One of the great debates within the fishing world: when, where, and why should I choose a plastic bait over a jig (or visa versa)? While I haven’t been convinced of a DEFINITE answer, I do believe we have a few tips and rules-of-thumb to help you out this fall.
The first place I tend to start is to look at the time of year, and most importantly, that water temperature for any given body of water. Jigs tend to produce better than plastics in the colder months as bass want a bigger, meatier meal relative to the energy they spend to catch that meal. Likewise, plastics tend to be favored more during the summer months once bass establish their summertime patterns. In the summertime, bass’ metabolism is up, they’re moving and feeding more, and in addition the forage tends to be slightly smaller throughout this time of year. This isn’t to say jigs will not work in the summer and soft plastics will not work in the winter, but this is a handy place to begin when you’re trying to decide.
Types of Cover/Structure
Some types of cover and structure seem to dictate which bait I will be throwing. In shallow, grassy lakes a Texas rigged soft plastic is going to get in and out of the vegetation a lot more efficiently than a jig. This is simply due to the true weedless nature of the Texas Rig. Yet, on harder structure like rocks and gravel, any football style jig is going to navigate the cracks and crevices of those rocks much better while hanging up a lot less.
Got a Limit and Need a Kicker?
While it is true that you can catch trophy sized bass on plastics, and you can catch dinks on a jig; a jig tends to produce bigger fish on average. If I have been pitching a Texas Rig to shallow cover and filled out my limit on tournament day, a lot of times I will switch to a jig in order to present a beefier profile and illicit a bigger bite in hopes of landing a kicker fish.
All in all, both plastics and jigs produce a large number of fish for anglers across the country year-round, but there are times and situations where one might be the better option over the other. 100% of the time, we must let the fish dictate what they want and let that be our deciding factor! I hope this helps you out the next time you hit the water. Until then, be sure to find us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for regular content to help you put more fish in the boat!
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