Ultralight Tackle for Micro Jig Fishing

For most of us, the first fish we catch is a bluegill. They are abundant in most waters and are a very aggressive fish for their size. The constant action and simple tackle required to catch them make bluegill the perfect target when introducing someone new to the sport of fishing. Typically, as people get more into fishing, they move onto to larger and more difficult to catch species. Thankfully, I am someone who never outgrew the thrill of catching these hard pulling, scrappy fish.

Like most people, I spent most of my life fishing for bluegill with just a hook baited with a worm or a cricket dangling underneath a float. Live bait under a bobber is a very effective technique that can yield countless fish on every trip. While that technique's effectiveness is unquestionable, it can be a hassle at times. First, there is the issue of the bait itself. You have to depend on the bait shop or pet store being open at the hours you need it. Once on the water, you can expect to have to replace your bait after every fish you catch. Also, since this is a shallow water technique, you need the fish to be within a few feet of the surface. Fortunately, I got turned onto a more fun and efficient technique a few years ago and have never went back to using live bait.

Micro jigs are tiny jig heads baited with small plastic lures that imitate baitfish and other insects that fish naturally feed on. I became interested in this technique while reading the reports of a fisherman in Middle Tennessee who goes by the name Alphahawk on the Crappie.com forum. He catches thousands of fish per year using this technique and writes some very detailed reports of his fishing trips. His reports and Facebook posts have helped me tremendously in learning how to fish these baits which I demonstrate in the video linked below.

The jig head I prefer is 1/64 ounce Trout Magnet style. This size is perfect for casting small 1" plastic lures. It is heavy enough that it can be casted a long distance using the proper tackle, yet light enough that it sinks very slowly through the water column. As for the baits, any soft plastic lure can be used. Alphahawk prefers the Trout Magnet plastics. They are a small 1" plastic with a split tail. He most often uses the Bison color pictured above which is a black/gold color. Personally, I have become a fan of the 1" Berkley Gulp Minnow which is also included in the above picture. Frank from the youtube channel BratsNMustard made me a believer in them from watching his videos. I most often fish with natural colors although I will use a chartreuse colored bait in dirty water.

In order to fish these small baits effectively, it is imperative that you have the proper tackle setup. A sensitive, graphite ultralight rod is a must. That sensitivity is needed in order to detect the light bites you will sometimes experience. I recommend you get the best rod you can afford. One of the biggest mistakes people make is buying a cheap, fiberglass rod. Those rods just don't give you the level of sensitivity needed to be successful using these jigs. Personally, I use a 6' St. Croix Panfish Series ultralight rod. It is a good midrange priced rod. Alphahawk is a big believer in the JDM rods from Japan. A JDM rod will most likely be my next ultralight rod purchase. These rods are very sensitive and unfortunately, also very expensive. Shop around and try out some different models to determine which is going best suit your needs and budget.

As for reels, you need one with a smooth drag system. You will rely heavily on your drag when fighting fish with light line. Much like everything else, you typically get what you pay for with reels, however, I have been using a cheaper Abu Garcia cardinal series reel for the last two years with no issues.

Far and away the best deal I have found for line is the Trout Magnet SOS line. It is a great line and you can buy it in 10,000 yard spools for $39.99 from troutmagnet.com. Buying in bulk allows me to very cheaply replace my line every second to third trip. I do this to keep my line in tip top shape and casting smoothly which is very important when using light line. Alphahawk made me a believer in 2lb test with his catches and I am glad I made the switch. My catch rate went up dramatically when I went from 4lb test down to 2lb test. Don't underestimate the strength of 2lb test line. You will be surprised at the size of the fish you can catch with it. I have personally landed Drum up to 10lbs on this line.

While the task of buying new tackle can often be daunting due to all the choices available, fishing with micro jigs really simplifies the process. With one rod and reel combo and some jig heads and plastics, you have everything you need to catch thousands of fish. It is a very fun and effective way of targeting bluegill but you will catch a variety of other species as well including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, drum, perch, and white bass. I even once caught a grass carp on a micro jig. It is truly a multi-species technique. To watch me demonstrate the techniques I use to catch fish on micro jigs, click on the link below.

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