Fishing tips from Gord Pyzer: The jig is up
I was out fishing for some Thanksgiving walleyes on the weekend and it brought to mind the Outdoor Canada fishing video tip I recorded for for last week’s Fish’n Canada television show (see below).
The reason it is so timely is that a lot of walleye anglers fret about selecting the best weight jig for the current fishing conditions. Is it better, they wonder, to use a bigger, heavier jig or a smaller, lighter one?
Well, the answer is, it depends. As a general rule, you should err on the slightly bigger, heavier side of things, at least until you gain some jigging experience.
Over the course of the season, I get to take out folks who don’t live in a boat all year like I do, anglers who might fish only a few times a season. The reality is they have difficulty feeling the bottom and knowing when their jig is down where the walleyes are roaming.
Many times when I have two or more folks in the boat with me, I’ll experiment by tying on a 1/4-ounce jig for one of the anglers and a 3/8-ounce jig for the other person. You wouldn’t think that a 1/8th-ounce weight difference would matter, but it does.
Invariably, the person with the lighter jig is hung up on the bottom more than the person who is fishing with the heavier jig.
You’d think it would be the opposite, but the tendency of folks who are fishing with jigs that are too light, is to keep letting out more line so they can reconnect with the bottom. And the more line you have trailing behind the boat, the better your chances are of getting snagged.
Something else to consider: Lake of the Woods, like many lakes across the country, experiences a heavy algae bloom come late summer and early fall. Indeed, the water is often so green at this time of the year, that when you put your hand into the lake, you can’t see your fingers when your wrist is getting wet.
Walleyes have the biggest eyes in relation to their body size of any animal on earth, and the tapedum lucidum at the back of their big peepers lets them see easily in the dark. But, it is still to your advantage most days to help them see your lure better by using a jig that has a slightly larger surface area and thus, is heavier.
By the way, it is even more important to use a slightly bigger and heavier jig when the walleyes are colour conscious. As they were on the weekend.
I was using one of Al Patterson’s (ReelBait) 3/8-ounce, hot orange Flasher Jigs, with the tiny willowleaf blade below the lead head. In the dingy water, the slightly bigger, heavier head, combined with the silvery flash of the blade and the hot orange colour was a Thanksgiving walleye turn-on.
I was also fishing a major channel area in the lake with significant current. Enough water movement that the channel stays ice free all winter long even when the temperature plummets to thirty below.
Anytime you’re walleye fishing in a river or current situation, you can just about guarantee the fish will be hugging the bottom, where the current is reduced, and where a bigger, heavier jig will catch significantly more fish.
But enough talk, watch this short video clip – simply slide the adjustment bar to the 8:30 minute mark – and I think it will help answer the age old question about the best weight jig to use.