The jig and pig combo is a classic big bass lure that is also easy to adapt to different depths and cover. With the variety of soft plastics and real pork trailers, it is as popular as ever. The wire weed guards should spread out and trimmed to just over the height of the hook. This will help weed penetration and help it stay weedless.
When fishing shallow and in lighter weed and wood cover, a 3/8 ounce weight is usually sufficient. The slower drop speed can also keep the jig in sight long enough to trigger cold front bass into striking. You can get a full sized pig and jig in this weight so you don't give up the profile. The light weight versions get a lot of strikes on the fall.
When fishing deep water and trying to penetrate heavy weed mats, a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce head is best. When covering deep water the heavier bait will make it to the bottom quicker, allowing you to cover more water with a crawling presentation. Heavy weeds will hold big bass but visibility for the bass can be limited. The loud crashing through the weeds will let the bass home in quicker. Heavy jigs will make it to the bottom for a craw or creature imitation by stirring up silt and mud.
Color makes a big difference with a jig and pig because the bass gets such a good look at the lure. A general guide for water color is browns and pumpkin for clear water. Slightly stained water is best fished with blue and black and muddy water colors are black and chartreuse for a bit more visibility.
There are dozens of different species of crayfish in North America so exactly duplicating their color is impossible. The general action and shape is good enough. The guide for color is not absolute, but generally the lighter shades go with the clearer water.
The name jig and pig is used no matter if real pork is used or not. Pork and plastic trailers have there own strong points. Real pork tends to have more action and obviously have real scent. They move better in cold water because of the natural fiber. However, not everybody wants to mess around with jars of stinky meat. Pork being a natural product also dries out.
Soft plastic trailers have really caught up to the original. With so many colors and shapes available, there is one for every condition. The newest models move just as good as the real thing. They come in chunk and more natural looking craw patterns. They also have some really strong scents such as original pork, garlic, shad and with salty additives. Twin tail grubs spiced up with salt and flavor also act as great trailers, and are a little different than what the bass are used to seeing. This can help during heavy fishing pressure.
When fishing the jig and pig heavy gear is required. The rod should be 7 to 7 1/2 feet long with a good backbone. When fishing on the bottom, a lot of line has to be moved to transfer the energy to the hook. That is why a heavy rod is necessary. The line if monofilament should be 17 pound minimum. In heavy weeds, 25 pound mono should be used. You start to approach the limits of your reel with this stuff though. That is why a lot of pro bass fishermen have gone to braided line. Braid in 30 to 40 pound test has the same diameter as the 17 pound mono so a smaller reel can be used. When you have to bull a fish out of cover because of a time limit, braid has the muscle. As far as reels go, bait casters are the only ones to choose. High gear ratios are necessary to take up the slack and set the hook on time. Bait casters also allow you to spool more larger diameter line.
Where To Fish
The jig and pig is a great for getting into weed mats. Turns and points in weed lines are classic structures for aggressive bass. Pitch the jig back behind the edge of weeds for cold front and pressured bass. Right up tight to stick up timber and onto brush piles are also great jig territory.
Deep water haunts like sunken humps with weed cover should also be a target. Check around isolated boulders with a crawling or bouncing retrieve. The bass will tell you which they prefer. Jig set ups like this will pull some of the biggest bass no matter what the weather brings. Tune the jig for drop speed and add lots of scent. The addition of rattles along with the proper color selection might make the jig and pig your favorite lure.