The best lure for catching deep-water fishing in the heart of summer

I suppose it was a decade or more ago when I heard a snippet of a conversation that turned my fishing approach on its head. It was the weigh-in for a bass tournament on the Alexandria Chain of Lakes, and I was standing near one of the fishermen who had a big sack of fish.

Someone walked by, looked at him, and asked what he caught them on.

“Jigworm,” he replied.

Shortly thereafter, I researched to find out what a jigworm consisted of – a mushroom-head jig, generally with a plastic worm or grub threaded onto it – and then headed to the baitshop to stock up.

And since that day, I’ve never stopped buying them. Or fishing with them. They’re easily one of my favorite lures for bass fishing, but just about any fish that swims will hit a jigworm. I’ve caught everything on jigworms, from little bluegills to big bass, eating-sized walleyes to dogfish that broke the tip of my rod.

Quite simply, at this time of year, you’d be hard-pressed to figure out a better presentation than the jigworm.

You can tie on jigworms any time of the year, but they really shine when the water warms and fish of all species move out to the newly developed deep weed edge.

Depending on the clarity of the water, the weed edge can be anywhere from just a few feet deep, down to 20 feet or more.

The jigworm setup is simple. Choose a 61⁄2- or 7-foot, medium or medium-heavy action spinning rod and pair it with a reel loaded with 6- to 8-pound test monofilament line. I rarely use anything but a 1⁄8-ounce black mushroom-head jig, though I’ll switch to a 1⁄4-ounce jig if the water is deep or the wind is blowing hard. I never use anything but black.

For a trailer, I usually push a plastic worm ranging from 4 to 7 inches onto the shaft of the hook. Bite off the top of the worm so it’s flat, then snug it against the flat bottom of the jighead. I’m not real picky about the color of plastic I use, though I’m most comfortable with black, purple, or something in the green family.

If the fish are leery about biting, switch to a 2- or 3-inch plastic grub. If you have reason to believe there are big fish around – bass, in particular – or you want to keep rock bass and sunfish off your hook, consider loading the jig with a 6- or 71⁄2-inch Slug-Go. The usual way to fish Slug-Go lures is to fish them weightless, so putting them on a jighead and fishing them on the bottom gives fish a look they likely haven’t seen before.

Jigworms can be fished nearly anywhere, but the focus here is going to be on deep weedlines, because that’s where so many fish stack up during the warm-water months of July and August.

In my estimation, jigworms can be used both to find fish and to catch a bunch of fish from a specific spot. But in general, I’ll use the trolling motor and move along the deep weedline, casting parallel to it, as well as to the deep and shallow sides.

Let the lure sink all the way to the bottom. (Watch to see if your line “jumps” before it hits the bottom, as many strikes occur as the lure falls.)

Once it hits the bottom, let it sit for a few seconds, and then work it back to the boat. There’s really no wrong way to work a jigworm. Sometimes, fish hit best when it’s being retrieved steadily. Other times, bumping it along the bottom works best.

When fish are in a particularly negative feeding mood, the best approach sometimes is to let the lure sit on the bottom for a few seconds, move it slightly, and then let it sit again.

But if I had to choose one way to fish a jigworm, it would be this: Cast it into the deep vegetation, and then let it sink. When it stops sinking – either because it hit the bottom or got hung up on a weed – give it a sharp jerk. Then watch your line. If it “jumps,” set the hook. Or if you feel something out of the ordinary the next time you go to jerk it, set the hook. When you do, you’ll create commotion in the water and often generate a strike.

Jigworms have light wire hooks, so you typically can rip them off of weeds pretty easily. If you misjudge and break the line – or a toothy northern pike grabs the bait – the good thing is that you’re out less than a buck.

As I said, there’s really no wrong way to fish a jigworm. Just get out there, find a deep weedline, and start experimenting.

The only mistake you can make is not trying.

Categories: Bass, Feature, Feature, News, Social Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *