Tips for Jigging
Before we get started, there are many ways to use a piece of metal with a hook to catch a wide variety of fish. Especially when you have zero bait on the boat, it’s nice to have confidence in knowing you can still have a very productive day on the water. We always use a Spro quality barrel swivel anywhere from 12″ to 3′ of leader from jig to help with the action and line twist. I prefer the slow jigging types from Blue Water Candy and Big Nics Fishing because they produce and you don’t have to work up a sweat trying to get a reactionary strike.
When used properly, let the jig’s natural action do the work for you, you’ll be able to catch flounder, African Pompano, grouper, Amber Jack, Kings, etc. Your local tackle shop can help with a rod, reel, and line setup to work best with your budget. When you locate a place that’s holding fish, drop the jig to the bottom and go up to the desired depth, and repeat. Be sure the current and wind isn’t pulling your line under the boat, not good! Fish vertical as much as possible. Also, be sure to avoid dropping your jig on a structure, break-offs will happen and there goes your investment. Fish the edges as much as possible or find some ledges that are holding fish.
It’s important to note, you want to drop the jig as quickly as possible, but always maintain control. When anchored up, drop the rod tip to the 8 o’clock position, smoothly raise to the 10 o’clock position. If fishing on the bottom, try something like the 9:30 to 10 o’clock method. Keep it as close to the bottom as possible. A lot of times the fish will hit at the 10 o’clock position and you will want the extra room to let the rod load up before setting the hook. Seeing a little slack line on top of the water is good when dropping, it allows the jig to do what it’s designed to do.
Try and avoid setting the hook on a slack line. Once a fish bites, reel in the slack line to load up the rod then set the hook. Remember to set the hook with a little force when using single thick hooks.
Also, with single hooks, try adding a scent such as a Berkeley Gulp curly tail or Fishbites molded shrimp. If none are available, use a piece of cut bait for those times the fish aren’t cooperating. Sometimes a little scent is all that’s needed to help trigger a bite. Treble hooks will occasionally hook a fish somewhere other than the lips, so be aware and adjust your technique accordingly. With trebles, try a controlled sweeping motion up or to the side after the rod is loaded, you should be able to tell which direction the fish is headed. Once hooked up, we will lighten the drag a little once the fish is up in the water column just in case we don’t have a secure connection.
Depending on water temperature, (Cold water will give your jig a slower action while warmer water will do the opposite) fish will be as active as the water temperature will allow. If the water temp is too warm, the fish will more than likely be sluggish. Adjust accordingly to see which speed works best for you.
I hope this helps and let us know if you have any ideas and techniques that work so we can share them with others.