Jig Trailers

Jig Trailers | Picking the Right Jig Trailer with Brandon Palaniuk

A lot more goes into picking the right jig trailer than most might think. A trailer not only changes the profile of a jig but also the way it swims and falls through the water column. Depending on the size and action of the trailer, the same jig can be used in vastly different scenarios and be way more or less effective. 

We sat down with Elite Series Pro Brandon Palaniuk to discuss some of the things he takes into consideration when choosing a trailer for his jigs.

Jig Trailers | Size Matters

A lot of it will have to do with size. I use the X-Zone Lures Muscle Back Craw and the junior version of it, the Muscle Back Finesse Craw in different situations. But one thing that gets overlooked by some people when choosing between two sizes like that is the Rate of Fall (ROF).

Sometimes I want the Rate of Fall of a 1/2-ounce jig but I’m fishing deeper and need the weight of a 3/4-ounce jig to keep it on the bottom. So I can trim the skirt a little and put that bigger Muscle Back Craw on with the added buoyancy of those bigger claws and it will have a slower fall.

Jig Trailers(2)

Even though Palaniuk is using a bigger trailer, trimming the skirt back offsets his trailer selection to keep the profile of the overall bait package pretty tight. As he points out, a full skirt will always create a bigger presence as it flares out than a bigger plastic trailer will. 

I’ll use the same process flipping, especially early in the year. It used to be a big deal to flip a 1/4-ounce Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig with an oversize trailer.

Palaniuk explained how the big trailer would slow the ROF and that using a small profile jig wasn’t about the profile at all. Instead, that lighter jig paired with the big trailer would create a large profile bait with a slow fall that would trigger more strikes from big fish in the colder water.

Jig Trailers | Rate of Fall vs Rate of Stall

ROF is something that Palaniuk is hyperaware of due to his love affair with swimbait fishing. So it’s something he pays a lot of attention to with several different bait categories. But ROF isn’t the whole story. 

Rate of Fall is a term used a lot in the swimbait world for how fast a bait sinks. What’s really important is that it also changes the depth that you can fish that bait while maintaining a certain speed. I think I first saw the guys from Tactical Bassin’ talk about that and called it the Rate of Stall (ROS), which is the speed the bait moves through the water column.

Say you want the bait to be coming towards you at a foot per second but you only want the bait to be 5-feet below the surface. You can’t do that with a heavier bait because it will naturally pendulum if you try to fish it that slow. And that’s why ROF becomes such a big deal with swimbaits. A lot of times guys want to fish that bait super slow. So an 8” Huddleston with ROF of 5 you’ll usually fish shallower up around docks or reed lines and you’ll fish an 8” Hudd with an ROF 12 deeper.

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All of this comes into play when selecting trailers for your jigs. 

Especially with something like a swim jig where you will fish it up off the bottom much like a swimbait. Using a swimbait style trailer instead of a craw style trailer is one way to greatly affect the ROS of a bait. 

With a slender, boot-tail swimbait as a trailer, the jig will fall fast and swim faster through the water on the retrieve. Swapping to a twin-tail, craw style trailer adds resistance and lift to the jig. This will make the bait fall slower and swim slower while also riding higher in the water column. 

These same basic principles will help you when selecting trailers for spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs, and even buzzbaits. Using a twin tail craw as a trailer as opposed to a swimbait or no trailer at all on a buzzbait creates a greater ROS and thus slows the speed you have to reel the bait to keep it on the surface. And with a buzzbait, there are certainly times where you’ll want to reel the bait as slow as possible to trigger more strikes. 

Take Rate of Fall and Rate of Stall into consideration when selecting your next trailer and you’ll quickly find that minor adjustments can make a major difference in your production levels.

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

Become an ANGLR Expert and apply here.

Shaye Baker


Shaye Baker started fishing with his dad in Alabama as soon as they could find a life jacket small enough to fit him. Competing with his father in local tournaments, Shaye quickly found a hunger for competitive bass fishing. He furthered his fishing career at Auburn University helping to establish the Auburn University Bass Fishing Club. While at Auburn, Shaye served as the President of the club and qualified to fish on the traveling team amassing six Top 5 finishes including two 3rd place finishes in consecutive FLW College Fishing National Championships. While beginning to dabble in the world of outdoor journalism, Shaye continued to fish semi-pro events finishing in the Top 5 in the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Costa Series and BFLs. Finding himself at a crossroads, Shaye chose to put down the rod and pick up the pen and camera to focus on his career in outdoor journalism. Shaye has had work featured in Bassmaster Magazine, FLW Outdoors Magazine, B.A.S.S.Times and the Japanese bass fishing magazine Basser. Shaye has also had work featured on ESPN and Wired2Fish.com, FLWfishing.com and Bassmaster.com. While working with B.A.S.S., Shaye initiated and spearheaded their GoPro division which brought more video coverage to the fans than had ever been done before in competitive fishing. After his tenure with some of the best companies in the business, Shaye identified a need for competitive fishing where participation didn’t cost a fortune. By founding UPLOADED, the Online Fishing Series, Shaye established a free tournament series where anglers could film their fish catches and upload their videos to compete against other anglers for prizes.

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1 reply
  1. Dwight Norris
    Dwight Norris says:

    Jig fishing has been the last frontier for me. I haven’t had the patience to really utilize it purposely while fishing, but I know that i should.

    This has helped me remember to truly set a time to dig into jig fishing. I will probably make a video about it.


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