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How to Pick The Right Jig Trailer

When I first started bass fishing, I was wary of learning how to fish a jig. They’re kind of inherently more complicated than a texas rig or shaky head because of how much say the trailer has in how appetizing your bait looks. Selecting the right jig trailer can be a little complex. Here I share some reasoning as to when and why you would pick certain kinds of trailers, and share a few examples of tried-and-trues that I’ve used. 

I consider two factors more than anything else when picking a jig trailer. 

  • Water temperature
  • Water color

Water Temperature 

A general rule I try to follow is the hotter the water, the more action you can tip your jig with. This isn’t necessarily hard and fast, and you can certainly catch a fish on a football jig with a chunk trailer in the middle of summer, but it’s a good guideline to start with. 

This is most applicable in the spring when the mood of the fish fluctuates a lot more. What you’re really trying to do here is match the mood of the fish, and it’s important to remember that that is determined by the change in temperature more so than the temperature itself. Warm and cold are relative. 

As the water warms and the fish get on the bank in the spring, you can break out the more action-packed trailers. Once the fish get solidly up on the bank and start looking to spawn, I usually start throwing the more wiggly stuff. My personal favorite, which is also the favorite of a lot of other people for good reason, is the Strike King Rage Craw. 

Rage Craw/Green Pumpkin
  • Rage Craw / Green Pumpkin
  • Rage Craw / Green Pumpkin
  • Rage Craw / Green Pumpkin
  • Rage Craw / Green Pumpkin
  • Rage Craw / Green Pumpkin

This and similar style baits are great multipurpose jig trailers that you can put on a flipping jig, tip a football jig with in the summertime, or even swim. 

It’s in the winter or when you’re dealt a spring cold front and the temperature goes down that you want to go the other way and use a chunk-style trailer. 

I fished an early April tournament on the Waccamaw River in South Carolina a few years ago. The fish on the Waccamaw are not very big and the field was pretty tightly packed together after the first day. We were somewhere in the middle having caught a small limit flipping a creature bait. The night before the second day, a major cold front came through the area and the air temperature was around freezing after being near the 60s the morning before. The bite was tough. 

After a bad morning, I started flipping a finesse jig with a small Strike King Super Chunk and not only did I start catching fish again, but I caught three fish each bigger than anything we caught during the three days of practice and the first tournament. We nearly rallied from the middle of the pack and made the cut, and may have if not for a lost fish. Regardless, it was a lesson in catching sluggish fish with sluggish baits. 

Two chunk-style trailers I really like are the Zoom Super Chunk for smaller jigs and the Bruiser Baits Intruder for larger jigs. 

Zoom 037025 Super Chunk Jig Trailer, 3 1/2-Inch, 5-Pack, Green Pum-Packin
  • Package length: 16.764 cm
  • Package width: 12.7 cm
  • Package height: 0.508 cm
  • Product Type: FISHING HOOK

Water color

While your options are pretty wide open when the water clarity is solid, whenever you’re fishing in dirty water, your bait needs to move more water. This is a staple in bass fishing that applies in every scenario. When bass can’t see, they hunt with their other senses, chiefly their sense of vibration. So create some vibration. 

I like a big trailer in dirty water because it moves more water, and when the water temperature allows for it, something with some action to push a little more water around. The fish need to be able to find the bait. The Strike King Rage Bug is a great big profile jig trailer with appendages. When I want something more subtle but still with a big profile, the D-Bomb is usually the go-to. 

Rage Bug Bama Bug
  • Flanges for consistent, subtle action
  • For use behind the DB Structure Head
  • Ideal as a flipping or creature bait
  • Pack of 7
Missile Baits MBBDS5-SHRP Baby D, Shrapnel, One Size
  • Delivers versatile, fish-catching performance
  • Features a beaver-inspired body
  • Moves massive amounts of water with two oversized claws
  • Has a ribbed construction
  • Has flailing appendages, ensuring that it gets noticed

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