Tips & Tactics

  • Move the jig with short lifts
  • Hop your jig on ledges
  • Hop the jig to imitate a craw popping up

    Relatively few anglers cast the venerable jig-and-pig these days, and they do so mainly during cold water periods. Californian Skeet Reese, who won the CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Florida's Harris Chain last January, bucks this trend and casts jigs throughout the year.

    "After the spawn, pretty much everybody puts jigs away," observed Reese.
    "Granted, soft plastics catch more fish after the water warms. But any time you're trying to increase the size of your fish, the jig creates the bigger bite."

    In the spring, Reese retrieves jigs over points, creek channel banks and gravel bottoms leading into spawning areas. During the hot months, he concentrates on ledges and other main lake bottom structure. Other anglers scour these summer haunts with crankbaits and Carolina rigs. Reese may catch fewer bass with jigs, but he regularly weighs in heavier sacks of fish.
    For casting presentations, Reese relies on a 7-foot Lamiglas graphite rod (medium heavy) combined with a Shimano Curado baitcasting reel. He favors Terminator's compact Finesse Jig and Tiny-T Jig, which feature crinkled silicone skirts that trap air and release bubbles. The jigs also have thinner hooks than those found on typical flipping jigs, which deliver better hook sets on long lines.

    "The Finesse Jig comes in 1/8, 3/16, and ΒΌ ounce," explained Reese. "The Tiny-T Jig weighs 3/16 ounce. These jigs sink fast, due to their small profiles. I'll fish a 3/16-ounce jig down to 20 feet or more on 12-pound-test SpiderLine Super Mono XXX."

    In cold water, Reese tips his jigs with a No. 101 or No. 11 Uncle Josh Pork Frog. He claims pork has little movement and appears more natural to sluggish bass. In warmer conditions, Reese dresses his jigs with a 3-inch double curly-tail grub to give it a livelier appearance. He prefers jigs with purple hues in warm water, black/blue in muddy water, and brown/pumpkin in clear water.

    In the summer months, Reese retrieves a jig with a brisk hopping motion that "pops" the lure 1 to 2 feet or more off the bottom. He believes a high lift helps to catch the attention of bass that feed on shad at this time. He slows down whenever the jig contacts a stump or some other cover, and methodically works the lure through it.

    "I move the jig with shorter rod lifts in cool water," concluded Reese.
    "I want to keep the jig close to the bottom so it stirs up mud like a crawfish coming out of hibernation. If the bottom drops too fast to maintain good contact fishing downhill, I move my boat over the shallow side of the structure and retrieve uphill."