There are thousands of different jigs out there and every style and color has a time and/or place in which it is most effective. I typically don’t spend a lot of time on the water after the season is over because I’m usually in the woods hunting, but on the rare occasion I do hit the lake in the fall, jigs are one of my go-to baits. Here are a few tips that I hope will help you catch more fish on a jig as the seasons change.
Here at home (Dayton, Tenn. near Lake Chickamauga) where there are a lot of big fish, most of the time I’m always throwing big baits. But in cold water versus warm to hot water, I’ll start to make some changes to the weight and size.
Early on in the fall when water temperatures are warmer and fairly clean, a lot of the bigger fish will still be active, so I’ll use a big jig with a larger profile to entice bigger fish.
During the winter when water temps are still in the 40s, I’ll use a smaller jig like the War Eagle Heavy Finesse jig on 12-pound fluorocarbon. I’ve caught a ton of fish on that setup after a cold front and in cold water. Towards the end of winter as temperatures are slowly rising, I’ll throw a lighter jig and sometimes one with a smaller profile.
I find that the biggest differences are when temperatures start warming up out of the 40s and into the 60s. Water color plays a big part in the changes you make. If it’s super clear, you’re going to want to use smaller baits and lighter line most of the time. There are a lot of different variances there. For example, if I’m fishing dirty water and temps are in the mid-50s, I’ll use a lighter jig, darker color, with heavy line. Those fish are going to be shallow, so you’ll need to use a larger profile jig just so the fish can even see it.
90% of the time, I’m using a Zoom Super Chunk Jr jig trailer. I go through bulk bags of those every year. As the water gets warmer and it’s fairly clear, I’m going to go up to maybe a ¾ oz. jig, even if I’m fishing shallow. With the ¾ ounce jig, I’ll switch to a regular size Zoom Super Chunk, which is quite a bit bigger than the Jr. It’s going to give me a bigger profile and slow that fall down just a little bit, but I’m doing it mostly for the profile.
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