Catching Trout With Mini Jigs

Catching Trout With Mini Jigs

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gordon with a nice mt lassen rainbow trout on the mini jig

Are you sick of soaking Powerbait for trout? This will change the game for you. Throwing mini jigs (a.k.a. tubes, jigs, etc.) can provide you with quicker limits than you could ever imagine. To be able to throw and work these jigs effectively is a whole different challenge but that’s what we’re here for, right?

Why Do Jigs Work Better?

Tossing mini jigs for trout allow you to cover more water and give the fish something different to eat. When other techniques like Powerbait or Kastmasters fail, the mini jig shines. Once you can work a jig correctly you’ll see that you not only cover water but are in control of how fast or deep you are fishing. When the trout are picky they still find it hard to turn down a jig.

When to Throw a Jig

Tossing a mini jig won’t work in every situation. When the trout are deeper it’s difficult to fish a jig because of the slow sink rate. With that in mind, we like to throw jigs in shallow, clear water situations for the best results.

Mini jigs are most effective when the trout are cruising around in the shallows. Seeing shadows dart around behind your jig will definitely get your blood pumping! Cast away from the fish and slowly work your way towards them to entice a strike.

The Most Important Factor

What’s the most important part of throwing a mini jig? The rod. If you don’t have the right ultralight rod, it can be extremely difficult to cast and work your jigs. Luckily we have some of the very best suggestions for you. A few of these picks may seem a bit pricey but they are well worth it. Lifetime over-the-counter warranty and the absolute perfect action for working the jig correctly. The cheaper options will work great as well if you are tight on cash.

Ultralight Rods
Model Length Taper Price
Phenix Dragonfly DFX-801  8′  Fast  $249
Phenix Elixir 801-2  8′  Fast  $209
Okuma SST 802-UL  8′  Medium  $55
Shakespeare WSSP72UL  7′  Ultra Light  $40

Choosing a Reel

Any spinning reel in the 500-1000 size is perfect since we’ll be using light line in the 2-4lb class. I’m a trout psycho so I spent a bit over $200 on my reel but you definitely don’t have to do so yourself. Any smooth reel in the $30-60 is more than sufficient, just choose what feels best for you. The reel doesn’t have to be top-notch quality because your drag is set low anyways, eliminating the need for high-quality drag washers.

Spinning Reels
Brand Weight (oz.) Line Cap. Price
 Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 1000  5.64  10lb/95yds  $212
 Shimano Sahara 500FE  6.20  2lb/190yds  $71
 Pfleuger Trion 25  5.90  2lb/200yds  $40

Line Selection

If you’ve never fished anything as light as 2lb test, this will be an absolute blast for you. I prefer monofilament since it’s more stretchy and helps you play the fish better. The monofilament also floats, allowing you to keep your jig higher up in the water column to avoid snags. Trilene XL, Maxima Ultragreen and Izorline XXX are all great options. If you’re really not comfortable with 2lb you can step up to 4lb but you’ll lose a bit of castability.

Mini Jig Selection: Weight & Color

I prefer all my mini jigs to be 1/32oz. This is heavy enough to get a good cast and light enough to keep off the ground. I’ve tried the 1/64oz. jigs and they were a pain to cast. If you’re buying hooks and tubes separately, make sure the hook doesn’t stick out too far up or back from the tube as this may deter the fish. Stay away from cheap hooks! Your hookup ratio will go up the roof if you have sticky sharp hooks. Owner and Gamakatsu are two awesome brands to look out for.

Color choice is fairly simple as the trout prefer anything bright. This isn’t always the case, however, and I always keep an array of natural colors on deck just in case they’re finicky. As a staple, you should have a selection of orange, white, chartreuse green and yellow jigs – this will be great for most situations. When the trout get picky I’ll switch over to the natural brown and green pumpkin jigs. You’ll just have to fish a bunch of colors to find your personal favorites.

A few of my favorite jig brands include:

  • Sierra Slammers
  • Trout King
  • B-Line Jig Co.

Fishing a Mini Jig

The mini jig takes a bit of practice to master. What makes it difficult? Finding the perfect twitching cadence that keeps your jig almost shaking in place. Once you get this down it’s hard for the trout to resist. This is where your ultralight rod is important because it helps you twitch the jig with little to no effort, keeping your arm and wrist strain-free.

Cast out your mini jig and begin a series of rhythmic twitches on slack line. I usually play with the jig a few feet in front of me to make sure it’s swimming properly. The trick is to twitch more than you reel. If you’re reeling too much chances are the jig is moving forward more than it is up and down. Usually after every 4-6 twitches I’ll slightly turn the handle to catch up with the line.

Personal Mini Jig Fishing Tips

This is what sets us apart from the tips other sites will give you. These methods have been refined through trial & error and you won’t see these elsewhere!

  • Make sure the jig is swimming straight. If you’re shaking the jig and see it twirling, simply check the tube skirt and make sure all strands are even. I’ll usually have to throw a few strands to the other side of the hook to balance things out. If the jig is still twirling you may be twitching too hard.
  • Make sure the jig skirt is split properly. Most of the time the mini jig skirts will have a few strands fused together from pouring. Simply tear these strands apart carefully or cut them with a scissor/razor.
  • Boil your jigs for improved swimming action. Some of my favorite mini jigs are a bit too stiff for my liking so I’ll boil them for a minute or so. This softens up the skirt and helps it quiver better in the water, making for a killer presentation.
  • Use scent on your mini jig. If you start missing too many fish, you should consider using scent. This will help the trout hold onto your jig long enough for you to set hook. Without scent the fish will simply swipe at your jig and spit it out in a matter of seconds. Any garlic or nightcrawler scent is great.
  • Set your drag tight in the beginning. I’ve lost a number of trout by setting hook with the drag too loose. Because of this, the hook didn’t penetrate enough and the fish spat out the jig after a few moments. I’ll usually set the drag rather tight and immediately loosen after setting hook. This little trick has salvaged many trips for me.
  • Set the hook fast. As mentioned before, the trout have the tendency to spit the jig rather quickly, so set hook as soon as you feel a bite. Having quick reflexes is one of the most important aspects of trout jigging.

I hope this has helped you gain a better understanding of jigging for trout. The one and only way to refine your technique is to get out on the water and try it for yourselves. If you have any questions/suggestions please let us know in the comments below! We love your feedback and support. Tight lines!

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