In the 1990s, jig fishing really only meant two things – flipping or dragging. There were a few isolated exceptions, but by in large when you talked about jig retrieves, it was one of those two things.
Fast forward 20 years, and an angler could theoretically put 5 different jig rods on his deck, fish them with 5 different retrieves, and cover the entire water column from the surface to 30 feet deep.
Here are 3 jig retrieves that weren’t around 20 years ago – and why you need to master them.
1. Swimming Jig Fishing Retrieve
This is probably the fastest growing category of jig fishing. For years, anglers thought jigs needed to be worked along the bottom to catch bass. No longer – a jig can be set up to represent just about anything a bass will eat, and comes through much heavier cover than other shallow water winding presentations like spinnerbaits, cranks, and chatterbaits. Try slowly and steadily winding a 1/4 ounce hybrid shad like the Stan Sloan’s Zorro Baits Swim Jig with a paddle tail swimbait trailer around shallow cover – and hold on.
2. Stroking Jig Fishing Retrieve
For offshore structure bass fishing – dragging was the way of the world, until about 15 years ago – when resourceful anglers on Kentucky Lake started stroking them, and catching huge bags of offshore bass. Stroking is basically just a hard, vertical hop, in which you snap your rod tip up – making a jig like the Missile Baits Ike’s Head Banger Jig jump 3-5 feet off the bottom and then following it back down on semi-slack line. Make sure to watch your line for “tics” as they often grab it on the fall.
3. Skipping Jig Fishing Retrieve
When dock fishing, there’s not much more effective than a skirted jig at triggering massive strikes. Jigs skip well, and mastering this skill can really set you apart from other anglers. Most dock-bound bass see a steady diet of soft stick baits, worms, or plastics (things that skip easily on a spinning rod) – so when a big jig plops down in front of them, they have no other choice but to strike. Day in and day out, skipping a jig around docks may produce less bites than a wacky worm, but you can be almost guaranteed that the best 5 jig fish will weigh more than the best 5 worm fish.
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