How to Fish a Bass Jig [Top 12 Retrieval Tips That WORK]

How to fish a bass jig?

Bass fishing using jigs is a skill that every angler needs if they are targeting those big bucket mouths. The best anglers know that you can fish a jig all year long and there are so many ways to work the bass jig. However, for some it can take years to learn how to fish a bass jig. It really depends on how much time you have to spend practicing, and how much you know about fishing a bass jig prior to trying it out.

Learning how to fish a jig is actually pretty simple. First, you choose the correct jig for the depth of water you’re fishing. Secondly, you choose the color jig based on the local forage prey the bass are feeding on. Thirdly, fish the best places where you are most likely to find fish. Finally, you present and work your jig the bass will react to and eat your jig.

https://youtu.be/SowmQhKwTuU
How to Fish A Bass Jig

Of course, adjustments need to be made from season to season, things like where you fish them, choices in style, and tweaks in the presentation.

Since the jig can be either slow-moving bait or a fast-reaction style bait that requires an angler to have patience while paying close attention to the rod and line during the retrieve. 

Therefore, jig fishing is all about feel and sensitivity, so you need to keep a tight line to detect vibrations traveling from the jig to the rod.

Half the time, bass will take a jig by picking it up off the bottom. The other half of the time, a jig will get attacked while sinking to the bottom, so stay alert during the fall as well. 

This is where practice, practice, practice comes into play. It’s all about learning how to fish a bass jig.

Even with a tight line, when a bass hits a jig it can be tough to sense. It will feel like a light thump that travels up the line.

The moment you feel the bite, you need to set the hook. If you’re just starting out, you may set the hook on just about every little bump you feel. 

As you catch more bass on a jig, you will be able to tell the difference between a bass bite and contact with objects on the bottom. Jigs are great for exploring the bottom. 

To sum it up, over time you’ll be able to tell the difference between distinct types of underwater objects and cover as well.

What is the best color bass jig?

Before you go choosing colors you MUST find how what the bass are feeding on.

Therefore, you can do these two easy things to get you that answer quick…

  1. Ask your local tackle shop. If anyone knows what the bass are eating at that local lake and that time of year they would. But be sure to help them out by purchasing some tackle.
  2. Become a member of a local bass fishing Facebook group. Anglers may not tell you the location of their local honey hole, but most have no problem telling you what the bass are feeding on.

Once you find that out. Google the prey. And analyze the colors. What you’ll see is that you really need only 3 basic colors.

  • Green Pumpkin – Will match any crawfish crawling on the bottom. Works best in clear water.
  • White – Will match any shad swimming around any structure. Also works best in clear water.
  • Black and Blue – Provides a great silhouette in dirty water. Also works great in cold or when it’s cloudy or stormy out.

As you become more proficient fishing your jig you’ll start to notice that some color jigs work the best for a specific situation, time of year, or weather pattern.

Where to find bass for jig fishing

Use your jig around the same places you’ll find the forage prey. Here are some ideas to get you started…

  1. Crayfish – rocky banks, boulders, rocky mid lake humps, weed beds. The steeper the better.
  2. Bluegill/bream – submerged vegetation, flats, docks, laydowns, and standing timber.
  3. Shad – points, humps, coves, docks, bluff walls, and bridge pilings.

How to work a bass jig?

Jigs are ideal for targeting all types of cover because you can cast them just about anywhere, from small openings within the thick cover to skipping under docks. 

When you’re fishing a jig, one of your best opportunities for a bite occurs during the initial fall, so making accurate casts is crucial.

For example, if the jig doesn’t get taken by a bass before it sinks to the bottom, you begin your retrieve by slowly dragging and hopping the bait along the bottom. 

Jigs worked this way are mimicking a crawfish, and fishing them around rocks where these kinds of prey live can be very effective. 

Needless to say, this is when working a stand-up style jig is deadly.

You can fish a jig like this in open water, but bass aren’t likely to be found in open water. 

The whole advantage of jigs is that they allow you to get into those tough-to-reach areas that other baits can’t reach.

Know these jig fishing retrieve methods...

Catch 5x MORE Fish Using A Jig (Bass Fishing Tips)

How to stroke or hop a jig

Approximately 18 years ago, dragging a jig on the bottom was the only jig retrieval method that anyone was doing. 

However, some highly attentive anglers on Kentucky Lake started to hop their jigs a particular way they called – “stroking”. 

To describe stroking, it’s basically making your jig aggressively hop off the bottom (about 3-5 feet… it’s a BIG hop) and allowing it to fall straight down on a line that is semi-slack.

This forces your lure to mimic a fleeing crawfish or small baitfish. 

Stroking your jig can lead to catching a TON of offshore bass. 

Anglers who’ve mastered this retrieve all say watch for the tell-tale “tic”, “soft thump” or a “small jump” in the line as the jig is falling back down. That’s where you’ll catch 90-percent of your fish.

Casting or football head jigs work great for this method. 

Depending on your depth a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce jig should work great for most applications. 

How to crawl a jig

One of the ultimate cold-water tactics, crawling a jig for bites can be insanely effective. 

Make sure you choose the right bait, such as a small finesse jig. If you only have a football, casting, or ball-head jig. If you easily turn any jig into a finesse jig.

Read more: 27 Best Bass Jig Modifications Made Easy (With Pictures)

Cast out your jig and the moment it hits bottom start to slowly and meticulously crawling and stopping your jig.  Only move your rod tip up 3 to 5 inches. 

Don’t pop your jig, just drag it. Make sure its always touching the bottom.

Sometimes in really cold water you just barely want to shake the rod tip.

If it’s cold, head to the north end of the lake and find a south-facing bluff wall or cliff face with a flat nearby. Winter bass love to hold here. 

Southern facing bluff walls will hold onto more heat and attract more bass.

Pitch out your jig to allow it to fall right next to the bluff wall. 

Once it hits bottom give it a small shake or two and just dead-stick it. Start by slowly first counting to 30 and then lift up on the jig…

If you feel like it has a wet sock attached to it, it means you have a bass at the end of the line. Set the hook!

If you don’t have any bites, then flip out your jig again now counting to 100, then 200, and 300. 

The colder the water the less action you want your jig to have so you can keep it in the strike zone. 

As the water warms, the faster you can crawl your jig. 

Jig that are between 1/4- 3/8-ounce jig should work great for most applications.  Sometimes 1/2-ounce size works in deeper water.

Swim your jig

Advanced Swim Jig Tactics for More Consistent Bass Fishing

Advanced Swim Jig Tactics for More Consistent Bass Fishing

Swimming your jigs is one of the easiest ways to jig fish. Using a swim jig works the best because of the sharp nose will work its way through any cover without getting hung up.

Here are two of the best retrieval methods for swimming a jig.

Fish the top of the water column  – This is one of be most productive ways to fish a swim jig.

First, cast your jig. Secondly, right as it hits the water start to reel it back. You may have to reel it in fast.

It works best if your swim jig makes a “V” wake in the water.

You’ll notice you will get the most strikes if your cast your jig OVER submerged structure and retrieve it over it. If you can allow your jig to bump into it even better.

Hang on because if you do this right bass will CRUSH that swim jig.

Fish the bottom of the water column  – This works great when you’re fishing a rocky flat or an area with structure like stumps.

First, cast out your jig and let it fall to the bottom. Secondly, slowly start your reteive keeping your bait near the bottom.

Most importantly, you must make sure you bump into as many pieces of structure on the bottom.

The strikes will come right after you make contact.

If you are not getting any bites, aggressively pop the rod tip right after you feel your jig slam into the structure.

Yo-Yo your jig

Most anglers know the term for “yo-yo’ing” when it’s applied to lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits. 

Well if you yo-yo your jig it also works too!

This technique works best when you’re over submerged grass beds such as hydrilla, milfoil, or coontail. 

Give you jig a long cast and allow it to fall into the vegetation…

Then you want to give that jig a sharp pop up and out of the grass. as it’s starting to fall back down, reel in the slack

Then, right as it’s just passes the tops of the grass, pop it out again, repeat and repeat as you retrieve the jig back to your boat.

This type of retrieve can sometimes be a pain to learn because often you wind up with a jig that is just covered in grass.  So here are some helpful tips:

  1. Use the lightest jig head possible. You want your jig to fall, but not too fast where the bass won’t have a chance to see it and react to it. Plus if your jig is too heavy it will end up burying itself deep in the vegetation and you’ll end up pulling an entire salad’s worth of vegetation along with your jig. LOL!
  2. So what is the best weight to yo-yo your jig?  Yo-yo’ing your jig is almost like you’re swimming a jig. Meaning unless the grass is really deep you’ll probably want to go a little on the lighter side. It’s not uncommon for anglers to use 1/8- to 1/4-ounce jigs.
  3. Pointed head jigs work best. Swim jigs, arkie head jigs, and some lighter flipping just work great for this. 
  4. Choose a jig with rattles. It’s not very common you’ll find a swim jig with rattles, so you may have to make one or have one custom made for you. Or another cool trick is to use a really light weight flipping jig. You’ll find that manufacturers will often put rattles on flipping jigs

How to skip a jig

How to Skip Jigs with a Baitcaster Like a Pro

You want to catch some giant bass then you need to learn to skip a jig. 

skipping a jig is like skipping a rock… you cast your cast at a higher velocity parallel to the water line and it skips on top of it until it loses momentum and where it eventually sinks. 

Why would you want to skip a jig?

You see, a big bass will take the best ambush spot 99-percent of the time. And those best spots are most commonly tucked away deep behind overhanging structure like docks and overhanging trees. 

Normal casting will not allow you to place your lure in that type of location, but skipping your jig across the water will. 

To get the secrets on how to skip a jig in less time than it would take you to eat your lunch then click here

Read more: How To Skip A Bass Jig – Tips for Skipping Docks And Other Structures 

How to flip and pitch a jig

The Ultimate Bass Fishing Flipping and Pitching Tutorial

The Ultimate Bass Fishing Flipping and Pitching Tutorial

Flipping and pitching is a technique commonly used with bass jigs. It’s all about making accurate, underhand casts that make the jig enter the water quietly. 

This is close-quarters fishing— you’re only flipping the jig out ten or twenty feet in front of you, so a silent entry is key.

This method is ideal when you’re targeting cover like weed edges, boat docks, timber, or big rocks. 

You can enter an area loaded with cover and flip a jig to multiple spots quickly and efficiently. 

All you want to do is let the jig sink in the spot you target. If you get a strike, it will usually happen during the fall or soon after it hits the bottom.

That’s why accuracy is so important. Where the jig lands and sinks is where you’re going to get a bite, so you want your first cast to be perfect. 

If you’ve never tried flipping and pitching, then you should practice your accuracy in your backyard by tossing the jig at targets over various distances.

How To Use A Punch Jig

Punching Matted GRASS For BASS 101 (ONLY Video You Need)

Punching Matted GRASS For BASS 101 (ONLY Video You Need)

You may have heard advanced bass anglers talk about punching mats. In fishing, the term “punching” means to crash through the surface of thick weed mats to plunge the jig to the bottom. 

Basically, you’re using the lure to punch through the thick stuff. 

It’s a very popular technique used with bass jigs and weighted creature baits.

During the hot summer months, bass bury themselves under thick weed mats to keep out of the sun and stay cool. 

Not only do the heavy weeds provide cooler water— they are also home to a lot of forage. 

For example, crawfish will dart down from the weeds to get to the bottom and bass will pluck them off all day. When you punch a jig, you are imitating this action.

You can certainly punch with a standard casting/arkie style jig, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of it in very thick weeds, then you’ll want to switch to a punching jighead. 

They have almost zero resistance getting through weeds.

Choosing the right jig head

There are several types of jig heads for you to use. There most common types are casting jigs, football jigs, swim jigs, flipping jigs. But that’s not all…

There are many more styles that can catch you a BOATLOAD of fish…

In short, you must ask yourself what is the best jig for bass fishing? Well, we answer that important question in another detailed guide.

If you want to learn more about all of the best bass fishing jigs then click on this link to go to Insiders Guide To The Best Jig For Bass. In that post, you’ll be given all the top tips and insider information on why certain jigs work better than others.

You want to catch more fish right? Then Click Here!

Accessories You’ll Need

RodThe popularity of fishing is growing and people are becoming much more conscious of  different rods that can help them.

Fisherman want best technique specific rod for the money.

Luckily, I wrote several reports article that provides you with detailed information in order for you to make buy the rod for the money, and more importantly which rods to avoid at all costs.

>> What Rods To Use For Bass Fishing? 10 Awesome General Purpose Rods Reviewed

Reel – Having the correct reel to match with your rod is just as important.  A good reel should be light and have a buttery smooth drag. There are several great reels on the market, but I recommend the Daiwa Tatula SV/TW baitbasting reel. It’s a great reel packed with great features. So much so it could easily be priced in the mid $200 range.

>>How To Choose A Great Bass Fishing Reel For The Money [and which to avoid at all costs]

Fishing Line – Having a good line is just as important as having a good rod. I recommend fishing with a good fluorocarbon line. Furthermore, it’s super sensitive because it has little to no stretch, and underwater it’s invisible to the bass!  If pride or money is on the line I would use Sunline Sniper FC.

>>21 Tips To Choose The Best Fishing Line

Fishing Lures – It’s pretty hard and darn near impossible trying to catch a fish without using some sort of lure or bait.  More importantly these baits you should never forget at home or it could lead to a horrible day on the water

>>5 Bass Fishing Lures You Never Want to Leave At Home

Tackle Bag – You can’t carry all your gear in your pockets, so you need a reliable tackle bag to transport it. I wrote a complete review guide, Best Tackle Bag for Fishing, check it out by clicking here.   But if you don’t have the time to read the full guide then let me tell you I recommend the Lunker Bag by KastKing.

>>15 Best Tackle Bags For The Money (Tested & Reviewed)

Fishing Pliers – Nothing will ruin a day quicker than getting a hook embedded in your hand, or worse your eye.  That’s why I always recommend having good set-up pliers that won’t rust and won’t slip out of your hand.  I recommend that KastKing Cutthroat 7” Fishing Pliers.

Landing Net – As you are reeling in that monster fish, you don’t want to injure yourself or knock the fish off the hook by trying to grab it. That’s why I recommend a dependable telescopic landing net.

Fishing Weight Scale – Whether if you’re going to keep your catch or just take a photo of it and brag to your friends it’s important to have an accurate scale. I recommend a scale that has a large LED display like this one fishing scale here.

Wide Brim Fishing Hat – Nowadays, you have to protect yourself against the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing a wide brim hat not only gives you UV protection, but it also keeps you cool.  I recommend the Columbia Unisex Bora Bora Booney hat. It fits any size head and it feels really comfortable.

Fishing Sun Shirt – Don’t you stop at only getting head protection, you also need to protect your chest, back, arms, and torso. According to the researchers finding skin cancers on the shoulders and forearms rank within the top-5 locations to get skin cancer*. Avoid any unnecessary UV exposure and stay cool by wearing a UV protective PFG Fishing Shirt by Columbia.

Fishing Gloves – Fishing gloves allow your hands to stay covered from the sun’s harmful rays and stay dry by using a special material. These gloves by Fishaholic offer UPF50+

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My name is George and I'm been fishing my entire life and love all things outdoors. My passion is helping anyone catch more fish. The newest things I've been doing lately is learning how to break down and clean all my reels, teaching my boy how to kayak fish, and bushcraft wilderness survival.