Jigging for Giants!

With bass season upon us here in the Kawarthas I want to share with you my absolute favourite technique for catching big bass all season, and the main reason I have been a successful tournament angler – flipping a jig.  

The flipping jig is basically a skirted jig with a weed guard and a nice stout hook which can be rigged with a trailer of choice – I prefer a chunk or a craw.  It has long been a favourite bait for many serious tournament anglers because of its ability to catch giant bass and produce in the toughest of conditions.  It is also very versatile, can be fished in various types of cover at different depths and usually produces bigger than average bites.  Because of its weed guard It can be punched through heavy matted weeds, dunked on deep weed lines, skipped under docks and fished just about anywhere you can toss a bait with little worry of getting snagged or hung up.

The technique of flipping is an underhand cast usually to a target, trying to get the jig to enter the water like a high diver – quiet, and with very little splash. This takes practice, patience and time to master.  I used to practice pitching a jig to various targets around the yard; cans, buckets, under picnic tables, trying to get the bait precisely where I wanted. Because of this practice when I hit the water I was prepared and able to pick the spots I wanted to place the bait and cast without causing a big commotion so not to spook the fish.  

When you get the bait where you want it, let it sink, then you can jig it (deep weeds and heavy cover), swim it (open water), or shake it (heavy cover and pads) depending on which type of cover you are fishing.  The bite can be so subtle you won’t even feel it, or it can be a furious strike – almost ripping the rod from your grasp.  It takes time to get the feel of a jig bite and you will Inevitably miss fish when learning what a bite feels like, but when you get the hang of it the hook up ratio will be very high when compared to other baits.

The equipment in which I am most confident and generally use is a 7’6” extra-heavy action Kistler KLX flipping stick with a Daiwa Pitch n Flip 8:1 ratio reel.  You can get away with a medium-heavy to heavy rod, but I love the extra-heavy to horse big fish out of heavy cover.  The line is dependent on the type of cover and water clarity I am fishing.  In heavy cover I am throwing anywhere from 30-60lb Daiwa J-Braid. People always ask why such a heavy line when bass don’t weigh near that much; it’s because braid is abrasion resistant and has no stretch which results in better hook sets. Also, cover such as wood, rocks and weeds may have zebra mussels on them, and you need that heavy line to get them out.  In clearer open water I will usually throw on a fluorocarbon leader which is less visible to fish in those conditions.  The jig itself is a Punisher mini jig 7/8 oz or 5/8 oz with a Prowater Baits Kick ‘n Chunk trailer; both of these baits are made locally here in Ontario.  My two favourite jig colours are green pumpkin and black with an electric blue trailer.

There you have it, all of my tournament secrets wrapped up in one article! So, if you want to catch bigger bass more consistently, learn to fish a flipping jig and jig for giants!  I guarantee this technique will help you in your quest for your personal best.

Good luck, happy fishing and tight lines!

Mike Williams