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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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I still tip Dick but more often I will use this year's grass shrimp hatch which will mainly be an inch or less....basically a hook covering......I also catch migrating insects that are much smaller than the standard store bought crickets.....example would be a really small grasshopper that appears in natural colors during the harvest moon......Our doves fatten up on the same insects along with the remaining corn in harvested fields.....I also had good luck last year with the smaller gulp products even cutting down the waxies for example to add just a minute piece of attractant to my jig........

Thanks Jeffrey and good luck. Oh buy the way what are your best colors for winter or colder water gills.

Besides PINK.

Jigs under a float are still my preferred method in coastal Carolina for all species......the crappie bite is near frenzy in falling wind tide conditions on nearly all rivers and the gills have pulled out to intermediate depths off from their Summer spawning grounds......I will begin to size down for gills but did manage to catrch a dozen yesterday on 1/16th ounce baits employed for the crappie bite.......The fun continues on the Albemarle and I just love placing jigs around cover on my telescopic poles....just love it!

I am new to this board and this is my first communication here. But I would love to find out more about this technique. How would you use this method in a large hydro-electric reservoir? How would you go about finding the fish in that kind of setting? Also, what are the names of the jigs and skirts you show in the picture and where can I buy something similar? What are the sizes of both the jig heads and the skirts?

Thanks

Randall Runion

Hi Randall!  Welcome to the addiction!

I'm like you; most of my lakes are impoundments, not natural lakes.  As with all fishing, you'll need to identify structural elements and/or cover that different species of fish use.  Green Sunnies and Longear Sunnies prefer rocky areas.  Shellcrackers are usually in deeper water, at the base of weedlines or weedbeds eating snails.  I usually encounter Bluegills in weedy areas, although I've found them in rocky areas with no weeds.

I prefer to use a Balsa float for this type of work.  Depending on the depth I'm fishing the jig, depends on the type of float.  For shallow work, I like a balsa float with a clip for fixed line attachment.  For deeper work (usually over 3' deep), I prefer slip-floats for ease of casting.

As for jig and bodies, well, sky's the limit!  Find a jig size/style/weight that you like.  You will probably be buying them, but some folks pour their own.  Soft plastics are available locally as well as through the internet.  Look into the plastics used by the folks that ice-fish.

Many of the folks on this website tie their own flies/jigs.  Start reading past posts, look at pictures, and keep watching.

Thanks, Allen. I have been pouring and painting (powder paint) some jig heads today and I've been tying flies for fly fishing for Bluegill for years, but I don't know anything about tying jigs for bluegill fishing. And I'm just beginning to learn my way around this site, just a little bit. Is there a place on BBG where I can see what others are tying? That's an area I would really like to get into. Any help you, or anyone else here, could give me with knowing what to tie and what size jig heads would be great. Also, Allen, what lakes do you fish? I have been casting flies around a small boat ramp on Lake Hartwell in SC, but all I'm catching are dinks.

Randell we have many people on this site who tie jigs. I'll explain how you can see there ties. If you know who ties jigs go to the to of the page to members mine being Dick Tabbert. Click on that. From there find the member in the members list click on there name. That will take you to there page. On the left hand side you see the text that say Pictures. Click on the text that says pictures and there picture will appear then click on the picture to enlarge it. After you do it a couple time it will be easy. Hope this helps you.

Randall,
Streamers and hackle flies work best on jigs.
Flip em upside down and tie a Wooly Bugger on the hook. I secure the tip of the hackle an eye length ahead of the hook barb, so the palmered hackle is clear of the hook gape and increases in size towards the jig head. Or, just make a soft hackle collar right behind the head. Either way, a long flowing tail is best.
Spin tailed flies adapt nicely to jig heads, as do crawfish patterns. In fact, most nymph and subsurface patterns work well on jig heads.

Thanks, David. What size jigs are we talking about here? I'm thinking 1/64 and 1/80 and maybe even smaller than that. Do you have pictures of some of these jigs?

You can go as small as you want; I've got some marabou jigs that are 1/100.

I fish 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, because I've got big water. The fish are in deeper water.
I'll take a few pics and out them I. Them on the main forum.

Thanks, David. Let me know when you post them. I'm new to this website and may need some help knowing where to look for them. I'm fishing big water also. Lake Hartwell in SC. I've caught some dinks around a boat ramp, fishing from the shore, but have caught very few 'gills of a decent size. But I've recently gotten a "Scanoe," a canoe with a square transom & an electric trolling motor for it. So I should be able to fish in some deeper water. There is a point right near the boat ramp and the bottom is very rocky, big rocks, softball size to basketball size, and the water gets deep pretty quickly. It's where a smaller stream once fed into a larger stream. I know there ought to be fish there somewhere. 

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