Making a score with football jigs

2009-08-15 00:00

YOU would have heard about the hype about fishing football jigs, read the mention in my columns and hopefully experienced the necessity of having these baits in your tackle.

Due to an increase in interest and some recent reports pertaining to the success of these jigs, I have decided to elaborate slightly and share some helpful hints to ensure you catch more bass on football jigs

Why football jigs?

A football jig is unique and is therefore unchallenged by any other bait in its specialised environment, not even a standard jig. When a football jig hits the bottom it stands up; the wide, flat shape of the head ensures that the hook stands at a 45º angle, thus creating a presentation that bass have never seen. When targeting harder structure, the football jig comes into its own. It crawls over brush and timber and rolls effortlessly over rocks and gravel. The football jig hardly snags, the oblong head holds the hook upright, unlike a standard jig, which therefore minimises the odds of the jig rolling over and allowing the hook to snag.

So what are you imitating when you use a football jig? Well nothing in particular and everything in general. Crawfish, crabs and injured baitfish. A bass may not actually decipher what this bait represents, but the mere fact that the jig bangs around on the bottom and crashes into the cover, makes it appear as something behaving erratically due to injury or illness. This creates an easier target for bass to attack.

There are no rules when it comes to the game of football jig fishing. No set retrieve or presentation will work every day. You need to vary your presentation and cadence on every outing, inducing bites until the fish let you know how they want it on that specific day. Generally speaking, colder-water bass will tend to react consistently to a slower- moving jig. Crawling your jig along the bottom and pausing for a few seconds before initiating a few short hops will normally be what it takes.

When choosing a colour, stick to darker hues for dirtier or deeper water and the more natural colours for cleaner water. Combine your jig with a crawfish or grub trailer to help the jig “stand” and to increase the profile and action of the jig.

Fish these jigs on a minimum of 12lb and a maximum of 20lb line and remember that the easiest way to catch fish on jigs is to use them.

I recently returned from Northern Limpopo’s Nandoni Dam where we landed more than 150 fish in two days. Although we caught fish on nearly every bait in our box, we had our most consistent results fishing football jigs over shallow gravel banks. These banks were holding pre-spawn fish, which were keying in on isolated standing brush making them extremely susceptible to the football jig.

Make sure you catch this column next time as we will be talking spawning bass.

E-mail me with bass fishing reports, pictures and questions at

Catch ’em up!!

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