Finesse Jigs are used by bass fishermen in the United States and beyond when heavy-handed approaches do not work. There are many reasons why bass will ignore larger tackle and in these situations, you should give finesse fishing a try. In areas that are heavily fished, the bass can become skittish and traditional methods might not work. In incredibly clear waters, the bass can see your lure more clearly and they recognize that they shouldn’t bite. Cold fronts moving through can impact your ability to attract fish too.
There is a common misconception about finesse fishing, especially among bass fishermen that prefer heavy-handed methods, that you will only catch small fish. However, that isn’t the case at all and it’s actually a good way to catch large bass in difficult conditions. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about using finesse jigs for bass fishing.
What Are Finesse Jigs?
Finesse jigs are particularly useful in waters with lots of small fish, areas with lots of bass fishermen, and cold waters. Although they’re great at catching small fish, they can also be used on larger bass in the right conditions.
They usually weigh between 3/16 and ¼ ounces. Most use a finesse or spider cut skirt and a light wire hook. A good finesse jig should have a very compact head design and they work brilliantly with small craw or creature bait.
Finesse jigs can be used in any situation where you would normally use a standard-sized flipping jig.
Best Finesse Jig Setup
Getting the right setup is key to finesse fishing, especially as it is a technique that many bass fishermen in the United States are not that experienced with. Practicing the technique is important too, but if you don’t have the right setup in the first place, you won’t have much success.
As a general rule, lighter gear is always best. Choose a medium-light rod, preferably shorter than 7 feet long. This gives you enough length to get your finesse jig into the right spots, and it’s sensitive enough to let you know when you’ve got a bite. St. Croix makes some great affordable, good quality rods that are perfect for finesse fishing.
Small reels and lighter pound tests are also best suited to finesse fishing. The best reels for finesse fishing are 2500 to 3000 size reels. These reels are light enough for finesse jigs, but still have the weight to avoid tangles and frustrating snags. Fluorocarbon line is best because it has the same refractive index as water, making it almost invisible to the fish. Remember, the aim is to present the lure in the most natural way possible to catch bass that are already on guard.
When choosing a finesse jig, mushroom head designs are a good option. Look for something with a thin skirt and a weed guard to prevent snagging in heavy cover.
How To Fish Finesse Jigs
When fishing with finesse jigs, bass fishermen need to be very precise in the way that they present their bait. In conditions when you are using finesse jigs, the bass are already very lethargic, or they may be guarding eggs after spawning, so they are less likely to move towards a lure. This means that your strike zone is very small and your presentation must be very precise, so practice your casting.
The speed of the lure retrieve is crucial too. Using light heads means that the jig drops through the water very slowly. Once the jig hits the bottom of the water, don’t react too quickly. Remember, the bass are moving slowly, so give them plenty of time to react. If you don’t get a bite straight away, gently flick the tip of the rod occasionally. Many bass fishermen struggle with finesse jigging because they expect a solid bite as they would get from other types of jig. But the action can be incredibly subtle with finesse jigs, so be patient and vigilant.
Finesse jigging is quite a fluid technique with lots of room for experimentation, so it takes a bit of practice to get right. But when you do, you’ll be overtaking all of the other bass fishermen that are still trying to use traditional methods.
When To Use Finesse Jigs
Finesse jigs are used by bass fishermen in situations where their traditional lures are not effective, and there are a number of reasons for this. Clear waters where there is excellent visibility can be difficult to fish in because the bass recognize your lure and steer clear of it. Finesse jigs are less intrusive and are more likely to attract a bass. They also work well in heavily-fished areas where the bass are more cautious.
Finesse jigs work particularly well in areas with lots of cover because they offer excellent control, once you get the technique down. Spring and early Summer are the best times of the year to use finesse jigs because, as the temperature increases, bass gravitate towards shallow areas to spawn. Cast out in any areas with heavy cover or rocks, and around docks for the best results.
However, finesse fishing is also very effective when there is a cold front passing through. When the temperature drops, this causes the barometric pressure to increase. This poses a problem for bass fishermen because low pressure causes discomfort for fish, meaning that they are more likely to bite. The cold water also causes them to be more lethargic and less active. So, if there is a sudden change in temperature, you are likely to have more success with finesse jigs rather than traditional methods.
Best Finesse Jigs
Strike King Tour Grade Football Finesse Jig Bait
The Strike King Tour Grade Football Finesse Jig is one of the best-quality finesse jigs money can buy and it’s often considered the professional’s option. Strike King has a good reputation and over 50 years in the business, and that shows in this jig. It’s got a Gamakatsu hook, a wide football shaped head. The 60 degree flat hook eye keeps your knot in the proper position even after a long day of bass fishing. It comes in a range of sizes and colors, so it’s always good to have a few different options in your tackle box. It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but if you want to catch difficult fish in tricky areas, it won’t let you down.
War Eagle Heavy Finesse Jig
The War Eagle Heavy Finesse Jig is a beefier option for those that want to use finesse fishing techniques but still want the power to hook large bass. It also has a high-quality Gamakatsu hook and it also has a state-of-the-art hole in one skirt. They also come in a pack of two, so they’re a cheaper option than the Strike King. This one isn’t necessarily the best option if the bass are particularly skittish, but it does give you more options, so it’s good to add to your collection along with some smaller finesse jigs.
Z-MAN Shroom Z Micro Finesse Jigs
The Z-MAN Shroom Z Micro Finesse Jigs is a brilliant option for the cautious bass fishermen that want a slow fall for maximum attraction. The mushroom head and the realistic skirted action create an attractive jig with a very slow drop. The Dual-multi-strand-wire weed guard is excellent at preventing snags and the wire trailer keeper is compatible with many types of trailer. This is an excellent finesse jig for difficult areas where a light touch is essential.
Z-MAN CrossEyez Power Finesse Jig
The CrossEyez Power Finesse Jig is another great offering from the Z-man range. It is built around a small but incredibly effective Mustad hook with 100% silicone skirts that are known for their durability. The excellent design, especially the hallmark cross eyes, make for a great attraction to cautious fish in difficult waters. You can’t go far wrong with a Z-man jig, and this finesse option is no exception.
Dirty Jigs Luke Clausen Finesse Jig
The Dirty Jigs Luke Clausen Finesse Jig was designed by champion bass fisherman Luke Clausen to deliver excellent performance in a compact package. It uses an excellent Gamakatsu hook with a 60-degree flat line tie to create plenty of hook setting power in a small jig. The unique all-terrain head shape performs brilliantly in heavy cover without snagging. It is available in a range of colors and designs, all specially formulated to closely mimic craw or baitfish. This finesse jig is designed by the pros, so you know it’s going to be good.
Finesse fishing often gets a bad name among bass fishermen that are stuck in their ways. In some circles in the United States, it is looked down on and people assume that you will only catch small fish. However, it’s an excellent technique in difficult waters with lots of cover or in areas where a cold front makes bass less likely to bite. Follow the advice in this guide and you will soon be out-catching the other bass fishermen in the lake.