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.”
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.”
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
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