Bluegill - Micro Jigs - Matt Madsen

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Jigs are an effective tool for the pursuit of all game fish, large and small, however there are certain game fish, specifically the members of the sunfish family, that feed on small zooplankton almost exclusively and have small mouths that restrict the size of lure/hook that can be used effectively. Micro jig, sizes 1/32 to 1/100 oz not only imitate natural food , but are small enough to hook and hold these smallmouth battlers.

Due to their lightweight size, micro jigs do not cast well with standard tackle, hence to fish them effectively, you must adapt and use different techniques. By far the most effective of these is the slip bobber.

A slip bobber consists of a bobber/float that has a hole through the center. The other key component of the system is a bobber stop and bead. The bobber stop is a piece of line which grips your main line, allowing you to adjust the depth that your lure sinks. The stop runs to the bead, the bead stops the line from going through the bobber. You can purchase bobber stops and beads from a variety of locations, local tackle shops, mass merchandiser like K-Mart, Wal-Mart, or mail order. You can also make your own by tying a nail knot, using a small straw ( coffee stirrers ) instead of a nail. Use as heavy a cotton thread as you can find, preferably unwaxed.

You will find that standard ultra-light tackle is okay, but if you want the ultimate in control and success, I would recommend a 6 ½ to 7 ½ ft. medium light action spinning rod, with 4-6 lb mono, and a good spinning reel with a large diameter spool. The large diameter spool lets you get the maximum amount of line on the spool for long casts, without the line billowing off and twisting.

The jigs themselves can be dressed with small grub tails, small tubes, or left bare bones and fished with bait. Lets talk about tubes and tails first. These should be 1 ½ to 2 inches long, in a variety of colors. Bass Pro and Cabela's are well known, but try other sources, especially those that cater to panfish/crappie fisherman. Check those centered in the southeast and mid-south.

Bait wise, there are several preferred baits. Crickets are by far the best. These can be purchased locally at pet stores that sell reptiles or on the Internet. Red worms are better than night crawlers, and small red worms better than jumbos. Other baits that would be available at Powell are crayfish captured at the lake. Tip your jigs with a piece of crayfish meat out of the tail, ‘gills love em.

You will want to balance the bobber/jig combo with small soft lead shot, the kind that fly fisherman use. You want to add shot to your rig so that the bobber is just floating, so when the fish takes the jig, the bobber does not give any resistance. You will have to experiment with various bobbers, jigs and shot combos to get the right set up.

Where do you fish this?? Just about anywhere. In the spring, shallow flats with stickups, brush, and weeds with sandy gravel bottoms. Adjust your bobber stop so the jig is just suspended off the bottom. Work slowly and watch the bobber for the strike. As the season progresses, you can find sunfish just about anywhere on the lake and you can adjust your depth by moving your stop knot up and down. You can fish this as deep as 20-30 feet. The bobber stop will run through your guides and onto the reel without hanging up.

The deeper you go, you may want to have more weight, but sometimes a very slow fall will produce more action. Just experiment. Don't be surprised if you catch a smorgasbord of other fish, as these micro jigs can be very deadly on even the bigger game fish.

More information about Micro jigs, slip bobbers, and panfish can be found on various web sites on the Internet. Check those that deal with European style fishing, walleye fishing, and crappie fishing. Remember, downsize, and experiment. Good luck.
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