The simple jig is one of the best, if not the best, smallmouth bass fishing lures. Anglers can use jigs in a variety of conditions for catching smallmouth bass. From pulling smallies out of the broad areas of lakes to drifting through a river’s riffles, the jig can be used effectively in just about any smallmouth bass fishing situation.
The standard jig is nothing more than a fishing hook with a lead ball on end. The lead allows for long casts and gives the lure a realistic head-first fall and ‘swim’ in the water. A jig’s body can usually be changed very quickly allowing the fisherman to present different colors, patterns, and body styles without cutting and tying. Another great benefit of the jig for smallmouth bass fishing or any other fishing is that they are quite cheap. Anglers can buy a dozen jigs or more for less than the price of many crankbaits and other artificial lures.
Jigs are also very easy to use. Jigs are often struck on the fall after a cast, and this is about the only time that jig fishing is even slightly complicated. A fisherman needs to cast the jig and allow it to fall naturally while keeping enough slack out to set the hook. Due to the likelihood of the jig being struck by a smallmouth (or other fish) during the fall, light rods and lines that increase feel are best for jig fishing. Once the jig has been cast and allowed to fall to the bottom or a reasonable depth, the jig can be retrieved in some ways but slowed recovered and allowed to fall to the base during the retrieve is the most common.
Jigs can also be retrieved quickly, slowly, twitched to each side and in any number of other ways. In general, use a slower retrieve and gentle movements in colder water and a quicker retrieve and sharper moves in warmer water.
Jigs are also a rugged lure making them ideal for casting onto rocks and other structure to produce a gentle fall into the water. When fishing from a kayak or wading a river, jigs can be thrown toward the shore and caught near the bottom as the lure moves into deeper water. Jigs also generally are accurate to cast and can be cast into tight spots.
A smallmouth bass fisher should prepare with a variety of jig bodies. A mix of natural colors and a few brighter colors can produce smallmouth bass in a variety of conditions.
The jig is not a seductive lure but is one that has caught a lot of smallmouth bass and will continue to produce and should be in every fisherman’s tackle box.