Getting ‘jiggy with it’ helps when fishing

A jig is probably the easiest, most simple and most productive lure you may fish.

There basically is nothing to the lure. It has a lead head with a hook. And it can be found in numerous sizes from 1/64 ounce or smaller to one that weighs a few ounces. It can be fished for almost any species, especially when it is modified. It can be fished year round. Tipped with live bait or small plastics, a smaller jig will catch panfish and even bass. You can add a small spinner arm and make it look like a Beetle Spin and attract those same fish. On a larger scale, a jig tipped with certain live bait or used as a combo with a spinner arm can catch bass, walleye, pike and muskie.

Putting a plastic twister tail on a jig for bass was popular 40 years ago. Bass Pro Shops used to sell a spring grub kit which featured 1/8 and 1/4-ounce jig heads with a variety of colors and sizes in a plastic twister tail.

When I’m not fly-fishing, I like using a jig whether it is on an ultralight rod with 4-pound test line or a 6 ½ or 7-foot rod pitching or casting for bass, using 17-20-pound test line.

My serious jig fishing for bass goes back 40 years. Then I primarily used the lift and drop method. My jigs were Big Al’s Weed ‘Em Out Jig, made by the late Al Hewison of Byesville. I preferred 1/4 ounce. My favorite color then was brown/orange followed by blue/black and red/black. Many people used a No. 11 Uncle Josh pork frog as a trailer in those days. We used real pork in those days. It’s a shame it no longer exists. I used a bigger pork bait, preferring the #25 crawfrog. It was 3 inches with 2 long legs. It had fantastic action.

In later years, I did more pitching with the jigs and in recent years combined both pitching and swimming the jig. And while some people think swimming a jig for bass is a fairly recent popular method, a bass tournament fishing buddy and I swam jigs 40 years ago. We would swim them around brush and rocky shorelines. And they caught some dandy bass.

Fast forward 40 years and swimming a jig is popular, probably because it’s so easy to do and it’s highly productive.

I still have some of Hewison’s jig heads. The rubber, a different type than made today, went bad. I still prefer the 1/4-ounce size. But I also use 3/8-ounce. I don’t buy swim jigs. I make my own. I just put a spinnerbait skirt on a jig head and tip it with a plastic minnow swimming lure. I prefer the 3.5 inch grass pig jr. in a Bobby Lane design made by Berkley. I like the green pumpkin tipped on a jig that features and avocado skirt. I also like blue/black or blue/black/purple and tip them with a 3.5 inch black or blue/black plastic minnow.

The method to fishing this is so simple because all you are doing is literally swimming the jig. You can fish this way from a boat or from shore.

Cast and just reel in the jig on a steady retrieve. While the jig skirt is undulating, the plastic minnow is making its swimming motion. One can also tip the jig with plastic crayfish. It’s legs do the swimming and attract fish. Fish brush or rocky shorelines. Both can be productive. Swimming a jig should be productive in the many upground reservoirs in northwest Ohio. Sometimes I’ll cast out into the lake from shore, let it sink to the bottom and then reel it in. Be ready to hang on because you will get some vicious strikes. If you tip the jig with a plastic chunk like Zoom or Yum make, you will have to create your own action. You make want to pop the line’s slack as you hop the jig back to you.

A couple years ago, I was walking the shore of a favorite lake and kept hammering bass on one of those nights you dream about. The 5 largest bass I caught that night would have weighed more than 20 pounds. The fishing was so good, I kept switching from the green to the blue/black. The color did not matter. The bass just wanted that jig and minnow combo.

After spending a few weeks having fun catching slab bluegills, a buddy and I tested a boat he recently bought by doing some bass fishing. I swam a jig while he used a spinnerbait. It was quite a productive evening with each of us catching several chunky bass. We had ideal conditions – a nice ripple on the water and cloudy skies. The only deterrent was we only caught fish on rocky shores. None came out of the brush for our offerings.

The next evening our fortunes changed drastically. So had the weather and lake. An almost windless evening left us with a flat surface. The lake clarity had changed where you could see at least 8 feet into the water. That combined with a bluebird sunny sky doomed our catches. But that’s fishing. Next time out, we may put a few ‘hawgs in the boat.

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On your outdoor endeavors this summer, always make sure to do a tick check. As predicted, these crawling pests are numerous. And they quickly will try and catch a ride on you.

Ticks crawl up and I’ve found that out a few times again this spring. They will “catch a ride” on you by latching onto your foot and leg and then keep crawling toward your head and ears. Try and detect them before they reach those areas. The skin is thinner there and ticks find it easier to feed on blood in that area.

If you find a tick on yourself, sometimes you can flick it away. If it is attached to your skin, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using a fine-tipped tweezers.

Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

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