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Jig Fishing Under A Float.....Things to Consider and Other Recommendations

Here's just a couple jigs I like to fish. Some micro and some regular sizes.

Just one of my Panfish Boxes.....Various jigs, floats and weights.

I've had several inquiries in recent weeks about fishing jigs under a float so I thought I would post a discussion with my suggestions and then others could add their questions and/or suggestions as they feel necessary.

I've been fishing jigs under a FIXED float for many years and it has become one of my favorite techniques to pursue Gills. Just like any and all fishing it takes calculated decisions to generate strikes and optimize the strikes that you get. The three most important factors in my decisions regarding jig fishing are as follows:

1. Water TEMPERATURE: This will dictate the size of the jig I select along with the float and weight. The colder the water gets the smaller I go. The natural tendency of the fish in these conditions will be to softly approach a bait, this would often remain undetected by larger gear. In ideal water temperatures above 62 degrees I go all the way to a 1/32 ounce jig with up to a 2" soft plastic. This approach is proven and in no way is to large for Bluegill fishing. Each angler will have his/her favorite and they should follow their instincts. But for my time and money, bigger gills will take the larger presentations more readily and hopefully cutting down your battles with the "tird" tappers......I just want folks to leave this discussion ready to try some things that they may not have before or may not have considered......

2. Water DEPTH: If the fish are shallow, how can I get my bait to them with the least amount of disruption from the bait entering the water. Smaller gear would create less disturbance entering the water but perhaps you can throw past the strike zone and retrieve your bait to the zone. Perhaps a telescopic pole would be better to just lower the bait into the zone without the accompanied splash and commotion. Again, deeper fish will be impacted less than fish in three feet of water or less. This is a very important consideration that is often overlooked. My belief is that in areas holding catchable fish, an angler can improve quality and numbers with this approach.

3. Water CLARITY: I for one use heavier line with zero negative impact because my waters are dark with very limited visibility. Many anglers will prefer smaller line and I totally understand and would follow the same advice given similar environments. Fish you can see are often easier to spook from surrounding movement. The dark waters provide me an advantage but I still fail very conservative.....If the winds are low, can I remove or down size my weight or float and still catch fish. All things to consider when heading out for gills with your favorite jig.

I will go into more detail in the weeks ahead but feel free to ask any questions you may have. I will discuss weight placement and tipping recommendations in the next couple posts. Good luck and please ask if you have any questions, whether general or specific....Maybe all it will be for you is a subtle change to increase your quality or numbers. I'm not the only successful jig angler on Bigbluegill and I know collectively, we probably have the answer to just about any question you may have......


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Craig, been using Gapen floats for over a year now and really like them, especially the easy on/off method they have. Mostly use them in a slip float version but easy to change if I need a different size float depending upon condition. Have most all sizes as I use them for walleye and bass with leeches. Still have not tried jigs under floats as I been so successful over the years with just live bait. Rarely can I catch anything on just a jig. Guess it is time to use jigs and live bait-maybe tomorrow.

Meant to say have not specifically tried live bait tipped jigs under floats for panfish but I do use them that way for walleyes in larger sizes of course.

Rarely can I catch any fish on just jigs and plastic-just don't use plastic much I guess. Don't have confidence in them. Am talking larger sizes for the larger fish.

New to BBG and just read all of this topic. Picked up some new (to me) methods and ideas and plan to order some jigs and give them a try!

Thanks to everyone who shared their knowledge!

Welcome to the, addiction!

Great info! Thanks Jeffrey!

It has been a great couple weeks in the Albemarle Estuary as the gills start moving in on the coastal creeks and's a few from late April that stood out.........

Jeffrey, thanks for starting this discussion back in 2013. Finally have read it all just today and have a question. Are you tying direct to your jigs with that 10# line you use? Been using 4# braid for mainline, then barrel swivel with 4# or 6# fluorocarbon leader, then my hook.

Here is one of my better days, actually about 3 hours in an evening, with limit of 3 walleyes(slot limit of 15"-20" only may be kept) and a nice bluegill. Custom made Elk River 8 foot rods with old Mitchell 308's. One rod has a red Aberdeen hook with a red glass bead and the other has a floating jig. Both were tipped with leeches.


Nice catch Kelly and glad you found the discussion...........I also have a good one talking about pink baits that you might look over when you get the chance.........For me Kelly I ALWAYS go straight to the jig when fishing under a float.....I'm a fan of the heavier line because of the hazards and predators I so often encounter.................not a must but a preference for me.............And so many folks used and loved those Mitchell reels including my family..........thanks for sharing and hope your water begins to warm up soon..........

Could you inform those of us that live "North of the Wall" about telescoping rods?

We don't have anything like that up here. Even my 8 foot spinning rods had to be custom made several years ago. They are a takeoff of Bill Binkleman's Nightcrawler Secrets rods which were devised/built on a fly rod blank to handle spinning reels and to throw a small Aberdeen hooked tipped with a nightcrawler or lightweight jigs. 

Don't have much for wood on my favorite lakes but do have lots of weeds and lots of bass.

Here is a picture of my Grand daughter with her limit of 17-19" bass. They were really hammering the leeches under floats that day and we culled all of those under 17".


In many parts of the South, there is a technique called "spider rigging".  Basically, rigging up rod holders off the bow, sides, and maybe the stern of a boat.  As many rods as a person can legally have (this varies from state to state). The rods used for this are typically anywhere from 12 - 16 feet long.

What Jeff is doing is using these long rods, but instead of spider rigging, he ties on a jig, fixes a float to the line, baits the jig, and just get real close to the weeds and/or cypress knees, and drops a jig/float combo into little pockets.  The fish are there, and usually don't wait long to hit the jig.

Jeff uses pretty stout line, as the water he fishes is tannin-stained swamp water, and he tends to hook up with several different predator species besides the 'gills and Crappie that he's targeting.

Allen, I'm familiar with the spider rigging and the long rods they use-seen a couple fishing shows where this method was used. But I thought Jeff said something about long telescoping rods so that is where my question comes from.

Other than the old fashioned cane pole you can not find spinning rods longer than 7 foot 6. They all need to be custom made from fly rod blanks. I love them and use 8 footers exclusively. My rod locker takes 8 foot maximum so would like some longer ones that telescope. Have even looked into getting one of the Tenkara or Keiryu  rods but they don't use reels.


Tenkara and Keiryu are both fixed line systems. What you are looking for is a telescopic spinning rods.Most Japanese rod companies make them up to 20 feet long


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