Your best bet for a spring giant

Denny Brauer
Rob Russow
Denny Brauer working the Red River during the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.

The oldest lure style in your tacklebox may also be your best bet to catch a true giant this spring. The jig-and-pig is as timeless as it is effective.

And no one is more skilled or has a bigger reputation with the jig-and-pig than 1987 Bassmaster Angler of the Year and 1998 Bassmaster Classic Champion Denny Brauer. Brauer has earned millions fishing a jig-and-pig in his long career.

"There's probably not a better bait as far as appealing to big fish," Brauer says. "I don't know whether it's the bulkiness of the bait or what the reasons are, but the fact is it's one of the finest — if not the finest — big bass baits."

As far as outfits for good jigging, Denny suggests a medium heavy rod with some backbone. For someone who doesn't have a sledgehammer tough hook set, he recommends a heavy power rod.

A good rod length is between 7 feet for casting jigs and 7 1/2 feet for flipping and pitching.

Brauer's reel preference is one with a high gear ratio. "It's more versatile," he explains, "Especially if you're making use of the clock like in tournament angling. The high speed reel's going to get you more presentations during a day's time."

And, as far as line is concerned, Denny is clear: "Jigging is very seldom a light line game. For football heads with light wire hooks, you can get by with 10- to 12-pound fluorocarbon line. In heavy cover, you really need to use 17 to 25 pound. Actually, for heavy cover or dirty water, you can step up to braid."

The champ's choice of trailers depends on water clarity and presentation. "In clear water," he begins, "I go with natural colors like a crawfish pattern. If it's stained but not muddy, I like the black and blue. If it's muddy, I use black with chartreuse."Brauer is very confident in the style of jig and trailer he prefers, and he should be. He designed them for Strike King.

"I designed a trailer called the Denny Brauer chunk. It's made of 3X material and it's very tough, but soft. It's also very buoyant so the pincers float. There are several colors available and it's my go-to trailer almost exclusively.

"I thread the trailer on one of two ways," he says. "I'll thread it all the way through the head and up to the jig head if I'm skipping it under docks or want a compact profile. My Strike King jig allows you to slip the trailer in between the rattle and hook. If I want a real big profile, I'll hook it the traditional pork frog way which is similar to nose-hooking a bait for drop shotting."

Originally published March 2012

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