Spinners are my favorite lure (especially Schadeycreek Spinners) but jigs are a very close second favorite along with soft plastics (plastics will be a future post). Jigs are great to use to catch many different species of fish and in lots of different conditions from ice fishing to open water and weed cover. Jigs have a head that is usually weighted with lead or tungsten and come in lots of different shapes and colors. Jigs can be flipped, pitched, crawled, hopped or you can swim them. They can be used in any depth and at any speed.
A lot of jigs have a collar located directly behind the head. The collar is a hook that holds the soft plastic baits in position and can be molded from the metal the head is made from, piece of wire formed into a hook or even a spring shaped screw lock.
The shape of the head will determine how the lure moves through the water. In the picture below, the first head shape is a tear drop shape which is good for swimming. The second (yellow) jig head is round shaped is the most popular. The round jig head is great for vertical jigging. The middle 2 jig heads are great for fishing in currents and the last 2 shapes are great for fishing through weeds.
There are also a lot of different dressings for jigs and some come with the dressing already attached. One of the most popular type of dressing is called a "Bass Jig" or "Flipping Jig." The head has a low profile, sometimes has a rattle inside and also sometimes has a weed guard similar to the one with the red tipped skirt below. The dressing is usually a silicone skirt that pulsates on the drop and then quivers along the bottom. A split tail trailer that replicates a crawfish can be added like on the blue tipped skirt below. This type of jig is very popular for large or small mouth bass hiding in the weeds.
Another popular dressing is a tied dressing, which is tied to the collar. The dressings are tied to the jig head in a similar way flies are tied for fly fishing. Marabou, mylar, tinsel, feathers and bucktail hair are the most popular for tying jigs. Live bait, plastic grubs and scent can be added to these jigs to add an extra attractant for the fish.
Silicone skirts are another type of tied jig like the Schadeycreek jigs on the top row in the photo below.
Soft plastics are the most used type of dressing for jigs and are my favorite dressing. There are a LOT of choices of colors, scents and shapes for soft plastic dressing. There will be a post (or several posts) covering soft plastics.
Live bait jigs are popular for ice fishing. These jigs usually don't have a collar and usually have a short shank for smaller baits. These types of jigs are jigged slowly which is why they are good for colder water temps when the fish don't chase faster moving lures.
Floating jigs are also popular for live bait. They float so if you want them to go under water you have to add weights or other types of rigging that will weight them down. These jigs are good if you want to fish on top of the water or just below the surface too.
Weedless jigs are great for fishing in weed cover. The weed guard is made of plastic bristles (like in the photo below), wire or plastic in a V shape. The guard is attached to the jig head that faces up towards the hook point and covers the hook point. The guard prevents the hook from getting caught on weeds and brush where fish like to hide.
This is a picture of a wire weed guard. the 2 extra bodies are part of the soft plastic body dressing.
All of the jigs in the descriptions above are only some of the types of jigs available. There are a lot more types of jigs. Some jigs have internal rattles, some have type of spinner attached to them, some have plastic attachments that make them swim deeper or in erratic behaviors, some have flat bottoms to swim across the bottom of he lake and there are a lot of different shapes, weights and colors.
One important tool to keep with your jigs is a jig eye cleaner. Sometimes the eye that you put the fishing line through is closed off from the paint and this tool will clear the paint out so you can thread your line through.
The point of the tool goes through the eye and when you squeeze the silver parts together the point will push the paint out. This is MUCH safer and a lot faster than using a knife, your teeth or your fingernails.
Jigs are a lot of fun to use. One of the reasons I like using them is you don't have to pack very much gear with you when using jigs and still have a bunch of options. I pack a few jig heads and several packages of soft plastics on my float tube and when we have to walk into a fishing spot so I have lots of lure options even though I don't have a lot of room to carry a bunch of lures.
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