UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

The right trailer for the task

In clear water, consider matching the trailer to the color of a swim jig, like this one made by TABU Tackle.

(Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the 2013 August/September issue of Bass Fishing magazine. To read more compelling articles from Bass Fishing magazine each month, become an FLW subscriber member. If you'd like to sign up for a digital subscription to access articles online, click here). A jig trailer seems simple enough: a piece of molded soft plastic that dangles from a jig's hook to add bulk, enhance action, temper the fall and suggest a crawfish or other food item. Those basic functions, though, are somewhat divergent and sometimes work against each other. Consequently, the best trailer to use depends on the jig and the fishing technique. So what style of trailer is best for what you want to accomplish? Here are some suggestions. Creature baits NetBait Baby Mad Paca.Matching jig type: flipping jig Ideal technique: pitching to wood cover Good example: NetBait Baby Mad Paca Action description: Paddles flap, arms flair, legs quiver, tails waver - specifics depend on the model, but the common denominator is that several appendages move in different manners and directions to create much movement and a bulky profile. Dragging a football jig with a creature trailer is a good alternative to a Carolina rig. Nab short-strikers To counter short strikes from bass when using a creature bait as a jig trailer, shorten the whole trailer by trimming the head end. This allows you to thread the trailer farther up the hook. You can also tweak the presentation by removing some appendages. Chunks Zoom Super Chunk Jr.Matching jig type: finesse jig Ideal techniques: bottom bouncing and dragging Good example: Zoom Super Chunk Jr. Action description: The chunk helps create a slow fall overall. The tail flaps like a flag in the wind as the jig falls. Smaller sizes have subdued, less intrusive actions. Two ways to get chunky For maximum profile with a chunk trailer, simply hang the thick body on the hook from its end. Shorten the jig-and-trailer profile by threading the chunk up the hook shank instead. This rigging method also pegs the body to the jig and shifts virtually all the action to the chunk's tail. Swimming crawfish Trigger X Aggression FlappinMatching jig type: football-head jig Ideal technique: offshore dragging Good example: Trigger X Aggression Flappin' Craw Action description: The flat curved-edge claws flap hard as long as the bait is in motion. Oversized claws and, on some examples, such as the NetBait Paca Chunk and Damiki Air Craw, a hollow body or appendages help create a claws-up posture. Many body and claw sizes are available. This is a good all-around choice for a jig trailer. Get natural If possible, determine what the prevailing crawfish color is where you're fishing. Sometimes bass will spit up crawfish in livewells, or you might be able to find crawfish in shallow aquatic grass or along rocky shores. Crawfish coloration varies dramatically by waterway and by season. Match jig and trailer colors accordingly. Twin-tail grubs Damiki Hydra Evolution twin-tail grub.Matching jig type: swimming jig Ideal technique: swimming, especially for smallmouths and spots Good example: Damiki Hydra Evolution Action description: Twirling tails constantly move whether the jig is in motion or at rest. Models such as the Hydra Evolution and Yamamoto Hula Grub have a built-in skirt for extra flare, and often are fished on a football jig with no skirt in deep water. Shoot to kill When swimming a jig, retrieve it steadily, but kill it briefly a time or two per retrieve, ideally in key ambush zones. Be ready, especially as you start it moving again. Realistic craws Luck Matching jig type: round-head finesse jig Ideal techniques: dragging and pitching to rocky banks, docks and shoreline cover Good example: Luck "E" Strike Guido Bug Action description: Although most realistic finesse craws lack appreciable movement when falling or swimming, they land with upright claws that wave naturally as the bait settles. Generally speaking, their best "action" is looking realistic in clear water. The natural shake Make a natural finesse craw trailer come to life by jiggling the rod tip enough to rock the jig and make the wispy pincers and antennae dance without actually changing the location of the jig. Then stop all motion before hopping it again. In current-driven fisheries - especially with clear water - use a light jig and let the current sweep the combo along. The moving water, with occasional bottom ticks, creates a similar affect as jiggling the rod. Mega craws Strike King Rage Tail Lobster.Matching jig types: large football jig or flipping jig with a large hook Ideal techniques: pitching to edges and beside cover or dragging offshore Good example: Strike King Rage Tail Lobster Action description: Claws flap hard on the hop and the drop. The entire soft bait moves a lot of water to draw fish with vibration and by sight. It creates a "magnum profile" jig. The Rage Lobster is 41/2 inches long for a true big-fish presentation. Even more attraction There's nothing subtle about an oversized craw trailer, and you won't be using one when fish are fussy. But when they're chomping, you might as well amp up the attraction by adding rattles. Shake the rod tip to engage the rattles and call fish for a closer look. Flat flippin' bugs Gene Larew RattlinMatching jig types: grass, flipping and football jig Good example: Gene Larew Rattlin' Crawler Ideal techniques: punching vegetation, flipping woody cover and stroking Action description: This bait slides through cover, planes on the fall (thanks to its flat surfaces) and darts when hopped. The claw action is subtle on some versions, but overall it makes an impression. Slim down to slide For punching the thickest mats with flat, flipping bug trailers, pinch off outside appendages and make the profile as sleek as possible. As a proud sponsor of FLW, Walmart offers one of the most comprehensive selections of fishing tackle and equipment in the industry. To find great deals on Walmart's entire collection of rods, reels, baits and electronics, click here.

Tags: magazine-features  gear 


2014 Buyer’s Guide: Soft plastics

No category of lure is as flexible as soft-plastic lures – both in action and in use. Not only do soft plastics move freely, even when deadsticked, but the range of their use is limited only by the angler’s imagination. READ MORE »


2-D sonar strategies

There was a time when experience almost always trumped equipment when it came to finding fish. If you wanted to be a better fisherman, you got out there on the water and paid your dues. You learned the spots that produced at certain times of the year, and culled the 90 percent of the water that was almost always void of bass. The last decade or so of fish-finding technology has changed the paradigm, however. Now anglers can buy a Lowrance HDS unit, cruise likely looking spots on any lake and literally see bass. READ MORE »


Swim-jigging winter grass lines

You can rip rattle baits through winter grass beds like everyone else, or you can offer bass something different: a swim jig. Veteran bass pro Ron Shuffield says a swim jig is one of his preferred cool-weather lures when bass set up camp on grass-line edges. It’s a lure that can be worked quickly, or dragged more slowly when conditions warrant a change-up. READ MORE »


Hog hunters

A five-fish limit is the first measure of success and job one in a tournament. But it’s how you see that quintet shaping up that sets the tone for your performance. Is it an open audition where anything that measures will do, or do you want five stars that’ll rock any stage? READ MORE »


Never (hardly) ever lose a fish

How many good fish do you lose in a season of fishing, whether it’s in a tournament or just when you’re fishing for the fun of it? If it’s more than you can count on your fingers, perhaps it’s time for some constructive self-criticism. Are the fish at fault, or are you? In case it’s the latter, we offer the following advice, observations and tips from some top pros regarding how to put the odds of landing a fish successfully more in your favor. READ MORE »


X Marks the spot

Two things stand out about winter bass fishing: The fish get a little bit pickier about where they want to be, and anglers don’t want to spend as much time running a bass boat around a frigid lake trying to find them. READ MORE »


Q&A with Andy Morgan

I wouldn’t say it was a perfect season, but it sure worked out. I mean, it was a good year, but not a great year. I was surprised to even have a shot to win after Beaver Lake (he finished 68th). Honestly, it was never even on my mind until someone mentioned right before Chickamauga that I had a shot at winning it. READ MORE »


Last-minute holiday gift guide

Naughty? Nice? Who cares – Christmas isn’t far away, and any bad behavior can be overlooked for a while as we celebrate the season with presents for those nearest and dearest. As is our custom, we’ve appointed ourselves Santa’s helpers and came up with a few gift ideas. We’ve also selected goodies that cover a range of price options. Regardless of their cost, the following gear, gadgets and clothing would make any angler beam with joy. READ MORE »


Boat Care 101: Simple do-it-yourself carpet cleaning

If there is one thing I hate worse than seeing a nice bass boat with a filthy finish, it’s seeing one with dirty carpet. I like to keep my stuff clean, but not just because it looks good. A bass boat is a huge investment, and the more you can do to protect that investment the better the returns if you ever decide to sell or trade it. READ MORE »


The Chilly Truth

Not surprisingly, bass fishing has its own set of myths: Bass don’t eat topwaters when it’s sunny, big fish only eat big lures and so on. Winter fishing seems to take myths to a whole new level. Maybe the long hours in freezing cold numbs the mind as much as it does the hands, but one could write an article about how many myths there are regarding this chilly time of year – and whether or not they’re true. READ MORE »


Ask the Experts

If I use heavy-gauge hooks for flipping grass with braided line, why not use the same gauge hooks for fishing all soft plastics? READ MORE »


Sound effects

Though some anglers contend that rattling baits don’t necessarily attract strikes, and might even deter them, the preponderance of evidence favors the rattle crowd. Virtually every hard lure made nowadays – crankbaits, jerkbaits, stick baits and so forth – can be had in rattling and silent versions. READ MORE »


Guide to treble hooks

As a general rule, the treble hooks on the lures of most tournament pros aren’t original equipment. Less-expensive stock trebles are usually replaced with ultra-sharp premium hooks of the angler’s choice. READ MORE »


Dock cranking

Well-honed casting skills are required to send a crankbait deep into the reaches of a dock. It can’t be skipped on the surface easily, but even an average caster can make a crankbait go where dock bass are likely to be if he employs a trick that Walmart FLW Tour pros Bryan Thrift and Wesley Strader call “driving,” or “steering.” READ MORE »


First Look

The following products were originally featured in the 2013 August/September issue of Bass Fishing magazine. READ MORE »


Drawdown tactics

As summer winds down, however, things can change quickly on a drawdown lake – a reservoir where lake managers reduce the water level in late summer and early fall. Come practice for the EverStart showdown, Dan Morehead’s fish were nowhere to be found. In fact, despite the amazing pre-practice, Morehead didn’t catch a fish during the first day and a half of practice. The dropping lake and progressing season had caused everything to change. READ MORE »


All the right turns

Tournament fishing isn’t just about catching fish. It’s about making sound decisions based on experience and applying the proper strategies to make good things happen when they count the most. Of course, sometimes it’s just about trusting your instincts. READ MORE »


Deep-diving details

Anyone who follows big-league bass fishing knows pro David Fritts is legendary for his ability to sniff out and catch bass on a crankbait. True, Fritts is handy with other styles of lures. But he is the iceman with a crankbait, particularly when the bass relate to cover or structure in deep water. READ MORE »


Lures for the thick of it

While there is more than one way to get to a fat bass that is buried up in the jungle, few methods are more effective than flipping or punching. Both are short-range techniques built around a hard-core fishing system that includes thick line and a stout rod, and any number of lures and rigs designed to slip in and out of thick cover with the skill of a grass snake. READ MORE »


Advanced Rod Repair: Replace a broken guide

Eventually, your rod collection will grow to the point where it’s cost-effective for you to acquire the tools and learn the skills to make slightly advanced repairs, such as replacing a broken line guide. The task does require some special equipment, but if it keeps your favorite rod in the game without having to wait a couple of weeks for a local shop to fix it, the cost is worth the investment. And a few tools still cost less than replacing one of today’s specialized high-end rods. You might also consider going together with a fishing buddy to split the cost. READ MORE »