Every hardcore fisherman has a “go to” bait to depend on to put fish in the boat when no other bait will work. For myself this bait is a hair jig.
Many anglers will tell you that a hair jig is just for winter and cold water fishing, but I can tell you that I use the hair jig all year long with good results. The key to fishing the hair jig is to change and adapt the bait when faced with different fishing situations. By this I mean to change size or color as needed and to add or remove trailers and fish many different speeds and retrieves. By doing these things, you can make a hair jig work in any fishing situation.
For winter smallmouth bass fishing it is as good as any bait you can use. It also has a reputation as a big bass bait and winter is big smallmouth season, so the hair jig and winter smallmouth make a perfect match. If that does not make you want to get out and do some winter smallmouth fishing, you might as well put your fishing tackle up for good.
Smallmouth in the 4- to 6-pound range are not uncommon in the winter months. Smallmouth will remain active all winter in most area lakes. When you are choosing hair jigs to buy or to take with you on a winter smallmouth trip, stick to the darker colors like black, blue, green, brown, orange or any combination of these colors. Use the smaller size like a 3/8 ounce.
Winter smallmouth really like to hold around banks that have a slow steady drop into deeper water and that have small, chunk-size rock or gravel-like rock on them. Baitfish and crawfish will feed and hold around these rocks during the cold winter and smallmouth will feed off them.
Look for these types of spots and fish them slowly. Make your casts close to the bank and slowly work the jig back toward the boat. Be sure to watch and feel your line for any type of sudden weight or difference in the feel of your retrieve. And also be sure to try to feel for any type of cover as you work the jig back.
If you feel anything or see your line jerk or move off, stop and feel for a strike and set the hook hard. A good size smallmouth will pull very hard. This is one reason they are so popular with wintertime anglers.
The hair jig is not the only wintertime bait that will catch smallies, but it is sure one of the best.
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