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Published Aug 24, 2022 3:12 PM

Bass jigs are top-shelf lures. No other lure type matches their ability to catch bass regardless of depth, cover, season, or current conditions. Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass readily bite them. Unlike cast and wind lures, such as the crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and others that make up our expert reviews of the best bass lures, getting the most from jigs takes practice, at least at first. But once you master the pinpoint casts that put them on targets, the variety of retrieves that cover from just under the surface to the deepest depths and when to set the hook on the lightest bites, you’ll never want to put them down. 

While all jigs pack potential to produce, some catch more and bigger bass than others. Reaching that elite level requires the proper combination of components, including head, hook and skirt. These best bass jigs strike that perfect balance.

Best for Largemouth: Strike King Denny Brauer Premier Pro-Model Jig

Best for Largemouth

Why It Made the Cut:

Designed by the bass jig master himself, it efficiently slides into and extracts bass from almost any situation, from shallow water aquatic vegetation to deep-water rocks. 

Key Features

  • Head: Pointed with a wide base
  • Line Tie: 60-degree
  • Weed Guard: Bristle
  • Skirt: Silicone

Pros

  • Strong black-nickel hook
  • Well-designed rattle
  • Head style is good in grass, wood, and rock

Cons

  • Rubber skirt collar lacks durability
  • Only available in mid-range weights

Product Description:

Bass jigs are synonymous with Denny Brauer, who used them to build a bass-tournament career that includes B.A.S.S. and FLW angler of the year titles, along with a Bassmaster Classic win. Anglers who win those can catch bass in varied situations, and that’s what this jig does so well. Its pointed head has a wide base, so it fishes well around wood, rock and grass, whether you need a casting, pitching or flipping jig.

The Denny Brauer Premier Pro-Model sports a strong black nickel hook, which won’t flex under the pressure of hook sets with super-strong braided line, ensuring you land more bass. Slightly below its shank is a double-barrel rattle, whose BBs make plenty of bass-attracting sound, even when shook in place, and whose barb holds soft-plastic trailers securely in place.  

While this jig is dressed with a colorful selection of Strike King’s Mirage silicone skirts, they’re attached using a skirt collar, which can crack, weaken, and break with age and use. Once it does, you’ll need a new skirt. It’s available in the most popular sizes— ⅜-, ½-, and ¾-ounce — but options are lacking at both ends of the weight range. If you need a lighter jig to create a slower fall or heavier one to bust through thick cover or deep water, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Best for Wood: Lunker Lure Original Rattleback Jig

Best for Wood

Why It Made the Cut:

Durability and fishability—particularly around wood and rock—are why bass anglers continue to turn to this classic, which helped usher in the modern bass jig. 

Key Features

  • Head: Wide
  • Line tie: 60-degree
  • Weed guard: Bristle
  • Skirt: Silicone or living rubber

Pros

  • High-quality hook is sharp and strong
  • Loud rattle is spaced to accept a trailer
  • Line tie provides plenty of pulling power

Cons

  • Wide head makes fishing aquatic vegetation difficult
  • Stiff bristle weed guard can hinder hook sets

Product Description:

The Lunker Lure Rattleback Jig has a pedigree that stretches back four decades and a pile of bass-tournament earnings to its credit. Its heart is a strong and sharp round-bend hook. It sports plenty of gap, helping it grab and hold fast, ensuring more of the bass that bite end up in your boat.

This jig’s rattle incorporates a large copper BB, whose clack will attract bass hiding in the dirtiest water or thickest cover. Its durable construction keeps it from falling off or filling with water while securely holding soft-plastic trailers. They’re dressed with either silicone or living rubber skirts available in weights from 1/8 to 3/4 ounces. That lets you tailor your jig’s sink rate—an important strike trigger—and ability to penetrate cover.

While this jig’s 60-degree line tie is perfect for pulling bass from laydowns, bushes, and rock piles, its wide head collects aquatic vegetation, making it frustrating to fish it in this bass-favorite cover. And while its stiff bristle weed guard keeps the jig from snagging, it can hinder hook sets.

Best Hair Jig: Outkast Tackle Feider Fly

Best Hair Jig

Why It Made the Cut:

A small profile and pulsating skirt create an offering that big smallmouth in clear water can’t resist. You’ll appreciate its quality construction, which includes a super sharp hook.

Key Features

  • Head: Pointed 
  • Line tie: 90-degree
  • Weed guard: None
  • Skirt: Hand-selected marabou feathers

Pros

  • Marabou skirt creates life-like action
  • Sharp hook hangs on to feisty smallmouth
  • Small profile is perfect for pressured or wary smallmouth

Cons

  • Lack of weed guard makes it easy to snag
  • Lightly weighted head can be difficult to cast

Product Description:

Technically not dressed with hair—modern marabou is dyed turkey feathers—Outkast Tackle’s Feider Fly nonetheless is labeled a hair jig. While jigs adorned with bucktail continue to catch their share, whether pumped along deep ledges or dragged through cold water, this jig’s ability to catch giant smallmouth from clear water makes it stand alone.

Designed by smallmouth expert and 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Seth Fider, this jig’s hand-tied plume of marabou out-shimmers artificial materials. It creates a small profile and breathing action even on the slowest of steady retrieves, which, along with long casts and light line, is how these jigs are most-often fished. A sharp light-wire Gamakatsu hook grabs and holds the biggest smallmouth, while its pointed head keeps it swimming at a constant depth.

This jig isn’t built for bumping bottom, especially where there’s more rocks than sand. It snags easily and surely without a weed guard. It also lacks weight—1/16-ounce is the most popular size—which can make achieving any casting distance difficult, especially when the wind is blowing. Using a long slow-action spinning rod will help, as will threading a small piece of soft-plastic worm via the double-barbed keeper onto the hook. It adds weight without subtracting buoyancy. 

Best Swim Jig: Berkley Powerbait Swim Jig

Best Swim Jig

Why It Made the Cut:

Catching is this jig’s M.O. It was designed to slither through the thickest shallow-water cover—whether that’s weeds, wood, or docks—and bring back bass.

Key Features

  • Head: Pointed 
  • Line Tie: 0-degree
  • Weed Guard: Bristle
  • Skirt: Silicone impregnated with scent

Pros

  • Pointed head handles the thickest cover
  • Strong hook stands up to powerful braided line
  • Added attractant encourages bass to hold on

Cons

  • Limited use

Product Description:

Our full breakdown of the best lures for spring bass includes a swim jig, which catches a big share of bass hunkered down in shallow water. Berkley set out to design the best one with help of Major League Fishing Angler Bobby Lane, a Florida native who knows a thing or two about fishing thick aquatic vegetation.

The Berkley Powerbait Swim Jig’s pointed head—which features a durable and detailed paint scheme and 3D eyes—has a keel to keep it tracking straight, regardless of how fast you tow it. Its 0-degree line tie allows it to slip through cover without snagging. A medium bristle weed guard protects the beefy Needle Point Fusion 19 hook without fouling hook sets. And its durable silicone skirt is impregnated with Powerbait scent, which encourages bass to hold onto the jig longer, giving you more time to hook them. 

With a keeper that locks soft-plastic trailers in place, this bait easily skips into the tightest spots, whether that’s a pocket along the face of a bulrush bed or under a low-slung dock surrounded by lily pads. The only place it falls short is versatility. Its design makes it nearly impossible to flip, pitch or drag across deep water.

Best Football Jig: Keitech Model II Tungsten Football Jig

Best Football Jig

Why It Made the Cut:

A small package that’s large on sensitivity, this jig is built specifically for fishing structure. It quickly reaches deep water, slides along the bottom, and surely hooks bass. 

Key Features

  • Head: Football
  • Line Tie: 0-degree
  • Weed Guard: Bristle
  • Skirt: Silicone

Pros

  • Compact size creates natural profile 
  • Retainer securely holds soft-plastic trailers
  • Lifelike colors

Cons

  • Small hook compared to other jigs of similar weights
  • Thin bristle weed guard means more snags

Product Description:

Football jigs are designed to be dragged along the bottom, where their oblong shape creates a wobbling action. This jig gets there quickly, thanks to its tungsten head, whose smaller size helps create a natural profile. It’s also harder than lead, which helps transmit small details—such as the difference between a sand and muck bottom—back to your hand. 

The jig’s 100-strand skirt is hand tied with Keitech’s SR-40 silicone. It’s subtle, adding action with the slightest movement, and is available in an array of natural colors so it’s easy to match prey in clear water or stand out in stained water. Under the skirt is a double-barbed keeper, which locks down your choice of soft-plastic trailer without the need of super glue, making them last longer and eliminating the hassle and expense of constantly swapping them out.

Hauling big bass from deep water requires stout equipment. This jig’s 2/0 hook is on the small side, so be mindful of that. Taking your time while playing a bass and switching to a slightly slower action jig rod and stretchy monofilament line will help keep it set. And while its thin 10-strand weed guard helps that small hook bite, it may lead to more snags, especially when fishing around wood.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Bass Jig

The best bass jigs have attributes that can be tailored to where and how they’re fished. Some contribute to how the jig handles cover and water depth. Others determine how it attracts, hooks and lands bass. Each needs to be examined on its own and as part of the overall bait. And despite a jig’s simple stature, there’s plenty to consider.

Head

A jig’s head determines much of its performance. Usually made from lead, tungsten, or some other dense material, they’re available in a variety of weights. But more important is shape, which should be selected based on the depth and cover where you’re fishing. These are the most common heads:

  • Pointed: Similar in shape to a bullet sinker, it’s most often found on jigs designed to slip through aquatic vegetation. It easily wedges in the crevices found in hard cover such as rocks and wood. 
  • Wide: Bulbous in shape, it’s best for fishing around wood and rock. Its girth keeps traditional jigs out of the aforementioned crevices and helps swim jigs plane, remaining near the surface.
  • Football: Featuring an oblong shape like its namesake and poured perpendicular to the hook shank, this head keeps a jig pegged to the bottom. A dragging retrieve causes it to create a wobbling action.

Line Tie

A jig’s line tie does more than provide an attachment point. Its design contributes to a jig’s action and determines how often it becomes snagged and how well it hooks bass.

  • 90-degree: The line tie is perpendicular to the hook shank. Most jigs sport this configuration, which is best for fishing vertical or hopping a jig along the bottom. 
  • 60-degree: The line tie is angled slightly forward to increase hook-setting power because it’s more in line with the hook point. Choose it when pitching into heavy cover or dragging along the bottom. 
  • Flat or 0-degree: The line tie is on the front of the head. Limited to swim jigs, it helps eliminate lift, making it easier to keep your retrieve just under the surface and bait snaking through the vertical stalks of aquatic vegetation.

Weed Guard

Available in several configurations—but not found on all jigs—weed guards protect the hook from snagging on cover or the bottom. They aren’t foolproof, but they do generate fishing efficiency, so you spend more time casting than unsnagging. The amount of cover, line size, and rod power determine which one you select.

  • Fiber: A collection of bristles about the diameter of a pencil, it’s best for heaviest cover like wood or aquatic vegetation. Thinning and separating the fibers will improve your hooking percentage.
  • Plastic: Two pieces of thin plastic arranged in a v-configuration are each raked toward either side of the hook point. It’s best at protecting your jig around rocks and wood. 
  • Wire: Offered in a v-configuration or a single strand that nearly touches the hook point, it collapses under the slightest pressure, so it’s best when cover is sparse and line is light.
  • None: Some jigs—hair jigs, in particular—lack a weed guard. Keep this option to swimming jigs through open water or across barren bottoms. Plan to lose a few of these jigs every trip.

Skirt 

A jig’s profile, along with a large portion of its action, is created by its skirt, which is tied with a variety of materials. Selecting the best one boils down to current conditions, such as water temperature, water clarity, and the food that the bass are eating.

  • Silicone: The most common material, it’s available in an almost unlimited number of colors and flake options. It’s durable and resists melting from heat or chemical reaction with soft-plastic jig trailers
  • Living rubber: This creates the most action, even when your jig is at rest. Few of today’s jigs are tied with this material, which is offered in a limited number of color options.
  • Hair: Whether it’s natural or synthetic hairs, fibers, and/or feathers, hair produces best in the clearest or coldest water, though big bucktail jigs are used to catch summertime bass in Southern reservoirs. 

FAQs

Q: What color jigs are best for bass?

The best jig colors for bass are determined by water clarity and forage. Use dark colors, such as black or green pumpkin, in dark water and low-light conditions like overcast days to create a silhouette that is easy for bass to see. As the water and conditions clear, switch to natural colors such as watermelon, pumpkin, and brown. While most jigs mimic crawfish and other bottom-dwelling creatures, swim jigs can be used to mimic shad and panfish such as bluegill. These require brighter colors such as white, chartreuse, orange, and blue.

Q: How do I choose a jig size?

Choose a jig size based on the amount of cover and activity level of the bass. Big jigs, for example, are often used to crash through thick aquatic vegetation, reaching big bass that are swimming within it. Finesse-style jigs, on the other hand, have a small profile and are more likely to be eaten by wary bass swimming in clear water or lethargic ones in cold water. 

Q: What makes a good bass jig?

A good bass jig is built with quality components—such as a strong hook, effective weed guard, and proper skirt—that are tailored to current fishing conditions. Consider the water clarity and temperature, amount of cover, and depth of bass when choosing your jig’s weight, size, and color. While almost any jig will catch bass in almost any situation, choosing the best one will lead to better and bigger catches.

Q: How heavy should my jig be? 

Your jig needs to be heavy enough to perform in the fishing situation that you’re facing. If you’re fishing deep water, for example, you’ll need a ½-ounce or heavier jig. Heavy jigs sink fast and stay on the bottom, making you a more efficient angler. But don’t confuse size and weight. Tungsten, an extremely dense metal, allows for small jigs to weigh a lot.

Final thoughts

The best bass jigs do everything right. They are constructed well. They fish well. And most importantly, they are attractive to bass. Using them brings better days on the water, whether you’re hunting big bass in shallow water or numbers swimming in the depths. 

Methodology

From the deep clear waters of New Hampshire’s Lake Winnisquam to Santee Cooper, the shallow bowls teeming with big bass and alligators in South Carolina, there’s hardly a fishing spot in between that’s not perfect for a bass jig. I know. I’ve seen nearly all of them through more than 25 years of fishing bass tournaments. But you’ll need a variety of jigs—different styles and different versions of the same model—to cover them all. The best ones shine in these three ways:

Construction: Is it durable and built to catch bass? The hook needs to be strong, and skirts need to stay together. 

Fishability: Does it spend more time fishing or being working on? Appropriate weed guards, for example, keep you fishing without constantly stopping to free snags or clear aquatic vegetation from your jig. 

Selection: Is there a version for particular situations? One day you’ll need a heavy jig with a dark skirt to penetrate thick shallow cover. The next, you may need a lightweight one with a translucent skirt to trick bass made wary by clear water or fishing pressure. 

The best bass jigs in 2022 shine in each of these categories and one more: helping you catch more and bigger bass.