No bass addict would hit the water without a wide selection of jigs, but many anglers give short shrift to jig trailers. They stick with one or two favorites and leave it at that. Big mistake. The trailer is the last thing a bass sees when it's deciding whether to inhale your jig. Choose wrong and the bass will turn up its nose. You'd be wise to carry the five proven jig trailers below. Here's the skinny on how to make the most of them.
Many fishermen have forsaken the venerable Uncle Josh Pork Frog because it can flip around and prevent hook penetration. It also shrivels up on your deck. However, no soft plastic bait equals pork's subtle action, texture and salty taste. Pork works well for bottom hopping and yo-yoing in cover, and it excels in cold water. Wisconsin's Mark Duerr, a Bassmaster Opens competitor, dotes on pork's toughness when he punches through grass. "Sometimes you catch several bass on consecutive pitches," he says. "But, you have to get the jig back in the sweet spot immediately. Pork won't rip apart and slow you down."
Zoom's Salty Pro Chunks and similar trailers give a jig the same appealing profile that pork frogs do. Although a plastic chunk doesn't equal pork in texture or action (many will argue otherwise), it won't dry out or interfere with a hook set. Another advantage — as with all plastic trailers — is the wide choice of colors, including flakes, that let you match your jig and the water conditions. The plastic chunk serves well for casting and for flipping and pitching. Choose it over pork in warm weather when bass are active and receptive to more upbeat jigging actions.
Because a jig mimics a crawfish, you can make a strong case that the plastic craw is the ultimate trailer. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Tommy Biffle has won a pile of money on Gene Larew's Salt Craw. "When bass stop eating crawfish," he said, "I'll stop fishing the Salt Craw." Craws excel for penetrating dense wood and grass cover where you can hang the jig and dance it in a bass' face. The craw's realistic shape is the final inducement. Strike King's Rage Tail Craw, and other craws that feature lively, flapping pincers, also do well with swimming, bottom hopping and bottom dragging retrieves.
You can't beat a double tail grub, such as those molded with Berkley's PowerBait, when dragging a jig. This is why so many anglers dress their football jigs with a double tail. Even when the jig crawls slowly over the bottom, those twin curly tails undulate enticingly. The curled tails go into overdrive when you swim a jig at any depth. A football jig and a double tail can be fished like a diving crankbait in deep, clear reservoirs. Match a regular bass jig with a double tail when you want to swim the bait through water willows and other shallow cover.
When fishing a body of water known for growing heavyweight bass, or when you need a kicker fish, bulk up your jig with a multi-limbed creature bait. Yum's Wooly Hawgtail is one of many. Creature baits produce with flip and pitch presentations, but they don't penetrate cover as easily as smaller trailers. Pro Terry Scroggins likes creature baits when he fishes offshore ledges that have a steep drop. Many of these trailers have thin curly tails that add action without unduly slowing the jig's fall. "They let the jig drop fast when you pull it off a ledge," Scroggins said. "That makes them bite."