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River rigging and Jigging
By Sam Anderson
In rivers, a simple lead-head jig baited with live minnow or worm is a
Many angers prefer a 1/16-to 1/8 ounce jig fished over the side of
a boat going the same
speed as the current to keep the jig directly below the rod tip. Simply
lift and let the jig fall,
occasionally touching the bottom without dragging the jig into snags.
Other anglers prefer a
heavier jig, also baited and dragged slowly against the current. In
either case, a strong
small-diameter line such as
Magnathin in 4-to 6-pound-test is preferred because it billows
less in current and wind.
Over the years the jig has possibly accounted for more species of gamefish
pounds of fillets in the frying pan than any other lure. Crappie, bass,
walleye, lake trout,
musky--- you name it, a jig has caught it. Even in this modern age
of angling when new
"Super Lures" crop up almost daily, the simple jig is the magical lure.
Without question, jigs are the walleye angler’s lure of choice, simply
because jigs can be
used effectively to maintain contact with the take bottom. Since a
versatile array of sizes,
shapes designs and colors are available, jigs can be fished in a seemingly
infinite array of combinations under a variety of conditions.
One of my favorite jigs is the
Fuzz-E-Grub, partially because it has been around since I started fishing
and secondly it is the most effective jig on the market today. The Fuzz-E-Grubs
have a soft plastic body that feels natural to the fish and a tiny marabou
feather tail that adds a slight swimming motion. This is important because
a walleye is not only visually orientated but sound and motion given off
from the marabou tail gives the jig a pulsating live bait feeling.
Work the jig quickly through the fishholding area. Hop it or swim it,
even snap the jig and
don’t pause as you usually would, but instead keep the bait moving.
The theory behind this
type of action is, if the walleye is serious about hitting your bait
it will be there when you move it quickly. Many times when you are starting
to snap the jig or swim it to you the walleye is already hooked. The strike
will usually be quite firm.
Jigs often work best fished quickly along weedbed edges, or over shallow
When the fish are on spots like this, they’re frequently active. Casting
is usually the best way to work jigs quickly along these areas. When selecting
jigs, the first consideration is weight. The ideal weight is one
that drops the slowest through the strike zones and yet make contact with
the bottom.One thing I like to do is put a 1/16th ounce Fuzz-E-Grub
jig on and let it fall in about 22 feet of water. It takes a long time
to reach the bottom, but as it is falling it also is moving through strike
zones that others don’t fish because they are fishing too heavy for the
You have to have patience it you want to fish in this manner. Also,
you should realize that
the weight of the jig will have to increase as the conditions do. Examples
of this are wind,
current and the activity zone of the fish.
In most situations you should be able to get by with four jig
sizes, usually fewer than that.
On most lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, you should almost always
be able to get by with a
selection of sixteenth, eighth, quarter and three-eighths ounce
jigs. True, in some rivers
you’ll need heavier jigs, and below a Thill float a lighter one
might work best. But, day-in and
day-out, on most waters, these four sizes will be completely
adequate. I use more
eighth-ounce jigs than any other size, and recently I have been
using more sixteenth-ounce
All in all, the jig is the most magical bait that a fisherman
can have on the water in summer,
spring, fall or even the winter. It is one of the best live-bait
delivery systems that the angler
has coin- for him or her. So do yourself a favor and next time
you are in the tackle store,
pick up your favorite weights and colors and you will have the
most magical lure in your
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