Best Bass Jigs
Jig fishing can be one of the most rewarding forms of bass fishing there is. This is because jigs entice big bass to bite, more so than most lures. Bass jigs are highly effective year-round and can be fished anywhere on a body of water. Those two factors make them the best, and most versatile lure for bass fishing.
Fishermen of any skill level can find success fishing jigs, but they are a difficult lure to fully master. You won’t become an expert jig fisherman overnight. But once you get a feel for it, it will be hard to stop throwing them.
This page covers all the different types of jigs and how to jig for bass. But if you’re just looking for the best all around jig then we recommend the BiCO Original Jig.
These versatile jigs are made by BiCO Performance Jigs, and can be fished as flipping jigs or swim jigs.
A bass jig is a hook with a metal head molded to it at the line tie. Most bass jigs are skirted with a rubber skirt, but the skirt materials can vary. They also come equipped with a flexible weedguard that is positioned in front of the hook.
Types of Bass Jigs
There are many different types of bass jigs and ways to fish them. So many, that knowing what to use and how to work them can be confusing. When selecting the best bass jig, the first thing to determine is what kind of jigging you’re planning to do.
Certain types of jigs are better for certain applications. And what makes one bass jig different from another is the size and shape of the head. These two attributes affect how the jig performs in the water, and of course the weight of the jig.
But before you select a jig, make sure there are no lead tackle laws enforced where you are fishing. Most bass jigs are made of lead, and fishing with lead tackle is illegal in some states. Lead causes harm to aquatic life, especially waterfowl when ingested. One lead jig is enough to kill an adult loon.
FIVE IMPORTANT TYPES OF JIGS
1. Arkie Jigs
The arkie jig is the most popular type of jig used in bass fishing. They are also sometimes referred to as flipping jigs or casting jigs.
These are your “all-purpose” jigs, well-suited to cover the majority of jig fishing techniques. If you’re just starting out, or only going to throw one style of jig, then this is the one you want.
Arkie jig heads are wide enough to give them good balance when sitting on the bottom but slim enough to come through weeds well. This makes them ideal for flipping and pitching into vegetation. But also versatile enough that you could use them as a swim jig too.
These are the best types of jigs if you’re fishing a lake that has a bunch of different covers. They give you the flexibility to mix up your presentation along the way. From swimming these jigs along docks or weed edges to letting it sink down into some deep brush or rock, these jigs have got you covered.
2. Football Jigs
These heads, you guessed it, are shaped like a football. The shape of the head on a football jig makes them wobble as they sink. The same is true as they’re being dragged along the bottom.
This wide-shaped head also gives it tremendous balance. This keeps the bait standing upright, for a better presentation while keeping the hook from getting snagged on the bottom.
This attribute makes football jigs the best type of jig for fishing rock and hard bottoms. Their stability makes them less likely to get hung up in the rocks the way a jig laying on its side would.
The best way to fish a football jig is to drag or hop it along the rocks. This is a great way of mimicking a crayfish. However, the wide head makes them less than ideal for jigging in vegetation.
3. Swim Jigs
The heads on swim jigs have a thinner overall profile, that come to a point where the line tie is. This allows them to cut through water and vegetation better than other types of jigs that typically have more of a rounded head. Swim jigs are most often paired with some type of paddle tail jig trailer.
A paddle tail trailer gives a swim jig a nice side-to-side tail kicking action. Unlike with most bass jigs, which are for the most part designed to mimic a crayfish, swim jigs are made to look like a swimming baitfish.
In a standard presentation, you never stop reeling a swim jig to keep it from sinking to the bottom. Similar to the way you would work a spinnerbait. This standard straight retrieve is the most popular way to fish them.
Letting it sink or giving the rod a random jerk periodically can trigger a bite if the straight retrieve isn’t getting results. This is also a good idea when there is a tough bite in general.
Swim jigs are the ideal style of jig for power fishing in and around cover. You can cover a lot of water with these jigs while not getting the bait hung up like you would with most power fishing lures.
4. Finesse Jigs
Although similar in appearance, finesse jigs are smaller in size and designed for much lighter tackle. In most cases, the skirt is cut shorter around the head so the strands flare up around it.
These jigs are designed for a style of fishing called finesse fishing. This is a technique where you fish slowly while using only small baits with light tackle.
Finesse jigs are ideal for flipping around light cover, in clear water with hard bottoms. This is why they are one of the best smallmouth lures. Like with all finesse lures, they are great for when conditions get tough and bass don’t seem to be biting anything.
5. Punch Jigs
A punch jig is a type of punching rig, that has a bullet-shaped head designed for plunging through thick vegetation. These jigs are strictly designed for this style of fishing, and require a heavy duty punching rod. Not only to handle the heavier weight of these jigs, but also to pull bass out of the thick cover that these jigs can get in to.
Punching jigs are usually much heavier than most bass jigs. They will typically weigh in the range of around three quarters of an ounce to as much as two ounces. They need to be this heavy so they can plunge through anything in their way and get to the bottom.
Ideally you want to tie on the lightest jig possible, while still being able to get through the weeds efficiently. The photo above is of the BiCO Bomb, a really unique one ounce punch jig. Here is an informative video of the creator of this bait flipping it in to some thick vegetation.
Best Weight For A Jig
Bass jigs come in a range of weights that are measured in ounces, but mostly in fractions of an ounce. When selecting the best weight for a bass jig, there are two factors you need to consider.
The first is the depth you are targeting and second is the wind speed. These two factors will directly affect the sink rate of your jig. As well as how well you are able to keep the jig in the zone you want it in.
The most frequently used weight for a bass jig is three-eighths of an ounce. This is the perfect weight for fishing in shallow water (one to six feet), on a relatively calm day. Once you start getting in to water ten feet or deeper, it takes a long time for a three-eighths ounce jig to get to the bottom. This is when increasing the weight to half an ounce can make a huge difference.
It doesn’t seem like a huge difference in weight, but if you start adding up the extra sink time wasted on a full day of fishing, it’s surprising how much more water you can cover with the appropriate jig weight.
Wind speed can also have a major effect on jig fishing. Generally speaking, heavier winds call for heavier jigs. If the wind is blowing your line and not allowing the jig to maintain contact with the bottom or sink at a good rate, then the jig is too light.
You need the jig to be heavy enough to overpower the wind and pull the line through it so the jig to get to the bottom. But you never want your jig to be heavier than it needs to be.
The heavier a jig is, the less natural it feels to bass when in its mouth. This will cause bass to spit it faster than if it felt lighter. Like the weight of a crawfish for example.
Selecting Jig TrailersJig Trailers
You will never see a fishermen fish a jig that is not paired with some type of a jig trailer. A jig trailer is a soft plastic bait that gets rigged on the hook. It adds action to the tail end of the jig and completes the overall profile of the bait.
The endless variety of trailer types and sizes allows you to customize a jig to suit the exact presentation you want to achieve. Some popular types of jig trailers are ribbon tails, craws, and paddle tails. The biggest difference from one trailer to the next is the action they put out. Some trailers have a ton of action while some have no action at all.
It all depends on what kind of presentation you are looking for. As a general rule of thumb, the warmer or murkier the water the more action you want. And the clearer or colder the water is the less action you want.
You can combine just about any jig trailer with any jig. But for a swim jig or bladed jig it is more common to see a paddle tail trailer used. This gives the jig a side-to-side, tail kicking action that a swimming baitfish would have. Rather than the up and down flapping motion most other jig trailers have.
Jig Fishing For Bass
Probably the best thing about bass jigs is how effective they are all year long. From freezing cold water temps to hot summer conditions, these lures continue to produce at a high rate.
Of course, adjustments need to be made from season to season. Things like where you fish them, style selection, and tweaks in the presentation all play a part throughout the year.
But no matter what time of year, when you’re jig fishing for bass it’s all about the bottom. How you get there, how fast you get there, and how you interact with it.
The objective is reaching the bottom by allowing the jig to sink naturally and without getting hung up. All while presenting an appealing presentation to nearby bass.
Bass jigs are typically fished slowly, requiring patience and your full attention every second the bait is in the water. You need to be constantly watching your line and trying to detect bites through the rod handle throughout the entire retrieve.
Jig fishing is all about feel and sensitivity. So you need to be using a good jig rod to detect the sometimes subtle vibrations traveling from the jig to the butt of the rod handle. Using the right rod is absolutely essential for jig fishing.
Half of the time, bass will eat a jig by picking it up off the bottom. The other half of the time, a jig will get eaten while it’s sinking. So you need to make sure there isn’t any slack in your line and stay alert during its initial fall.
The best jigging rod in the world is not going to make up for having too much slack in your line. But even with a tight line, a bass hitting a jig it can often be a tough bite to detect.
A typical jig bite will usually feel like a light thump that travels up the line. Other times the rod will suddenly feel weightless when the jig is picked up. But however the bite feels, you need to respond immediately by setting the hook.
Setting the hook properly is an essential component of jig fishing for bass. Without a proper and timely hookset, you are simply not going to catch fish with a jig.
Once a bass picks up your jig, you have a short window of time to quickly yank the rod tip towards you to bury the hook point past the weedguard and into the fish’s mouth.
You may be setting the hook on every little bump you feel when you’re just starting out. But that’s fine, it’s better to swing on nothing than miss out on a real bite. As you catch more bass on a jig you will eventually be able to tell the difference between a real bite and making contact with underwater objects.
This makes jigs great for exploring the bottom of a lake. As you gain experience, will be able to feel the difference between different types of underwater objects and cover. This will allow you to find sections of the bottom that are different, and something different is usually a good spot for bass to be holding.
Jigs are ideal for targeting all types of cover because you can cast them just about anywhere with a pretty low chance of getting hung up. This gives you a great advantage because you are able to put a jig in front of bass that you wouldn’t be able to with most other lures.
Bass jigs have a flexible weedguard that is positioned in front of the hook to makes them weedless. As the jig is pulled through the water, the weedguard protects the hook from getting hung up by deflecting weeds and other objects.
Weedguards come in different levels of stiffness so make sure it is plenty stiff, especially if you’re throwing the bait in to heavy cover. You can gauge the stiffness by lightly running your thumb along the weedguard and seeing how much pressure it takes to expose the hook. If the hook point is too easily exposed then it’s not going to do much for you.
Jigging a laydown
One really great target for a jig is a laydown, which is a term bass fishermen use for a tree laying in the water. Casting or skipping a jig into a laydown can produce fish that other lures simply couldn’t reach without getting hung up.
If the jig doesn’t get taken by a bass during its initial fall, you then retrieve the bait by slowly dragging and hopping it through the brush of the laydown. There is a really good chance of triggering a strike during this retrieve, that’s why having a stiff weedguard is so important.
Getting into hard-to-reach areas is what sets bass jigs apart from other bass lures. And one way to get jigs into these areas is by skipping them. Two great areas to skip under are docks and low-hanging trees.
There’s a huge advantage to getting a jig to sink down right in front of a bass that’s sitting under a dock. As opposed to casting out in front of the dock and trying to draw the bass out.
Although it takes a lot of practice, jigs are one of the best lures for skipping. When you start getting good you can really get a jig to skip long distances. Especially if the water is calm, the flatter the surface the further you will be able to skip a jig.
Flipping and Pitching
Flipping and pitching is a technique that is frequently used with bass jigs. It involves making accurate, underhand casts that allow the jig enter the water quietly. This is close-quarters fishing. You’re only flipping the jig out ten or twenty feet, so a silent entry is key for not spooking the fish.
This method is ideal when you’re targeting visible cover like weed edges, boat docks, tiber, or big rocks emerged on the surface. The advantage is being able to enter an area loaded with cover and flip your jig to multiple spots quickly and efficiently.
All you want to do is flip or pitch the jig to the spot you are targeting and let it sink. If you get a strike, it will usually happen during the fall or soon after it hits the bottom. Once on the bottom, pop it up a one or two times to see if you can trigger a strike. If you don’t get a bit then reel it in and repeat the process.
You are most likely to get a reaction bite on the initial fall, that’s why having good accuracy is so important. If you miss your target even by a foot or two, you’re giving the bass holing to that cover too much distance to investigate the jig. You want the jig to fall right next to it so the bass doesn’t even have time to think and will just react by biting.
If you’ve never tried flipping and pitching, then you should work on your accuracy as much as possible. You can even do this in your backyard by tossing the jig at targets like coffee cans set at various distances.
Punching Jigs For Bass
You may have heard advanced bass anglers talk about punching mats. In bass fishing, the term “punching” means dropping your bait in to thick vegetation in order to plunge the jig through to the bottom. It’s a very popular technique used with punch jigs and other styles of punch rigs.
During the hot summer months, bass bury themselves under thick weed mats to keep out of the sun and stay cool. The good news is you know where to target the fish if you can find some good matted vegetation.
The bad news is it can be difficult to horse the fish out of there. This style of fishing requires an adequate punching rod rigged with heavy duty line for leveraging the fish out.
Not only do the heavy weeds provide cooler water, they are also home to a lot of forage. For example, crayfish will dart down from the weeds to get to the bottom and bass will pluck them off all day. When you punch a jig thought the weeds you are imitating that action.