Choosing the right jig trailer is part science and part art. Each particular jig whether a football, swimming, flipping, pitching or finesse style takes the right trailer to get the most bites. There are days when you could trail a jig with a stick and catch fish, but those days are few and far between.
It starts with color, but size and action are also crucial to the type of water. Is the water clear or is it stained? Are you fishing shallow or are you fishing deep. Are the bass hitting the bait on the fall or are they chasing it as it’s sinking to the bottom. Watching the variables closely can help determine which trailer is best for given conditions and mood of the fish.
The first trailer I ever used on a jig was an Uncle Josh Pork Frog. I still use the No. 11, No. 1 and Spring Lizard Pup in cold water conditions. The fall rate and jig size determine which one I use. I like the Spring Lizard Pup in prespawn conditions, and when I am looking for a larger profile bait.
Pork works better in cold water conditions from 40 to 50 degrees and has more action than plastic. The texture of the pork also helps the fish hold on better. Downside to pork is it will dry out if not properly managed. Color choices for early spring are black, brown and green pumpkin. Pork works well on all jig head types.
As the water begins to warm, I like to switch to plastic crayfish trailers. My choices are Power Team Lures Craw D’oeuvre, KickerFish Kicker Kraw, Strike Kings Rage Tail Craw, the Zoom Super Speed Craw, Trigger X Flappin Craw, the Gene Larew Salt Craw and the Yum Craw Papi. I also will use a Netbait Paca Chunk and a Gambler Flappy Daddy on occasion.
In the very early spring I like to trail the jig with a Zoom Baby Brush Hog, Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog and a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver as well. It seems that in the early spring bass are looking for bigger prey and as the water temperatures rise, more action in the trailer is a good rule of thumb.
1. Gambler Mega Daddy, 2. Zoom Speed Craw, 3. Gene Larew Salt Craw, 4. Zoom Baby Brush Hog, 5. Kicker Fish Kicker Craw, 6. Zoom Super Chunk,
7. Zoom Super Chunk Jr., 8. NetBait Paca Chunk, 9. Strike King Rage Chunk, 10. Berkley PowerBait Crazy Legs Chigger Craw,
11. Power Team Lures Craw D’ouevre, 12. Yum Craw Papi, 13. Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog, 14. Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver
I fish a football head 75 percent of the time, and with larger sizes like the 1/2- and 3/4-ounce jigs, I like to use larger trailers. I will bite off half of the trailer and thread the body of the bait on the jig to facilitate a compact profile.
For finesse applications, I like to use the Jewel Split Tail, the Strike King Baby Rage Craw and the Gene Larew Finesse Craw. I like to use the Jewel Eakins Jig, the Strike King Bitsy Bug and 1/4-ounce Buckeye Flat Head. I still have a few of the old Gary Klein Black Weapon Jigs that I like to use for finesse applications as well.
Color choices for finesse jigs are brown/orange, black/blue and dark pumpkin. The finesse jig is about fall rate as much as it is size, and the slow fall will trigger cold water bass more effectively at times. Rock points and docks near deep water are best targets for staging early year bass.
For swim jigs I have used the kitchen sink. I like a Zoom Spinnerbait Trailer, a Reaction Innovations Baby Dipper, a Poor Boys Reaper Tail and Gulp! Leeches early and like to swim a Super Speed Craw and a Sweet Beaver as the weather warms. I almost always use fishing glue to attach the trailer on the bait for this application as it keeps the trailer positioned better and allows it to run truer. Jewel, Poor Boys, Buckeye, Black Angel and All- Terrain Tackle are my choices for swim jigs.
A good rule to follow is chunks for cold water and craws for warmer water for all bottom bumping jigs. Swim jigs allow for some versatility in trailer selection but depth is a key ingredient here. Deep water calls for a larger profile while shallow water calls for a more subtle trailer. With these few tips you can simplify your jig fishing and come up with your own winning combinations.
All of these fish were caught on football jigs with various trailers this spring on Guntersville