Mike Frisch: Which jig is the right jig for walleyes?
When it comes to walleye fishing, there are lots and lots of jig styles, colors, and shapes available. Some folks might think, "Well, a jig is a jig." However, choosing the right jig for a fishing situation can be as important as a mechanic choosing the right wrench or other equipment for fixing a car! Here are this "fishing mechanic's" thoughts on selecting the right fishing tool for the job.
When walleyes during early season are the target, I often favor small-to-medium-sized minnows as walleyes during this time often prefer a smaller offering. For that reason, the always popular Fire-Ball Jig with its wide-gap, short-shank hook has been the gold standard for lots of early season walleye anglers.
The Fire-Ball's short-shank hook keeps the minnow up close to the jig-head, which makes for a compact presentation that finicky, cold-water walleyes often prefer. The short hook shank also facilitates more hooked fish because the minnow is close to the fish-attracting, colored jig head. Finally, the wide-gap hook allows for more positive hooksets.
While the traditional Fire-Ball works in lots of situations, when casting and pitching to shallow walleyes, I prefer the Stand-Up version. This jig has the same hook but in a sleek, stand-up style head that allows live bait to stand up and be seen by walleyes cruising the shallows.
Another jig that has been around a long time is the Whistler Jig. This jig features a propeller blade that adds flash and vibration and can be fished with live bait or soft baits. This underwater commotion the prop blade produces can be downright deadly in stained or muddy water, calling in fish that might not even see other jigs. To make it even more appealing, the Whistler is now offered in a variety of UV-enhanced colors.
When walleyes are holding in deep water, current situations, or are susceptible to soft plastics, another fishing tool, a.k.a. jig, takes over. The new Current Cutter Jig has an aquadynamic head shape for fishing in current or deep water.
The jig also has a wire keeper and large hook so it works perfect for tipping with plastics for cast and retrieve approaches. The hook also works well when tipping with bigger minnows. Once again, this jig comes in high visibility UV-enhanced colors.
Whether you fish dirty or clear water, deep or shallow, or somewhere in between, choosing the right jig for that situation will help you put more walleyes in the boat.
As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com or follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more "fishy" stuff.