One of the most effective ways to make your Fall fishing for trout more successful is mini-jigging. A mini-jig is a tiny lead headed wire hook with a soft plastic body that seems to drive trout, even huge trophy trout, crazy.
Fished with light spinning tackle, these tiny lures can produce a full stringer in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, even when other methods fail to attract trout.
While mini-jigging isn’t a new method of fishing, recent improvements by tackle manufacturers have increased its effectiveness and popularity for trout fishermen across the country. Now available in more than 200 color combinations and sizes ranging from 1/80 up to 1/32 of an ounce, there are mini-jigs to match any trout water in any condition, if they are fished correctly.
Using the Proper Tackle
Most fishermen who use this technique recommend a light 7 foot spinning rod with a whippy, flexible tip. Combine this with an utra-light spinning reel loaded with high quality low visibility 2 pound test monofilament line. This combination will work well in most situations. If you’re fishing big, deep water or any water with lots of snags, and you’re going after lunker trout in the 20 pound range, the experts say you might want to increase your line size to 4 pound test.
Choosing the Right Color Combination
With 200 or more color combinations now available, selecting the right ones the trout will go for might seem overwhelming. Seasoned mini-jiggers offer theses tips:
For clear water conditions choose a light color, such as white, pearl or very light yellow, either solid colors or with sparkles or swirls. If these don’t work, try a color that resembles small bait fish in the water you are fishing, like the perch colors.
On bright sunny days, try rainbow sparkle combinations.
In deep pockets or where the water is generally deeper than 20 or 30 feet, dark colors, deep blue, purple or black, seem to be the most effective.
Where the water is murky from runoff or in waters stained by algae, minerals or down trees, bright yellows provide the visibility needed to bring in the trout.
As to the size of the mini-jig, bigger lures don’t necessarily mean bigger trout. You should start with the smallest size your tackle will allow you to cast and work your way up to larger sizes, if necessary.
Methods of Presentation
Water conditions, seasons and trout feeding patterns can vary from season to season, and sometimes even from day to day.
On lakes and larger rivers, watch for trout slurping on the surface and cast just past the dimple made by the trout and slowly drag the mini-jig back toward you, allowing the lure to fall and jerk repeatedly on your retrieve.
Concentrating on the water off a sandy shore is often productive early and late in the day when trout are feeding.
Again, a long cast followed by an erratic, jerky, slow retrieve usually induces a bite.
In smaller streams, casting upstream and allowing the mini-jig to bounce downstream around boulders, through pools and past or over down logs should be rewarding.
In deep water, try allowing the mini-jig to drop until it hits bottom, then bring it in slowly, pausing frequently to allow it to drop again, imitating an injured minnow.
These techniques are equally effective on many species of trout of all sizes. Many fishermen have caught trout as big as 25 pounds and even larger, but this requires patience and finesse with such light tackle. Try to horse one of these trophies in, and you’ll wind up with nothing more than a brief and painful memory of the big one that got away.