They come in all sizes, shapes and styles. Some are downright pretty and others are just plain ugly. But both types catch fish.
So what am I talking about? I’m talking about jigs and I need to hang a big qualifier on that comment about both types catching fish. What also needs to be said is that darn near all of them will indeed catch fish but they’ve got to be fished properly to get the job done.
Most of my own jig fishing experience has been using them for bass and panfish. I’ve caught my share of both, but I’m nowhere as good with the darn things as some of the guys with whom I’ve shared a boat. The same thing applies when it comes to putting walleyes in the boat. Jigs of one kind or another are favorite lures of lots of knowledgeable walleye anglers all over the country.
I know a guide in Wisconsin, for example, who often uses jigs for walleyes. When he does he slides a couple of beads onto his line above the jig. Once the beads are in place, he also slides a Mack’s Lure Smile Blade down to ride above them. The Smile Blade spins with the slightest movement this angler gives his rod tip. Now and then he clobbers the walleyes using this tactic.
I’ve got good news in that regard. Darn soon now it will no longer be necessary to make up your own jigs with Smile Blades. Mack’s Lure is right now in the process of putting the final touches on brand new Smile Blade UV jigs the company is adding to its lure lineup.
Here's your first look at a brand new Mack's Lure Smile Blade UV Jig. You can bet these new jigs are going to get their share of fish when handled properly.
The way I see it these new Mack’s Lure jigs are a cinch to be a winner. If you’re a walleye angler you’re going to want to give them a try. But as productive as these jigs are likely to be, you’re still going to have to learn how to use them properly for them to get the best results.
I remember once watching a guy who was really good at bamboozling largemouth bass with jigs. I fished with him every now and then and time after time I watched him take fish out of water I’d already covered. Every time he did so he’d make darn sure I got a good look at what he’d just caught.
He’d hold up the fish and I could have predicted what he was about to say. “You see,” he’d snort, “it’s like I told you. Get your jig in there where it needs to be, and then work it right, and you’re going to catch fish.”
The trouble was he knew what he was talking about. Whenever I run into somebody who consistently catches fish with any kind of technique, I do my best to find out how he does it. Here are some things I’d like to share with regard to jig fishing.
Let’s look first at how the guy I mentioned used his jigs for largemouth. “Jigs have figured more in the tournament success I’ve had than any other lure,” he told me. “That doesn’t surprise me because the primary food base in the waters I fish is the crawdad. No bass lure does a better job of representing a crawdad than a jig. This is especially true in the first four months of the year where there is no shade-based fishery.”
That’s undoubtedly true. But so is what I’ve already mentioned. Jigs can be darn effective for bass but I think most bass fishermen would agree they are also among the most difficult lures to learn how to handle. Following are some of the thoughts the bass fishing pro whose thinking I’ve probed has shared with me.
These anglers are about to slide their net under a Columbia River walleye. Jigs hopped up from the bottom are among the big river's most effective walleye lures.
The first and most important consideration is presentation. You’ve got to be able to put your jig where they are and that’s often smack in the in the middle of the nastiest stuff around. You’ve got to get it in there under docks, trees, etc. And you’ve got to get it in there right.
There are methods, of course, of learning the keys to handling these lures and one of the most important is practice. Anybody who reads my columns knows how much I stress the need to practice as a means of improving casting skills. The same thing applies to a degree where most lures are concerned and jigs are right at the head of the list.
So what’s the best way to practice with a jig? I’ll share thoughts about that in my next column.
-To Be Continued-