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#65 Choosing the Right Jig: Part 3 "Skirt Material"
Posted by Matt MagnoneNovember 04, 2014, 12:38 PM
Matt Magnone
Staff Member at Last Chance

 In previous weeks we've journeyed into the world of the jig. Going over some of the many jig head designs, it's easy for an angler to have "one" of the aforementioned jig styles that seems to fit their individual style, body of water or cover type. Some may find that the Football Head is more suitable for their needs while others may swear up and down, that due to their shallow combination type cover, the Arky Head is "the one". While each head design has a specific purpose and duty, when choosing the right skirted jig, although the head is paramount, the right skirt and skirt material is equally as important.

Here's where I may lose some people. Some may agree while others may disagree. The majority of anglers feel that the jig is the attractor in your jig/trailer combo. The sole purpose of the jig is to add bulk to your trailer. Case in point. Take a standard Football Head Jig off the wall. Grab one of your favorite trailer baits and slide it up the shank. Whether you're an angler or not, you should realize that the whole profile looks stripped down, thin and while still natural, looks a little "off". Now grab yourself a skirted jig. Slide the same trailer up the shank of the jig and you'll soon realize that the overall profile seems full, alive and meaty. The only difference was the skirt material.
Please make no mistake that there are often times when the fish will respond better to a stripped down jig as well as other times where the fish react better to a bait with more bulk. This is where it comes down to being able to gauge the activity and feeding level on your individual body of water. Often times this is where choosing the right skirt material comes into play as not all material is created equally important.

Round Rubber-

 Round Rubber skirt material is a "favorite" amongst many Western anglers. Do to its properties, this material is extremely bouyant underwater adding an immense amount of life to your jig. At rest, like all skirt material, Round Rubber expands and flairs putting off a larger profile creating a better element of bulk. The difference though lies in the rubber. Round Rubber has a tendency to breathe more than that of Silicone. With every current change or twitch of the rod, the skirt material comes alive in a much more fluid manner. While many anglers often fish a solid skirt comprised of only Round Rubber, the color choices are limited and generally drab so many anglers use it as their base color and add an accent color of Silicone as the array of colors are un-imagineable. This material is excellent when faced with conditions where the need to fish slow and methodical is paramount.

Silicone Material-

 While still being bouyant underwater, Silicone Rubber doesn't breathe and act the same as Round Rubber. The benefit to this skirt material lies in the fact that the color choices are relentless. Literally hundreds of colors and types of Silicone Rubber exist. As opposed to Round Rubber with its 3 main gauges, Silicone Rubber generally offers 2 sizes with a slew of color types such as Solid, Solid w/ Flake, Living Image, Barbwire, Halfwire and several more styles are available. An angler literally can dream up or buy just about any color combination he or she can imagine up as opposed to sticking with the core colors of Brown, Black or Olive that many of us were brought up using.

 Always remember though, although there are literally thousands of color combinations an angler can dream up; Keep things simple. Identify the forage base in your body of water, understand the color patterns and then do your best to replicate what you see. Being that the forage in our lakes, rivers or streams vary from one month to the next, always choose a color that best matches the environment the prey are utilizing. If you're dealing with Crawdads that primarily live on the bottom, associate your colors accordingling.

What's the bottom composition of your lake?
Is the vegetation growing?
Is the vegetation dying off?
Is it primarily rocky or is it mud or decaying leaves?


 As crawdads root around on the bottom, they tend to take on a color hue of their surroundings in addition to their natural change of color as they mature. If you're dealing with a hard rocky bottom, you'll notice that the craws will have a brighter defined tone as opposed to a mud or decaying bottom where they'll be more muted and grungy. Years ago we we were trapping Crawdads out of a creek and upon first glance all the craws were literally the perfect resemblance of the color Green Pumpkin straight down to the Black flake. After arriving home and pulling the Crawdads from the ice chest I noticed that they had literally turned color taking on the Brown and Orange color. As I was driving down the freeway, the movement of the water in the cooler had washed the sediment off the bodies of the Crawdads bringing out their true colors. While I'm mainly referencing your jig imitating Crawdads, the same applies to that of fin fish as there are often times our jigs are in fact imitationg, Bluegill, Shad, Shiners, Sculpin or Gobies. Keep things simple. Identify the forage base in your body of water, understand the color patterns and then do your best to replicate what you see.

Stay tuned next week for a little into choosing the right Jig trailers.

Category: Fishing Blog
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