Fishing a jig using forward-facing sonar
The jig has been a prominent lure since the birth of fly fishing. This bait is responsible for catching giant bass all over the country. This bait can be used in a variety of scenarios, making it one of the most universal baits in your tackle box. However, with the increased popularity surrounding forward-facing sonar baits, jigs and minnows, the jig has become much less talked about.
This is not because the jig doesn’t catch fish, but because the way people fish has changed. Forward-facing sonar allows us to fish in entirely new ways by showing us our surroundings and how they react to our lure. Although much less talked about than other traditional sonar baits, the jig is a very effective bait to use with this technology. This feature will cover where and How to catch fish using forward-facing sonar.
Until the creation of forward-facing sonar, the art of jig fishing remained largely the same. It traditionally consists of a long cast, allowing it to sink to the bottom, pulling the bait back to the boat. Although this is still an effective way to catch bass, forward-facing sonar allows you to pick up specific fish and structures without wasting time.
Throwing this bait at a specific fish is one of the most effective ways to catch this bait. No matter what structure they are standing on, using forward facing sonar to position the bait over their heads is a very high way to catch that bait. Traditionally, you can make long casts with this bait, allowing it to stay in the bike zone for a long period of time. Now you can only throw this bait in areas where you can see fish, greatly reducing wasted time. Although this may seem simple, mastering the art of forward sonar can be quite difficult.
Use FFS to your advantage
On paper, forward-facing sonar seems to make bass jump the boat, but that’s simply not the case. There is much more to it than just looking at every point you see and catching a fish. You must first identify the bass, create the right cast and show them the right presentation. One of the best ways to quickly identify bass pickup areas on forward-facing sonar is to understand what bass look like compared to other species.
Bass often travel in groups, however they can travel singly as well. These fish will often move on the screen if they are active and want to feed. If you throw one in and it doesn’t react to your bait, it’s probably another species. Return sonar is another way to quickly distinguish bass from other species. Most sea bass are about the same size, and this allows you to quickly eliminate species such as carp, catfish or striper, which are all much larger. Once you can differentiate bass from other species of fish, you can effectively fish different types of cover with a jig.
One of the most effective patterns for jig fishing is the sea brush. Traditionally, anglers will find a pile of brush, then make the same cast through the brush several times in hopes of getting a bite. Although this technique still works, forward-facing sonar allows you to cast your jig to fish wandering around the brush. Casting a jig to individual fish is a more effective and efficient strategy for putting fish in the boat quickly.
This allows you to look at the fish, see how it reacts, then quickly back away and try again with another bass. One of the best ways to fish this bait is to throw specific bass around the brush. Allowing the bait to fall in front of their faces and sit is a great way to get that bait to react. If the fish swims away from the bait, keep fishing and try another fish. These fish are often suspended, so letting them follow your jig to the bottom is a high-stakes way to bite. When using a fishing brush, I often choose a casting style with a streamlined profile. One of the jigs I use for brushfishing is a Strike King Danny Brauer Structure Jig rigged with a 3-inch Keitech Flex Chunk.
Target difficult points
Another very effective location for fishing with forward-facing sonar is offshore hard areas. The sites are generally created by current, removing sediment in certain locations creating a clean solid point. The fish will be positioned on the bottom in these locations, waiting for the current to push the bait. Casting fish stuck to the bottom on these hard spots is a high-bite spot on the jig.
When fishing in this scenario, I usually cast my jig into the river from the bass, allowing it to wash naturally with the current. Watching how the fish react is interesting to determine the right tempo and presentation for your jig. I usually cast a longer cast in these scenarios, as it’s a little harder to see bass positioned on the bottom with forward-facing sonar. A clear sign that these fish want to eat is that they swim up from the bottom to meet your jig. My go-to for fishing tough spots is the Dirty Jigs Tour Level Skited Football Jig.
Target suspended fish
Finally, targeting fish suspended with a jig is one of the lesser-known methods of jig fishing. Although it may seem strange, this is an extremely productive way to catch quality fish in many lakes across the country. Using forward-facing sonar, cast the jig directly over the fish. Then watch how the fish reacts when it falls to the bottom. If they follow him to the bottom, there’s a good chance he’ll eat him. If he swims away or doesn’t pay attention to the bait, back away quickly and try another fish.
Furthermore, the jig can be productive at almost any depth as long as it can reach the bottom. I have found that most fish eat the moment the bait hits the bottom. For this style of fishing, I usually throw 3/4 to 1 ounce. This faster fall rate allows you to fish this bait at deeper depths as well as general quick reaction strikes. What I use to target suspended fish is the Greenfish Tackle Little Ruby Jig. This lure has a hook that is light enough to provide consistent hook penetration, and a streamlined shape to avoid snagging the cover.
Choose the correct setting
Getting the setup right is crucial to landing fish on your jig. The strong hook of this bait and weed guard requires the use of a heavy rod with plenty of leverage. The longer rod also allows for longer casts and more leverage on the hook set. This is critical to getting good hook penetration on longer casts. One method I use to cast a jig offshore is the JB3 Sea Pony Casting Rod.
As for the reel, a reel with a deep spool and high gear ratio is ideal for this scenario. The deep spool allows for plenty of heavy gauge line. This results in longer throws and faster retrieval speed. The high gear ratio allows you to quickly pick up the line when fishing in the boat. It also helps provide a better hook set after being lined with bass. One of the reels I use for offshore fishing is a Shimano Curado 200 DC with an 8:1 gear ratio.
If you’re looking for new ways to fish traditional lures, fishing with forward-facing sonar is a great way to do so. This is the fancy new fishing style responsible for catching giant sea bass across the country. This review explains where and how to catch fish effectively using forward-facing sonar.