The Best Gear for Jig and Minnow Presentations

Published on 05/17/2023 · 5 min readFishing expert Jack Pietruszewski breaks down the classic jig and minnow presentation, which isn't as simple as it seems, to help you catch walleyes and have more fun.
Jack Pietruszewski, Fishing Expert
By Fishing Expert Jack Pietruszewski

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Ahh, the classic jig and minnow presentation–seems simple and straightforward, right? You’re probably thinking that you can just grab any ol’ rod and reel and you’ll be set to go. Well, unless you are fishing in an aquarium full of starving walleyes, this could be why you’re not getting bites!

There are several aspects to really dial in your gear when using a jig and minnow, and it starts with how you will be presenting the bait. For instance, are you going to be dragging the jig behind the boat, trolling along break lines? Are you going to be anchored and casting on a rock pile? Are you going to be pitching at weed lines? Fan casting flats? These are all starting questions that you need to consider before grabbing any ol’ rod and reel. Once you truly refine the techniques you use to target fish, that is when your gear takes the next step and fishing turns into catching!

Matching the Rod Length with the Presentation

If you answered those questions above or think that you’re going to do a little of everything, then you need to start by looking at your rod length. If you back-troll, staying tight to break lines, you are going to want a shorter rod, like St. Croix’s 6’3’’, medium powder, extra-fast Legend Tournament Walleye Spinning Rod. This was specifically designed for dragging jigs under or close to the boat, targeting walleyes on sharp, winding break lines. With this rod, you will be able to weave in and out, stay in the desired depth, and know that your bait will be in the strike zone all day long.

Now let’s say you are going to be pitching a jig and a minnow at specific targets. You are going to want a longer rod in order to pitch your bait without your minnow flying off. Nothing’s worse than making that perfect pitch and seeing your minnow go 10 feet off to the right. Try the 7’ 1’’, medium, fast action St. Croix Bass Mojo Spinning Rod. Yes, that rod is designed for presenting plastics to bass, but trust me, this rod is dynamite for pitching jigs and minnows. The balance, length, and way it handles fish are second to none for its price. Plus, when those dang walleyes aren’t cooperating, lose the jig and minnow, tie on a Senko, and go hammer the bass.

Next, if you fish clear water and need to get your bait far from the boat or if you are going to be casting rock or weed flats, then look no further than the 7’ 3’’, medium-light, fast action Elliott Spinning Rod. This rod will allow you to cast a jig and a minnow without watching that minnow skyrocket into the air leaving your jig naked. This rod has a soft tip, allowing it to bend with ease as you wind up for your cast. I have experimented with many rods, and when it comes to making far casts with the delicate jig and minnow, this rod is second to none!

Lastly, if you are looking for a rod to do it all, check out my last article here! I explain the ultimate walleye fishing rod you need in your arsenal.

Reels

As you know, you are detecting bites with the jig and minnow. That means that you’re waiting for that big thump or sometimes staring at your rod tip with your finger on the line, analyzing every tick and tap on your bait. You may think that a reel does not have much to do with detecting a bite, and that is where you are wrong. When a fish hits your lure, it goes from the bait to the line, the line to the rod guides, the rod guides to the rod blank, the rod blank down the reel seat, and then into the reel. Finally, that energy goes into your hand where your brain says, “set the hook!” It all happens in a blink of an eye and your gear will help decipher that chain of events quicker if you have the right reel.

Look no further than the Piscifun Carbon X 2000. This budget reel is constructed with an all-carbon-fiber body that takes sensitivity to a whole new level. It is feather-light and transitions those ticks and taps better than most $200+ reels. Not to mention, it has a butter-smooth drag and will handle that bonus 40’’ pike that we all run into while walleye fishing!

Line

Braided main line to fluorocarbon leader is the best option when presenting the jig and minnow. Sensitivity and strength are what you need, whether you are dragging, pitching, or casting a jig and minnow. It will handle all cover, depths, and species of fish you may run into when fishing. Check out my last article here for more information on why you need to fish a 15 lb braided main line to a 3 foot 10 lb fluorocarbon leader.

Summary

A jig and a minnow is one of the simplest presentations to target walleyes, but there are some overlooked details in this presentation that are holding you back from catching more. Next time you are shopping for a rod, think about its length and its distance from the boat on your presentation. Consider what makes a reel sensitive or how line can make a difference in detecting bottom composition. Take this gear knowledge and apply it to your fishing style, not only will you catch more walleyes, but you will enjoy the experience even more! Check out the Expert Journal here on Curated for more Fishing content.

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