Jig and Pork Combos for Cold Weather Bass

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Monday, April 01, 2013
by Mike Pehanich

Pick a “lean” pork and jig combo when water temps slow bass activity to a crawl!

The advantages of natural pork bait over plastic jig trailers can be dramatic once water temperatures dip into the low 40s and below, particularly if you select specific jig and pork trailer options tailored to the task!

Early spring…late fall…open water in winter….it makes no difference! The finesse jig with a downsized pork chunk or craw-type trailer will produce bass in coldwater conditions with a consistency unmatched by any other lure or bait combination in your tackle arsenal.

Jig

Finesse jigs are lighter, slimmer, downsized versions of the skirted jig with brush guard that altered the course of bass fishing in the mid-20th century. Many come with a rubber or silicone skirt trimmed and flared at the neck and a wire or thin bristle brush guard.

Arm yourself with finesse jigs from 1/16-ounce, or the lightest you can find, up to 7/16 or ½ ounce. You may need the heavier jigs for very deep water or windy conditions, but rely on the 1/16- to 1/4-ouncers to do the lion’s share of the work when you are fishing moderate depths.

The ¼- and 3/8-ounce varieties of the Grass Stalker and ½-ounce Rock Stalker jigs from the Bass Stalker jig line, available from Uncle Josh, are ideal for coldwater application. Fashion them for finesse by trimming the forward portion of the jig skirt so that it flares about ¼” from the head. Then trim the bottom portion of the skirt so that it falls even with the bottom of the hook. (See feature/video) 

Note: For a very light finesse jig, you might try the Strike King Bitsy Bug, which comes in 1/16- and 1/8-ounce sizes, and the cone-headed Nichols Mango Jig, available in 1/8-ounce.

Pork Options

You will definitely up the odds for your success in very cold water (42 degrees and below) with the smaller pork trailers. These bite-size mouthfuls also have a subtle action that seems to suit the appetite and temperament of winter bass. And, like all pork baits, they hold scent well –a critical advantage in coldwater conditions – and have a lifelike feel that compels bass to hold on long!

Uncle Josh Mini Frog Trailer (1-1/2” by ¾”)

“Mini Frog,” a relative newcomer to the pork trailer scene, is tailored for work in the “finesse jig and little pig” tandem. Its small and slightly tapered head moves neatly through sparse grass and other cover. At 1-1/2 inches in length, it is the smallest of the frog pork trailer options, but its elongated and slightly bent legs give off extra kick even when the bait is scarcely moving.

Uncle Josh Spinning Frog #101 and #101A (1-7/8” by ¾”)

The #101 Spinning Frog has the longest track record of coldwater success. It’s a proven winner and tackle box staple when the mercury dips south. The chunk body with beveled face drops slowly, and the thin legs flap behind.

NEW! Uncle Josh MEAT Diamond Frog (2-1/2” by 1”)

An arrow-shaped head and long tapered legs make the new “Diamond” a unique pork trailer style. Despite its larger dimensions, the Diamond Frog can fish “small.” Center the hook point in the nose and slide up the hook shank. The Diamond Frog creates a compact, integrated shape with the finesse jig and stays in place with assistance from the rubber hook keeper. 

Uncle Josh MEAT Frog (2-1/2” by 1”)

A newer version of the #11 Frog of pork lore and legend, the MEAT Frog has attributes that give it an advantage over its predecessor. Positioned up the hook shank, it forms an integrated whole with the jig and holds securely in place with the rubber hook keeper.  Like all pork products, it holds scent very effectively.

Uncle Josh Kicker Frog #23 (2-1/2” by 5/8”)

When fish show a propensity for a little more tail action, the Kicker Frog kicks into play! A pair of curly twister tails ripple and wiggle seemingly at will.

Like all products in the new line, the MEAT Diamond Frog and MEAT Frog are all fat, no skin, and packaged in a convenient resealable plastic package. No jars or brine solutions to worry about! MEAT products are packed with minimal liquid and can be returned to the pack and re-used again and again, with a shelf-life of as to 20 months even after opening.

Have a variety of frog- and craw-style pork trailers at hand in several colors.  Three favorite colors are green pumpkin, crawdad brown and black/blue with brown orange, black chartreuse, black, blue, and white following next in popularity. And every area or hot lake has its own favorite! Texas red,” for example, is a preferred color in Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee.