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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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Posted now.
Were close - I fish Lake Murray in SC!
From a canoe, no less, although I paddle mine.
Sounds like you've got a potential hole there.
I've been finding the fish in 15-25 of water, where some structure exists.
They won't take a plain jig, though. I tie them for my enjoyment. Youll probably need to tip your jigs with worms or crickets.
I have been catching keepers in the shallows on Beetle Spins and micro crankbaits. They seem to reject flies, for the most part.

PS check your in-box, upper right. You've got a friend request!

Thanks, David. We're closer than you think. I live in Chester, but we have a future retirement home across the road from Lake Hartwell. We don't have any water frontage, but there is a small boat ramp right there close. It's right across the main body from the Tugaloo State Park which is a Georgia State Park. We are on the SC side.  Thanks for the Friend request.

I live 8 miles from the Little Saluda section of the lake.
I have been launching from the Barstow Camp landing lately.
I never planned for a retirement "home" on a lake - I didn't know I wanted one until relatively recent times.
If I remain on track, I could probably afford to get a lot closer than now at retirement. Nothing palatial, mind you, but I've never known that kinda living. Im pretty much a redneck.

The house we bought was the first one built in this community. We are bringing down everyone else's property values. It was originally built to be a "fishing cottage" for 2 families. There is a great room and a little hall with a bathroom on either side and 2 bedrooms at the end. One family had the front side and the other family had the back side. It is anything BUT "palatial." The houses across the road, on the lake, are the ones that are "palatial." 

Shoot, brother, I live in a double wide! Everything is palatial to me. LOL
Do you ride all the way to Hartwell from Chester to go fishing?

hey Randell   Runion;;  several guys here make excellent jigs;; Allen Morgan;; Dick Tabbert; Ledhead; Jim Gronaw;; just a few.  why don't you guys in S. Carolina; ever fish the Santee  Cooper;; or maybe ;; Mirror Lake; by Chimney Rock ??

Speaking for myself, I'm a close to home angler.
I fish for a few hours in familiar places, rather than drive all over to spend all day on the unknown.
"Never wait on rain and home by 2pm" - my motto.

If someone I knew was able to go right to it and hosted me along, I'd go. Don Schmotzer knows
good places, and carries me with him now and then. But most of the time it's down the road.

Randal, I'm a kayaker from Oklahoma.  I tend to stick to the smaller "city lakes" as they usually don't allow bigger powerboats on them.  Less competition, less chance of a collision.

I just got started fishing jigs under a float this year.  I tend to do two sizes, 1/32nd tube jigs (readily available at Wally World), and 1/80th.  My 1/80th oz jigs currently are a size 12.  I'm thinking that hook size is a little small; I prefer the size 10 jig hooks with that weight as it has a bigger gap and easier hookups.

Most of my 1/80th jigs tend to be nymphs or other insect imitations.  My 1/32nd jigs tend to be more of a "Crappie Jig" with bright colors.  I do have a soft-hackle pattern on a 1/32nd size jig that works good when tipped; Jeff Abney has a bunch of them.

With a 1/32 size jig, you must be using about a size #6 hook. Isn't that too large? I'm looking at a jig mold that will let me mold 1/80, 1/64, 1/32, etc. I plan to use the 1/80 & 1//64 sizes for 'gills. Or maybe your 'gills are a WHOLE LOT bigger than the ones I've been catching. Mostly dinks. I'd love to catch some 'gills that could take a size #6! And Carl, I've never been to Santee, but I heard that's it's pretty big for a guy can only fish from the bank.

I would agree that the size 6 jig hooks seem to be to big for the gills in my waters.  However, one of the other members here, swears by that size, tipped, for gills in his home waters.  And yes, I've seen the pics that prove it.

Ever heard of the bass-bluegill lap? The idea is that both bass and bluegill will, at some point, feed on the same things. They may a bit small for bass, or a bit large for bluegill, but they'll feed on them. Skip Morris came up with the idea.

Here we're talking about, large nymphs, shrimp, crawfish, snails, worms, small fishes, etc. Now, imagine any of those and compare a #6 hook to them. See?
The bigger bluegill and shellcracker** at our lakes, like Hartwell, are deeper and they move around. But once you find their patterns, you'll also find a #6 hook works.

You can read more about the Bass Bluegill Lap here:
http://www.skip-morris-fly-tying.com/the-bass-bluegill-lap.html

** #6 hooks are definitely not too big for our chunky red ear!

I tie my 1/32 jigs with #6 for gills. I do have some #4 which will catch gills but more in line for crappie fishing around here.  I just looked at my inventory I'm thinking I'll have to order some more 1/32 oz jig heads with some #6's getting low. I also have some with #8's but personally I think they are to small of hook.

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