Pros: Quality components, wide array of sizes and colors.
Cons: Small light weight hook.
The Jig is arguably the best big bass bait. Most of the time I am throwing a 3-8 or 1-2 ounce jig with a 5-0 hook, but certain circumstances call for a much smaller and lighter jig. In tougher conditions, cold fronts, and when smallmouth fishing, I reach for a Bitsy Bug jig. I have cashed more tournament checks and caught the highest percentage of my lunkers on jigs and the Bitsy Bug is just another weapon in my arsenal of Jigs.
-------What is it: -------
The Bitsy Bug is a small version of one of the best bass fishing lures ever made, the jig. It consists of a single 3-0 hook with a lead head, weed guard, and rubber skirt. There really isn't much to it and it doesn't look like anything in the water, yet it produces for tournament fishermen. I have caught bass, pike, pickerel, pan fish, trout, salmon, and musky on the Bitsy Bug. The Jig is really a foolish looking lure when I try to look at it from a non-fishermen point of view. It is basically a lead headed hook with a rubber skirt attached. This model has a set of eyes on the lead head and a weed guard which makes it look even more ridiculous. But looks can be deceiving and this lure sure does deceive fish into thinking they are getting a tasty meal.
-------Why the Bitsy Bug over other Jigs:-------
A friend of mine once asked me why I even bother with the Bitsy Bug. He knows I like to fish larger and heavier jigs with a larger hook such as a 5-0. Even though I love the larger jigs for larger fish and have had always had one tied on for as long as I have fished in competitive bass tournaments, the Bitsy Bug is still a great little jig and when used correctly at the right time, it can be deadly. It offers to the fisherman a smaller and lighter jig. This makes for a slower fall and is deadly when fish are suspended off of the bottom. The slow fall keeps the lure in the strike zone much longer. It is also a great shallow water jig. Being so lightweight, it won't tend to bury itself into the muck or mud or even weeds where it is not visible to fish. Once again it stays in the strike zone a little longer as well. Another time that I reach for the Bitsy Bug instead of my regular 3-8 or 1-2 ounce jigs is during or near a cold front. Bass generally shut down during cold fronts and become lethargic. They are no longer gluttons or want to eat large meals. A small lure with a subtle presentation is perfect, hence the Bitsy Bug.
-------How to Fish it:-------
I have found that the best way to fish a jig is to bounce it off the bottom or work it through structure. Most of the strikes will come on the initial fall or within the first couple of bounces but I have had strikes right at the boat depending on conditions and fishing pressure. When deep or open water fishing with the jig, I cast it out, let it fall completely to the bottom and slowly bounce it off of the bottom while working it into the boat. When fishing around vegetation, flipping the jig is a great option. This is simply keeping the same amount of line out and just flipping it into heavy cover trying to find a hole or any spot where it can work itself under cover. I generally use a much heavier jig than the Bitsy Bug for this technique. When working around regular vegetation, lay downs, trees, stumps, docks, piers, rocks, and other structure, I make soft casts and slowly bounce it off or through the cover. You will generally feel a couple of taps or the fish will try to swim off with the jig. The taps are the fish trying to break the crawfish or munch it. This would be an excellent time to set the hook.
-------Colors and Sizes:-------
Strike King is currently making the Bitsy bug in 1-4, 3-16, 1-8, and 1-16 ounce models.
Colors are as follows: Black, Black-Blue, Plum, White, Pumpkin, Green Crawfish, Cajun Crawfish, Watermelon, Pumpkin Craw, Copper Pumpkin, Camouflage, and Smoke-Pepper-Red. My favorite color jig for most situations is the Black-Blue. They all work and are more personal preference. The natural colors are all great. I only use the odd ball colors in stained or murky water and try to use the natural colors in clear water.
-------Maintenance and Modifications:-------
The Hook: Keep the hook sharp: This is rather easy with any hook sharpener and within seconds you can have a very sharp hook. It is important to keep the hook sharp because the jig is fished very slowly for the most part and the fish does not aid at all in a hook set like they will with a moving lure. So the fisherman provides all of the power in the hook set when not swimming the jig.
If you happen to bend the hook by getting hung up and pulling it free from a rock or other obstruction, get rid of the jig. You can bend the hook back to its original shape but it has lost most of its strength and it will easily bend back to the unoriginal state. This could happen when fighting a very large fish which would result in losing the fish. For under $2 just strip the skirt and skirt holder off of it and either melt it down or get rid of it properly. Trust me, it is not worth it.
Change the skirt holder: If the jig has been sitting in a tackle box for a long time subject to high temperatures or dry rot, the rubber band that holds the skirt to the jig body will deteriorate. Sometimes I don't notice this and cast a jig only to retrieve a jog body. When I do notice one getting old or cracked, I change them out. You can buy them at a fishing store, make your own by cutting rubber tubing, or re-use them from other jigs that have been retired or ruined.
Paint job: A friend of mine likes to scrape all of the paint off his jigs so the lead is exposed. He thinks it gives a little extra flash. I prefer to keep mine the same color as the jig or skirt. Most of the jigs I fish are dark so when the head gets beaten up and the paint chips off, I just use a magic marker and color the led and it holds for quite a spell.
Skirt: You can always change the skirts on jigs, spinner baits, and buzz baits by just sliding them off. Sometimes I like to add a couple of strands to factory skirts. Maybe a red, silver, or white, depending on water conditions and the species of fish I am targeting.
Weed Guard: The factory weed guard is set to the maximum to keep weeds off of the hook. It also prevents the hook from grabbing every rock, stump, or tree the jig is pitched into. I like the weed guard but not at maximum strength or strand. With a pair of scissors, clippers, or pliers, I cut off about half of the strands still leaving adequate protection but not enabling me from getting a good hook set. I rarely ever cut off all of the strands because it will snag on anything you contact, but by shaving a few or half it is a nice balance of hook set and protection.
Trailer: I always fish my jigs with a trailer of some sort. This is the "pig" in Jig-and-Pig. Most of the time when fishing a jig, I am trying to imitate a crawfish so I add a trailer with claws to the jig. I have had equal success with both pork and soft plastic trailers. The pork will last forever and is virtually indestructible. Fish seem to hold onto it a little longer then soft plastic as well. Some problems with pork however is that it will dry up if out of the water too long, and there are not as many color and glitter options as soft plastics. Soft plastic trailers cover a wider array of colors and sizes and are easy to modify with a pair of scissors.
-------Price and Availability:-------
This is a rather inexpensive jig and can be purchased for under $2. I have seen them as low as $1.69 lately and can remember when they were under $1, ah the good old days. Being made by a popular company, Strike King, they are available at most sporting goods and fishing stores. I have also found them at the Big Box stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and K-Mart.