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Selecting the Right Bass Fishing Lures: Jigs vs Texas Rigs

In bass fishing, there are several baits and techniques that can be hard to distinguish from one another. In this piece we are going to look at two such baits: a jig and Texas rig. Whether you’re pitching shallow cover or fishing offshore, these two baits can be used to target some of the same bass. Let’s look at which works best for each scenario.

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Bass Fishing Lures: Jigs vs Texas Rigs – Fishing Shallow

When I’m deciding between a jig and Texas rig up shallow, a lot of it comes down to whether I’m fishing an exact target or a strike zone. What I mean by that is whether I’m making vertical presentations or dragging the bait along horizontally. If I’m pitching to stumps or bushes, I typically like to fish a flipping jig. If I’m fishing along laydowns, I like a Texas rigged worm. I tend to get hung less with a Texas rig in laydowns than I do with a jig. And I like the big hook of a jig, its vertical fall, and the bulk of the bait around stumps and bushes.

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I also like the jig more in the spring and the Texas rig more in the summer.

I think the jig triggers more strikes when the bass are aggressive and feeding heavily in the spring where as the bass are a little more lethargic and stressed in the hot summer months from the hot water. They will eat a bigger, more aggressive bait like a topwater lure, but they seem to position a little differently in the summer months like in slightly deeper laydowns instead of up around the stumps when they’re trying to spawn.

The in-between here is that I’ll use a Missile Baits D-Bomb or a tube Texas-rigged in some of the same places I’ll fish a jig. These are both a little bulkier and more compact than a worm and have a more vertical fall for fishing around cover. Where I would use an offset worm hook with a Texas rigged worm up shallow, I prefer a straight shank flipping hook when flipping a tube or D-Bomb.

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Bass Fishing Lures: Jigs vs Texas Rigs – Fishing Deep

When talking about the contrast between a jig and Texas rig offshore, we’re looking at a Texas rigged worm over the 8-inch mark and typically a football jig. There are a lot of other jigs that anglers throw offshore like finesse jigs, casting jigs and heavy cover jigs, but the contrast shows up the most between a football jig and a Texas rig.

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For me, a football jig works better in more open water situations with smooth bottoms, rock and little drop-offs. I move to a Texas rig more in grass and brush. Jigs have a tendency to get hung more in brush and also don’t come through vegetation as well as a Texas-rigged worm.

A football jig is easier to keep on the bottom. That’s why I prefer it when fishing areas where I want to maintain bottom contact like drop-offs. When you pull a Texas-rig off of a ledge it has a tendency to glide to the bottom unless you’re fishing it on a heavy weight. As you pull a jig off a ledge, if falls more vertical and can trigger strikes from fish that are sitting close to that drop. A lot of anglers will actually use a magnum shaky head with a worm in situations like this where they want to maintain bottom contact but still use a worm.

Similar to the shallow dichotomy, I prefer a football jig more in the pre-spawn and a worm more in the summer. A lot of that has to do with where I target bass in the pre-spawn, around rock, and where I target bass in the post-spawn, around brush.

Bass Fishing Lures: Jigs vs Texas Rigs – Conclusion

In conclusion, there are a lot of similarities between jigs and Texas rigs both shallow and deep. Honestly, both could be fished in most of the same scenarios, but the key difference is which can be fished the most effectively and where. So the long and short of it, I prefer Texas rigs in deep, dense cover and football jigs in rockier situations. In shallow water, I still prefer the more weedless Texas rig and opt for the jig when pitching to targets.

Fayette County Reservoir – Bass Fishing Warm Water Discharge Lakes

Warm water discharges are known to attract bass in the winter just like cool water creeks attract bass in the summer. There are areas on lakes and rivers where warm water discharges from factories and water treatment plants affect the water temperature near them.

But then there are extreme cases where entire fisheries are influenced by warm water discharges. One such fishery ANGLR Expert Tyler Anderson frequents in Texas is Fayette County Reservoir.

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Diving into Bass Fishing the Fayette County Reservoir

“In the winter, at the discharge, the water temperature is 90 degrees or higher and across the rest of the lake it’s in the 80’s.”

Fayette County Reservoir, also known as Lake Fayette, covers about 2,400 acres and has a max depth of 70 feet. The lake was created in 1978 as a coolant pond for the Fayette Power Project and is managed by the Lower Colorado River Authority. With water temperatures in the 80’s in the winter, the lake sees lots of anglers looking for a little remedy for their cabin fever.

So, how do you fish for wintertime bass in 80 to 90 degree water?

Fayette County Reservoir: Where to Target the Bass

“Well they behave like summertime bass since the water is so hot. It’s an offshore bite, deep crankbaits, and Carolina rig bite. There’s a lot of grass but the fish for some reason don’t gravitate towards the grass. Most of the time when I see grass on a lake, I’m going to head straight there. But for some reason they’re very school-related, offshore focused bass.”

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“And they’re nomadic. They’ll be on a roadbed one day, then a rock pile the next and then head to the discharge for a few days. They just kind of roam around. I’ve caught some in the grass and the standing timber, but that’s not really where people win tournaments out there.”

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Fayette County Reservoir: How to Catch Bass in the Spawn

The spawn is another interesting thing to look at on a fishery like this. Since the water temp is much warmer on Fayette County Reservoir than it is on typical fisheries in Texas, the bass spawn much earlier. On many fisheries, bass start to spawn when the water temps reach the lower 60’s. But they actually spawn when the water cools off on Fayette County Reservoir instead of when the water starts to warm up.

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“They spawn in January when the water is at its coldest. But it’s never in the low 60’s there, they would have to turn the plant off to see that. They are triggered to spawn more based on moon phase than they are water temperature there.”

Fayette County Reservoir: How to Hot is too Hot to Catch Bass?

Tyler has also fished the Fayette County Reservoir in the summer from time to time and on one such outing he wanted to see just how hot of water he could catch a bass in.

“When I launched, I noticed the water temp was 97 degrees at the ramp. I knew the discharge would be even hotter so I went up to the main area near it and I caught a few fish in 110 degree water. I thought to myself, I’m probably not going to get an opportunity many other times in my life to catch a fish in this hot of water. So I idled as close as I could to the warm water discharge and caught a largemouth bass on a football jig. The water temp was 122 degrees were my boat was sitting.”

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The takeaway from this trip to the hot tub? You can catch fish in Fayette County Reservoir throughout the year, you just need to spend some time finding them and homing in on what the bass want to chew on.

 

Late Winter Jig Fishing for Productive Winter Bass Fishing

We’re headed into the tail end of winter, so if you’ve been suffering from cabin fever, ANGLR Expert Jef Nelson is here to yank you out of your recliner and get you out on the water. It’s time to welcome the upcoming sunshine and get ready to chase down some bass with some late winter jig fishing!

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Late Winter Jig Fishing: Take Advantage of the “Warmer” Days

I’ll take any chance I get to shake off cabin fever. One of those days in early to late March when you can get out on the lake here in Pennsylvania, providing there is no ice, or only a thin coating of it- there’s nothing like it!

Since it’s still rather chilly around here in March, I’m usually not in too much of a hurry to be out on the water at the crack of dawn. I’ll usually get to the lake around 9:00 a.m. because I know the higher the sun gets, the warmer the fish are becoming, and they’ll move with the bait.

Late Winter Jig Fishing: Finding the Bass

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I launch my Skeeter ZX200 with three graphs mounted on it. I have my Humminbird electronics all set to look for different things by using 2D sonar, side imaging, and HD downscan. I think of them as lie detectors, checking myself to make sure that what I think I’m seeing is exactly what I’m looking at.

I start out idling because the no wake zones are so large here, searching for baitfish. Here in PA, they can be difficult to find this time of year. I look around out in the middle of coves and creek arms to begin with. Sometimes you get lucky, but most times you don’t. I next move on to idling around secondary points in those coves and creek arms. Most of the time that’s to no avail, as well, because the water surface temperature is still hanging around that 37-43℉ mark.

When I reach the end of the no wake zone, I ask myself if I should stay the course, or head out to the main lake. Heading out deeper is usually not a good idea here unless we have some seriously freakish weather patterns with temperatures in the 50’s and a lot of sun for days on end. That rarely ever happens around here.

I usually decide to stay the course and start looking at secondary points in the 15-30 foot range with shallow water access readily available.

I’m focusing on a little cut in the bank or a long-extending underwater point. Somewhere in there you’ll find the bait suspended off the ends of those points or over a small point with shallow water access in that water column. Once you find them, GAME ON!

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Late Winter Jig Fishing: Putting the Bass in the Boat

I always use a scent on my jigs. My preference is Liquid Mayhem in any of the crawfish scents they offer, just because I feel that, at this time of year, crawfish add more calories to the bass’ diets, helping preserve the fat content they need to come out of their winter rigamortis.

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I start out trying to entice the bass on the shallower side of the bait by dragging a ½-ounce Jewel Football Jig with blue and black flash skirt with a Zoom Super Chunk Jr in green pumpkin threaded onto the jig to keep it as compact as possible out to about 15-foot. Sometimes you can catch some hefty bass sunning themselves on the shallower side of the bait, so try to set your boat right on top of the bait, keeping track of them with your electronics. Usually you’ll catch those fish in those little cuts in the bank or up on the shallow side of the flat underwater point.

If you don’t get a bite there, don’t worry, your trip isn’t over.

Move your boat off of the bait a little deeper, say at about 35-50 foot. You won’t see the bait anymore, but don’t worry, you’ll still usually be in contact with them. They’re pretty thick this time of the year.

Late Winter Jig Fishing: Bumping up the Jig Size

I bump my jig size up to a ¾ ounce, because now I’m looking for a reaction; I want something that moves a lot of water. I’ll still use the same colors, but I also bump my trailer up to the larger size Zoom Super Chunk or a four inch Berkley Chigger Craw in green pumpkin or black and blue.

When you cast that bait out to where you know the baitfish are, you’ll feel the jig bump up against them as it falls down through the school. It’s very crucial to watch your line during this cast for any indication of it jumping or wandering off to one side or the other.

I believe that when it contacts the bait, it panics them a little bit and gets the bass excited and in a mood to feed.

In addition, that ¾ ounce bait makes a large thud on the bottom, which gets the bass’ curiosity peaked so they come over to investigate. When you get a bite off of the bottom, it usually feels like dead weight, as opposed to the shallower bites that feel like they want to rip the rod out of your hands. Once you find this type of scenario, you can duplicate it up and down the entire lake most of the time, depending on water clarity. Here, we’re not usually impacted by cold rains and flooding, so the lake is a little more stable when it comes to water clarity. By now, it’s also settled from being calm through the winter, or covered with icy protection.

Late Winter Jig Fishing: Use the Right Gear

For bringing these fish into the boat, my tools of choice are Duckett Micro Magic Pro with the new Kigan Guides on them. The Kigan guides are just a smidge larger than the original Micro guides, but are still very small and virtually indestructible because of the way they are designed. I like the 7’3” for the ½ ounce jig for the shallower side of the bait paired with a 16-pound FC Sniper fluorocarbon line from Sunline. For the shallower depths, I like the same Duckett rod, only in a 7’6” medium-heavy action with 17-lb fluorocarbon from Sunline.

I pair both rods with Lew’s Super Duty reels in the 7-1.1 gear ratio to pick up the slack as fast as possible, while still leaving enough gearing to handle bigger fish. I used to operate under the assumption that having an 8-1.1 reel would be awesome, but I’ve found that anything over a 7-1.1 causes you to lose a lot of winching power.

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Pay attention to your electronics closely, and you’ll find what you’re looking for. Once you catch that first fish, you won’t be cold any longer! Always use your ANGLR Bullseye to keep a record of when and where you’re finding these fish from year to year. Life is always a little easier and more enjoyable when you have such a great tool only one click away.

Quit wishin’ and let’s get fishin’!