Jig Fishing In The Northern States
Bass fishing with Jigs in Michigan or any Northern states is a lot like any other place. It just seems to be more of a picky place to fish a jig. This is because Michigan does not have the lakes and conditions like the south. We don’t have the lakes with flooded timber like Lake Falcon or many others. Michigan has very clear and deep waters and a jig is usually fished in dirty shallow water with timber or brush. Every state or area will have its own way that is fished. I’ve been bass fishing my whole life in Michigan so I have a lot of knowledge. I’m more known as a largemouth fisherman even though Michigan is a big smallmouth state. There is a lot of deep clear water which is a great habitat for smallmouth. Also Michigan is surrounded by the great lakes and the majority of the smallmouths are in those lakes. I didn’t start using jigs until about two years ago. Ever since I now fish a Jig almost all year long in any situation. That’s because I have learned how to fish a jig in almost any condition. I taught myself to be able to use jigs anywhere. Even if I knew a fish would hit a crankbait I will continue to use a jig until I get a bite. Jigs can be deadly if used correctly. They have been a big part of my fishing success. Ever since fishing a jig I have caught several bass over seven pounds all in Michigan. Michigan is not a state known for Jig fishing. It will soon be one though. It’s like California when they learned swimbaits caught giants. Jigs are meant more for catching quality and not quantity. They have a big presentation and look like a big crawfish or baitfish. I usually use Strike King Jigs or my own Red Wolf Tackle jigs but I have tried almost every brand of jig to see what I like
Types of Jigs
There are many types of jigs such as the football, arky, swim, casting, flipping, flat, grass, shad jigs and more. They all have their purpose and special way to be fished. Footballs are oval and are very versatile. I normally fish them in rocks so you can bounce them off the bottom. Arky can be fished in almost any condition and work best casting on flats or big rocks and brush. They are like a football and casting jig that has a curved bottom that will rock back and forth on the bottom. Casting and flipping jigs are designed for those who flip into timber, brush, trees and any thick cover. They get in and out of cover easily with their round body shapes. Grass jigs are well just like their name and are fished through grass like a swim jig. Shad and swim jigs can be used for any swimming purposes. You can fish them over beds, through structure and sometimes grass. Swim jigs and grass jigs are used in the thick grass beds and stretches or cattails. You can put a swimbait on the back as a trailer.
Spring Time Jigs
In spring I usually fish a smaller size like ¼ ounce or 3/8 ounce jig in whites, grays, chartreuses, or light blues. I use a smaller jig because the fish are not worried about eating the bait but protecting their young. So I don’t want to make it harder for them to eat it. I either use small finesse jigs or small football jigs so that I can sit on the beds. Not necessarily to match the hatch but to make it easier to see the jig on the bass beds. In the summer I tend to like the 3/8 ounce or ½ jigs to match the sizes of the baitfish I see. This time of the year the fish are very active but very picky and hard to catch so I still don’t go to extreme jig sizes unless I’m confident. Football jigs, arky jigs or casting jigs are the three I usually fish. Michigan lakes don’t really have a lot of shad so there main food source is bluegill, sunfish, perch or crawfish. The flipping jigs are great for all the docks, wood, trees, boats and just about any structure because they’re very versatile. In the summer I like to hop jigs or lift them up and out of weeds and structure. I follow the structure body. If the trees are standing up I will have that jig fall against it and come up beside it.
Come later in September through November is Michigan best fishing in the fall. The fall is when the bass feed up for the colder season. It’s your best chance to catch lots of bass and possibly catch your personal best. I got my biggest bass in September on five inch stick bait when I was 15 years old. I tend to throw bigger baits like ½ ounce to 1 ounce jigs. Blues, reds, oranges and browns are the best colors for this time of year. The reds and oranges match crawfish that hang in the rocks and on the bottom in timber. Football, casting and swim jigs are the main fall jig to use up here. Football jigs work great because they fish structure well but they also stay standing up when they sit on the bottom, so you can fish them to slow. I also put on a bigger trailer at this time of year. I prefer the Berkeley havoc Pitboss or Crawfatty and sometimes a bruiser baits Crazy Craw. I will fish mostly in wood, trees and rocks because the heat stays on those rocks in the colder water. Swim jigs work great to match the baitfish that school up deep at this time. Colder the water the slower I fish jigs. When the water is below 60 degrees that’s when I start to fish very slow. In the fall the bass move up shallow to feed but they hang on those secondary points where the shallow and deep points meet.
Winter jig fishing I use darker colors like dark blue and browns. Sometimes also a peanut butter & jelly color. I fish slow and deep on sunken timber and bigger rocks. If there is still weed lines those will hold a lot of fish in the cold due to the cover and the oxygen. I do more of a sliding and dragging action with small hops when the water is cold. A football jig is my go to since it sits on the bottom great and stays up when you’re fishing slowly. This gives the bait a good presentation. Michigan can be a great place to fish if you have the knowledge. I think jig fishing in Michigan or any northern states will begin to kick up soon. In the short time been jig fishing I have learned quite a lot about fishing them. They are one of the most versatile lures on the planet and jigs are known for catching big bass due to their large presentation. I promise you if put in the time to learn how to use a jig correctly you will catch some of your biggest bass of your life.