The Jig Bite!

Jim and Dale with another Red Zone fish
Our captain had to head to Saskatoon for a wedding so we jumped in with Dale and Russ in the big 21 foot Ranger. Since there were four of us fishing today we decided to jig. With a water temperature at 46 Fahrenheit, the use of a jig at this of the year is always a great option. As it turned out, we had a tremendous day on the water with 16 Red Zone walleye caught. I have done a lot of jig fishing over the years and I have actually improved on this technique a lot with age.
Friend Jim Price is one of the best jig fisherman I have ever fished with and I have learned a ton from him on how to consistently out fish those around you. The most important part of the equation when you jig fish is to actually feel the jig and the motion you give to it. It might be a slow sweep and drop like Jim likes to use, or small quick hops or just a subtle lift and drop. Whatever the stroke, you have to feel the jig you are using at the end of your line. That’s because when something changes and you don’t feel that jig anymore then a fish has probably got it in its mouth. It’s then you set the hook and even if you miss the fish, chances are you will catch more than you miss.

 Pink and Blue Bite Me Jig in action
EQUIPMENT: When the bite is light like it was on this trip, I choose a medium light action 6 foot Series One rod from Berkley. I have had this particular rod for an awful long time and it’s extremely sensitive. It’s spooled with 8 pound Berkley Nanofil on which is tied a 5 foot tipped of 8 pound flurocarbon using an Albright  Knot. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of matching the equipment to the size of the lure that you were using. On the slow drift I could use a 1/4 ounce jig tipped with medium sized shiner minnow and feel the lure no problem. When Dale put the I Pilot Terrova on anchor mode we had to switch over to a 3/8 ounce because of current speed. That was a critical change so I could feel my jig. And in this case, the walleye were coming up from behind the jig and swimming ahead with it. There was essentially no bite, just a change of rhythm.  With Nanofil line, there is no memory or water retention so it’s great in cold weather and for ice fishing.
It’s also excellent on the hook set and with the Bite Me jig I was using, made by Wayne Tumack of Regina, very few fish were lost. I was using the walleye model in pink/blue and the hook on this was real solid. With a pinched down barb, I made sure to take my diamond hook sharpener to the point. While these jigs are hard to get a hold of, they are really good quality and the shape of this jig reduces drag in current. I had purchased some from Wayne himself years ago at the Last Mountain Walleye Tournament but only got them out of storage after Captain Boyd laid a licking on me and Jim on last year’s fall trip. I wasn't going to let that happen two years in row.