The jig is up! Selecting the correct jig for walleye fishing.
It’s no secret that jig fishing is an effective method of catching walleye, but there is more to it than just tying on a jig and throwing it into the water. The jig has become a staple in every walleye anglers toolbox, and for good reason, there are few lures with the versatility of a jig. Whether you are vertical jigging a minnow on top of a school of fish, or ripping jigs through the weeds, there are subtleties that can turn a good day on the water into a great one !
Size: The size of your jig is important to consider. You want to select a jig that is heavy enough to get your bait down to the fish, but no so heavy that it is cumbersome to fish with. For most vertical jigging applications a ¼ or 3/8 oz jig is ideal. However, if you are fishing in heavy wind or swift current you may want to choose a heavier head, ½ to 1oz, to keep it down and maintain good bottom contact and feel with your rod.
Shape: the shape of your jig is not always the first factor considered by anglers, but a bit of thought into this can save you some frustration, and put more fish in the boat. Fishing deep rock piles can be deadly for walleye, and few baits work as good as a jig. The problem with jigging rocks for walleye is snags, it happens to everyone, whether they care to admit it or not. But can your jig choice result in less snags? yes. Round jigs will often get caught up between the cracks and gaps between rocks, but a flat sided button jig is the perfect choice for this application. The slender profile will allow your jig to move easier through the rocky structure, which means less time tying on a new jig and more time with your bait in the water.
Color: The color of your jig may be the least important factor to consider when trying to dial in a walleye jig bite, but there is something to it. Generally speaking, start with a bright attracting color such as orange, yellow, or chartreuse. If you are marking fish but they are reluctant to hit the bright jig, go with a more natural color like brown or black. The most popular color of jig for walleye fisherman though, would be white. White is easily seen underwater by fish, but is not too loud or offensive to be refused by a passing walleye.
The Hook: The hook used in your jig is crucial. A good quality hook will stay sharp much longer than a cheap one. Good hooks are also harder and stronger, which means they will not bend and straighten when under the load of a big fish. The shape of the hook is also an important factor, if you are using large minnows, bait or plastics, a wider gap will catch more fish. With the hook point further away from the shank of the hook, it will grab, penetrate and hold big fish better than a small gap hook. Another option to consider is a sickle hook. Sickle hook jigs will out-fish a standard gap jig any day. Fish will stay pinned better and result in more fish in the boat and less short strikes and stolen minnows.
All fish images featured in this article were caught and released in the Kawartha’s Northumberland region of Ontario Canada!! Come see for yourself!