How To Jig For Bass: The Next Generation of Jigs Explained 

You’re way behind the times if you think that jigging largemouth bass requires a naked leadhead and a curly-tailed grub.

Jigging is a great year-round method that works everywhere bass are found suspended in the water column or hunting close to the bottom. You can also use it to tease a hard strike under heavy cover.

There’s more to it than just tying your rod to a jig. It can be quite a bit more!

Continue reading if you want to learn more about the fine art and craft of the jig.

Jigging rods, reels, and line for bass

It is important to choose the right tackle first.

Heavy cover is the best place to jig. Bass will swallow even the smallest swim jigs, so you need to have sensitivity and a strong hookset. Cast-iron rods are best for pulling a monster from the weeds in heavy cover.

Jigging rods tend to be heavier than the power spectrum. I, therefore, appreciate both medium- and heavy rods for this technique.

The Ugly Stik Elite is a great choice for budget-minded anglers. This Stik is a fantastic jigging rod with a lot of backbone and sensitive fast action. It won’t break your bank. The Dobyns 766 FLIP will be your best option if you have the money.

Dobyns 766 FLIP

Dobyns 766 FLIP may be the most popular jigging rod.

Pair your rod with a quick baitcasting reel. My pick is the Shimano Curado K, which has a 7.4:1 gear ratio.

Our complete guide reviews the top baitcasting reels that bass fishermen can use.

Shimano's Curado K 7.41

This reel has been reviewed before and is a winner. The Curado K 7.4:1 by Shimano is ideal for jigging.

You’ll need a very strong and sensitive line. I recommend braids like Sufix 832, PowerPro. Some anglers will run tests up to 60-65 pounds, but I prefer a 20- to 30-pound test.

power pro braid

For effective jigging, you need a strong and sensitive braid.

Learn more about choosing the right fishing line for bass fishing

Bass Jigging Basics: A Jig Revolution Is Here

Jig heads were a simple design that consisted of a weighted hook and a lead head. The design of jigs changed drastically when tournament anglers discovered that bass were striking moving jigs while they were being retrieved for their next cast.

The days of a naked jighead are gone; the era of the swimming or Arkie Jig is here.

naked jig headchatterbaid without blade

Your grandfather would recognize that the jighead is to the left.

An Arkie jighead is basically a chatter bait with no blade. These next-generation jig head designs have a skirt and weed-busting bristles. They fish more like chatter baits or spinnerbaits than traditional ones. There were further refinements, such as the football jig, which can better jump over rocks and bounce up and down logs and branches.

You can’t jig without a trailer.

How to Jig Bass?

Flipping, Pitching, and Skipping

Flipping and pitching are two of the best techniques to cast jigs in heavy cover. If you’re looking for a refresher, check out the video below.

You want to make your jig look like a large bass that is waiting to eat slow-moving food. You’ll need to practice a lot!

Take a look at our top picks to flip and pitch rods

Skipping can also be dangerous, especially if you are trying to get your jig under the docks or in a low-hanging brush.

The right jighead is essential when you are up high in the action. I prefer a low-profile, fast-sinking tungsten jig such as the Reaction Tackle Tungsten Football Jig. This jig head is ideal for fishing in heavy cover. It has a head that is shaped to avoid snags and an eye that is placed just right to allow you to lift your jig above logs and stumps.

Reaction Tackle's Tungsten Football Jig

Although it’s difficult to see, the head of this Jig is oval.

I love to throw a craw-trailer like Strike King’s Rage Craw when the water is cold, say 55 degrees. I am looking for natural colors and trying to match the hatch. No matter what my decision, I know that these guys are amazing.

King's Rage Craw

The water will heat up and the crawfish will start to die. Sunfish and shad will also explode. Then I will switch to a Gary Yamamoto 4″ Zako in a natural, hatch-matching color and pattern.

Gary Yamamoto 4 Zako

You say, “Action!” This is what you need to do!

These are two great options that I will use to get around the bad stuff.

I let them rest after they reached the water. This phase is crucial as hungry bass can strike them when they are falling with little more than a gentle nudge.

If my jig reaches the bottom, I’ll give it another bump and a quick retrieve to let it settle. Or, I’ll run it like I would a spinner, trying not to hit any stumps or sticks as I go to create deflection.

A strike is more likely to be triggered by an impact or sudden change of direction.

For skipping, I like Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig. It will help you reach the lowest docks or trees.

Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig

Strike King’s Tour Grade Skipping Jig is money when your jig needs to move a few feet across the water.

Swimming a jig

Many anglers are familiar with the magic of using a swim-jig to get down the sides of a weedbed or into its top.

It’s simple. Big bass will find big food. The grass attracts prey and provides cover.

Booyah is my favorite weedless jighead. I’m usually armed with either a Rage Craw or Zako and I just like to drag it along any edge of submerged vegetation that I can see.

I want to get in the weed bed. Then I’ll lift the jig, give my reel a few cranks, and let it settle.

As you would expect, strikes occur in the fall.

I will also target the breaks in the lily pad sand, cast my jig through them, and then swim my weedless, jig through the thickening. Remember to cover the cover, as I said above!

The subtle deflections bring the jig alive, and the bass can’t resist.

Last Thoughts

While vertical jigging using a standard head is still a good option, the next-generation swim jigs have revolutionized how bass anglers view their jigs.

This finesse technique is a great way to target heavy cover using deflecting retrieves, short hops from the bottom, and other techniques.

I hope this article helped you to master swim jigs. If it helped you to catch more bass, we would love to hear about it!

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Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.