Float and Fly Hair Jig

Float and Fly Hair Jig
Big Tennessee Smallmouth Music City Fly

Tips for Fishing the Float and Fly Hair Jig

  • Use spinning reel with a good drag. A smooth drag is vital when using light line
  • Use a long rod in medium light power. Lots of bend in the rod helps play the bass on light line
  • Use light line 4-6 pound test. Light line is less visible and imparts realistic action in the small hair jig
  • Use a small float. A small float poses the least amount of resistance to the bass, increasing hookups
  • Use a sparsely dressed hair jig with small lead-head. Subtle presentation is key in cold water

The float and fly hair jig was born in East Tennessee. It came on the scene when area crappie anglers began complaining about catching smallmouth bass while fishing for crappie. They were fishing crappie jigs under a float. When the water temps drop fish become less active. They are less likely to chase lures. Bass will suspend after a cold front passes. So it made sense that the float and fly technique would work in cold water situation. Suspended fish are typically bigger than those prowling the shallows in the winter. When targeting suspended bass, moving baits don’t stay in the strike zone long enough for bass that are inactive due to the cold water. A subtle presentation at the depth that the fish are suspended. The float and fly hair jig is the perfect presentation for catching suspended bass.


With the float and fly technique you need light tackle. The float and fly shines when the water is cold and when the water is cold smaller baits are needed. These smaller baits need light line to give the proper action which it is subtle. When the water is cold, fish are very sluggish and and so are the baitfish they are feeding on. To deliver the most natural presentation possible light line is needed. This is especially tru in clear water which is common where this technique works and during cold winter months which is when the float and fly works best.

While big crappie are regularly caught using the float and fly most of the time float and fly anglers are fishing for big smallmouth bass. While the bass are sluggish in cold water once they are hooked they can become freight trains on the end of your line.

RELATED CONTENT: 3 Baits for Smallmouth Bass

About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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