Football Jig Fishing: Setup, Techniques, Zones

Jig fishing is without a doubt some of the most exciting and satisfying fishing there is when it comes to targeting bass. We often associate this presentation with working some of the heaviest cover, which is something all of us bass anglers enjoy. Jig fishing has been altered and diversified in order to cover different scenarios better, and one of the key developments of this movement is the Football Jig.

Football Jig Fishing: Setup, Techniques, Zones

What is a Football Jig?

The difference between a football jig and other types of jigs, such as a swim jig, is the head design. The shape of a football jig head is broader, flatter, and represents the shape of a football. 

This football head shape brings about different results in presentation. These slight differences make the football jig better for different scenarios, rather than the usual pitching and flipping situation. Here are some of the key differences that a football jig brings about: 

  • Its broad and bulky head means a faster fall rate. This makes it better for offshore or deeper cover situations
  • The head of a football jig keeps the bait on the bottom nicely, especially when dragging it along different cover transitions
  • The flatter shape of the head also helps with different types of casts, such as skipping under docks

Where to Fish a Football Jig

The football jig is still a very versatile presentation. One can look to throw it in many types of cover, but the rate of fall for this style of jig needs to be considered. 

Sometimes a slower fall is a better option, especially when working heavy vegetation. However, with ideal water temperatures, a football jig can often elicit a reaction bite with its faster fall rate. 

Here are some great times and zones to consider throwing a football jig: 

  • Offshore cover: As mentioned, the football jig will get down quickly and reach offshore cover very shortly after it hits the water. Dragging a football jig along these areas is a great way to cover plenty of water and find fish
  • Hard surfaces/cover: The shape of the head will move along rocks and other hard surfaces comfortably. You’ll also be able to get a good grasp on what type of cover you’re fishing
  • Docks: The football jig is designed in a way that enables skip casting. Skipping a football jig under a dock with ideal water temperatures will result in plenty of fun
  • Vegetation: Although a traditional jig may be better for this, a football jig will still punch through vegetation with ease, and a faster fall may get a reaction bite in warmer water temperatures

How to Fish a Football Jig

As mentioned, the football jig outperforms other styles of jigs in certain scenarios. The cadence and retrieve on this presentation can be varied, but I’d like to discuss two very accessible and effective ways to fish this lure.

Free Fall

The weight on this jig enables a very far cast, but it’s also great for flipping and pitching. Casting it out, and letting it fall on a slack line will give it the best presentation. 

The chances are, most of the fish you can catch with this technique will be on the initial fall. 

Once it hits the bottom, give it a few twitches and then bring it back in - this is a classic pitching technique that covers plenty of water. This technique is great when fishing vegetation and more shore-based cover.


Fishing football jigs works best when fishing offshore. Making long casts over areas that have harder surfaces with cover transitions is best for this technique. 

Slowly retrieve the jig until you feel a change in structure, for example, from vegetation to a pile of rocks. Once this change is felt, slowly lift and twitch the jig around the point for a while. Often bass will be sitting in these areas for warmth or while searching for food.

Keeping doing this until you reach the boat.

Best Football Jig Setup

When it comes to equipment, it is without a doubt a power technique - so one will need to match the weight of the presentation with the necessary gear. 

Best Football Jig Rod

One doesn’t need to be too technique-specific when selecting a rod for this technique, however, there are definitely some ideal features: 

  • A baitcasting rod is ideal for the football jig, mainly because of casting accuracy
  • 7’ with a medium-heavy power
  • A fast-action is best for this technique. Having around 80% backbone ensures you’ll have the necessary pulling power when fishing heavy cover
  • A softer tip aids casting accuracy as well as greater absorption on the initial strike

Reel Setup

A baitcasting reel that has a slightly faster gear ratio is best for the football jig. Anything from 7.1:1 will do just fine. 

A faster gear ratio will help with taking up slack quickly when a fish bites, and will also help with yanking bass out of tight areas.

Best Fishing Line for a Football Jig

As always, line is absolutely critical for getting the desired results for the football jig presentation. Here are some key considerations when setting up your line: 

  • Fluorocarbon line is best for fishing offshore and deeper waters, where you’re working hard cover and isolated points. 15-20lb is a perfect range for the football jig
  • Braid might be a better option when pitching into heavy vegetation. 40-60lb is a good region
  • Overall, fluorocarbon is my personal favorite for the football jig

Football Jig Selection

The size football jig should be chosen based on the water depths you’re fishing as well as other key components, such as water temperature and the fishing pressure within the system you’re fishing. 

Heavier Jigs (½ - 1oz)

These will be better when fishing deeper water and you need to get your lure down as fast as possible. The heavier weight will also keep your lure on the bottom effectively, great for when you’re using the ‘dragging’ technique. 

Medium Jigs (⅜oz)

In my opinion, the most versatile and all-round size. This weight will give you access to all kinds of cover, whether you’re fishing heavy vegetation or deep isolated points. 

This size will obviously sink slower than heavier jigs and may be more attractive to a slightly pressured bass. 

Finesse Football Jigs (3/16 - 1/4oz)

These will sink a lot slower and will have a more delicate presentation. This is best for when bass are pressured and water temperatures aren’t ideal. 

A finesse football jig is also great for skipping. Working docks, exposed trees, and other shore-based cover is where this style of football jig really shines. 

Wrapping Up

The football jig is a unique but extremely effective presentation for specific scenarios. The shape of the head results in a faster fall rate, which is why this presentation is better for deeper, more open water scenarios. 

Jig fishing continues to grow in popularity in bass fishing, and having the football jig in your cabinet of skills will give you that added versatility for covering different zones.

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