Bass fishermen and fisherwomen across the United States should always pay close attention to the type of bait for your adventures. Football jigs are one of the most popular choices for sport bass fishing and should feature in every angler’s arsenal. Not least because they target largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass species in style.
The following guide to football jigs for bass fishing will answer your burning questions, such as;
- What are football jigs?
- What are the best football jigs for bass fishing?
- When should football jigs be used?
- How can I build a setup to use football jigs?
- What retrieval technique should be used for football jigs?
Whether you’re new to bass fishing or want to improve the quality and quantity of your day’s haul, here’s everything you need to know.
What are Football Jigs?
Football jigs are a big fish bait that falls into the category of bottom dragging jigs. They are characterized by a football-shaped head, which is particularly suited to hard-bottomed bodies of water, especially when compared to a round or bullet-shaped jigs.
The jig can be used in a variety of weather conditions and is considered a beginner-friendly solution, although it should be noted that they have become a firm favorite with professional bass anglers too. While it is not suited to fishing in heavy cover and vegetation, They are made from lead, giving them a good weight that keeps them to sink and stay at the bottom of the lake bed while you begin the retrieval process.
As well as the football head, football jigs feature a hook to catch the attacking predatory fish. Their bodies are a skirt (made from silicone or rubber) that will move in the water to catch the attention of fish. The skirt designs may include a variety of colors to create the biggest possible strike zone. This part of the football jig also conceals the hook until a fish strikes.
The skirt of football jigs will move freely in the water, working with the natural resistance, regardless of whether you use a fast or slow retrieval. While the skirt is used to create a visual disturbance, the head’s robust and weighty attributes are what help it bounce along the bottom of the lake to engage active fish.
While football jigs won’t be used on every bass fishing adventure you take, they are arguably the best performing bait in suitable circumstances. As such, every angler of all experience levels should familiarize themselves with their capabilities.
Best Football Jigs Setup
Football jigs are used by thousands of anglers across the United States. However, their full potential can only be unlocked when they are supported by the right rod, reel, and line.
Rod selection for bass fishing with football jigs
Football jigs are dragged along the bottom of the lake and work best with a long retrieval. As such, you will need a rod that is capable of producing a long cast to gain the full benefit of this technique, not least because you are likely to fish in open spaces rather than coax a fish out of the grassy areas.
A stiff rod that features a medium-heavy or heavy action is advised. Rods that are at least 7’ in length are advised while many professionals will use 7.5’ options. Essentially, you need a rod that can handle a long cast, as well as the weight of your football jig, reel, and line.
Reel selection for bass fishing with football jigs
While the choice of rod is fairly clear cut, finding the right reel for your bass fishing with football jigs exploits is a little more ambiguous. Ultimately, it will depend on which type of technique (see below) is implemented. Of course, whichever style you choose, it’s vital to seek a trustworthy brand that features a deep spool.
The reel ratio is one of the most integral features to consider. If planning to go for a slow swimming retrieval, opting for a 6.5:1 or lower is advised. Conversely, for a quick drag technique, a 7.0:1 reel should be the minimum speed you consider.
Line selection for bass fishing with football jigs
Choosing the right line is often seen as an afterthought, but it can have a telling influence on the overall performance. Football jigs are heavy while the line must also align with the choice of rods and reels for bass fishing. Fluorocarbon line is the best choice, with anywhere between 12lb and 20lb sufficing.
This type of line is perfectly suited to fishing in uncovered areas while the weight can help keep your football jig at depth. You can also use the line to feel when the jig has reached the bottom of the lake. Crucially, even a bigger bass is unlikely to snap the line.
How to Fish Football Jigs
Football jigs are popular for a whole host of reasons, but their versatility is unquestionably one of the key features. They can be retrieved in many ways, although the following three methods are the most common by far.
Bomb & drag
The bomb and drag approach is the most frequently used technique by far. The first step is to cast it as far as you possibly can, which underlines the need for a suitable medium-heavy baitcasting rod. As it hits the water, be sure to pull some slack line to allow the bait to drop.
Once the football jig has hit the floor, the retrieval is achieved by using 2ft drags along the bottom of the lake. Bites may occur while you are dragging the bait, or once the football jig comes to a stop and the end of a drag.
Ripping, also called rip and fall or stroking a jig, is another method that begins with a long cast. You should then let the jig sink and stay at the bottom of the lake for a couple of seconds before starting the retrieval, which will happen in stages.
The ripping process gets its name from the fact you rip the slackline while lifting the rod up to drag the bait vertically up by a distance of around 5’. Then let it drop again and repeat the process until a fish strikes. You will want to use a heavier football jig for this method.
Swimming is characterized by a slow and steady retrieval that sees the football jig move near the bottom of the lake bed, regularly creating contact with it throughout the process. Once again a heavy football jug is ideal while a lower ratio reel is advised.
After completing a long cast, you will want to let the jig drop to the bottom before keeping your rod pointed down at a low angle. This should enable the football jig to bounce off of rocks, timber, et al. to attract the attention of predatory bass.
When to Use Football Jigs
Football jigs can be used at any type of the year. Similarly, they can be used in just about any weather condition as they are bottom dragging products. The most important issue to determine whether this is the right option is the type of cover in place. Here’s all you need to know:
- Football jigs are perfect for rocks, shoals, ledges, and any other area where bass may congregate at the bottom of the lake.
- Many football jigs are suited to waters that are between 5’ and 8’ (sometimes 10’) in depth.
- Bass fishing with football jigs around offshore structures regularly delivers fantastic results for beginners and pros alike.
- Football jigs can work when fishing from a boat or a riverbank, but you should make sure there is enough room for a long cast.
- The hooks and football heads will get caught up in vegetation and grass, which is why you’ll probably avoid them in these situations.
Due to the fact they are dragged on the bottom, the weather conditions won’t directly impact the jog. However, it should be noted that surface-level disruptions caused by rain, for example, may see bass fish stay located outside of the strike zone. You must take this into account.
As well as picking the right time and situation to use football jigs, you should be sure to choose a football jig that features a suitably colored skirt. After all, it must stand out underwater in order to get a strike.
Many anglers will try to customize their football jigs by cutting the skirt or making other alterations. In most cases, though, you can see great results as soon as you take it out of the package. As long as you choose the right jig.
Best Football Jigs
Football jigs all share the same fundamental features, but subtle design features can impact your day’s fishing. Here are five options that will leave you perfectly positioned for the day ahead.
Goture Fishing Jigs Blue Football Jig
Goture is one of the most popular brands and the 3/8oz blue football jig features a polished finish and tiny pearly flakes so that the black and blue skirt stands out in style. A 3/0 hook keeps bait held firmly and is designed with anti-dropping attributes.
Z-Man CrosseyeZ Football Jig
The 4” football jig instantly stands out thanks to its cross-eyes design. However, it’s the V-shaped skirt weed guard that helps it travel across the lake bed without snagging. The VMC black nickel hook is particularly adept at hooking larger bass. At 0.5oz, it’s a lighter option too.
Wtrees #6 Football Jigs Pack
The no.6 football jigs pack by Wtress is the perfect starter set for beginners as it features six different jigs, all of which have 55 strands on their skirts. Wide gap hooks and durable hook materials ensure that you don’t just attract bites but will actively hook fish too.
Bass Jigs 8 Pieces Fishing Jigs
Another fantastic multipack of football jigs is the Bass Jigs set that offers eight football head jigs and eight skirts. Whites, blues, reds, and yellows will help you pick the right choice for any setting. The hooks are well disguised by the skirt guard and should attract small and big bass alike.
Rock Crawler Tungsten Football Jigs
The tournament-grade football jigs deliver a robust solution that attracts a lot of bites with hand-tied skirts and ‘match the hatch’ colors. The professional-grade hooks and tungsten lures make them a popular choice for anglers of all experience levels.