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Jig And Float?

Nick Williams

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Im headed up to Branson this weekend for a conference, and I will hopefully get to be on Taney more than in a hotel conference room!

I keep seeing, in Lilley's reports especially, that the jig and float is one of the ways to go. However, I have never fished one. I do plan on swinging by Lilley's to grab some flies and such, but how do you rig it? And secondly, how do you fish it?

- Nick

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In any jig-and-float technique, you need to think “long rod”. Casting and handling long leaders below a float takes a longer rod than you’d usually use when just jig fishing. Seven feet is minimal. Some buy or make custom eight- to nine-foot rods just to jig and float. These rods have to be fairly stiff to get a good, strong hook set.

The size of the float is most important. It can’t be too big or too small. The size of float is directly related to the size of your jig, and visa versa. Depending on the speed and depth of the water, you pick the size of the jig. Using an eighth-ounce jig under a float is pretty extreme. I would recommend starting with a 1/16-ounce and go from there.

Watch your slack. Because you may have 10 feet of line between your float and jig, you’re going to need all the hook setting power you can muster. Slack robs you of power. By the time your rod is at the farthest distance in your set, it has to have made “contact” with your jig and hopefully fish- plus some. Add the distance that your rod tip travels and the length of your line and a 10 foot rod doesn’t sound that extreme. The same principle applies when fly fishing and using the same length rod and the same rig.

Wind? Same as before. You’ll have to go back to a heavier jig to compensate for the wind, but you still can work it slower and feel the bite better. When watching the speed of your drift compared to the current, I’d rather go slow in the current than fast. Throwing out to the side also plays into this thought. If you have your boat anchored in any current and you’re throwing out and working the jig back to you, it drifts downstream and you’re working it upstream, against the current. This is a natural look- a minnow holding or swimming upstream in current. It’s the same with moving in current but slower than the current. Plus you keep a better handle on where the jig is and you have a more direct line to the lure.

Lilleys Landing logo 150.jpg

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Spoken from a veteran of fishing the jig in Taneycomo waters... Phil had always surprised me with how many fish he turned .. like he had a hold them for a second and they shook the jig free.

Tougher to do from a standing position / not in a boat.. but it can be done.. look at Brad Wrights fish.

Just once I wish a trout would wink at me!


I'm the guy wearing the same Simms longbilled hat for 10 years now.

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