Gary Klein’s Go-To Jig System REVEALED

Bucks Skeeter Yamaha
Bucks Falcon Mercury


by Dan O’Sullivan

There are a lot of really good jig fishermen on tour, Mike McClelland, Denny Brauer, Tommy Biffle, and the list goes on.  However good those anglers are with a jig; and there are others, the one thing you can do when those names come up is mention their name in conjunction with one specific type of jig fishing.

With McClelland it is a football jig on structure, with Brauer and Biffle, the Flippin’ jig comes to mind.  One angler has built a name throughout his gear as a tactician with any type of jig.  Be it a shallow Flippin’ jig, a structure jig, a swim jig or a punching jig, he is as close to deadly with each of them as he can be.

Gary Klein Celebrates at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic

Gary Klein Celebrates at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

That angler is Weatherford, Tex. pro Gary Klein.

From the early days on the Western tours, and to this point on the Bassmaster Elite Series, Klein has been a jig angler.  He was so much a fan of the lure that he started his own company to produce them early in his career.  The company name was Tournament Lures, and that company first became famous for its Weapon Jig, which Klein called the near perfect heavy cover jig.

At some point  in the late 80’s, Klein sold that company and has worked with companies for years to make jigs that he could put his stamp of approval on, but until he teamed with roommate and reigning Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace, to start, he struggled to find the jigs he could believe in 100-percent of the time.

Now, Klein can produce exactly what he wants, and he carries exactly what he needs everywhere with him.  he carries tackleboxes with jigheads and he carries all of the components to tie exactly the jigs he feels will give him an advantage at each and every tournament.

We were able to pry some knowledge out of him to help us better understand what he has put more than 40 years of his life perfecting.  Klein shared with us his four must have jigs, and how he fine tunes them for his fishing on tour.

Klein on a Jig
The Texas pro said he is enamored with jigs because they are the one lure in his tacklbox that he believes provides him a chance to catch fish anywhere.  “A jig is the most versatile lure in a tacklebox,” he said.  “You can catch fish on a jig in inches of water, to more than a hundred feet, in little cover to heavy cover, the jig is a great tool for catching bass.”

While he speaks of “the jig” in one term, he is actually referring to the category of the lure and he works to break it down by the type of fishing he is doing with it.  “I use four basic types of jigs, then customize them with skirts and trailers to each situation,” he said.  “I break them down by the type of technique I use them with.”

Those techniques are Flippin’ and Pitching, Punching, swimming jigs and structure fishing.  We’ll define them all here.

Flippin’ and Pitching
Klein puts both of these in the same category, and he uses the same jighead for both techniques; a GK Heavy Cover Jig.  “What I want in a heavy cover jig is one that put the line tie, the weedguard and the hook point in line with each other,” he revealed.  “That way, the line follows the jig into the brush or cover and the jig follows the line back out of it.  A well designed jig

Gary Klein's Favorite Jig Styles

Gary Klein’s Favorite Jig Styles

makes fishing heavy cover easy, and a poorly designed jig can be the opposite.”

Along with penetrating the cover, the jig has to penetrate the mouth of the bass, and Klein has a specific desire for that mechanism.  “That jig needs to rotate in the fish’s mouth so that the majority of the hookups are in the roof of the mouth,” he said.  “That mechanism comes from the head shape, and an oval shaped head like the one I use, is one that makes that happen.”

He said he prefers heavier jigs for his heavier cover fishing most of the time.  He revealed that he usually begins with a 1/2-ounce size, and often throws 3/4 and 1-ounce jigs frequently.

His experience as led him to believe that a faster falling jig triggers reaction strikes, and he can control the speed with skirting and his trailer.

“I often tie a double sized skirt using four pads of material as opposed to the standard two,” he said.  “With trailers, I use a chunk if I want gliding action, and craws or Pit Bosses if I want a vertical fall with some parachuting, and a craw with realistic claws if I want a faster fall.”


Klein does not use a jig, by definitive standards anymore for penetrating matted vegetation.  However, he still uses what he considers a jig modified for the cover.  “I like to use a pegged heavy tungsten weight, paired with one of our Punch Hub and the Skirt I tie to it, with a Flippin’ hook and a plastic creature bait,” he said.  “The Punch Hub and skirt actually does two things, it protects the knot on the hook and it makes the jig penetrate the vegetation easier.  You’d have to try it both ways for yourself to see but it really works.

He does all of his heavy cover fishing with an 8-foot 33 million modulus blank Flippin’ Rod and a high speed Quantum Smoke or EXO Reel with the 7.1:1 Burner retrieve.  A real key to his technique is to use 80-pound-test Spiderwire Stealth, or a new prototype Berkley Trilene Braid that the anglers have been testing.  “I get more fish in the boat, and the line does not have that much larger diameter, so it has a lot more upside than a 65-pound-test braid,” he said.

 Structure Jig
Here, Klein uses a typical football jig, usually 3/4-ounce, but he really plays with the skirting to give the jig the profile he desires.  “I like a short finesse style skirt on football jigs, but I want it to be bulky,” he said.  “I do that by tying with four pads of skirt material, making a double thick skirt, then trim it so that the skirt does not protrude in front of the line tie, or past the skirt; I get a lot of bites with this modification.”

Swim Jig
The most recent addition to Klein’s weaponry  is the swim jig.  He said he has caught a lot of big fish the past several years throwing it in water that he knows he would not have caught using a spinnerbait or Flippin’.  “A spinnerbait would have been too much, and I couldn’t get close enough to them to Flip without spooking them,” he said.  “I really like a 3/8 or 1/2-ounce straight black swim jig, with no flake in just about any water conditions,” he said.  “It gives me a different presentation than many other anglers that may go through an area before me.”

One trick he likes to do with his swim jig is to use a Paycheck Baits Nose Job on the front of it, he said that it gives the jig a nice, gliding action that really draws bites.

Gary Klein Shows off a Pair of Nice Bass

Gary Klein Shows off a Pair of Nice Bass – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

“The swim jig really shines in conditions that bass shouldn’t be eating in,” he said.  “Even hot water temperatures into the 90’s, it really is a great tool.”

Keys to Effective Jigs
The final things that Klein said to pay attention to in jig fishing was how different changes to the skirting can affect the way the lure responds in water.  “A long skirted jig will unfold slowly, and a shorter skirted jig will open much more quickly,” he said.  “Make your modifications and see how they make the fish respond, you could have an advantage over other anglers doing similar things by finding a modification that changes the game.”

He also said to start with the right flare.  “We built our Boss jigheads to have a 90-degree collar so that we could really make the skirts flare and give the most action,” he said.  “It all starts and ends with the right components, from presentation to hookset, the jig must be right in order to be the most effective.  But, the angler needs to find what works best for them on any given day out there.”