Today I will tell you what I know about a bait that is usually used in combination with another one: the bass jig.
The web is full of informations regarding the use of these baits in bass fishing and pike fishing, and I am not able to add tips or infos about these fishing techniques. So I prefer to focus on the alternative uses and on the topic of this article: which softbaits we can choose as trailers.
The jig is a very simple bait, which consists of a hook, usually big, with a lead head that can have different shapes (usually round, football or stand-up, you can find all the differencies among the jig head shapes in the article about the Jig Head Rig) and a weed guard (that can be more or less hard, and that can be made by one ore more filaments). Around the collar of the jig head there is a silicon or rubber skirt, fixed with a rubber band, that helps to give volume and sinuosity to the bait.
A jig is a bait that wants to imitate a shrimp, or a creature that lives in contact with the bottom, and it's totally weedless built, so that its main purpose it's to penetrate into difficult spots, full of branches, weeds and other obstacles, wherever another kind of bait can't be used. They can be effective even with a very slow movement and when the fish is not active (for exemple in the winter time).
With black bass and pikes the most used trailers are porks, craws, hogs, worms and grubs (single tail and double tail).
Here are the best trailers that can be used not only in bassfishing, but even in other spots and with other kind of fish:
_Craws: they are the best and most common choice as trailers for jigs. With craws, we will adopt a slow retrieve, in contact with the bottom, making the jig crawling, jumping or even vibrating without moving it. The best head shape if we use craws is the stand-up type, that, combined with floating baits, makes the asset very effective even without moving, exploiting the mobility of claws.
Craws are the most used trailers in bassfishing, but the black bass is not the only fish that feeds on shrimps. Almost all the saltwater fish eat a lot of shellfish, so the craws are very effective, for exempel with seabass, groupers and scorpionfish in the Mediterranean Sea and with cods in the Atlantic Ocean. Regarding seabass fishing, it's better to use jigs and craws in brackish water or in small marinas, while for scorpionfish and groupers this technique allows us to explore and cover a big range of water, exploiting the weed guard to avoid the losing of baits on the bottom.
In the Ocean, this rig is the only one that allows us to move the bait next to the ocean weeds, without any sort of problems.
_Shads: they are the perfect choice for the "swimming jig" technique, that consists in casting and linearly retrieving the bait, in mid water or just above the bottom. In the linear retrieve shads give their best, with the vibration of their tails. This technique is awesome not only in bassfishing, but also with trout using micro jigs, and in saltwater for seabass or cods.
The best solution for trout fishing is to use 2 or 3 grams micro jigs, in which we can remove the weed guard, because we don't need it in the spots where we usually cast our bait. We can use in this case 2" or 3" shads like Keitech Easy Shiner 2" and Black Flagg Slikk Shadd 2.25".
In seabass fishing I have had excellent results with the same micro jigs I use for trouts, but with a more fast and "nervous" retrieve.
Cods in the Ocean prefers a slower retrieve, with frequent speed changes.
_Stickbaits and Worms: Stickbaits have a very simple movement and shape but they are effective if used in contact with the bottom, to make them move like a small eel going out from its burrow. The normal Worms are thinner than Stickbaits, and usually have a mobile and sinuous tail (curly tail, shad tail, paddle tail, and so on) that allows us to perform various kinds of movements and retrieves, both on the bottom and in mid water.
_Grubs: these curly tailed baits are very old-style baits, and are not often used now, but they have a lot of advantages, and the most important of them is the fact that they always have an active movement. Tail rotation can be activated even with a very slow retrieve, and is active even in the sinking phase, in which this movement also reduce the falling speed. They are useful also in the "swimming jig" technique.
_"Trailers": all the baits I've mentioned above are normal baits that can be used in different rigs, but there are also softbaits that are specifically built to be jig trailers. This "trailers" have usually a very short and flat body, and two very big claws, longer than the rest of the body. These claws can be vibration claws, flat claws or curly shaped claws.
The last important topic regarding the trailers is about their colours. Some bass fishermen follow very strict rules and choose for the jig natural colours with clean and clear water, and black or very dark colours with dirty or cloudy water. Usually it's fine to use a trailer of the same colour of the jig when we want to make the bait more compact, while very contrasting colours make the bait bigger.
I usually don't care about colours, mainly because I usually use jigs in saltwater fishing and for trouts, in spots in which the colour is not so important. Anyway, for saltwater fishing I usually choose very flashy and bright colours for the jig (orange, red or yellow) and natural colours for the trailers.
Thanks for reading!