Here’s a few strategy points for winters jigs:
• Trailer Tamer — FLW Tour pro Terry Bolton likes the Zoom Big Salty Chunk for his winter jigs, but he knows that if the hefty trailer rides up the hook shank it might turn outward, cover the hook point and impede the objective.
Bolton prevents this by biting an inch off a discarded plastic worm and impaling it on his jig’s hook shank. This prevents his trailer from riding up and thereby eliminates the risk of fouling his hook.
• Spread Out — When the bite is tough, Toledo Bend guide Stephen Johnston often turns to a Mop jig or a natural hair jig.
The benefit, Johnston said, is a tantalizing display with nearly no angler-imparted motion.
“The fish are really lethargic — they’re cold, and they don’t want to chase and move,” Johnston said. “You can throw that jig up against a stump or any kind of structure and just let it stop. The hair on a hair jig or the living rubber on a Mop jig’s skirt will move very slowly in the water. It looks like a live crawfish.
“If you have something that moves too much, it doesn’t look real. They know that, as cold as it is, those crawfish aren’t going to be moving very fast. So that’s the whole deal with that skirt moving slowly.”
• Smell That? — Anything that guides winter bass to your bait and convinces them to hold on longer is helpful. Smearing on scented pastes or gels adds that extra appeal, while scented dyes double the benefit with a visual enhancement.
• Patience Pays — Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brett Hite said this isn’t the time to be in a hurry.
“This time of year, you’re going to want a silent entry because fish are more skittish,” Hite said. “You’re not going to have 20 bites a day; you’re only going for six to eight bites. But you’re going to have the opportunity for quality.”
“Also, let the jig soak in that piece of cover for a while. Let the fish go over there and find it. Don’ just flip it in there, let it go to the bottom and reel it up — fish slowly. Fish are cold, and they’re not going to move over there really quickly and aggressively bite right away, so you want to give them a slower presentation.”