Early spring freshwater bass and walleye can be tough to entice but one way to get these fish to open their mouths is to crawl lightweight hair or feather jigs along the bottom.
Smallmouth Bass, Candlewood Lake, CT, Hair Jig -IMG_1924: Both largemouth and smallmouth bass will inhale hair jigs with gusto when water temperatures are in the low to mid- 50-degree range. Photo by Outdoor Tom Enterprises, Inc.
As water temperatures nudge up to between 48 and 55 degrees, the gentle pulsing of slowly worked bucktails, marabou jigs and rabbit hair leadheads in the 1/32- to ¼-ounce size can be irresistible to gamefish trying to shake off their winter lethargy. Worked with a barely perceptible jigging action accentuated by long pauses of up to several seconds, these jigs appear to be living, breathing baitfish, crawfish or invertebrates.
As a rule dark neutral colors like brown, black, dark green or brown/orange produce best when hair jigs are the offering. Strike at the slightest bump because the fish will spit these lures out if given an extra second or two to rethink things. Because the water is so clear at this time of year, you’ll find 4- to 6-pound test braided lines with 8-pound test fluorocarbon leaders a perfect match for these gentle presentations.
For water temperatures less than 50 degrees, work your jig unadorned. Once water temperatures climb above the 50-degree mark, you can increase the profile and action slightly by adding a trailer. If tipping your lure with a soft plastic grub, choose a version with a straight – not curly- tail.
You can also tip these lures with a red or yellow Fat Cow Fork Tail Jig Strip. Designed with a "V"shaped tail and measuring just under 4 inches, these trailers have a pre-punched hole for easy rigging. They also work great with hair jigs as water temperatures climb above 55 degrees. At that point, a straight swimming retrieve a foot or two above the bottom can really begin to turn on the hawgs.
Try Fat Cow Fork Tail Jig Strips