Category Archives: fishing basics

What Is A Jig and Pig for Bass Fishing and Why Should I Use One?

If you read or hear much about bass fishing, you will hear people say they use a jig and pig. But what is a jig and pig and why should you use one to fish for bass?

Lead head jig with rubber skirt and fiber weed guard

Lead head jig with rubber skirt and fiber weed guard

The jig part is a lead head jig with rubber legs or skirt. It may or may not have a weed guard on the hook.

The pig can be several things. The first ones were Uncle Josh Pork Rind Frogs – hence the name “pig.” Now most fishermen use a plastic pig and they can be many shapes and sizes. Some popular ones are chunks – a round body with two legs like the Zoom Chunk. I like a twin curly tail trailer like the Zoom Creepy Crawler or Fat Albert. Others look like crawfish, like the Net Bait Paca Craw. They come in a wide variety of colors.

The pig is attached to the hook of the jig so the body is mostly covered by the skirt and the legs or tails stick out behind the bait.

Bitsy Bug Jig and Creepy Crawler Trailer

Bitsy Bug Jig and Creepy Crawler Trailer

It is important to put the pig or trailer on so it is straight and the legs at a flat plane with the head, perpendicular to the hook. If it is bent the bait may spin and twist your line. If it is at an angle it does not look natural.

The picture above is of my favorite jig and pig – a Strike King Bitsy Bug with a Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer. This one is in browns for clear water. I use a black and blue jig and blue trailer in stained to muddy water. I use a 3/16ths to 1/4 ounce Bitsy Bug and always dip the tips ot the trailer, no matter what color it is, in chartreuse JJs Magic.

For deeper fishing or when the wind is blowing too much for the light jig, I go with the same colors in a 3/8ths to 1/2 ounce Rattleback Jig with the bigger Zoom twin tail Fat Albert trailer. And if I am trying for bigger fish I use the bigger bait. A big bass will hit the smaller bait but I do think bigger fish like bigger baits.

The Bitsy Bug and Creepy Crawler is a great bait for spotted bass but largemouth love it, too. I have done well many tournaments on a variety of lakes on these baits.

A jig and pig can be fished in all kinds of structure and cover. And they can be fished in a wide variety of ways.

Do Moon Phases Affect Fishing?

For many years I have paid attention to moon phases and solunar tables. In a tournament I always try to be on my best spot when the Solunar tables say it is a prime feeding time. I have the Solunar Tables App on my I-Phone and check it before going fishing. Maybe it just gives me a little more confidence, but I think it helps.

Fishing the Moon

By Frank Sargeant
from The Fishing Wire

Expert saltwater anglers can tell you the day of every new and full moon in every month of the year, because they depend so much on the big tides that are generated for three days on either side of these strong lunar periods to create lots of current and cause a feeding binge among species like sea trout, redfish and snook.

Does the moon affect fishing?

Does the moon affect fishing?

The full moon–as well as the new moon–can trigger fish spawning activity in freshwater lakes just as both phases do in saltwater, with the spring phases a particularly good time to go fishing. Credit Wikimedia Commons.

The strong moon phases make the high tides higher and the low tides lower, and moving that much water in and out of the estuaries naturally creates lots of tide flow, which pushes the bait around and makes it easy for gamefish to feed, which is why tide tables are so important to coastal anglers.

Freshwater anglers, not so much, but many of us could probably catch more fish more often if we paid closer attention to the big cheese-head in the sky.

Biologists say there’s definitely a surge in spawning activities for many species, including largemouth bass, crappies, bluegills and shellcrackers, on the strong moon periods. They just don’t come in the same months.

Why the pull of the moon seems to affect freshwater fish when there are no noticeable tides in fresh water is hard to figure, but some think it’s a leftover from the days when all fish were saltwater denizens.

The last strong moon period in March is likely to create the first largemouth spawn of the year in North Alabama, provided we get at least a seasonal warm-up. That warm-up now appears likely, and the new moon this month will fall on the 20th. This moon is also prime time for crappies, which will be stacked up around docks and brushpiles all over the TVA lakes as well as at Weiss and other impoundments.

The full moon in April is pretty much a no-brainer–bass are likely to be everywhere in the shallows, no matter what the weather, and there will be another push, often just as big, on the new moon. This year, the April full moon is the 4th, the new moon the 18th–good days to call in sick to work, for sure, if you’re a dedicated trophy bass angler. The fish spawn at depths anywhere from 12 inches to 6 or 8 feet in most of our lakes, frequently choosing spots around docks or other structure where their fry can hide.

A few leftover bass might still be spawning by the full moon on May 4, but by then most of the shallows will have been taken over by bluegills and shellcrackers, which spawn in the shallow bays, frequently on gravel or shell bottom. The May new moon, equally good, is the 18th.

And June can also be prime time for these panfish, though the early full moon on the 3rd is likely to be better than the new on the 16th. However, another player shows up in the shallows in June, and that is the gizzard shad–millions of them swarm into the warm bays to spawn. While anglers don’t fish for this species, they attract some very large bass ready to prey on the easy pickings, so locating an area where the shad are spawning can be key to catching some big largemouths. Shad-like swimbaits are the preferred offering, but spinnerbaits also work well.

Not to say plenty of fish of all these species won’t be caught during the weaker moon phases in spring–the fish are in the shallows, and anytime you can go fishing may be good. But if you can hit the strong phases, you just about assure yourself of good action.

Fishing Tackle Suggestions for New Fishermen

I received the email below from Bob:

Good Morning,
I was on your website and thought that I would write to you for your suggestions and recommendations. It is the Christmas season so I am sure there are a lot of deals out there as well. If you have recommendations as to where to purchase for the best buy that would be an added plus.

I live on a small freshwater lake (Honeoye Lake) in upstate NY and would like to get into fishing. I am a “novice” in the fishing department so that is why I am writing. Our lake is great for large/small mouth bass, walleye, perch and sunfish. What would be your recommendations as brand and models to purchase and why you recommend these:

· Fishing rod –
· Fishing reel –
· Specific Lures for fishing –

Thanks again for your help. Have a great day.


This is my response – What do you think?

Hi Bob

For someone just starting fishing and wanting to fish for a variety of species you mentioned I would get a mid-range priced spinning outfit. I like the Shimano Sedona reel. They are about $60 and I have four I have used for years and they have held up well. Team it with a medium action fast taper rod like the Browning Cherrywood rod for about $25. There are much more expensive rods and I really like St. Croix, but to start a cheaper rod will serve you and you can get a better idea of what you like.

I have both listed on my rod and reel page from Bass Pro Shops at

I use fluorocarbon line but for a beginner I would recommend a line like the Trilene XL in eight to ten pound test. Be careful putting it on and it it is twisted let it out behind a boat slowly moving and reel it in slowly or if you don’t have a boat you can untwist it by stretching it out on the ground and reeling it in slowly.

For lures, keep it simple. A jig head worm and a weightless Senko and small jig and pig all catch smallmouth and largemouth.

I would add a couple of small spinnerbaits and crankbaits, too. And a small top water popper like the Rico or Pop-R are good.

For pan fish live bait is hard to beat and an outfit like this will let you rig a hook and small slit shot to fish them. You might want to drop down to six or even four pound line for them. And if your water is real clear and not much cover, I would fish for bass with six pound line, too.

Hope this helps – let me know if you have other questions.


Do Women Like Saltwater Fishing?

Introducing Women to Saltwater Fishing
from The Fishing Wire

So your wife, girlfriend or daughter wants to try fishing? How you handle her initial experience can make all the difference.

“Daddy, take me fishing,” are four words any fishing father loves to hear from his son, but it has become a more common refrain from daughters-and it’s just as welcomed. In fact, it’s not just daughters showing a greater interest in the sport, but women across the spectrum. That’s a great thing! While fishing is still a male-dominated sport, there has been a steady increase in the number of women fishing alongside men, and a new breed of distaff anglers who get out there and do it on their own.

Everyone likes to catch stripers

Everyone likes to catch stripers

Tangling with a big striper takes skills for success, and both men and women need a bit of instruction before they hook up the first time on a fish this size.

How you manage any newcomer’s introduction to fishing will have an effect on their perception of the sport and their desire to become more involved. With that in mind, there is no one better to consult on this subject than Betty Bauman, founder and CEO of Ladies Let’s Go Fishing (LLFG).

Betty started fishing as a child and shares a deep love of the sport. Throughout her fishing experiences, she has moved from cane poles and ponds to saltwater. The knowledge and skill she has acquired along the way, combined with her winning marketing skills and outgoing personality, have helped her share her passion for fishing with other women interested in getting started in the sport. Her award-winning seminar series, which she affectionately calls the “no-yelling school of fishing,” has successfully introduced over 5,000 women to saltwater fishing.

“As an experienced angler, the first thing you have to realize is that fishing is not simple,” said Bauman. “You can’t just throw someone into a fishing situation without first spending time talking, demonstrating and providing them the opportunity to practice a little.”

There is nothing more frustrating than putting a rod and reel in the hands of someone who has never fished before, expecting them to be able to use it on the water. For an experienced angler, the tools of the trade might be old hat. But for someone who has never fished before, something as simple as operating a reel or feeling a bite can be challenging. If you don’t alleviate the potential for frustration from the beginning, novice anglers simply won’t have a good time. And if he or she doesn’t enjoy the initial experience, chances are unlikely you will gain a new fishing buddy.

Teach someone to fish

Teach someone to fish

Saltwater fishing is a different ballgame from freshwater, requiring bigger boats, motors and tackle-but it’s at least equally fascinating with a good teacher or two.
Betty explained that it’s important for the experienced angler to become a teacher. Stop and think about why you go fishing and convey that message as clearly as you can.

“You have to explain the whole world of magic that emerges when you’re fishing, and do your best to paint a picture of that magic before she sets foot on a boat,” she advised.

Tell her about the fish you plan to catch, and show her pictures of them. Tell her about the habitat they live in, what they eat, and how you plan to fish for them. Let her know there is so much more to fishing than the act of fishing itself. There will be opportunities to commune with a wide range of sea life; birds, porpoises, sea turtles and hundreds of species of fish, while you’re out on the water. It broadens the experience and takes some of the emphasis off catching fish.

Spend a little time explaining the various techniques: trolling, casting, jigging, bottom fishing. Don’t just show her a lure or a bait rig and tell her this is what we are going to use. Explain how it works and how to use it. She won’t remember everything – no one can. (You didn’t in the beginning either.) But that’s not important first time out; it’s just a good way of showing her that fishing, like any sport, isn’t as easy as it might look. It requires some education and experience to become proficient.

The time for instruction is before you actually get on the boat to go fishing. Teach her about the tackle you plan on using for her first on-water experience, and let her handle it. Show her how to operate the reel, and explain how it works in conjunction with the rod, not just as a casting tool, but as a fish fighting tool. Explain the principle of the drag system and how it comes into play to prevent the line from breaking when a large fish is hooked.

Anyone would be proud of this striper

Anyone would be proud of this striper

Giant stripers like this one don’t come along every day, but when they do, any angler can truly appreciate them.

If you’re using spinning tackle, explain the importance of not reeling when a fish is pulling line off the reel. Teach her how to use the rod to lift and retrieve when fighting a fish. If she will be casting on her first outing, show her how so she understands the basic principles. You should include a practice session with you standing by as her mentor ready with words of encouragement and suggestions on how she can improve when she is doing something wrong. No matter what happens stay cool, keep positive and make the learning experience as pleasant as you possibly can. According to Betty the two most important words to use at times like these, no matter what happens, are “It’s OK.”

If she is not familiar with the boat and how to fish from it, there is that much more to explain. You can also explain how to control a fish at boatside, whether it is to be netted, gaffed or released. Tell her why a lot of fish are released either voluntarily or because of regulations. And be sure to cover the importance of wearing appropriate clothing so she is comfortable for her first fishing experience. Clothing will vary depending on where you are fishing and the time of year, but it is an important topic. Be sure she brings sunglasses and sunscreen, and if there is any chance she might have a predilection for seasickness, simple over-the-counter remedies are cheap insurance for a nice day on the water.

Plan her first fishing experience to appeal to her, not you. Pick a target species that is abundant, easy to find and requires simple skills to catch. Consider keeping the time on the water brief instead of forcing her to get up at sunrise and drag herself back after a ten-hour day on the water.

The most important thing for any newcomer to the sport isn’t catching a big fish or great quantities of fish, it’s catching a fish – period. For that reason, you might consider a morning or afternoon of bottom fishing with simple bait rigs that don’t require a lot of casting. Pick a nice day, anchor on a productive spot, bait her hook, have her drop it to the bottom. Explain what a bite feels like and how to set the hook when she feels one. All she has to do is catch a fish or two, and you’re well on your way to fulfilling all her initial expectations of fishing. From there it’s a matter of moving forward at a pace that is comfortable for her, and seeing how her interest grows. You might be surprised when she starts asking you to teach her more and mentions trying different types of fishing for different species of fish. After all, it is the most addictive of sports whether you’re a man, woman or child.

If you’d like to learn more about Betty Bauman and her educational seminars for women go to