Jigs, micro-jigs or minnows? The professionals talk small

Friday, July 24, 2009
Bobby Dale Jones, 8-year-old Berryville third grade student, showed off his catch brought in while fishing with his "PaPa" Jerry George in July. Photo submitted

LITTLE ROCK -- Jigs are tried and true utensils for catching fish of many species in Arkansas, from trout requiring tiny jigs to lead-heavy ones used for striped bass.

In crappie fishing, many of Arkansas's better crappie anglers use only jigs. They wouldn't touch a live minnow with the proverbial 10-foot pole. These folks catch a heck of a lot of crappie, often when others strike out.

Still, don't interpret this as meaning jigs are superior to minnows for crappie fishing. Good strings of crappie continue to be caught on live minnows, according to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission observers.

One form of jigs, whether using plastic skirts or trailers or using hair or feathers, is the micro jig. These are the little ones. Very little.

Micro jigs in most fishermen's understanding means those weighing 1/16th of an ounce or less. That includes 1/32nd-ounce, 1/64th-ounce, and -- believe it or not -- 1/128th-ounce jigs.

The very small jigs, the micro type, tend to be associated with trout fishing, but they will work at times on crappie, bream and other species, even largemouth bass.

Professional bass fishermen, at least most of them, usually have a handful of small jigs in one of their tackle boxes. These tend to be 1/8th-ounce in weight, but sometimes the pros will work with 1/16th-ounce. Trouble with them is they are difficult to cast with standard bass fishing reels.

For those fishermen not in the professional bass ranks, micro jigs can be fished with ultralight spinning rigs, including 2-pound or 4-pound line. They also do well with fly rods.

There isn't a discernible time when these tiny jigs should be brought into action unless it falls into the "match the hatch" technique fly fishermen use with trout.

The same game plan can work with bream. Find them dimpling the surface, feeding on small insects, and a micro jig might be just the ticket to get bream hitting for you.

It won't work all the time, but it's a technique worth keeping in mind and gearing up for.

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