As water temperatures drop, it is a good time to consider throwing a hair jig. I noticed Jeff Rose under the handle @hairjigger on Instagram and figured he would be a great guy to ask about throwing these baits for bass. Lots of great info here.
I personally believe that the hair jig is one of the most underrated lures in a fisherman’s arsenal. What are your go to conditions for the hair jig?
I also believe the hair jig is a truly underrated lure. Although, in my home lake area and close by, its no secret. The hair jig has won more spring tournaments around here than probably all other lures combined. From ice out to late pre-spawn, there is no better bass lure. I also throw hair late fall and right up to ice when the water cools down. When most guys have put their boats away for the winter, I’m still out there hair jigging.
Do you ever fish hair jigs in unorthodox times when others are busy throwing other tackle?
Most fisherman throw hair jigs in the spring, but switch up to plastics till fall. I always have a hair jig tied on. In the summer and into early fall there is a period where i fish a 3/8 oz white/grey model out deeper. I also work this jig differently than the smaller spring time jigs. I like to swim this jig, let it drop, and pump it slowly.
For the smaller 1/8 oz jigs I use in the spring, I like to fish them slowly on the bottom and making the jig dance in place. Pull it in a foot or two then dance it again.
What is your usual outfit for throwing the jig?
My outfit is what makes me a successful hair jigger. I only use Carrot Stix rods. 6’7″ med heavy fast action. 6lb Seaguar Invizx Flourocarbon, and old school Shimano Spirex reels. The reels aren’t nearly as important as the rod and line. The Seaguar is super thin and strong , and the sensitivity on the Carrot Stix is the best on the market. With this setup i can literally feel the fish breath on the jig.
What do you like about the Carrot Stix Rods for throwing hair jigs?
I will never forget the first time I picked up a Carrot Stix rod. It just blew me away. The feel was like nothing I had held before. It weighed nothing. I couldn’t believe how sensitive it was. The action was incredible. I immediately purchased the rod. After fishing a few times with my new Carrot Stix rod, I didn’t want to even pick up any of my old rods anymore. I felt as though any other rod put me at a disadvantage. 8 years later and 20 more Carrot Stix in my arsenal,and I still feel the same. These rods have truly changed the way I fish and have made me a much better angler. Buying that first Carrot Stix was the turning point in my fishing career, without a doubt.
What colors of hair jigs are you using in what conditions?
My colors are simple. 1/8oz, 1/4oz black from ice out to late pre-spawn. I always want to use the lightest jig possible. The wind will dictate which weight jig I’m using. If I cant keep the 1/4oz on the bottom, I have emergency 3/8 jigs on the boat , but I really try to stick it out with the 1/4oz. The seaguar flouro really helps with this.
My summer/early fall hair jig is white/grey with a little flashabou tinsel tied in it for flash. This jig has a much bigger profile and as I stated earlier, I fish it differently. I have other colors tied and ready to go but rarely need to switch things up. Green pumpkin (olive) , brown, black with chartreuse are a few of my other colors.
Do you have a particular preference of hair type? Are you ever using a trailer?
For my black springtime jigs I use synthetic hair. My summer jigs are more of a hybrid with synthetic, marabou, and tinsel. I pour all my own jig heads and tie all my own jigs. A lot of guys swear by bear, fox, or whatever. Everyone has their own preference. I have mine too!
I never use a trailer on my hair jigs. If the fish want that kind of bigger profile, then I’m probably not throwing a hair jig anyway. The spring ,cold water hair jig bite is extreme finesse fishing. No room for trailers during this period.
What was your biggest bass, smallmouth or largemouth, caught on a hair jig?
On my home lake in the spring, to be competitive in a tourney you’re gonna need 30lbs+ for 8 fish. All the guys up top are using hair jigs. I’ve caught many bass over 5lbs on the hair jig. Largemouth and smallmouth. Its not uncommon to also catch trout, crappie, and yellow perch on hair.
What are your 3 favorite waters to throw a hair jig on in your area?
My favorite lakes to hair jig are Candlewood lake, Lake Lillinonah, and Bantam lake. These lakes all have great populations of Largemouth and Smallmouth . Especially Candlewood and Lillinonah.
For those convinced to try hair jigs after reading this, what are three pieces of advice do you have for getting started?
If someone wanted to give hair jigging a try, I would say to go get yourself a Carrot Stix med heavy fast action spinning rod and a decent reel. Don’t forget the flouro too.
When the ice comes off the lake in the spring, start throwing 1/8 oz hair jigs at your usual ice fishing spots. As the water warms, you need to follow the fish to their staging areas as they move up to spawn. Target rocks, ledge points, sharp breaks near spawning flats. Let the jig sink to the bottom. Don’t be surprised if it gets hit while falling, so pay attention.
Once its on the bottom make it dance in place. Twitch it. Lift the rod and let it sink again. Repeat. With all of today’s fancy tackle the hair jig seems to simple to be good. Don’t be fooled. Simple is better. Try throwing a hair jig. You wont be disappointed.
Thanks Jeff. This is why we do this site, to learn from amazing anglers. This was a great education on fishing hair jigs just in time for the cold water season. You can follow Jeff on Instagram.