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Outdoor Term of the Week: Difference Between Jigs, Baits, Jigging Spoons, Flies, Crankbait, Swimbait...[PICS]

You may not be an amateur angler but many are and keeping angling terms straight can be hard. Learn the difference between jigs, baits, lures, jigging spoons, crankbait, swimbait...and more. 

This week let's pretend we are amateur anglers and that all the different things to put at the end of your line is confusing us. Okay, so maybe I'm not pretending, but I want to go fishing and the aisles at Bass Pro are making my head spin.

These are the differences between all the baits you can use and what fish, in general, you use them for.


A jig is a hook that usually has a head made of lead. It can be dressed in any way and jigs are often made with hair additions, silicone parts or plastic pieces to attract different types of fish.




Bait, as a general term, can be either live (like minnows) or artificial (lures). People use really weird things for bait though.

You can't leave bait fish to die

Jigging Spoons

These are jigs shaped like spoons. They are bounced off the bottom and you normally are actively "jigging," which makes it look like a dying shad or other baitfish.



Flies are used to imitate...well, flies, for the most part. Aquatic insects, a major part of many fish species' diet, are matched as they hatch and evolve. Flies can also imitate baitfish, crustaceans, and even terrestrial animals like mice or shrews.



A lot of these terms are just sub-categories of the larger terms. But crankbaits are hard plastic or wooden lures, rather than the soft rubber ones. They are heavier and often dive, thanks to their water-pushing lip in front. May anglers fish for bass with crankbaits.



Swimbaits are softer lures, often made from rubber or are in two conjoined parts. These imitate fish and, unlike the crankbait, don't need additional movement from the angler. Swimbaits are also often used to catch largemouth bass and striped bass.



Companies are making new products and variations on all these, almost daily. You just have to stay on top of them.

Now you will know the basics when you go shopping for new lures, baits and jigs to put on the end of your line.

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Outdoor Term of the Week: Difference Between Jigs, Baits, Jigging Spoons, Flies, Crankbait, Swimbait...[PICS]