2001-05-12 / Sports

Straight From The Angler

Straight From The Angler

By Paul N. Jalonschi

What are jigs and why do they work so well?  What can you catch on jigs and how do I use them?  Well I know jigs are the most inexpensive and the best at catching freshwater fish especially largemouth bass.  But can they work if you want to catch smaller fish such as perch, sunfish or crappies?  Well I wanted to put the jigs to the test?

I noticed that at the Sports Authority stores and other sports outlets that carry fishing equipment and lures, that they carried a box that contained assorted mini tubes, mini minnows, mini-worms and smaller jigs then usual and they called this arrangement the crappie and panfish collection.  It cost under five bucks so I thought to myself: it’s cheap and I’ve always wanted to try this out so I bought it.

The day came when I could finally try out this panfish collection. I thought to myself that it would never work considering that everything in the box looked so miniature.  I headed out to Titicus reservoir (rte. 684 ext. 7) and I had a nice day of fishing ahead of me.  It was in the mid seventies and there was a nice breeze coming in ever so slightly.  It was about three thirty afternoon time when I got there so I thought I might be coming home without catching any fish.

I knew when I got on the lake that I was going to catch something. Everything was moving in the water and I had seen a couple of largemouth bass jump out of the water.  So the first thing I tried was the mini-minnow on a 1/16 oz. jighead.  Who knew what I was about to catch?  After about 20 minutes of casting and reeling I caught my first fish.  It was a 10-inch crappie.  So I thought I got my money’s worth for the collection because I really had it in my mind that the one fish I was after was crappie.  I noticed another thing about this jig.  It wasn’t that heavy so it was easy to get it out of weeds and rocks.  To my surprise I could also get good long casts with it.

The next fish I caught was an 11-inch largemouth bass.  This wasn’t surprising because I was using a mini-minnow and bass love minnows whether they are small, real or fake.  I then caught a couple of perch that were about 7 or 8 inches in length. To my surprise I was also able to catch sunfish.  All I had to do was slow down my retrieve and right before it hit the bottom they would hit it.

My biggest surprise was when I caught a 15 1/2 inch crappie.  I had never seen a crappie that big.  It gave me a good fight right till the end and he kept trying to swim to the weed beds and I wouldn’t let him.  At first I thought I had a bass on because he jumped out of the water when he bit my jig.  But as I was reeling him in I knew I had something special.

I tried the mini-tubes and mini-plastic worms and they worked just as well as the plastic mini-minnow.  I was very surprised at how well these small jig sets worked.

What is a jig? A jig is a piece of metal, round usually at the head where the weight is concentrated with a hook attached to it.  Because of their design, small or big, jigs cast well.  The smaller or mini jigs I used are really good at catching crappies but don’t be surprised if you catch bass, perch, sunfish and even trout on these things.  How do I use a jig?  They are called jigs because you jig them up and down off the bottom. You accomplish this by raising and lowering the rod tip.  A quicker retrieve can entice bass to strike, but most fish hit a jig right before it hits the bottom. I hope you give jigs a try.  They are probably the best way to catch fish in freshwater and they wont hit your wallet that hard.

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