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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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HOW RIGHT YOU ARE JEFFREY and a fella could spend his entire time off reading and learning on here . I know cause I've learned so much on here the last year I am speechless ....

By using a bobber it also keeps your presentation out of the bottom moss and at a consistent depth, whereas when tightlining you are at various depths throughout the entire retrieve. I use a 5/8 diameter bobber with a Popeye jig tipped with a bee moth, cricket or small piece of redworm.

just a quick question what are the smaal jigs you use called and where can i find those flat locking jig heads?

The small ones pictured here are from the "trout magnet" line jose......Google it and you should see their home page.......

The jigs are getting closer to the floats as we begin to warm.......Spring full moons are on the horizon as well as the grass shrimp hatch on the Albemarle.......these are good times in my region of the Bluegill world.......

Jeffrey,

How much do you know about the grass shrimp hatch?  I'm interested in more information because I have stocked them in my pond.  I'd like to see how successful they are spawning this spring.

Chris I don't know lots but I do know if you don't have cover you won't soon have any grass shrimp left. They will be gobbled up fast.

I have tons of cover which is why I added them.  There's not a lot in the winter, but come spring time, my entire shoreline is covered with arrowhead.  I refuse to remove it because it makes it hard to fish.  Which in turn, makes it hard to illegally fish my pond :)

I'm pretty good at it in my region Chris..........I catch pregnant female shrimp after Easter in Carolina normally with the hatch taking place in MAY..........The Females are larger and will have an Olive Egg sack (dark) when they are ready to release in heavy leaf litter or grasses depending on what's available........I don't know the specifics but 60 degrees is supposedly the magic water temperature........As far as how the shrimp are doing, in my region you can catch them year round they are just more abundant in the warmer months......I will start collecting them for bait in April as I love to match the hatch for gills.........

I've never tried to actually go out and catch them in the winter.  I guess they go somewhere though don't they?  I'm used to pulling them out of the weeds in the shallows.  The lakes I fish don't have a real good population of shrimp so I've never tried using them as bait around here.  I'm sure they'd work great though... We used to fish for Perch with shrimp in the Bay years back.

Don't know the lay out of your pond Chris but if any leaf liter can be accessed they will accumulate in submerged leaves or pine straw too.......If I had to chose one bait only....it would be and endless supply of adult grass shrimp......I've never been able to top my results with any other bait whether it be live or artificial.....hope they do good for you......panfish get big in waters that have an abundance of grass shrimp...... 

Bluegill, at least, go to deeper, quieter water in winter. Their metabolisms slow and they don't feed as aggressively as when the water is warm. But they will still take a bait, if you can find them and present it slow, lightly and small.
Shrimp, or something like them, are pretty ubiquitous in our waters. Such critters make up a significant portion of the bluegills diet, so it stands to reason they would make good bait. You can bet that while you may not SEE these things, they are there. So presenting them, or something like them, usually results in catching fish.
Earthworms are a case in point. They don't live in water, so fish never see them there... But they readily take them. Why?
Because, there are similar creatures in the water which the fish DO SEE and upon which they are accustomed to feeding.
So it's not that the earthworm is a duplicate for normal fish forage... but it is enough like it to trigger the feeding impulse.

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