Choosing jig sizes can cause as much contemplation as a burger joint drive-thru lane. Do you get the single patty from the value side of the menu to conserve fat, calories and cash, or do you go all-in and get the double burger with bacon to leave you gut-stuffed and grinning?
Both serve a purpose, but like bass fishing jigs, one must choose the right-sized meal for the conditions at hand – and sometimes that’s a struggle. Thanks to Team Toyota’s Matt Arey, picking the perfect-sized portion just got a whole lot easier.
“I let two primary rules lead me to picking the right-sized jig,” says Arey. “First, am I fishing a multi-species lake with spotted bass, smallmouth and largemouth like Table Rock, or are we on a body of water like Lake Fork, where it’s all about big largemouth? And also, I let weather dictate my jig of choice.”
If all three species are present, Arey often opts for the bite-sized 5/16- or 7/16-ounce finesse jig, but if it’s all about fat largemouth, he’ll tie on the full-sized 1/2 or 5/8 bulkier version.
“If I’m flipping flooded bushes or laydowns – I like to “yo-yo” the jig a little bit to keep it in a small strike zone for a second or two, and the bulkier jig helps me do that easier. Even if I’m pitching or skipping docks, I still choose the bigger jig, but I may downsize the trailer to make it skip easier,” says the devout family man from Shelby, N.C.
When it comes to weather’s dictation of Arey’s selection, it boils down to bigger is better when weather is stable, but when the bottom falls out in the form a harsh cold front, finesse wins the day.
If he’s dragging the little jig on a clean secondary point in greater than 15-feet of water, he may drop down to 12-pound line, but most of the time, it’s tied to 15-pound P-Line fluorocarbon.
When it comes to color, he keeps it extremely simple, choosing a shade of green pumpkin on all sizes of jigs 95% of the time, opting only for black/blue if the water’s exceptionally dirty.
Like all great anglers, Arey knows it’s the appetite of the bass based on species and weather that matters way more than his own when choosing the right jig. But dang, a Baconator does sound good right now.