You will never see a bass fishermen fish a jig that is not paired with a jig trailer. A jig trailer is a soft plastic bait that gets rigged on the hook and trails along behind the bait as it moves through the water.
You may have heard older bass anglers refer to a “jig-n-pig” combo. This was a term used to refer to a bass jig with a pork rind trailer attached to the hook. Nowadays, most bass fisherman use soft plastic trailers to get the same general effect. But with many more shapes and colors to choose from.
There is an endless variety of jig-and-trailer combinations to apply to bass fishing. This gives anglers a ton of control over how the bait looks and performs. By simply switching out the trailer on a jig, you can instantly change the color scheme, the profile of the bait, and the type of action.
Being able to make changes to a bait on the fly like this without having to re-tie is another big advantage of jig fishing. When bass are being finicky it can be the slight tweak in color or action that gets bass to bite.
Top 5 Jig Trailers
The trailer is what gives a jig it’s action, as well as what fills out the profile of the bait. Without a trailer a jig would be small and thin, it’s the trailer that gives it bulk. Like we said earlier, there are many styles of jig trailers, but there are a handful of categories that each style falls in to.
Jigs can be fished many different ways. So it makes sense that you would use certain types of trailers for certain styles of fishing. There are many factors to consider when picking the best jig trailer. Things like water clarity, type of vegetation, water depth, cloud cover, etc all play a role.
So let’s break down the different types of jig trailers, and when and why to use them.
1. Craw Trailers
The jig trailers that most anglers are probably familiar with is some form of a craw trailer. These trailers resemble a crayfish. Jigs are so often fished along the bottom that they are in most cases used to imitate a crawfish. This is why craw trailers are so popular.
The claws on these baits will usually have some movement to them as the craw moves through the water. The amount of action will vary from craw to craw. Some will have a very erratic flapping action while others will be more subtle, and some fall in between.
The amount of action and durability are the two factors to consider when selecting a craw. You don’t want the claws ripping off with every bit or every hang up. And while some anglers think the more action the better, it’s important to consider that crayfish don’t actually move their claws when they swim.
2. Swim Jig Trailers
On a swim jig, you are more likely to see a paddle tail trailer used than anything else. These trailers are designed to imitate a swimming baitfish, with the end of the bait kicking side to side like a tail fin. A swim jig is ideal for trying to target bass that are feeding on a particular type of baitfish.
The biggest difference between one paddle tail trailer and the next is the kicking action of the tail itself. Some have a tight wobble, some have a wide wobble, and some have an erratic action. Tighter wobbles with less action tend to work well in cold and/or clear water, while swim jig trailers with more action tend to work better in stained and/or warm water.
3. Creature Baits
A creature bait is called a creature bait because it doesn’t represent any actual living thing. Their shapes are basically designed to look like big alien-looking bugs. There are many different styles with various types of appendages, like claws or tentacles.
These trailers don’t give off any action and simply add to the profile of the bait by giving them bulk. General rule of thumb is the colder the water the less action you want from your trailer. While that is a true general statement, there are going to be times, even in warm water, when bass are just reacting better to the dead action of a creature bait.
4. Grub Trailers
A grub trailer will either be a regular grub that is used as a trailer, which is basically a short version of a ribbon tail rubber worm, or a twin tail grub. Which is the same idea but it has two ribbon tails extending off the body.
Grub trailers should be considered an “in between” trailer when it comes to action. The tails from these grub trailers create a soft flapping action and make less of a disturbance in the water than a craw or paddle tail trailer. This makes them a good choice for when water is in between warm and cold.
5. Chunk Trailers
Chunk trailers are small trailers, usually no more than three inches in length. They resemble the old pork rinds that bass fishermen used to use decades ago. You can thread them on the hook the way you would any other trailer. Or the more traditional rig is to simply hook them through the middle of the body.
Chunk trailers work quite the opposite of the trailers mentioned previously. They have no action at all and add very little to the profile. Because of the small profile and dead action, these are the best jig trailers for fishing in cold water.
This is when bass, along with their prey, tend to slow down. So a craw or bait fish moving rapidly through the water is going to appear unnatural to a hunting bass.