a Strike King Menace. I really like to throw a Rage Bug on the back of my jigs, thread it all the way up on there. Very seldom do I actually hang a chunk on it, because I don't like how sometimes it'll rotate around, get caught on the hook and get balled up.

Then there's a finesse jig. It's a very compact jig that you'll throw a little compact trailer on. Those finesse jigs and flipping jigs are basically target jigs. Whether you're fishing a boat dock, a laydown, a cypress tree, what have you, you're just pitching it out there, covering a particular spot and you can add more action to it if the water's a little clearer, or it's later in the year. Then you can just kind of put a crawfish trailer on it that doesn't have a lot of appendages or a lot of action to it and that will give you a more subtle, slower acting type of jig.

Next is the football jig, which I really like out on offshore river ledges like the Tennessee River, Kentucky Lake, Pickwick, Guntersville, and places like that. It has a football-shaped head, and it comes through rock really well. I like to throw a Strike King Rage Craw, or any trailer that has lots of action on the back of it, since I'm normally throwing that bait in the summertime when those fish get off the shore on those muscle bars. Sometimes if you're in the Ozarks, they're awful good on those long, tapering points for Smallmouth and Spotted bass. A football jig is a great jig to throw around deep, offshore, rocky type structures. It's not really the preferred jig for grass.

A swimming jig is a lot like the bass jig, but it has a little bit more of a pointed head where it can swim through vegetation and around cover really well. It's good around grass and your action has a lot to do with the jig; it creates your strikes for you. The jig is just a lead head, hook shank, a skirt, and a trailer keeper. Rage Craws, Menaces, or any trailers that have a lot of action are good on a swim jig.

Those are the few types of jigs you hear bass fishermen talk about. There are lots of different jigs, but it's basically just like the old crappie jig where it's a lead head, a hook, and some type of body to it and it's just been expanded on over the years. Jigs; they're a really fun bite and will catch you a really big fish.

--Mark Rose