Striped Bass Fishing with Jigs

 By Captain Rene Letourneau

The use of heavy metal jigs has played a major role in the fishing industry for many years.  Durring World War II and the Korean war the US government supplied the troops crossing the Pacific with a survival kit containing Bucktail jigs in various sizes. Why jigs, because they catch fish.

Types of Jigs.
There are many types of jigs today all have a use for different situations. These can vary in size and weight from small Sabiki rigs use to catch bait fish(Mackerel) to the 20plus oz Diamond jigs fished for Cod and Haddock. Jigs today come in all shapes and sizes with every color to match the bait fish.

Diamond jigs are made for a vertical presentation and now are made in more colorful style. Knife jigs are the trend today with the quick descent to put you on top of the fish even in a swift current. The hooks can be fished on the top or bottom of the jig.

Bucktail jigs are fished in many ways, and can be used to imitate a range of bait fish in size and color. These jigs can be fished both vertical or cast and retrieved along at different speeds. The profile can be change by adding a trailer such as a soft plastic, or squid strip. Pork rind is the most used and durable addition to the jigs.

Bucktail jigs can be fished in shallow water such as bolder fields and flats. I especially like to use small jigs under 1oz in shallow areas with rocky bottom. I can change the profile with out changing the weight. This can be done by adding a different size trailer or soft plastic. Using a small plastic curly tail for example the jig can be tossed in the rocky area and the plastic trailer will add buoyancy to the jig. This  makes for a larger presentation. You can change the size of the presentation with out adding extra weight,  which will avoid hanging up on the bottom.

 Fishing jigs will catch all species of fish to include the smallest and largest of any species. Jigs can be fished in all conditions and at any depth . This is easy to accomplish by changing size and weight to put the jig in the zone where the fish are most active.

When and where to use vertical jigs. 
This type of jig the diamond and knife jigs can be fished in any depth but best in deeper water. 30-100 ft or more. It’s not uncommon to fish in depths of more than 100 ft and the jigs weight can vary from place to place according to species and current. I look for a  change in the bottom  edge’s of banks, rock plies and under water reefs. Watch your depth sounder for  signs of bait fish this is a great place to drop a jig. Some of the best days are when the birds are high flying and no signs of life.   A good drift and a jig can turn things around in a hurry.

When fishing jigs in a vertical manner. 
Some like to bounce the jig off the bottom by lifting the rod and slowly dropping back to the bottom this method works great on most species. Fluke and Sea bass will take a jig when tipped with a 4in long Squid strip. Another method is the fast assent reeling quickly through the desired zone. As soon as your jig is out the zone a quick drop to the bottom should produce fish. This works well on fast feeding fish like Stripe bass, Bluefish and Tuna. Drifting is a great way to locate fish and cover a vast area using this method.

Fishing jigs in shallow water.
The cast and retrieve method works great. You can simple retrieve the jig with little or no action on the fisherman part. The more you vary the speed and rod action the results can improve. I like to use small jigs on reefs tossing into the white water. The key is the speed in which the jig fall through the water column 1/4oz to ½ oz work well for this. I like a slow retrieve with varying rod action. This has proven to be very effective for me. There are many soft plastics types of bait on the market. Many choices of colors that match different baitfish. White is tried and true, Arkansas shiner is my second choice.

When fishing flats I like to work the bottom of the water column. The fish are cruising the area in search of the next meal. A slowly worked jig of the right size and profile can bring some vicious hits.

Jig fishing can be very productive. If you have overlooked this method give it a try this season. I know I will.

 Tight Lines everyone.