Jig fishing is very much in demand with anglers because of their productivity and versatility.
Unlike other artificial lures, jigs work with different types of fish and under varying conditions.
These jigs, with the exception of the floating type, are weighted via melting of a metal element in a liquid and placed in a mold that mimics the collar and head.
The majority of these heads are constructed from lead, which is responsible for the weight.
Construction and Design
Aside from lead, many of these jigs use tungsten, so it’s eco-friendly.
While the construction process may be basic, they’re available in a wide range of designs, styles, weights, colors and shapes.
The smallest you’ll find is around 1/100th oz for ice fishing and around 2 oz. for muskies and stripers.
If you’re into inland freshwater fishing, go with the most common weight sizes like 1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and ¾ oz.
The most widely used hooks are the light wire Aberdeen and the strong wire O’Shaughnessy.
A typical jig hook has a 60 or 90 degree bent at the shank before the eye, and it’s this bent that tells you what the eye placement will be on the jig and how it’s going to go through the water.
The length of the hook shank varies depending on the application. Long shank hooks are suitable for lizard bodies, worms, and soft plastic grubs. The shorter ones on the other hand, are ideal for live minnows.
Light wire hooks are frequently used in cribs and brush piles as they pull free and bend after being snagged. These are also ideal for crappies and panfish as they have soft mouths that the wire can penetrate rapidly.
The stronger wires are appropriate in rocky and weedy locations, so they’re often used for northern pike and bass.
Jig hook colors are usually gold, bronze or black, although red is becoming more popular.
The Jig Collar
A jig collar is set at the back of the jig head, with barbed collars having a hook that attaches soft baits, keeping them from sliding down the hook.
Other types of jig collars have wire holders or screw locks used for holding plastic baits.
Straight collars on the other hand, are frequently used to fasten dressings or attach on silicone skirts, living rubber, tinsel, feathers or hair.
What Jig Colors Should I Use?
When deciding what colors to use, you have to account for the type of water you’re going to fish in (stained, dark, clear) as well as the fishing conditions.
Today’s jig heads are available in glow finishes, two tone, metallic, fluorescent and natural hues.
If you’re just starting out, go with basic colors:
- For stained water: red, pink, yellow, white, brown, black
- Dark water: orange, green, fluorescent chartreuse
- Any type of color will do for clear waters
These are just general guidelines, and you should feel free to experiment with different colors until you find one that suits you.
Jig Weight Considerations
The weight should be your primary consideration when it comes to choosing a jig, and your decision needs to be based on the water depth and the fish type.
Basically, your jig needs to be heavy enough to go down the depths you require, but not so heavy that it sinks too quickly.
As it is, fish like to see bait that goes down slowly instead of one that just goes down straight.
The general rule is 1/8 oz. per 10 ft. of water, but if the currents are fast you’ll need to add extra weight to get to the bottom.
You should also add weight if there’s a strong wind, as that makes it harder for the lure to go to the bottom.
Here’s a general guide:
- Panfish and Crappies 1/32 – 1/16 – 1/8 oz.
- River Trout and Salmon 1/16- 1/8 – 1/4 oz.
- Walleyes and Bass 1/16 – 1/8 – 3/8 – 1/2 oz.
- Northern Pike and Muskies 3/4 – 1 – 1 1/2 oz.
- Lake Trout and Stripers 3/4 – 1 – 1 1/2 – 2 oz.
When you go jig fishing, you’ll also notice that many are dressed with rubber skirts, silicone, soft plastic, tinsel and so on. These can make the baits look more enticing to the fish so you should definitely try them out.