When it comes to bass fishing, there are hundreds, if not thousands of different lure types you can get your hands on. That’s not even counting the countless variations that different brands make for each one.
However, just a handful of them stand out and find their way into practically every bass angler’s tacklebox. These include, but aren’t limited to, the classic plastic worm, paddle tail swimbaits, lipless crankbaits, a craw or two, and of course, our topic for today: Jigs.
Jigs are some of the most popular lures for bass fishing, and they can be used country-wide to score trophy-sized bass without too much effort.
Still, some jigs are simply better than others, and some are perfect for certain situations. No two jigs are going to be exactly the same.
So, to help you pick the right jigs for your 2022 bass adventures, the team here at BassForecast has put together a list of our top 12 jigs for 2022!
What is a Jig?
Traditionally, a jig is a lead ball that was poured around a straight-shank hook when it was manufactured and the hook’s eye was bent at a 90-degree angle to allow it to protrude from the top of the jig’s “head” for tying. This allowed soft-plastic lures to be slid onto the hook in a variety of ways while the lead jighead worked as a built-in weight.
Nowadays, those jigheads are still very popular, but we’re talking about the next step up. Now, the traditional lead balls have been tweaked and tinkered with to produce a variety of shapes that change their performance and in-water action, skirts, and flashing blades have been added, and now the majority of these more advanced jigs even have weed guards that prevent your lure from snagging on every underwater blade of grass it bumps into; a huge problem with exposed hooks.
The Types of Jigs
Besides the traditional jigheads that are fairly barebones but highly effective with certain rigs, this newer breed of jigs can be found in a variety of variations, and while they are all very similar, they do very different things.
Here’s a list of the most common types. You’ll find a few from each category in our top-12 list, and we recommend diversifying your jig selection with at least one or two of each.
Keep in mind that companies will use one of these basic designs and give it a proprietary name. For example, Mr. Crappie makes “Sausage Heads”. These are, for all intents and purposes, small football jigs. Beyond the marketing, they are no real differences. However, there are some more obscure molds, but we won’t fixate on those.
Swim jigs are fairly basic. They have an upward-pointing teardrop-shaped head that allows them to cut through the water and wobble around slightly. This triggers the skirt most of them have to expand and collapse with pauses, and it makes it easy to make natural-looking fast, straight, retrieves.
However, the pointed head shape makes them prone to lodging themselves into rock beds along the water’s bottom. It’s best to keep them up and moving.
Football jigs are the opposite of swim jigs. They have a pill or football-shaped heads that sit perpendicular to the hook’s shank. This makes them poor options for straight retrievals through open water, but they’re great for bottom fishing as their unique shapes allow them to roll out of and over snags and rocks. Combined with a weedless hook, you’ll have a hard time snagging these, and they’re great with soft plastics that mimic bottom-dwelling bait such as craws or creature baits.
Stand-up jigs have a unique head shape that makes them cut straight to the bottom and “stand up” once they reach it. These are great for mimicking defensive craws, feeding lizards, and baitfish pecking at the bottom, but they need to be used when the water’s bottom is hard; you don’t want the jig running itself into loose sand or otherwise ruining the entire point of it.
Our Top 12 Jigs for Bass Fishing in 2022
Before we start listing off products, it’s a good idea to let you know some things. First, we’ve chosen a variety of jigs across all price points and design styles. It’s a good idea to pick up one or two from each category to give your tacklebox a bit more flexibility depending on the water conditions you find yourself fishing in.
Also, while we’ll typically be highlighting certain color options, having a good choice of head and skirt colors is also recommended.
Finally, we’ll highlight the soft plastics that are best used with a specific jig when applicable, but keep in mind that it’s perfectly fine to use any of them without “bodies”. The skirts create great action under the water.
These are in no specific order. So, let’s get started.
1: Berkley Skipping Jig
The Berkley Skipping Jig is the first jig on our list, and it’s a fairly more obscure shape. This jig can be used more or less as a basic jig once it’s in the water, and it’s fairly decent for most retrieval methods. However, it’s how you get the jig to the water that really makes it stand out. The bowl-shaped head makes it perfect for “skipping” the jig under docks and overhanging structure like you would skipping rocks.
This is a more advanced casting technique, but it can help you get into the water right along overgrown banks, far underneath docks, and other prime fishing spots that most lures have a hard time getting to.
Like most modern jigs, this comes with a bristle-based weed guard and a skirt. You can find the Berkley Skipping Jig in ½-ounce and 3/8th ounce versions, and there is a multitude of skirt options to choose from. Due to the unique casting method used, we recommend not using a soft-plastic body unless you have one good for skipping.
2: Strike King Hack Attack Jig
The Hack Attack from Strike King is your standard swim jig done right. Like pretty much any properly made swim jig, it’s great for straight retrievals, reel-pause-reel retrievals, and other beginner-friendly basics. It’ll wobble back and forth on the retrieve, and its fast movement through open water means the skirt will flare dramatically when you pause it; practically forcing trailing bass to snap.
However, what makes it stand out is that it’s well made AND cheap with a variety of size and color options available. For just under five bucks, you can get the Hack Attack in Strike King’s fully color palette of options, and sizes range from 3/8-ounce to ½-ounce.
We recommend picking up a couple of different colors in your preferred size at this low price and don’t forget some appropriately sized paddle tail swimbaits to use as high-action bodies.
3: Riot Baits Minima: Tungsten Version
Sometimes, you need a really small jig to nab really big bass. This is often true during cold weather conditions when the bass just do not want to fuss with larger baits. The Riot Baits Minima comes as small as ¼-ounce, and its flipping head design makes it great for digging into the weeds where lazy bass are relaxing.
If you plan on fishing during colder, or extremely hot, weather conditions, pick one or two of these up in color patterns that suit your fishing hole’s water clarity and try to go for the ¼-ounce option. You can expect to spend between $5 and $8 per lure depending on the retailer and availability, but you get high-quality Mustad hooks, tungsten heads, and great build quality. Pair yours with a YUM 3-inch U-Tail Grub for some irresistible action.
4: Booyah Baby Boo Jig
The Booyah Baby Boo Jig follows the same philosophy as the Riot Baits Minima; it’s small and aimed at targeting lazy bass during poor weather conditions. This 3/8-ounce jig is a spin on a swim jig with a flatter bottom, and that makes it a decent all-around performer. However, unlike the Riot Baits Minima, it’s not going to perform as well with flipping into weeds and other dense structures.
Luckily, the Booyah Baby Boo has one major advantage. It’s about $3 regardless of where you look. So, you can easily buy a multitude of colors and rotate through until you find what the bass want. This jig is versatile. So, feel free to pair it with any of the small soft-plastic bodies you have.
5: Booyah Melee Jig
The Booyah Melee is pretty much a chatterbait. Booyah took a high-quality deflective head that perfectly bounces off underwater debris and structures, put it on a short, stout, weedless hook, and attached a chatterbait blade for a little more vibration. As a result, it can anger bass pretty quickly while easily finding its way through underwater obstacles.
You can pick this up in a variety of colors, and it comes in 3/8 and ½-ounce variants. However, it’s one of Booyah’s more expensive options. Expect to drop $10 per lure.
6: Booyah Boo Jig
Did you like the description of the Baby Boo but wanted something bigger? Well, that’s what this is for. It comes in bigger sizes, and there are some color differences. That’s about it.
7: Arkie “Bass Jig”
If you’re a new fisherman who doesn’t want to lose all his lures to beginner mistakes, or you want to fill your first tackle box with a good variety of lures without taking out a second mortgage, the Arkie Bass Jig is a great option.
These come in a large variety of sizes, head shapes, and colors, and they cost less than $2 per lure. You can also find them at basically any store with a fishing aisle.
However, there are some drawbacks. The weed guards are stiff. So, trim them until they barely align with the hook tip, or you’ll miss hook sets. The paint can also chip after a few fishing trips, but that’s not a big deal.
All in all, these are great for experimenting until you find a variation you’re willing to spend more money on, and they do catch bass.
8: Lunkerhunt Mushroom Head Jig
These are a bit different. They’re not complete lures. Instead, you buy these in 4-pack sets, and they’re the mushroom-shaped molded heads on a high-quality hook; complete with a sensitive weed guard and bait keeper.
These are great because the head shape is perfect for punching straight through mats of vegetation to the bottom, and you can tie your own skirts on or add any soft-plastic body you want. If you put in a bit of work completing them, you get four jigs for just $5.
9: Picasso Hank Cherry Straight Shooter
The Cherry Straight Shooter from Picasso Hank is bright red with orange and black flecks, and the super-sharp swim head makes it a great fast-paced swim jig. You can chuck this out into some dense vegetation or clear open water, buzz it back in with a high-gear baitcaster, and you’ll trigger reaction bites like crazy.
Even better, it comes in all standard sizes, has an awesome build quality, and only costs $6.
We wouldn’t recommend any trailers besides paddle tails and ribbon-tail worms, though. You don’t see many crawfish zipping around at the top of the water column.
10: Googan Squad Juicee
Alrighty, the Googan Squad is a bit divisive among fishermen, but we can all agree that their lures are in the premium category for a reason. These Juicee jigs are no exception.
The head is a cross between a swim head and a flatbottom, and that makes them great for all-around jigging. You can toss them in the weeds, run them straight back, flip them under brush, and if you’re skilled, skip them under docks.
They also come with a large thread count for the skirt; creating a larger profile bait when you pause your retrieve.
At $5 on average, this is a great option when you don’t know exactly what you’re going to do on a trip.
11: Googan Squad GridIron
Again, this is a Googan Squad bait, but it’s a lot more specialized. It’s a special football jig that’s perfect for making long casts into hard structures that would tear up other jig heads. It has a double bait keeper to keep your soft-plastics from flying off when you pull it through difficult areas, and head is built to keep your bait pointing upwards. That makes this perfect for craw bodies.
Also, it’s $5 like the previous option. If you like fishing the bottom in very difficult areas, pick one up.
12: Strike King Hack Attack Fluoro
This is similar to the previous Hack Attack, but it’s quite a bit stouter and bulkier. This is meant to be twitched through very heavy vegetation with heavy equipment, and it maintains Strike King’s quality standards.
However, the eye and jig head are specifically made to work well with heavier fluorocarbon and braided lines. The smoother eyelet helps prevent the annoying breaks you often get with fluoro when you don’t tie properly or the attachment point is too rough and creates a kink.
Per usual, it costs $5 and comes in nearly a dozen colors.
Some Final Tips and Tricks
That’s a good selection of high-quality jigs in every price range and style for you to choose from, but we highly recommend not just sticking to one. Fishing conditions can change on a dime, and certain colors will perform better or worse on any given day. Try to pick up a variety to help you find the right match. The cheaper Arkie jigs can help you find something that works while you play around, and then you can upgrade to a similar jig with a bit more quality behind it.
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