How to Fish a Jig – Basics of Jig Fishing for Beginners

Fishermen have been using jigs for a very long time. Still, it took me several years understanding what kinds of jigs work on certain types of bass and what doesn’t. I also learned how to properly use each kind of jigs. After years of fishing using jigs, you are bound to develop strategies in catching those big fishes.

Experience is a good teacher but learning bass fishing using jigs from other people also helps a lot. It helps you avoid committing the mistake they did and shortens your learning curve. Here are some simple tips on how to fish a jig based on my experience and other fellow anglers. 

Things That You Will Need

No doubt you will need the right gears and equipment to catch the big fish.

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Having the right trailer will help you catch more and bigger fishes. They come in a variety of colors and combinations.

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Bass jigs or flipping jigs are the most effective lures for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The light weights are ideal for smallmouths while the heavy lures are for the largemouth and for flipping.

Bass jigs usually have some type of weed guard which is usually made up of fiber or plastic. Most of these lures include an internal rattle.

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    Jig hooks

The jig hooks commonly use include both strong wire and light wire types. A typical jig hook is bendt on its shank by about 60 to 90 degrees before the eye. The extent of the bent usually decides the way it rides through the waters.

I usually used the long shank hooks for rigging lures that include lizard, tubes, soft plastic critters, and worm jigs. But the shorter shanks are more effective with live minnows.

Hooks with thinner diameters are recommended for waters that have brush piles and cribs. The thicker ones are used for weedy and rocky locations.

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    Jig Collars

The ones you see placed directly behind the jig head is called jig collar. You can use it to attach jigs that include feathers, hair, rubber or silicone material including tinsel.

  • Tied Dressing Jigs

This dressing is usually tied to the jig collar, which can a bass or other predatory fishes misinterpret as a body. Materials used for this purpose include hair, bucktail, marabou, and mylar as well as tinsel. Some of these dressed jigs have an attractant such as fish scent.

  • Live Bait ​Jigs

They worked perfectly in cold weather especially when the bass doesn’t have much strength chasing after fast-moving jigs.

  • Floating Jigs

For floating jigs, you can use both soft and hard-bodied types. Floating lures a generally use as live baits.

  • Weedless jigs

You won’t have much trouble using weedless jigs in water with covers of weeds and brush. The hook guard is constructed to allow the hook to simply ride over much of the underwater obstructions.

  • Fishing Rods

You need a rod suitable for using jigs and durable enough to tackle on big and heavy bass.

  • Fishing Line

You need at least a 50-pound braided line but if you are fishing around heavy wood or heavy vegetation, a 65 pound is better. Braided lines don’t stretch as much allowing for maximum hook penetration.

  • Reel

A 7:1 gear ratio reel or even higher than that are usually recommended ratio for jig fishing. This enables you to pick the line much faster once the bass bites the jig.

Steps on How to Fish a jig

1. Use the Right Trailer

Trailers are helpful in jig fishing especially when the colder months start to set in. Cast the jig on your best fishing spot and let it sink down the bottom. You should not move the jig around too much.

Just cast it on your favorite spot and let it sink to the bottom for a while. It could take you a few hours to get a bite.

Once the water gets warmer, the bass becomes active again. Your jig should behave the same, a few hops and include some drags too for good measure.

2. Jig Fishing Technique

The only thing that separates a fish and an angler is the fishing line

You can use the jig as “drop bait”. First cast the line to the bank and engage the spool. Drop the rod tip once the jig settles to the bottom.

To move the lure, reel up the slack and draw the line back slightly. Once the line twitches, you may have a bite which means you need to quickly set the hook.

Jigs can work as casting lures. You can use them in grassy areas or around logs or stumps. You will need a weed guard if you intend to fish on waters with plenty of covers.

You can “swim” the jig by casting it out and retrieving it in a slow and steady pace at a 10 0’clock direction. To a bass, the jig will appear like swimming baitfish. This method is quite effective when fishing during spring on the flat waters.

3. Pick the Right Colors

Use light colors such as white or green when fishing in clear waters. Transparent jig skirts and trailers will not appear threatening to the bass you are trying to catch.

Black, brown or any contrasting dark colors work best when you are fishing in murky waters. You can change the trailer’s appearance by altering its colors.

4. Using a Suitable Jig Weight

For clear waters, combined the lighter weights with the appropriate tight line and spinning tackle. The recommended weight is around 1/8 or ¼ ounce. But for deep and murky waters, you will need to use a heavy lure from 3/8 to 5/8 ounce.

With a heavier jig, it’s better to use a tackle with a heavy line. This will enable you to detect a strike even with the wind blowing your line.

Additional Tips on How to Fish a Jig

  • Using jigs for fishing takes a lot of concentration
  • You can use jigs for fishing in any season, but the bites are usually slow in cold waters.
  • Largemouth bass prefers the bigger jigs while the smallmouth types usually go for the hairy lures.
  • Use the longer length, fast action medium or heavy rods for improved maximum hook setting pressure.
  • For night-fishing, jigs are the best lures. Use a heavier jig on stouter tackle even in clear waters when fishing at night.
  • See to it that all the hooks you are using a sharp. They penetrate easily and the bass finds it difficult to dislodge them.
  • In case of hang-ups, allow the line a little bit of slack and gently shake the rod tip. Pulling and shaking it violently may tangle the lines further.
  • Give the hair jig a chance to “breathe” when swimming or dropping it in clear water. Gently squeeze the rod’s handle while keeping its position still.
  • If the bass isn’t biting, try using a rattling crankbait or any other noisy lures. It’s also likely that the bass is hiding in covered waters.

To get a clearer picture of to how fish using jigs, you can watch this video


Fishing with jigs is an old method but many anglers are not yet familiar with it or don’t have the proper training. There are several kinds of jigs that you need to know about. In addition, each type of jig can give you an advantage in any season or fishing spot.

I hope you find this article helpful in your quest to fish using a jig. Please share your ideas, thoughts, and comments about jig fishing on the comment section below.

John Morris

Hi, I’m John Morris. I’m an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, blessed with an awesome wife and 2 kids. Fishing is not my passion, it is my lifestyle. I fished before I knew how to walk! I’m obsessed with all things related to fishing, even the fishy smell. I’m always willing to extend a hand to novice anglers looking for fishing tips and tricks thus I created this blog. This blog is a collection of my experiences, knowledge, and also research from other blogs.

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