(Editor's note: "Catching Bass with Dustin Wilks" airs four times per week on the World Fishing Network Ė 6:30 p.m. ET Monday, 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The six-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier provides BassFans with tips about various aspects of bass fishing in these periodic submissions.)
Itís hard to beat a jig day in and day out. If I had just one lure to use for bass, it would be a jig.
A jig is not just a jig anymore, though, as there have been countless advancements in material and design that make them so much better than jigs of old.
First is material. Tungsten has made the heads smaller and more sensitive, making them sink quicker, have a smaller profile and able to pick up subtle changes in cover and bottom composition.
Second is design. There are so many cool offerings, from swinging jigs that you can change the hooks on to punch heads that have a skirt collar built in.
I use many of these designs, but the one Iíve used the longest is the Eco Pro Kira Casting jig. It's a downsized jig that fishes great in deep water with the perfect size hook that can handle big fish Ė a combo that's hard to find.
Iíve literally used this jig from Alabama to Canada and out to California and it's my favorite for deep water. I mainly use 1/2- and 3/4-ounce versions in the summer, although the heavier one is getting harder to find.
I combine this jig with Yo-Zuri Top Knot fluorocarbon of varying sizes depending on conditions. Most often I use a trimmed-down Culprit Flutter Craw in 3- or 4-inch or a Culprit Incredi-Slim if I want a really fast fall, depending on the look Iím going for.
The tungsten makes the Kira jig fish really well in deeper water, falling faster than comparable lead jigs with its dense head and compact design.
Depending on the water body that Iím fishing, I fish this jig in several ways.
First is stroking, which is basically ripping it fast and hard as high as you can off the bottom, then letting it fall back down. I fish it this way to trigger inactive fish and to just cover water down creek and river channels. It's a super-fun way to fish and generates some awesome bites that will literally knock slack in your line. Fishing hard-bottom areas with shells or submerged vegetation is the best for this method.
Up north, I use these jigs in deeper weed beds. Iím looking for holes in the weeds that might indicate a boulder, or Iím looking to punch through the heavier parts of the weeds to the open water below. The 3/4-ounce model Kira gets the nod here, or Iíll often switch over to an Eco-Pro Trokar 1-ounce flipping jig if the weeds are really dense, or change to a tungsten punch weight that you can go all the way to 1 1/2 ounces with to get through the slop.
If Iím straight mat-fishing, then I switch to Yo-Zuri Super Braid in 50-pound. The offshore and open-water stuff is done mostly with 14- to 16-pound Top Knot fluorocarbon.
Two other jigs I use a lot are the Eco-Pro Tungsten Free Ball Jig and Eco-Pro Swinging Swim jig.
The Free Ball is a football-head with a swinging hook that I drag on the bottom. Again, Iím looking for rough spots and shells and the tungsten picks up those changes so much better than lead. The beauty of this rig is that you can change the hook to accommodate any plastic you want to fish. Iím mainly in the 1/2- to 3/4-ounce range on this rig, but will go to 3/8-ounce if Iím riding good stuff in less than 5 feet of water. Key spots are rocks outside of weed beds or rough bottom and shells near channels.
The Swinging Swim jig is a similar design, but with a built-in skirt and slimmer head. I use it to cover shallow areas and I most often pair it with a Culprit Incredi-Swim and I prefer 50-pound braid with this. The skirt is great for illusion and it really tricks them into biting if you need to break up the image of your swimbait.
If you're looking for a big bite, the Eco-Pro Swing Swim Jig will produce. It's a large bait, but one that's subtle enough to get bites even in clearer water. You can also change the hook on this model as well. If you go to a really thick hook, youíll need to change the split ring also. Many anglers have kept this design to themselves over the years, and for good reason Ė it catches pigs!
I could go on all day about all the cool jig designs that are out there, but those are a few that I really love and have been using for years.