Ahh…The Jig and Pig. This is a lure that, once mastered, you can count on to bring in the big ones. No other lure has accounted for as many big bass, as the Jig and pig…Period. No other lure has accounted for as much frustration as the Jig and Pig. When to use it, missed strikes, how to use it, the list goes on of woes fishermen have with this bait.
One might ask, if it is that difficult to master, is it worth it. In a word, Yes.
But before you can master it you must know some basics about the different jigs and their purpose. I will cover three basic styles. Flipping, casting/standup, and Finesse jigs.
A flipping jig typically has a large head, bulky frame, and big, strong hook. This is my first choice of jigs. I prefer rattles in my flipping jigs. I use these jigs anytime I think the bass are on a jig flipping pattern which I will explain in a bit.
A casting jig has a slightly smaller head, and a smaller lighter hook. The body is about the same. They are ideal for casting wherever crawdads are the forage as the stand up style head puts the trailer in a defensive position. I also prefer rattles in these. I prefer to cast a jig only under certain circumstances, which I will again, explain in a bit.
Finesse jigs are much smaller and are used on the toughest days. They usually do not have rattles. I use these on heavily pressured waters, after a cold front, or whenever the need to downsize occurs.
Patterns: I will flip a brush puppy jig anytime any of the following conditions are met.
High skies (bluebird). This tends to make bass hunker down tighter to cover. They do not roam as much.High water. Whenever the water floods the brush and trees on the banks. Anytime the water climbs higher than normal.
On isolated cover, such as a blowdown, a single stump you can see.
Heavy cover, such as thick weeds matting the surface. I take a heavy jig and pig and punch it right through.
Cold water in the early spring or late fall. Flip tight to cover.
Tree Roots, such as Cypress.
I use a casting/stand up jig for the following.
Gravel points that extend to deeper water.
Edges, such as where weeds bump up to roadbeds, points, etc. Parallel the edge. You can get some big fish like this.
I use them basically anywhere you can use a carolina rig. If the situation calls for a c-rig, try a casting jig.
Finesse jigs I will use when flipping/pitching docks.
Heavily pressured water instead of the standard flipping jig.
When standard jigs fail to produce.
High Pressure Days.
These are best for truly tough conditions.
Look for patterns within a pattern. If the fish are in the weeds, don't just assume they will be in all weeds, everywhere in the lake. Are they only in the weeds that border deep water? What about flats? Points? Why are they there, Is it the upcurrent side? The Shady Side? The windy side? The protected side? If they are on a dock feed, are they on stationary, floating, wood, metal? Notice these small details will help you avoid fishing wasted water with a slow technique like a jig.
Fish jigs slowly. You can not fish them too slowly.
The hardest part about mastering the jig is detecting strikes. These can be very, very, subtle. I have had bass hit a jig and the only thing I noticed was it stopped sinking before it should have. The line did not jump, I did not feel a tap, nothing. It just stopped. The trick to detecting strike with jigs is you have to pay attention. No other lure made requires as much of your attention to work successfully as the jig and pig.
The ways you can tell if you have a hit on these are: or mushy feeling on the end of your line (different than the way the cover would feel). This is the most common. Your line twitches or jumps. It stops sinking before it should have. A tap.
Your line begins to move towards you or sideways.
The 3 keys to mastering the jig are Practice, Patience, and Persistence. I know of very few, if any anglers, that can learn to fish these lures with any consistency without following those 3 things.
Do not get discouraged by the fact that you may not catch fish on them at first, or even after some length of time trying. Be persistent, and sooner or later you will catch a fish.
Now to tackle suggestions:
For flipping/pitching I use something a little different than most. I use a 6'10" MH Falcon LR Grass Rod. I do not like the long 7'6 rods alot of anglers like. I find I have better accuracy with the shorter rod, and it is better for tight quarters. I find I do not suffer from lack of leverage. I still am able to yank 'em out.
I match this rod with a Pflueger Trion Machined reel and 50# PowerPro.
For the casting jigs I use my worm rod. A 6'6MF Falcon LR Herm Special, a Pflueger Trion Round reel, and 30# PowerPro.
For finesse I use a 6'6" M Falcon LR Spinning rod, a Pflueger President Spinning Reel, and 10# PowerPro. If I am flipping it in heavy stuff, I use flipping setup above.
To learn to use jigs, you must have the right mental attitude. When I first started using them, it took me over a year before I caught a fish. Do not give up because you are not catching fish. You will.
Take a handful of jigs and one or two rods. Fish only those and I mean ONLY those, until you catch a fish. If you fish the jig in the right, location, at the right depth, and with the right presentation, it will pay off.
When flipping/pitching, keep the lure low to the water so it barely even ripples the water when it enters. Subtlety is the key to success. You must ease it in to the.
If casting, you can either swim it like a spinnerbait (yes it works), or shake it in place, or hop it using 6" jumps. Let the fish tell you which they prefer.