Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Year of the Jig: Ganns Performance Tackle

As an angler Im constantly looking to improve or hone my skills by trying out new techniques and forcing myself to fish water or situations I would not normally fish. In doing so I have kinda started something similar to a new years resolution and that is each season I pick a bait or technique and spend time attempting to learn or even perfect it. 2013 is the Year of the Jig

Being an angler born and raised in the Kawarthas I was taught to fish many shallow water techniques, like worming, punching and of course frog fishing. But those who taught me were not jig fisherman (though jigs are now common place on Kawartha lakes). So I have spent most of my life fearing the jig.. not any more

One of the great things about learning a new technique like Jig fishing is that it allows you to buy new equipment. When I started this mission I owned very few jigs, so I asked around.. "What makes a great jig", "who makes the best jig" and although I received various responses to this, one name came  up over and over again: Gann's Performance Tackle .. so thats where I started

Before I made my first purchase,  I called a few buddies who are known for their success with a jig, and I spent some time reviewing my notes from a Bass Talk seminar I  attended a couple seasons back that just happened to have a segment on jigs and jig fishing (hosted by Doug Brownridge). Here is what I took away from this discussion, and what I used to make my first jig purchase

1) Focus on Basic Colours - Avoid brights or unnatural colours
2) Pick one or two sizes and stick with them
3) The More strands the slower the fall

So armed with the above Info I headed to the Gann's website and started to narrow down my choices. Ganns has three jig head options,and being new to jig fishing I felt I should give each one a shot and see what works best for me. Following the above guidelines I opted to focus mainly on 1/2oz jigs as my everyday size, and then a 1/4oz (if available) for finesse situations. By choosing just one size Im able to quickly get the hang of how that jig feels in the water, and when it starts to feel different I know its time to set the hook.

As for colour choices I started out with a few variations on black, and a few baitfish and craw options. (The above is Jig is Colour 23 - Sunfish) Although Ganns does not carry any crazy colours like neons, I still avoided baits with bright yellows or that were predominantly one colour. This is simply personal preference and of course is falls within the above guidelines.

Tip: If your new to jig fishing (like me) it does not hurt to ask the company you are purchasing from to add a jig or two of their choice. When I called Ganns and gave them my order I asked them to add 2 jigs that they think are must haves (there choice, size, style and colour). It added a nice surprise element to my order and it got me to try something I have have regularly overlooked.

Ok, so you have made your first jig order, and it's time to start using them. This is where it can get awkward as learning a new technique can take time, and this means you have times when you will not be catching fish.. As a beginner I decided to start off my on water testing by focusing on high percentage areas, like large weed beds and sunken timber. Both of these areas often hold fish (big and small) but can also be frustrating to a new jig fisherman who will spend a great deal of time ripping weeds off their bait or loosening them from the fallen timber. Don't give up as the payoff will be well worth your effort.

The above fish was taken during one of my first jig fishing outings. I was working a large weed bed by flipping the jig into any pocket I could see. He hit it on the first fall and nearly swallowed it whole...what a blast

So, earlier on I explained what I was taught to looked for when buying a jig, and  how this lead me to Ganns, but here is why I will be staying with them: First off they are a high quality product,   all jigs  have hand tied skirts paired up with a super strong Gamakatsu hook (4/0 or 5/0). Important to me and often overlooked is a jigs bait keeper. Ganns uses a double wire keeper that holds on tight and no matter how much weed your ripping through your chunk will stay in place.

Tip: Often I have seen and heard anglers talk about trimming skirts and weedgaurds on their jigs, and although I can see some value to this, I want to stress that this should never be done until you have fished with the jig. Both of these components will effect how the jig fishes. Less skirt will speed up the fall, and less weedgaurd may effect how well the jig moves through the weeds and or timber.. so fish befor your alter. Remember the old adage "it;s insulting to salt your food prior to tasting it" the same goes for your baits. To this day I have been happy with the "out of box" performance of my Ganns jigs and I have not altered them in any way

So there you have it, part two of my "Year of the Jig" series. Stay tuned for posts on tailors, rods and of course a season recap. If you have any input or comments  please share, us newbies can use all the help we can get

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