New to jig fishing, or an old hand that just wants to improve your catch rate? Then these jig fishing tips will go some way to put you on the road to success.
Unlike most other fishing lures, just moving a jig through the water isn't going to to motivate many fish into striking at it.
Jigs have little built-in action of their own - they all rely on the skill of the angler if they're to be irresistible to fish.
Sloppy actioned rods, stretchy nylon line and a half-hearted approach by the angler just won't get the job done.
Quite a few fishing jigs - most pirks for instance, and the otherwise excellent Dexter Wedge - come fitted with treble hooks, and there are three good reasons why you should replace these with a single hook:~
Incidentally, if this happens to you at any time (and it will - it happens sooner or later to all of us) here's how to get a fish hook out of yourself.
What are Assist Hooks? Well, they're nothing more than a single hook on a short length of super-tough braid line which is cow-hitched to the split ring on the eye of the jig - and they're also known as stinger rig hooks.
Assist Hooks are normally sold in packets of two, and it's common practice to use a pair of them, as shown here.
Using stingers in this way gets you secure hook-ups with short-striking fish that you'd otherwise lose, and prevents your fish from levering the hook out of its mouth - which would not be fair play at all!
American anglers have known for years that a small piece of pork rind on the hook of a jig will enhance its performance.
Many will tell you that the pork scent gets even better results than a piece of squid or a sliver cut from the belly of a fish. It certainly stays on the hook longer, and it definitely works.
But you don't have to attack the Sunday roast - you can buy strips of it a jar of preservative ...
When you're jigging a lure you're always working - you never put the rod down. It's tiring stuff, jig fishing, so it's important that the rod is comfortable to use. It needs to be light, so a carbon blank is the way to go for a specialist jig rod.
It needs to be long enough to give some action to the lure, but not so long as to wear your arms out. So a carbon rod of around 7ft to 8ft will be about right for vertical jigging, on the stiff side and with a fast taper.
What you definitely don't want for jig fishing is a soft, through-actioned rod that well absorb all the energy that you're putting into it - that needs to be transferred to the jigging lure.
And as you'll be using braid lines the line guides should be ceramic lined and of the best quality to prevent grooving.
If you casting your jig, then it's a matter of personal preference between a spinning reel and a conventional reel. But if you're vertical jigging from a drifting boat then it's rather more clear cut - use a traditional multiplier reel.
Why? Well, as you'll be using your reel largely as a winch to wind a heavy fish up from the depths, then the traditional reel - not having the bale arm of the spinning reel to turn the line through 90 degrees - will always be more efficient for this purpose.
Some reels of this type are fitted with a line counter, which used in conjunction with an electronic fish-finder will enable you to get your lure down to exactly the right depth every time.
It's vital that the action at the rod top is transferred to the jig, which may well be several hundred feet below if you're deep jigging. If you've got nylon monofilament on your reel, then much if not all of that action will be lost in the stretch of the line, leaving the jig hanging lifeless below. Which is not good ..
There's one type of line to have on your reel that superior to all others for jigging, and that's one of the non-stretch super-braid lines. You should forsake all others.
As with all forms of lure fishing, I think it's worth using a fluorocarbon leader for its near-invisibility. OK, it's a bit pricey, but anything we can do to catch more fish is surely worth a few extra dollars.
By which I mean the Atlantic Mackerel that we get around the UK shores during the summer months, not the Spanish and King varieties that frequent tropical oceans. Sadly, 'our' mackerel max-out at around 2lb or so. Few attain this weight though, most will be no more than 10oz. Now if only they went to 10lbs ...
But they don't, which is why they're not held in high regard by 'real' anglers other than as baitfish - and jigging is the way to catch them.
Atlantic mackerel congregate in large shoals, often in the top 30ft (10m) of the water column where they feed on shoals of brit. Catching them is simple. All you need string of small feather-type lures - 'bleeding bait' sabiki rigs are ideal - and a 1oz lead sinker on the end of the string, and start jigging.
Sabiki rigs come in strings of 6 or 8 lures, each tied-off on a short snood from the main trace. If you luck into a shoal of mackerel it's not uncommon to get a fish on every hook, which can be too much for the strength of the snoods.
Here's a tip - rather than let a 'full-house' of fish reduce the number of lures on your rig, cut off the hook points on alternate ones so you've got 3 or 4 that will catch and a similar number that will act just as attractors. The odds are that overall, you'll catch more mackerel and retain your string of Sabikis for longer.
In the USA
In the UK
Downrigger ~ The cranelike device incorporating a line-counter reel often seen on the sterns of sport-fishing boats, which lowers a trolling weight on a wire line to a pre-determined depth. The trolling line is attached just above the weight, which gets the lure down to depths that would otherwise be unachievable.