Winter Jig fishing 101
As we move into February and the lakes still are cold and have not hit that magic 53-degree mark and fish either suspend or lock themselves to the bottom. In this article I will talk about those fished glued to the bottom and how to attack them with a jig.
First will start off by looking at the different jigs I use to attack this scenario. First is a good old fashion rubber jig with a twin tail grub or some kind of plastic trailer. My go to is the River2Sea Papa Mur. I wont get in to specific colors because every lake has its colors, I will say this browns always seem to be a good start with some king of other color mixed in. Remember to match your hatch. When fishing these jigs I prefer a football style head since I will be most likely be crawling and dragging this jig keeping constant bottom contact. For weight I start with a ½oz or 5/8oz in the Papa Mur for 25 feet or less and move to a 3/4oz or 7/8oz in the Papa Mur when fishing deeper. The biggest key is to keep bottom contact and drag your jig along the bottom.
The second Jig is an over looked but my favorite style for cold water fishing, THE HULA GRUB or also called a spider jig or grub. Colors I prefer are your cinnamon and green pumpkin colors. I attach them to a 1/2oz football head for 25 feet or less and 3/4oz for deeper. Same retrieve as the standard jig just a crawl and drag. I use an open hook setup witch means no weed guard.
Lets look at the equipment I use for these baits. The rod I use is a Phenix Ultra MBX 707MH paired with a Lews Team Lews Custom in a 7.5:1 gear ratio. I use the higher gear ratio to pick up more line since we generally are fishing deeper. Line size varies, I prefer 10lb Fluorocarbon when I can get away with it but will go up to 12lb if I have to if there are more rocks or if the water is dirty.
Areas of the lake that I target are main lake humps, river channel and creek swings and point near the main river channel. Allot of times these fish will be so tight to the bottom they will not show up on your graph. Look for clues such as bait near by or bottom type change like sand to rock or small to big rock etc. etc.
The retrieve is very simple. Like I mentioned earlier it’s a slow crawl and drag. I sometimes use my trolling motor to just inch the bait along. One key I have success is dragging my bait up hill, allot of amateur anglers make the mistake of always fishing shallow to deep. I get allot of my bigger bites with this technique dragging up hill, what I mean by this is casting out deeper and bringing the bait shallower.
The bite can be very light and can just feel like the slightest change of pressure and other times they will knock slack in your line. If you find yourself missing allot of fish try reel setting on the fish what I mean by this is just reel into the fish and when the rod loads just lean into them.
I will use both styles of jigs and listen to what the fish prefer that day. I hope this helps you on your next outing during these cold winter days and remember to be slow and patient this time of year and listen to the fish.