Unlocking Bass: 3 keys to better jig fishing

There may be no "wrong" way to fish a jig, but some ways are better than others.

Gerald Brown with Elk River Jig
Ken Duke
The jig is Bassmaster Opens angler Gerald Brown's go-to bait.

Everyone knows that jigs catch bass. In fact, they were probably the very first artificial lure type that was ever used to catch a bass. They catch big fish, too. There have probably been more big bass awards won on a jig than any other lure type. Those are just a couple of reasons why the jig is my favorite lure.

Here are three ways I like to fish a jig that I'm sure will work for you.

1. Knock on wood

Jigs and wood just go together. Bass love heavy cover, and a jig gets in and gets out with a minimum of hang ups.

When I'm fishing wood with a jig — whether I'm flipping, pitching or casting — I like to start with the outside branches and work my way to the heart of the cover. The biggest bass may live in the very center of a laydown, but I like to pick off any fish around the edges first, before I disturb the cover by going right to the middle. You also have a better chance of landing a fish you hook around the edges where the cover isn't quite as thick.

Be sure to make multiple presentations with your jig. One cast, flip or pitch usually isn't enough. And try to make your bait contact as many limbs as possible. That'll help you get the attention of any bass in the bush.

For wood, my go-to jig is the Brush Jig from Elk River Jigs. Whatever jig you choose, though, make sure it has a good fiber weed guard and a head shape that allows it to come through branches without getting hung up too much.

2. Dock talk

Another of my favorite places to fish a jig is around boat docks. I'll usually work the front (deep) corners first and work my way to the back (shallow) corners. On floating docks, I like to swim a jig parallel to the side of the dock — both inside and outside the boat slips. I try to keep the jig at whatever depth I'm marking fish on my electronics. If they're mostly showing up at 10 feet, then I try to swim the jig back at about 10 feet.

My favorite jig for dock fishing is the 1/2-ounce Elk River Brush Jig, though I'll use the Elk River Flippin'/Swim Jig if I'm getting more bites by swimming the bait.

3. Bass in the grass

If bass have a choice of cover, grass is always going to be high on the list. I love to fish a jig in holes in hydrilla and other heavy vegetation or to swim a jig over vegetation that's just under the surface. Either way, my favorite trailer is the 3.5-inch Gene Larew Biffle Bug Jr. It has a great action and lots of vibration.

For flipping and pitching to holes in the grass, I use a 1/2-ounce Elk River Brush Jig. For working over the top of the grass, I like the Elk River Swim Jig. For swimming, I choose a jig weight based on the depth of the water I'm fishing and the speed I need to retrieve the bait to get strikes. The higher in the water column I need to keep the jig, the lighter the jig I'll use.

HeBeGB is not just Gerald Brown's favorite skirt color, it was named for him.Ken DukeHeBeGB is not just Gerald Brown's favorite skirt color, it was named for him.
I haven't said anything about jig color so far because I do most of my jig fishing with just one color that Elk River Jigs makes up special for me. It's called HeBeGB (get it?), and it works everywhere I've ever tried it. HeBeGB has a green pumpkin base with four strands of orange rubber. I don't believe in unnecessarily complicating things, and whether bass are feeding on crawfish or bluegill, they'll eat that color.

Originally published October 2012

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