WHAT’S THE BEST JIG TO USE?
Skirted jigs are relatively new to the UK lure fishing scene but have secured their spots in the European market and more so in the US market. They are absolute predator slayers with countless tournament wins and awards being accredited to them. This is mostly down the their versatility; They can be used in a whole host of different ways all year round, on any venue and any condition.
Obviously in the USA and in Europe to some extent they are used primarily for Bass fishing and have been introduced into other predator genres due to their success in the Bass scene. This is no surprise as a lot of the lure fishing products you see in the UK have come from the American market. especially in the hardcore cult lure fishing scene. I for one love the American lure scene and I really like using their tactics and baits in the UK for Perch, they work extremely well and for the most part haven’t really been used as mush so the fish are less wary of them.
The skirted jig family is huge and can be quite daunting to you if you are new to it; There are lots of different shapes, colours and sizes, so in this blog I am going to try to narrow it down for you from my own experience using them on different types of waters.
I am going to show you what baits I like to rig these up with as well. But remember you can fish them just as they are! Sometimes less is more…
MINI JIG / FINESSE JIG
The mini jig or Finesse jig is probably going to be the most popular in the UK simply due to its size. There is still a really big stigma with using large baits for Perch over here even though they have mouths like buckets!
This is the Strike King Bitsy Bug Mini Jig. It has a 3.5g weight with a soft high quality fibre weed guard. The shape of the weight is what you would call a casting jig making it a multi purpose jig.
The weed guard on the Bitsy Bug is softer than the other types allowing smaller fish to compress it easily. And the smaller hook size makes it suitable for smaller baits. A trimmed down Baby Rage Craw or Rage Chunk would suit it well. But I like to fish these with buoyant baits like the Rage Ned Bug to keep the profile size down. The buoyancy of the bait then makes it stand up on end giving a greater presentation.
This type of bait will suit any venue from canals, rivers, lakes and big reservoirs. Simply bounced across the bottom or twitched back slowly it is a really versatile little bait.
Mini jigs also work on other species like this river Chub that took a fancy to one!
Casting jigs are the big brother to mini jig we just talked about. These are primarily used when you need to up your gear! These are pretty much my go-to jig for rivers. They hold the current well with their heavier weight, the weed guard is heavier allowing you to fish around snags more confidently, the hooks are a heavier gauge and their overall profile is bigger making it more visible in coloured water. Do not be put off by the size of these though. I have had Perch as small as 1/2lb on these and Chub of the same size as well!
This one is the Hack Attack Heavy Cover Jig. It features a Gamakatsu black nickel, heavy wire hook with a and a 30º line tie to increase hook-up percentages. I use this in the 10.6g although bigger sizes are available.
A bigger hook normally means a bigger bait a well. The Rage Chunk, Rage Bug are really good baits for this Jig. You could also use a swim bait like the Rage Swimmer if you wanted to! It doesn’t always have to be creatures. In this case I have it rigged with a Rage Baby Craw.
This lovely Chub smashed a casting Jig fished close to the inside edge.
Skipping Jigs are designed to cast to places other baits just cannot get to. Under overhanging trees, stages and other hard to reach places. The casting style can be hard to get used to, but master this with a baitcasting set up and you will catch a lot more fish!
This is the Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig. Similar set up to the casting jig apart from the head shape. It has a unique flat-sided head shape designed to glance lightly off the surface, for smooth, controlled skipping into the tight spaces that hold monsters. Again I use this in the 10.6g but a heavier version is available. This is a river slayer for sure. With the amount of overhanging trees and snags on the rivers this will get your bait to the spot.
Flat profile baits are key with this. The Rage Chunk is the winner in my eyes because of its big flat claws. Try other baits though, like the Rage Toad.
Football jigs are designed to fish in deep areas. A wide, football shaped head gives the Tour Grade Jig a superior feel and helps the jig stand-up and tantalize on the bottom. The flat eye line tie helps keep the line, knot and jig in the proper position, while an extra-sharp Gamakatsu, 60 degree, round bend hook promotes true hook sets. These come in heavier weights are you are fishing deeper with them and need to be able to feel the bait still. I go for the 14.2g for where I fish. But these are suited best deep reservoirs and deep weirs etc.
This one is the Strike King Tour Grade Football Jig. A beast of a jig!
Big Jig, Big Bait! Rage Bug is perfect, but the Rage Swimmer will also be a good bet here as well.
BLADED JIGS / CHATTERBAITS
Bladed Jigs or Chatters baits are basically a swimming jig with a metal vibrating plate on the front of them. They can be bounced off the bottom like a Jig or retrieved through the water like a swim bait. A very, very versatile bait. Probably one of my favourites!
This is the Thunder Cricket Vibrating Swim Jig it is a meticulously configured premium chatterbait that delivers an innovative design and uses strictly top-line components to provide maximum swimming action, flash, and thump, with a superior hookup ratio. Fished fast or slow, up high or down deep, the Strike King Thunder Cricket Swimjig is sure to become your go-to swimmer when conditions are right.
They come in two different weights. I like the 14.2g for a lot of my fishing. The list of baits you could put on the back of these is endless, if you want to put one on! They are very good fished just as they are and have a looser vibrating pattern with no bait attached. When you put a bait on the vibrating pattern becomes a lot lighter giving off completely different signal to the predators. I like using the Rage Swimmers with these but the Rage Grub would also be really good. A lot of success has come to anglers using the chatterbait with creature bait trailers on as their ‘claws’ create a lot of disturbance when retrieved.
Once again do not be put off by the size of these! When I was filming the 1st episode of Fishing With The Brands, Jason Stokes caught a lovely 2 1/2lb perch on this exact set up and it had completely engulfed the bait!
All predators love Chatterbaits, they are a fantastic searching lure for Pike.
Hopefully that has helped you understand Jigs a little better, if you have any input yourself please drop a comment below! Get stocked up ready for the river season ahead and get yourself some lovely catches on some new baits!