Metal jigs or spoons can be extremely effective during winter fishing. Their effectiveness is related to winter fish behavior. During the cold months, freshwater fish often move into deeper water and feed primarily on small baitfish. Metal slab jigs and similar lures are designed to be fished deep and mimic baitfish.
Unlike some lure designs, metal jigs are reliable and easy to use. Although they can be casted, they often work well simply by lowering them straight down. As metal lures fall, their fluttering motion attracts hungry fish.
By keeping the rod tip high and making a series of lifts and slow drops, the angler can cover the entire water column. This same technique can be applied while anchored, drifting, or from a slow moving boat. Some anglers combine several techniques such as casting around the boat as well as vertical jigging as each method produces a slightly different presentation to fish.
Both jigs and spoons are available in a variety of sizes and colors. Chrome plated is the most popular, but some models are available in gold or colors such as white, chartreuse, or other choices. Some models of metal jigs feature treble hooks while others are equipped with a single hook. Spoons also feature a variety of hook styles, including fixed single hooks, free-swinging treble hooks, or other configurations. Some models of spoons are also equipped with a weed guard which lessens snagging or fouling from debris.
Small metal jigs can be extremely effective for catching bluegill sunfish, pumpkinseeds, or other sunfish species. They also take crappie, yellow perch, white perch, and other panfish. Larger models are used to catch largemouth bass, pike, pickerel, walleye, and other fish. In many locations, it can be critical to match lures to local baitfish populations.
Soft plastics or other lures are sometimes added to metal jigs or spoons. Single hook rigged jigs are necessary when adding lures such as grub bodies, tubes or slug baits. Some models of metal jigs or spoons are available with pre-dressed hooks. A few of the more popular styles are dressed with deer hair or feathers and come in several colors.
In some fisheries, anglers prefer to tip metal jig hooks with a live minnow, strip bait, or morsel of cut bait.