Football Season

Courtesy of Vance McCollough

Florida boy checking in here with a word about the football jig. Yes, Florida. Yes, football jig. True, there’s a lot of shallow grass and tidewater down here, but being a major exporter of phosphorus, we have a ton of strip pits too – including world famous Bienville Plantation as well as the 50-acre pit I grew up on. They are perfect places to learn how to use various structure-oriented techniques, including the football jig. 

I got my paper graded while fishing in Mexico on an autumn day behind Denny Brauer years ago. My assignment was to produce a video for – and I did, but I mixed a little fun with my business. Denny whacked 30-plus 2-pounders on a Carolina rig. I stopped filming him long enough to catch a limit that weighed in the mid-to-upper-20’s on a football jig. 

Denny finally picked up the jig and caught a 7-pounder as the sun squatted on a nearby hill and cast that golden, last-hour-of-the-day tone to close out my video beautifully. 

As our guide motored us back to camp Denny said, “You done good. You done real good. You’ll be doing even better if you reach in that cooler and grab me another beer.”

Best fishing day of my life.

And I owe it to the football jig.

The lure can give you an outstanding experience this fall as the waters continue to cool and bass in many lakes begin set up on structure. 

Some things to consider are trailers and line size. Probably want to stick with fluoro to get the lure down and maintain bottom contact. Fourteen-pound line would be a good starting point, heavier as needed, probably wouldn’t go any lighter because you have to set the hook though a weed guard. 

Trailers will dictate action and that’s everything with a jig. Rage Craws are perfect when fish are active. Straight-tailed lures work better when fish are fussy. Might even want to go old school and put an Uncle Josh Pork Trailer on the back of that jig when the water gets really cold – jumpsuit and sponsor patches optional but highly recommended. Not only will they bite better, but the fish will hold the lure much longer and give you a better chance to set the hook. Trust me. Try it. 

The basic jig design dates back to ancient Egypt. Seriously. There’s nothing new under the sun. Explorer William Bartram noted upon his first visit to Florida in the 1700’s that the natives were catching huge bass on “a jig and a bob.” The lure has been around that long because it is versatile. A weight, a hook, and a skirt. What you do to impart action, or a lack thereof, is up to you. That may be what intimidates anglers from trying a jig. Just do this . . . go fishing and take only jigs with you. You will see that it is a versatile design. You will catch fish. Big fish. And you will gain the confidence necessary to fish a jig when conditions call for it. 

And cooling autumn weather that pushes fish off the flats and onto structure calls for a football jig if ever anything did.