Rigging the Minnows: (scroll down for J5 Rigging)


When it comes to choosing a rod and reel for throwing small soft plastic swimbaits like the Big Joshy Minnow,  I like to use a medium light to medium spinning rod with a fast action, paired with a 2000 class spinning reel.  Some like to use smaller reels but the spool diameter of the smaller ultralight reels will limit your casting distance some.  I prefer to spool up with braided line.  10-15 lb test is thin enough that you can still cast a good distance, but still strong enough that you can pop your bait out of a lot of snags.  If you are fishing in very murky water or after dark you can usually get away with tying the braid directly to a small duo lock snap.  If you are fishing during the day or in cleaner water you will get far more bites if you tie on a 2 to 4 ft fluorocarbon leader with the same small snap attached to the end (12-14 lb fluorocarbon works well for this).  If you use a lighter fluorocarbon leader you will break it more often on snags because its knot breaking strength will be less than the main line 10 lb braid.  Some may not be comfortable fishing for smaller fish like crappie with such “heavy” lines.  If you are looking for a more sporting challenge you are welcome to use lighter lines.  I suggest this setup because it results in far fewer lures lost to snags but it is still light enough that the fish don’t hesitate to hit even in very clean water.

Bait Size:

Whatever will bite: 2.75 Minnow

Crappie: 2.3, 2.75 Minnows

Bass: 2.75, 3.25 Minnows; 2.75, 3.5 Craw, J5 Premium Baitfish

Saugeye/Sauger/Walleye: 2.75, 3.25 Minnows, J5 Premium Baitfish

(Creek/River Fishing in warmer months: + 2.75 Craw)

Muskie: 2.75, 3.25 Minnow, J5 Premium Baifish

Pike: 2.75, 3.25 Minnow, J5 Premium Baitfish

Jig Size and Weight: 

This may be the most important aspect of fishing with Big Joshy Minnows.  Slight changes in jig weight will drastically change how your bait swims and at what depth it runs.  Even where the line tie is on a jig and the shape of the lead will determine the baits action.  The Jigs that are included in the packs are a good starting point.  However, there are plenty of times when you will want to use different jig weights for different situations.  Many of the store bought swimbaits with the lead molded in are too heavy to fish slowly enough in water 6 ft or less.  Also many swimbaits with stiffer plastic require heavier weight jigs or keel weighted hooks to keep them from spinning.  Big Joshy Minnows have been designed from the ground up to swim well at slow speeds in shallower water while rigged on lighter jigs.  As with all swimbaits each bait has point where if you try to use a jig that is too light or too heavy you will not get a good swimming action.  A good swimming action is where the tail wags and the body also rocks side to side.  Using too light of a jig will result in less tail action and more body rock.  Using a very heavy jig will eliminate all body movement and then you just have a wagging tail.  These  bait actions will still catch fish.  But nothing triggers fish to bite like a Big Joshy Minnow that has body and tail movement at the same time.


1. Attaching the jig head with a small round bend snap is recommended.

This gives the bait more action without spooking the fish.

2. IMPORTANT: The bait should be rigged as straight as possible.  

The hook should exit the top of the bait at the proper location so

the flat side of the bait is level.
How to rig a swim bait on a jig
3. A small dab of super glue or fast drying cosmetic nail glue

at the nose of the bait will prevent it from slipping down the hook,

thus prolonging the life of each bait.  Several soft plastic mending glues

are also commercially available for repairing tears in baits

How to add a stinger hook to a jig and swimbait

Rigging the J5 Premium Baitfish:

I wanted to share my latest way of rigging that has been really effective for me. I use my J Series jig which has a 4/0 hook and a good bait keeper on the collar to lock the swim in place well. The real trick to this is where I have started adding a stinger that clips to the eye of the jig and then rides in the hookslot on the belly of the bait. The picture here shows how it should look.

I use a small, strong duo-lock snap, heavy 40+ lb braid, and a super sharp gamakatsu #4 treble. The tricky part is to tie the stinger the right length: so that it is long enough that the hook is far back in the hookslot, but there is no loose line flopping around that can snag.
To position the stinger,just slide one hook on the treble up in the hookslot and barely hook itinto the plastic along the side to keep it in place with the hook points facing forward as shown.

Since I started using this rig I only have 1 missed hit, and I have yet to lose a hooked fish. Many fish will just inhale the whole bait and get the main hook in the top of the mouth, or they will swipe at the bait from underneath and get the treble in the corner of their mouth. The stinger treble also pulls free from the bait and makes it very hard for the fish to have any leverage to throw the treble.

The biggest downfall of this rig is it will snag easily. A variation of this is to tie the stinger about 1/8 inch longer and place the stinger on top behind the main hook. This is a little more forgiving as far as snags along the bottom, but will hook less fish in my experience.

One good thing to keep in mind when throwing this setup is the bigger the swimbait, the farther a fish will swim to get it.So its not always as important to be within 1 ft of the bottom as it is with our smaller swims many times. Especially in clearer water keeping the bait 2-3ft off bottom when fishing in 5-10 ft will call up fish that are tight to the bottom and make them commit to hitting, and many times hitting very hard.