The Dominance of the Jig-n-Pig
By Paul Reinbold
Throughout the history of fishing one technique of fishing has stood the test of time, that technique is jig fishing. No matter where you look anglers across the globe use jig fishing as part of their arsenal to catch all types of fish. Any angler who fishes for walleye, perch, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, trout, and northern pike all have at least one jig in their tackle box. However, there are anglers who have more than one type of jig in their tackle box, this angler is known as the BASS ANGLER. Any bass angler knows that bass love to chase and eat jigs like they are going out of style, but what makes a jig so special to a bass?
Today I would like to talk about one particular jig that has caught millions of bass throughout the United States for decades. That jig is called the Jig-n-Pig, or as you might call it a Jig-n-Pork combination. This type of lure setup is simply a jighead that has a rubber or silicone skirt around the shank of the hook, with a pork trailer. What is a pork trailer? It is a chunk of actual pig skin that is cut and shaped to match a desired look of a crawfish’s pinchers that is attached to the jig by running the hook through it. This type of trailer gives the jig an action that the bass cannot resist and it comes in all different shapes, colors, and sizes. So be sure to match your jig with the correct size of pork trailer.
Now that you understand what a jig-n-pig should look like lets talk about the basics of selecting the right jig for you. First I like to start off by looking at the cover or structure that I will be casting my jig at. Many of the jigs that you buy will come with a bristled weed guard that covers the point of the hook. This guard protects the jig from being snagged in trees, reeds, and some types of vegetation. If I am fishing an area this has rocks for bass cover I will completely cut off the weed guard to ensure 100% hook setting power. However, if I am fishing in a wooded area with a lot of snags under the water I will leave all of the weed guard on, but if I am having troubles keeping fish on after they bite I will thin the strength of the weed guard using a pair scissors. In other types of cover such as reeds and cattails I will thin the weed guard down a little, just enough to keep it from getting snagged. Once I determined what type of cover that I will be fishing the next thing I choose is the weight of the jig.
This is usually determined by the wind speed and by the depth that I am fishing at. For an example if I am fishing shallow water and the wind speed is zero to mild I will usually us a ¼ oz jig. If the wind speed is faster and the water depth is deeper than six feet I will choose a 3/8oz jig. When the conditions are perhaps worse than those I will choose a jig that ranges from ½ oz to 1oz. Generally I only use either a ¼ oz or a 3/8 oz usually gets the job done.
Next I will choose my color of jig, my standard color of jig has and is and will always be the black and blue combination. Why? Because it just works, not to mention it is one of the crawfish’s most primary color along with grey, orange, and brown. Are you getting the hint of what a jig-n-pig combination is supposed to imitate? Yup, you guessed it, it’s a crawfish! One of the most important reasons why crawfish are #1 on a bass’ dinner plate is because they are easy to catch. Bass do not have to expend a lot of energy to catch a crawfish and reap the benefits that they provide. Crawfish supply bass with a huge amount of protein. This protein regulates the bass’ metabolism and helps the bass grow in size a lot quicker than bass in a lake that don’t have crawfish. That is why it is important to know what color the crawfish are when selecting a jig-n-pig color. If you are not sure what color they are always use a standard black and blue combination, if that doesn’t work try the other primary colors of a crawfish that I listed above.
There are many times the fishing is slow for an angler that is using this lure and may not understand why. One of my favorite problem solvers that I like to use is change the color of the pork trailer. I personally like to use either a brown, green pumpkin, grey or a orange color. These colors are natural for a crawfish to have and the more natural a jig looks the more bites you will get. Remember the jig-n-pig is a lure that is cast out and fished slowly on the bottom with a drag, jigging, or a hopping retrieve back to the boat. This means that the bass are getting a good long look at your lure and if it doesn’t match the forage that they are feeding on you may be in for a long fishing trip. The best advice that I can give to you are to experiment and learn from all of the fish that you catch.
Until then I am Paul Reinbold President and Founder of the Badlands Bass Bandits looking forward to your membership of North Dakota’s greatest fishing club!
Badlands Bass Bandits President