As fall fades in the rear view mirror and the freezing Winter mornings arrive, many bass fishermen put their boats away for the season. If you're one of the few committed anglers who continues fishing regardless of weather, temperature, or season, this week's post is for you. While Winter brings cold weather and uncomfortable conditions but it also brings your best shot of the year at a GIANT bass on a jig.
Let's begin by breaking Winter jig fisheries into two categories:
1) Reservoirs or lakes with sparse cover and/or clear water
2)Shallow water fisheries, often containing heavy cover, including river/tidal systems
Category 1) I focus on small, compact football jigs. My jigs of choice are the Dirty Jigs Finesse Football and HP Football. The finesse football is my most consistent jig. It comes equipped with a light wire hook, allowing me to downsize my equipment and draw bites, even under tough conditions. Coupled with a double tail grub or smallie beaver, this jig is deadly throughout the cold water months.
If I know that I'll be encountering larger fish, or if I feel that I may need to step up to a heavier weight line to combat heavier cover, I'll transition over to the HP football. This jig has a slightly heavier wire "EWG" style hook and is great for powering fish away from snags. With both versions of the football I'll start out with a light weight and go with the lightest line possible, only stepping up to match the conditions or size of bass.
Day in and day out these jigs get critical bites when I need them most. For colors, I keep it as simple as possible. My two most consistent colors lately have been "Go To" and "Super Matt Brown". In the past "Molting Craw" has been a consistent producer as well. Trailer color is a matter of preference. Some days I'll stick to complimentary colors, other days I'll use a clashing color to change the overall profile of the bait. You'll need to experiment to see what your fish prefer.
Category 2) When fishing shallower water, especially around cover I will use either a Dirty Jigs Pitchin' Jig or the No-Jack Flippin' Jig. The pitchin' jig is a go everywhere, do everything jig with a medium-heavy wire hook. I'm confident that I can show up to any body of water and use this head shape to catch bass.
If I'm specifically dealing with heavy cover, grass, or giant fish I'll step up to the No-Jack Flippin' Jig. The No-Jack hook is the stoutest hook on the market. While this isn't necessary for fighting the fish during their cold water dormant season it can be vital to getting them through thick vegetation. With these jigs I prefer either a beaver-style trailer or a pork chunk. I will generally start with the plastic trailer but if I can't get bit will switch to pork.
Color selection in shallow water fisheries depends upon water color. If the water is fairly clear I will stick with "Go To" or "Molting Craw" but if the water becomes dingy or muddy I'll transition into "Black and Blue" , "Black Emerald" or "Black Red".
Another quick tip is to add a section of chartreuse plastic to the shank of the hook before adding your primary trailer. This works for murky water largemouth but is also deadly on clear water smallmouth.
We hope these tips will help you refine your cold water jig fishing this Winter. This is prime time to catch a monster bass so bundle up, grab a pair of gloves, and head for the water. Good luck out there!