How Big is Your Skirt?

One important element of fishing is learning to pay attention to detail, especially when it comes to your lure presentation. Subtle changes in color, size, or action can play a huge role in how interested fish will be in your lure. Another factor to which to play close attention is the size of the skirt on your jig. Today, we’ll break down why this is so important, as well as the effects that different skirt sizes have on your presentation.

When it comes to fishing jigs, it’s important to use the right skirt for the right conditions. For instance, there will be times when the fish want a fuller skirt while other days they want a more streamlined profile. Furthermore, what the fish on a particular lake prefer may differ than what fish on another lake like. There are factors that will play a role in deciding what kind of skirt to go with, too, such as available forage and water clarity. Experimentation, along with a little common sense, will help make choosing the right skirt easy.

In stained water, I’d go with a bigger skirt (125-150 strands). In the darker water, this larger size will be easier for bass to find because it creates a lot more water displacement and gives off a ton of vibration. In dirty water, bass rely on their lateral lines rather than their eyes to find food, so a thick skirt is usually your best bet. That being said, in clearer water it’s smart to fish with smaller skirts because you don’t want the fish to get a good look at the bait and change their mind. Clear waters mean the fish rely more on sight and something smaller crawling away isn’t as easy to see, so they tend to strike first and ask questions later.

The size of your skirt will also have an effect on how quickly your lure drops in the water, which is something to consider. You can get a quicker drop with a lighter jig head with a smaller skirt than a heavy jig with a big skirt because of how the water will drag on the bait. The rate of fall can be really important in triggering bites from inactive fish. There will be times when a quicker fall is necessary and the fish will prefer a smaller skirt over a larger one, so keep this in mind when trying to figure out what they want.

Attention to detail is critical when it comes to catching fish, and there are many details to consider when using jigs. You’d be surprised to see how fish react to the size of your jig’s skirt on a given day. Like I said, there are situations when a big skirt is the way to go, and times when small and streamlined is a better bet. Play around with different skirt sizes and keep a variety of jigs in your tackle box, and you’ll be in good shape to handle the fickle nature of fish.