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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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all of this is from a master fisherman of the gills!  i still think jeff can catch a monstewr gill in the sahara desert!

Weight placement could be a lengthy debate and I don't suggest you change what works for you....type or location! I always use bullet weights in various sizes starting with micro shot. The idea is to tune this to your conditions.....I NEVER go closer than 6" from my bait with any added weight. I use the weight for two reasons.....getting my presentation to the desired depth and control of my bait whether it be casting with lighter gear or using a telescopic pole. Accuracy improves for me adding weights to overcome wind and distance issues that I may encounter. But with the added weight comes the bigger disturbance entering the water....always a consideration as previously mentioned. 

 Often times I work hard to get into a situation where I can use tiny or no weight at all thus allowing for increased strikes from the "slow fall" presentation offered by many micro jigs/baits. This condition will be most effective when fish are more active both seasonably and daily in low light conditions. Again, no one knows your particular water like you do so employ the jigs in a manner your fish will respond to. Maybe this is a "wind tide" or some other force causing water movement unique to your location....Many places I fish, a falling tide is better than a rising tide.  I almost always prefer at least a slight ripple on the water which I believe masks shadows and other potential disturbances to fish. This alone can keep a little movement in your presentation which I believe to be positive as well. I fish jigs confidently at depths to six feet on spin casting gear and down to eight feet on longer telescopic poles.....Slip floating can provide more flexibility and several discussions are available separately on this site detailing these techniques. I don't slip float routinely because 90% of the water I fish is relatively shallow or less than 10 feet......


VVVVVVVVVVVVVery interesting Jeffrey.........

You are going very close to the bait with weight... if there is a jig attached to that hook.

No jig can slow fall like a light hook - none. A hook presents the slowest, most tantalizing -est, slow - hey, look over here I am food, drop there is. So for weight placement - I will truly [ never ] put weight next to the hook unless I need the jig to get past current, wind or.

Casting is also reduced by placing the weight at the hook with a float as the cast creates a back-and-forth drag.

There's probably more live bait fishing for gills than any other technique and many of these folks catch fish including quality and numbers. Why not spin off the live bait success and enhance your soft plastic jig with a little protein. Whether it be a live cricket, a waxie, a grass shrimp, crawler piece, a maggot or any other live bait you might chose to try, thread it on your jig for a combo platter the gills can't resist. I have tremendous success with this approach and feel that color matters to attract a willing fish and the live bait triggers the strike to finish the deal. Often the tiny grass shrimp I add is merely a half inch long morsel but it makes a difference in many locations. 

Hey Jeff, what is that red jig in your hand in the above pic??

Most significant is the color red, in this case a jig color in my top five..."Tomato Seed" or red with black speckles.....Many accomplished anglers like red over all other colors. In this picture it's threaded on a nickel colored dart jig standard in a trout magnet kit. This is a colder water application. During the spring and summer, I would have this tail on a larger jig up to a 1/32 ounce. But anything you can find in tomato seed or sparkled red is a nice bluegill bait in my opinion.

very nice write up Jeffrey, thanks;   has anyone ever used the Charlie Bee jigs? If so, how did you use them, and what luck did you have? Thanks again.

Thanks Jason.....I'll add to it quite a bit in the coming days. Plenty of little things to consider to optimize your jig fishing but it's certainly a preferred method on my boat for larger gills, 10" and over...I use the Sliders from Charlie, I cut them down to a better size to suit my preference for gills. They work very well and will still catch a willing Crappie in the area too.

Have you used the 1" sliders, Jeffrey?

Not the 1" sliders Jason but several others similar that work just fine.....1" to 2" is what I like for ideal water temperatures....1/2" to 1" at the most in cold water applications below 55 degrees. They are worth a try....I like the smaller jigs from Northland like bloodworm and Slug Bug as well as many hand tied jigs that I have field tested for the tiers. I'll be adding more information on those approaches as well....


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