One Halloween long ago, Bill Lindner attended a costume party dressed as “jig n’ pig.” Visualize a hard hat and a bushy skirt, more or less. You get the picture. Now try to get it out of your mind…
For bass, however, a jig & pork trailer combo is a mighty irresistible late fall treat. Especially as water temperatures dip from the 50 Fs down into the 40 Fs, slowing bass metabolism and reducing their ability to chase faster-moving, horizontal lures like spinnerbaits or crankbaits.
For years, the undisputed king of fall fashion was an Uncle Josh #11 Pork Frog, combining a seductive, froggy-looking profile with scent, taste and a natural feel. Just slip one over your jig hook by inserting the hook point into a tiny slot in the pork. It was good for catching numbers of fish, because durable pork tends to last all day long. And it still ranks high on your list of fall dressing accessories.
Nowadays, all manner of softbait trailers, some scented, can be substituted for the piggy half of the equation. Perhaps foremost among them are 4-inch crawfish imitations. Slip one tail-first up onto the hook, bucking the tail tight up against the jighead. The twin claws flap seductively when you hop, pop and crawl the jig across the bottom or cover. In fact, you can even swim the jig above weedtops, with the claws generating a flip-flop cadence.
Largemouths generally fall prey to ½- to ¾-ounce, fiberguard jigheads with black, black-blue, brown or brown-orange (aka Halloween) rubber skirts. Experiment with additional color combos if you wish, perhaps tinged with a hint of chartreuse. Choose a complimentary pork chunk or soft plastic trailer to match the jig’s predominant color pattern, so the combo appears as one large mouthful. Fish ‘em on midrange casting tackle, using anywhere from about 14- to 20-pound test line. It provides the muscle you need to hoist big bass up and out of weed or wood cover.
Greedy smallmouths generally show little resistance to striking a big jig & softbait combo in fall. But if you get the sense that it’s a bit too bulky for the day’s preferences, drop down to a ¼-ounce round jighead, dressed with a 3-inch crayfish imitation. It’s a bit smaller in profile, perhaps more appealing to finicky biters. And can be fished on a spinning rod with lighter tackle, especially if cover is sparse.
The outside edges of deep weedlines in natural lakes, and deep timberlines rimming outside channel bends in reservoirs, are classic fall locations for jigging bass. Cast the jig from outside into the cover, let it settle, lift or pop it to scoot it back toward you–and hang on tight. When your line jumps, ram the hook home.
Heck, you’ll likely catch plenty of pike along the way. Maybe even a wayward muskie as well. Big toothy critters fall for these combos as well.
Trick or treat for bass? Treat ‘em to a big jig, tipped with a seductive trailer, and trick ‘em into biting.