Big, ledgebuster-size hair jigs just might be the most under-fished lures there are in this business. I’m serious when I say that.
The Tennessee River impoundments are legendary for producing big, giant size bass on their ledges. But, they’re getting harder and harder to catch, and it’s not likely to get better. Everybody knows where the spots on the ledges are these days, and a lot of anglers are fishing those spots with the same lures. The fish are just too conditioned.
There’s no doubt in my mind that some of those fish have seen so many deep-diving crankbaits and 10-inch worms that they can identify the make, model and color of them as they go by. It’s getting to be ridiculous. If we’re going to keep catching them we’re going to have to do something different.
That something different is a magnum size hair jig. I’m talking big and heavy – lengths of at least 5 or 6 inches and weights up to a full ounce or more. That may not be super big by ordinary jig standards, but it’s really big by hair jig standards.
Hair jigs like that can be hard to find. If you get desperate, go to a tackle shop that sells a lot of striper tackle. They probably have exactly what I’m talking about. If they don’t, have someone hand-tie you a half-dozen.
Hackle material is unimportant in my mind. We’re not talking subtle here. Anything that can be tied to look like a big baitfish will get the job done. Light gray is my favorite all-around color.
I fish these jigs on standard casting tackle. Most of the time I let them fall down and then snap them up so that they can fall down again. That’s all there is to it. It’s pretty much like fishing a bladebait. On those rare occasions when that doesn’t work I sort of swim them along the bottom. That’s only when I’m desperate, though.
Before I wrap this up I want to go back and give you just a little more information about tackle. When I’m talking about light spinning tackle — and this applies to most of the columns I write — I’m mostly talking about rods 7 feet, 6 inches long with no more than a medium action. And, I like fast tips for most techniques.
I spool my reels with braid and use a 2- or 3-foot, 10-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. I tie them together with a Uni-to-Uni splice knot. If you’re having trouble doing that or having trouble with line twist use a VMC Rolling Swivel to hold the two lines together. The smaller ones pass through the guides easily and will keep your line from twisting.
My casting tackle for the big jigs would be a 7-2 or a 7-4 rod with a medium-heavy or heavy action. I usually spool my reel with heavy fluorocarbon line.
Hair jigs are not for every situation, but when they’re the tool to use they’re awesome. Keep a few in your tackle box.