Jigging technique - Vertical fishing
Jigging, speed jigging, deep sea jigging, butterfly jigging, vertical jigging, yoyo jigging are all names used for this fishing technic. Originated in Polynesia, it meet a phenomenal rise in Asia, Europe, Oceania, USA and now in Canada. This technique allows to catch the big fish vertically, normally reserved for anglers with heavy gear. Renewed in 1990 by a Japanese "Yoichi Mogi," he was the instigator of most new Jigging equipment (rods, reels, lures JIG) and popularized the style of fishing "Japanese Jigging."
To explore the new fishing areas where other technique can not reach. Jigging aims to place the lure where the fish are located. The secret is to have a good fishing guide to maneuver the boat, placing the jig over the fish, for that you must calculate current strenght and wind, to allow sufficient time for the JIG to reach its target. Subsequently, the fisherman skill makes the difference.
How to jig
Basic jigging technique, let the lure (JIG) reach the bottom and back to the surface by varying the speed and motion, work the water column. On my last trip to Mexico, all predators were between 80 and 130 meters deep, we let the jig reach the bottom and retreive one third of line, then drop down, then wind up and we restart this stratagem until the bite. With a longer rod handle, it's normally wedged under the arm or rested on a fighting belt (harness), we move the rod up and down, while retrieving line. The action generated by this movement ascend the jig by jerk and twitch while giving an illusion of life. The retrieve speed can be fast, slow or long stir. The Jigging is not relaxing, it requires physical exertion and require adapted equipment.
A "jigging" rod is normally shorter, more flexible (with a parabolic action), more resistant and provide a longer handle, allowing you to fish without getting tired. These rods are designed for conventional and spinning reels. The choice of the rod is based on the following criteria: rod weight, max load, lures weight and rod's action. We looking for a balance between strength and flexibility of the rod blank, a harmony between the rod and the reel weight, nobody want to end up with a heavy steel bar or a light strand of spaghetti. Regular spinning rod or boat rod is not recommended because they are not made for vertical motion and you will regret your economical choice. The handle is often too short, the reel support is often misplaced, too stiff or too soft, it will be hard to animate properly the JIG. Certainly good jigging rods are more expensive, but they fill a real need and not just a whim. They are often manufactured in high quality composite, made for heavy use and strong torsion resistance caused by the large bottom fish, but remaining flexible and light.
The reel should be strong with a good drag, otherwise you'll only fish once. We adjust the drag at 30% of the line strength, of course,
reel drag adjustment will be adapted to the strength of the rod. Example: If you use 50 lb test braided line, the drag will be set at 15 lbs
and the rod should bears at least 15 lb (LOAD). I insist on the reel strength, often fishes are generally bigger and stronger,
but reeling all day, moving the rod up and down, the mechanism of the reel is under heavy pressure. We encourage you to use a real jigging reel.
Also, when you spool a reel with braided line, be sure to put some pressure (5 lbs) during spooling process. Otherwise, line will dig inside the spool.
Saltwater jigging lures are made for vertical fishing in deeper part of the sea; where other technics are less productive. Usually the bigger fishes stay near the bottom during daytime, only way to catch them, it's presenting a lure directly to them. Pelagic fishes don't like light, prefer deeper area, with less light & heat, bottom fishing or jigging is the most productive technique for these large fishes.
Jigs are usually made with metal, weight between 100 to 300 grams. Mainly, there's two types of JIG on the market, "Center weight" or "tail weight". On "center weight", the weight is balance around the center of the jig, on the "tail weight" they are placed towards the tail. Center weight jig is mainly used for midwater fishes (30-70m), slow descent with sideways movements. Really deadly on Cudas, kingfish, sailfish.
The "Tail weight" jig is balanced with a weight near the tail. This jig is designed to reach bottom quickly and lift with a less action. These jigs are used for deeper fishes. They are more streamlined, thinner, provide less resistance in the current and require less effort to manipulation.
Long or shorter jigs? your choice will depend on current's strength and the depth of your fishing area. Heavy lure will drop faster and will stay more vertical, for against, it will be harder to handle and require more effort. If it is too light, it will take more time to reach bottom and will have a open angle (current), but it will be less physical. The jig length will also affects the descent of the lure, for against, a big lure takes bigger fish. If you fish from 90 to 130 meters deep with a moderate current, a 150 to 250 grams jigs will be perfect. My favorite colors are pink / silver, green / gold, red / white fluorescent, Silver, Orange. Before buying a JIG, validate the "Lure weight" on your rod.
A Good size selection of jig is mandatory to be ready for different weather situation. In Dec 2014, winds and currents are in
opposite direction, all our 200 grams jig stay in my tackle box, they can stay in vertical position. Only 250, 300 grams jigs
were good for this fishing week, so always try to have different size of jig. We created new model of jig for 2015, KATANA 230,
KAN 330, KNIFE 280.
Usually, stronger hooks will be used. As, we only target bigger fishes with speed jigging technic,
hooks will also be chosen in proportion to the size of the jig, the gap should be a little wider than jig's width.
Also want a curved point towards inside. Usually, sizes vary from 7/0 to 13/0 for the "speed jigging",
smaller sizes(5/0 to 7/0) for slow jigging.
- Jig of 150 grams - Hook 7/0 to 8/0
- Jig of 200 grams - Hook 8/0 to 9/0
- Jig of 230 grams - Hook 8/0 to 10/0
- Jig of 250 grams - Hook 9/0 to 11/0
- Jig of 300+ grams - Hook 10/0 to 13/0
I recommend BKK hooks, model 8090-6x-HG razor sharp is for speed jigging and model 8070-3x-hg for slow jigging.
They made stronger with super sharped cutting pointe, can penetrate easly any fish jaws. They are solid, nice finish and saltwater resistant. Specially design for jigging.
Line & leader
The braid line size depends on the rod strength (usually from 40 to 80 lb). We will often use PE terminolgy to indicate the braide line strength,
calculate about 10 pounds per PE, such as: PE5 is about 50 lbs. We recommend 300-500 yards of line inside your reel. We also use a long leader (Approx. 15 feets length).
The size of leader is based on fishes size and current strenght, usually we use 60-80 lbs leader is perfect. Bigger your leader is, more current will drag your line.
Using fluorocarbon or nylon don't really make difference, except if sea floor is full of rock. So on a rocky area, go with fluorocarbon leader, otherwise Nylon leader will do the job.
There's new braid line on the market with color changes (every 10 meters), it becomes
very convenient to locate depth (just need to count colors). Named "Hollow core braid", it appeared few years ago, stronger, thinner line, spliceable.
Also, it's open new doors on how we connect a leader to braid line, pratically no knot required. The connection is 100% secure,
based on "chinese finger trap" technique, leaders provide 100% strenght, you can even control the breaking points between your braided line and leader.
No more big knot blocking inside your rod guides. Very usefull if you need to create loop to loop connection.
Require splicing needles and super glue.
Lure weight Leader size
120-150 gr 40-60 lb (Fluorocarbon or nylon)
170-200 gr 50-80 lb (Fluorocarbon or nylon)
230-300 gr 100-130 lb (Nylon)
Rigs & knot
The braid is connected to leader by PR KNOT, this node is designed to pass through the rod guides with a minimum of friction.
Avoiding ceramic rings breakage. It takes some skill to achieve this knot, but the result worth it.
Requires a fly tying bobbin. Watch the video to see how to make it. Great for jigging, it's the best knot to use when you need to attach
a long leader.
For Popping, it's possible to use a FG Knot", shorter length, less friction on the guides than PR Knot, also no tools required.
The hook with the small kevlar rope (1.5 to 3 inches long) is named "Assist hook." Normally one "Assist hook" is enough, but some fishermen prefer a double hooks (as example: 2 x # 5 / 0) to increase the catch ratio. Myself, I prefer a single big hook, size #7/0 to 11/0 and I make sure that hooks gap is larger than the widest part of the JIG. Usally, the assist hooks, Jig and leader are attached to a metal ring called "Ring Solid", serving as an anchor point. But, you can also use a swivel as an anchor point, as shown in the picture. That avoiding twisted lines.
To attach the jig to leader, we use a node « Improved trilene knot
» or San Diego Jam knot for big leader. For smaller leader, it's better to use a "AG Chain Knot", the stronger knot as i know. Fish bites are very obvious when you feel your jig slow down or become heavier, that mean Fish ON. Do not hesitate to set the hooks few time.
A simple knot to attach leader to hooks or to attach braided line inside reel spool, it's UNI KNOT
I strongly recommend you to use a fighting belt, if you do not want to have a back pain or bruise on your belly, pliers for split ring, knife, gloves to protect your hands (braid). Create your own PR knotter using a fly tying bobbin and empty flytying thread bobbin for PR knot (Add some weight inside the bobbin).