The Ugly Bug® Jig
(1/32 - 5/8 oz.)
Helpful Tips: Ugly Bug
Along with its 85% (approximate) ability to work out of rocky bottom structure, the Gapen Ugly Bug Jig is graced with two other features. Because of its wide forward head design, the jig balances level when vertically jigged. Suspended presentation is always level, a feature which increases your strikes from fish such as crappie, walleye and lake trout.
The other added feature is the Ugly Bug's ability to work as a stand-up jig at a 45-degree angle when resting on the bottom. Working on bottom-feeding fish using this walleye jig and many saltwater species, the stand-up jig allows the Ugly Bug to be scooped up easily off bottom by the fish's lower jaw. This bottom-resting anti-snag jig offers a presentation which is even more enticing when the Ugly Bug is tipped with live bait.
Jig Color Selection
Smallmouth Bass Jig
Use brown, crawfish, black or orange for a great smallmouth bass jig. Work this rip-rap jig right off rock ledges, bottom-bouncing and fishing this as a stand-up jig offers superior smallmouth bass jig presentation. Proven.
Lake Trout Jig
When lake trout jigging, select white, yellow, orange and chartreuse first. For deeper water select the larger sizes to drive down to the fish and stay down where the big lake trout lurk. The 5/8 oz. Ugly Bug makes a great lake
Walleye Ultimate Jig
For walleye, the white, yellow, orange and crawfish must be selected first. It doesn't hurt to have some chartreuse and black along just in case the conditions change. Any Ugly Bug will offer you superior Walleye Jig performance along rocky reefs, in shallow rocky bays where the walleye feed amongst the cracks - Ugly Bug puts you right on the fish.
Bluegill prefer the black and green in small sizes - the Ugly Bug is the ultimate bluegill jig target. Riding your bait horizontally, the Ugly Bug Jig puts the bait at mouth level and makes it easier on the bluegill to sip in your bluegill jig. The tantalizing action of the jigs many legs makes this a fantastic big bluegill jig.
While crappie tend to like the white and chartreuse, great crappie jig Ugly Bug patterns include the silver glitter Ugly Bug and the Clear w/ Silver Fleck. The Ugly Bug works the structure as a stand-up jig and allows you to crappie fish edges of rock piles and cribs with fewer snags. The suspended crappies will love the balanced - horizontal presentation.
Ugly Bug Jig-Fishing Tip
The wedge-shaped pivoting head performs best when worked with 8-pound line. Enough pressure can be applied on 8-pound line to cause a snagged Ugly Bug head to pivot up on itself and dislodge from the snagging rock crevice. In rivers, visibility of 8-pound line is diffused by current movement. Where you had a need to use 4 or 6-pound test, you can now switch to 8-pound and save over 75% of your hang-ups.
Ugly Bug Jig
The Ugly Bug Jig was created in 1969 by Dan Gapen, Sr. to fill a gap in lure selection available which imitated the aquatic crawfish and hellgrammite. Dan, a riverman by choice, also needed a lure which could be retrieved downstream, natural presentation in river systems, and do so without being constantly snagged on bottom rock.
With this in mind, a anti-snag soft plastic body was constructed, rubber legs added, and a head design similar to that of a crawdad's tail was constructed. The stand-up jig head, after a number of design switches, was created that was wide in front, narrow in back, with slopes underneath. It took a couple of summers to work out the problems, but finally in 1969 the new little lure was ready for the market.
Crawfish run backwards when pursued and are often carried downstream with river currents while in flight. Most of the time this flight takes place in bottom rocks. The Ugly Bug jig makes an ideal imitator. With its wide wedge jig head front it may hang up in bottom rock when retrieved downstream (throw upstream and retrieve with the current), but will generally pivot up and out of the snag immediately. The reason for this is the fact that Dan's anti-snag jig design allows for the point of pull, the hook eye, to protrude from the jig head back beyond the forward wide part of the Ugly Bug head. Mechanically, with the narrow back end, this creates a pivot from when pressure is applied. Get an Ugly Bug Jig and try it - you will pivot your jig and bait out of snags some 85% of the time.
Fishermen heading into the rock-infested lakes of Canada prefer the snag-free jig, bottom-walking Ugly Bug jig 3-to-1 over any other jig. The Ugly Bug's ability to walk rock gets it down on bottom and keeps it there. In Canada, use 1/4 oz, 3/8 oz. and 5/8 oz. in bright colors for the best walleye jig for all structures.
Helpful Tips: Ugly Bug Jig Fishing
Bluegill Jig Tip
Anglers seeking out trophy size bluegill (pounders) along flooded hedgerows, or deepwater weed lines, find the 1/16 oz. black Ugly Bug jig does the trick. By casting in along structure, allowing the jig to drop straight down, then lifting high with a sweeping action, and allowing the jig to once again drop, bluegill are tempted to hit each time the jig descends (on the drop). Watching line on surface tells when a strike occurs. A small bit of wax worm, red worm or spike tipped on the jig helps to create the best big bluegill jig presentation.
Smallmouth Bass Tip
The Ugly Bug is deadly on river smallmouth bass. Use of the 1/8 oz. size is preferred by ardent rivermen. The preferred color is crawfish or brown. Casting this lure up into the current, in those shallow rocky areas, is deadly on Mr. Smallmouth.
Walleye Jig Tip
Lake fishing, over rocky areas, is best accomplished by the use of 1/4 oz. Ugly Bug jig. If it's a walleye jig you're after, buy the light colors such as white, yellow, pink and chartreuse. These lighter colors should be tipped with minnows. Darker colors such as orange, purple, black and crawfish, should be used during the hot months of summer and must be tipped with nightcrawlers or leeches.
Which Ugly Bug Jig?
How to Select Your Ugly Bug Jig
There is a basic rule to purchasing the Ugly Bug jig. In spring, buy light colors. In the heat of summer, buy dark colors. In fall, go back to the light colors of spring. In spring and fall, tip with minnows. In the hot months, tip with crawlers or leeches. For your bluegill jigs or crappie jigs, tip with smaller offerings such as wax worm, spike or red worm.
Deep lake water and spawning areas downstream from huge river dams require the use of the larger 5/8 oz. Ugly Bug jig. Many of these areas are fished best by vertically jigging this size and tipping it with walleye-size sucker minnows.