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Stroking A Jig Will Catch Bass

Should I Try Stroking A Jig?

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Picture of a Jig and Pig with Zoom Curly Tail Trailer

Picture of a Jig and Pig with Zoom Curly Tail Trailer

2006 Ronnie Garrison licensed to About.com
A few years ago I wrote a magazine article on stroking a jig for bass fishing. I fished with a tournament fisherman that had won a BFL tournament on Lake Oconee that year by stroking a jig and it was the first time I had really heard about that technique. It has become more and more popular and at times is the best way to catch bass.

This fisherman ran from dock to dock on the lake, pitched his jig and pig to the outside posts, let the bait fall to the bottom then jerked it off the bottom several feet. He let if fall back one time then reeled in and pitched to the next post. He fished dozens of docks each day doing this and caught many quality bass. That day he landed a five pound plus bass and several others over three pounds stroking a jig.

The technique works on many kinds of cover and structure, not just docks. The idea is to make the jig take off like a frightened baitfish and draw a reaction strike from a bass that is not actively feeding. It also works on bass that are feeding but reluctant to hit. The fast moving bait is harder for the fish to identify as a fake and bass tend to react to something trying to get away.

On Lake Oconee there is a lot of pleasure boat traffic and the wakes crashing into the docks often spook bream and other baitfish holding there. The fisherman I went with that day said he liked the waves stirring up the baitfish and they helped him get bites.

You should base your jig color on water color. If the water is clear a brown jig works best and the technique seems a little better in clear water. In stained water a black and blue jig is better. It also helps to use a trailer with two curly tails and to dip the tips of the tails in a chartreuse dye like JJs Magic since that color imitates the color of bluegill fins. It also works better in warmer water when the bass are more active.

You need to really jerk the bait off the bottom, making it move several feet. With your rod tip down in about the four or five o'clock position, jerk it up to almost straight up in the one to twelve o'clock position. That should move the bait about five feet, depending on rod length. A seven foot rod works well for this technique and heavy line, in the 20 pound test range, is best since you often hook big bass near cover. A half to five eights ounce jig works well since you want the jig to fall fast.

As you let the bait fall keep your line tight and watch it for a tick or any movement indicating a hit. When it hits the bottom on the first pitch and the first fall, let it sit for a few seconds. You can stroke it off the bottom several times, especially if there is a lot of cover like a brush pile beside the dock, repeating the movement until your bait is away from the cover.

You can also do this with other baits, like spinnerbaits, tail spinners, bucktail jigs and plastic worms. Baits with exposed hooks, like tail spinners and rattle baits, you need to keep your bait near but not right in the cover. That is why a weedless bait like a jig and pig or worm is best around heavy cover. With exposed hooks you will drive them into any wood cover when you stroke it.

When fishing around grass you can use a rattle bait or other bait with exposed hooks. If you hang in the grass a hard jerk of the rod will make the bait take off when it comes loose, adding to the stroke. You can even stroke a , making it take off from a stalled position or from a strand of grass.

On open bottoms like hard clay or even around rocks, do the same thing, making your bait dart several feet. No matter where bass hold and feed, it will draw strikes you would not get with a slower moving bait. It is tiring and hard on your arms, but it works.

Try stroking a jig on your favorite lake and see if this method works for you.

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