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My Go To Jig Trailers

By now, everybody knows that I've pretty much made a living with a jig. Sure, I've caught a ton of bass with other lures, but when the chips are down, and I need a "paycheck fish", I always reach for a Z-Man CrossEyeZ of some sort.

Just like selecting jigs, my trailer choices change based on conditions. Cover type, water temperature; even my targeted specie impacts things. But, before I get into detail, let's take a trip down memory lane.

Most people don't know it, but the jig and trailer didn't start with the jig and "pig" chunk, like the Uncle Josh #11 pork frog. Instead, the lure's real origin was the jig-and-eel. In this case, a big plastic worm, or sometimes a pork eel, rode on the back. A jig-and-eel was my initiation to jig fishing, and it taught me an important lesson early on: the buoyancy of a trailer is as important as the look.

Let's start with an early-season scenario. Pre-spawn is everyone's favorite time to fish a jig, and it can really lend itself to some monster catches. In this case, I'll often swing for the fences right off the bat, and pair a flipping jig with a big 3.5" BatwingZ trailer. This is your classic flippin' combo, and I'll nose hook the BatwingZ to present the biggest overall profile I can.

If conditions get a little tough - say a cold front comes through - I'll use the same combo, and thread the BatwingZ on the hook, instead of nose-hooking it. Threading that trailer makes for a much smaller profile, but, because it's actually the same jig and trailer, the fall rate is the same.

There's the buoyancy consideration I mentioned. Often times, fishermen don't consider how a big trailer floats a jig - especially an ElaZtech trailer. So, instead of switching to a smaller trailer in a pressured situation, and losing some of that buoyancy, I just thread on my big BatwingZ, and keep a slow rate of fall. For color choices, I stick with Black / Blue Flake, as I just can't seem to ever beat it.

If things are really tough in the spring, or if I'm fishing for spotted bass or smallmouth, or encounter real clear water, I nearly always reach for a CrossEyeZ Power Finesse Jig. Whereas I used to pair this little tough guy with a small BatwingZ, I now choose a TRD CrawZ exclusively as my trailer.

These two were made for each other. The jig is small, but features a stout hook, allowing me to fish it on baitcast gear. And the craw if the most realistic on the market, sitting in a defensive posture every time.

That TRD CrawZ measures 2.5 inches, but it's pretty buoyant, and its shape creates a subtle gliding action - again, another small variation in fall rate. Here, I'll play with color a little more. I like a fairly neutral jig, like a Candy Craw or Green Pumpkin, teamed with a little flake in the trailer, like the Canada Craw TRD.

As we move into the warm-water seasons, I fish a Turbo CrawZ a bunch on all of my jigs. The metabolism of the bass is higher, and the fish seem to respond better to something with a lot of action. The same holds true in areas with lots of current: action trailers seem to out produce the standard "chunk".

I trim a little off the top of the Turbo CrawZ, and always thread it on. One thing to note when doing so, however: it's important that your jig skirt doesn't reach the pinchers of the craw. Doing so will allow that skirt to interfere with those flapping arms, killing the action of the trailer. Trim your skirt, if necessary.

White is a deadly trailer color for an action-packed jig, anytime there's shad in a system. Up North, green pumpkin variations seem to catch more fish. Okeechobee Craw can be a sleeper color, offering a bold, dark look, combined with a metallic-blue flash.

Again, buoyancy is a consideration, here. With an ElaZtech Turbo CrawZ threaded on my hook, the entire package rides higher, and more horizontal, in the water column. Sometimes that requires me to choose a heavier jig to get a fast fall, which works to create a reaction bite from warm-water bass. When in doubt, go faster in summer, and crash the bait through heavy cover.

Trailer choice is about more than just the look of the lure. To trigger more bites, observe how your baits fall with different trailers and hooking methods, and fine-tune each whenever possible.

David Walker

Z-Man Pro-Staff

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