Welcome to Jigging 101


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The Jig HQ 's Exclusive Videos.

We spend a lot of time on the water. Before we offer anything for sale on our site, we test it. We also send samples to fishing guides throughout the coastal US as well as overseas. If we all have consistent results, we will put that item in stock.

Our commitment even extends underwater. We go underwater, see how the jig swims, see how fish react to it. Despite the many challenges this extra step imposes, we find it to be very rewarding and addictive. Many times we are not able to jig the lure properly because of the camera set-up. If we can get a bite without jigging the jig, you can imagine how the fish will tear up that jig once you jig it properly...

Since we go the extra mile to undertand what works and what doesn't, it's no surprise that we are the first jigging shop in the US to have recorded underwater strikes with these types of lures.

Here are a few videos.











We will share a lot more of these types of videos , so stay tuned...

Sometimes, we learn a lot about the fish we pursue... here is an interesting video showing how aggressive (and bold!!) baby amberjacks can be :



and sometimes, we have just plain ol'fun !!!







Here is some basic info to get you started...

Jigs are probably the oldest artificial lures. It is even thought that Neanderthals used such a lure. The oldest jigs found to date are from the Bronze Age (600-300BC). Other jigs made out of bronze, tin and lead were also found in Poland. These extremely ornate jigs date from the 11th century. The first European written record of what looks like a jig appeared in 1405.

Fast forward almost 600 years. In the 1990’s, a Japanese gentleman by the name of Yoichi Mogi becomes the leading figure in reviving this method of fishing. He has been instrumental in pushing the jig design as well as redesigning rods specifically for that purpose. This where “Butterfly” jigs started. Ever since, many manufacturers and fishermen alike have spent countless hours pushing the envelope in developing lighter and stronger jigging equipment.

As with any lures, specific jig designs have specific applications. There are a few terms one should be familiar with in order to choose the right jig. Let’s have a quick overview:

Jig Types: Knife Blades: As the name implies, knife jigs look like the long and thin blade of a knife. They are designed to have a lot of flash and create a lot of disturbance in the water. This jig style will catch just about everything in the water column from top to bottom. The knife blade type probably has the most variations.

Symmetrical and asymmetrical: Take a jig and stand it on its belly. Take a look at the outline of the jig from above. If each side is the same, the jig is symmetrical. If each side is different, the jig is asymmetrical. Asymmetrical jigs are designed to impart a gliding action. This gliding action extends how long it takes the jig to reach the bottom. Sometimes, fish want a slower and less aggressive presentation. This is where an asymmetrical jig can make a difference. Asymmetrical jigs are also great for shallower water. Symmetrical jigs have less imparted action and are typically designed for a more aggressive presentation such as “speed jigging”.

Balanced (centerweight) and tail-weighted (tail-heavy): Take a look at the jig. Does it seem like the weight of the jig is equally distributed? Or does one half seem “bulkier” than the other. Balanced jigs are uniform in weight while tail-weighted jig are disproportionally weighed towards the tail. Balanced jigs will have a slower descent and a tendency to flutter. Tail-weighted jigs are designed to sink straight down as quickly as possible.

This is an advantage when you are fishing in a heavy current, when you are fishing really deep or when you want to bypass the smaller fish that may be higher in the water column that the trophy fish you are after.

Mix and match: 1) Symmetrical + balanced= longest “hang time” before it reach the bottom. Slower presentation. The most “flutter”. Shallow water or when there is a feeding frenzy on the surface. 2) Asymmetrical + tail-weighted= will glide a bit before it reaches the bottom. Some flutter. 4) Symmetrical + tail-weighted = no flutter, perfect for fishing deep or fishing in fast current. The ideal jig for “speed jigging”

Inchiku: These jigs consist of two parts: the weight and the actual lure (usually a small octopus with hooks). The weight has usually two eyelets, one on the top center of the weight and one at the end of the weight. The lure is usually tied to the top center eyelet. This makes the lure less prone to snagging. It’s usually fished less aggressively than a knife jig. It’s an ideal jig for bottom dwellers such as flounders, halibuts, snappers, groupers, sea bass, etc.

Tai-Kabura: These jigs look like a squid, octopus or even a nautilus. It consists of shaped and painted weight and the rubber skirt with trailing assist hooks. Just like the Inchiku, this jig is designed to be fish closer to the bottom and fished less aggressively than the knife jigs. Tai-Kabura jigs tend to also be available in smaller weight than the inchiku, so this jig style can be used for anything from a sand perch and pompano all the way up to a grouper.

Compact Jigs: As the name implies, these compact jigs are more designed to be casted and retrieved than outright jigged. Still, they have their place in the jig bag. These are worth their weight in gold when there is a feeding frenzy on the surface. They tend to weigh less than some of other jigs.

Color:

The general rules: bright days = bright lure, cloudy days = darker lures. At night or if you fish past 300ft deep, jigs with “glow in the dark” paint are recommended. You can also secure a small cylume stick on the side of the jig with a rubber band.

There will always be a debate about what color is the most productive. Some will say the “if it ain’t chartreuse, it ain’t no use”, some swear by Hot Pink, other claim that all you need are white or black jigs (where is the fun in that?) … The fact is the best color is the one the fish are biting on. There are no disadvantages in carrying a wide selection of jigs of different shapes, sizes and colors. If you can’t find any justification for buying another lure in another color or shape, email me and I’ll give you all the logical reasons to add one more jig to your collection. I have lots of practice in that department.

Ultimately, the shape or profile of a jig may be more important than the color. If Bluefin tuna are decimating a school of sardines, I will throw a jig that has the shape of a sardine instead of a super long, super slim jig. To borrow a fly-fishing term “Match the Hatch”, meaning use a lure of similar shape and size as what the fish are currently targeting.

Weight:

You will definitely get more acquainted with the metric system in this sport. Jigs are not weighted in ounces but rather in grams. 28 grams equal one ounce. So 100gr=3.52oz, 200gr=7.04oz, 300gr= 10.58oz, 400gr=14.10oz, 500gr=17.63oz, etc. You may have heard the rule of 100gr per 100ft, but your decision should be based upon the actual fishing situation. A 100gr jig may be fine if you are fishing in shallower and relatively calm seas. But let’s say you are targeting snappers at 300ft and you are fishing in the gulfstream (4-6 knots current), a 500gr jig may be more appropriate than the prescribed 300gr jig. Ultimately, you are looking to fish straight down from your position, while remaining in full tactile contact of your jig.

Sometimes a jig’s length is referred to in centimeter. One inch equal 2.54 centimeters. So 10cm=4”, 20cm= 8”, 30cm=11.8”, etc.

Assist Hook:

An assist hook is a simple Kevlar, braid or wire tied to the hook. The hook is allowed to move independently from the jig. The hooks width (or gap) should be greater than the width of the jig. The length of the assist hook should 1/3 of the length of the jig. Many assist hooks are made with a heat-shrinking tube which offers protection against toothy creatures such as wahoo, kingfish, barracuda, etc. Still, check your assist hook after you have had such an encounter.

The assist hook is typically attached to a closed ring which is attached to split ring which is attached to the jig’s eyelet. You do not want to attach the assist hook directly unto the jig’s eyelet as the eyelet may actually pull out of the jig during a fight. One can use one or two assist hooks. It’s a personal preference.

Here is quick video:

One thing to keep in mind is that if you do a lot of lift and drop, the assist hook will not always be in the optimum position to hook a fish. (When the jig is lifted then dropped, the assist hook will actually ride above the jig ). One proven remedy is to simply use a rubber band to pin the assist hook to the side of the jig.



How to retrieve the jig.

What is the “best” way to retrieve? As anything in fishing, it depends. Maybe a new motto should be created: “Match the Mood”. If the fish are aggressively biting, jig aggressively. If they are more lethargic, slow down your jigging. When I first get to my fishing spot at daybreak, I fish aggressively. I’m trying to catch the most aggressive fish before the bait-fishermen and the trollers show up. Once the action slows down, I slow down my jigging or may switch to a smaller profile jig.

Here are some tried-and-true jigging retrieves:

Drop and lift: As the jig sinks down, stop every 10 to 15 feet, pump the jig a couple of time, and let it fall again and start the process over again until the jig reaches the bottom. Do the same thing on the retrieve. This is where a fishing line that is of different color every 15 ft or so is beneficial. If you get a strike, note the color of the line. For example, if the fish hit on the red segment of the line, you know where in the water column the fish are. This is a great way to scout new waters.

Speed Jigging: As the name implies, this method is fast-paced. Once the jig reaches the bottom or the desired depth, the jig is retrieved upward very fast while the rod is lifted up and down. There is an actual rhythm to this motion. With the butt of the rod secured under your arm, the rod tip is dropped down on the down stroke motion of the reel handle. Likewise, the rod tip is lifted up as the handle of the reel is in an upward stroke. With a little practice, this mechanical jigging motion will become second nature. This jigging method is the most physically demanding. Typically, symmetrical and tail-weighted jigs are used.

Bounce on the bottom Method.

This is the preferred method for inchiku and tai-kabura style jigs. Simply get the jig on the bottom, lift a couple feet and drop it back down until you feel the bottom again. The object here is to stay in intermittent contact with the bottom. Knife blade style jigs can also be used in this manner.

Either way, when the rod tip is being lifted, try varying from short erratic sweeps to long smooth sweeps.

Of lines, reels and rods:

Braid is the best choice for jigging as this type of line offers the highest tensile strength in the smallest diameter. With zero stretch, your tactile awareness of what your jig is doing is amplified. The thin diameter of the braid also cause less drag. Soon enough you will be able to tell when you are bouncing off a sandy bottom, or a reef. You will feel every bump and every head shakes. Many jigging rods are categorized by a PE rating.

A PE rating refers to the braid’s diameter. A PE rating of 1 is the smallest line diameter, while a PE 12 is the thickest. The higher the PE number, the higher pound test line. Ie: A PE 1= 11LB Test , PE6= 80LB Test, P12= 150Lb test.

Keep in mind that the actual pound test for each PE rating varies from one manufacturer to another.

There are two types of braids, solid and hollow. Hollow braid is favored because it will not dig into itself as much and because it is easier to make the braid/leader connection.

Jigging reels are light and capable of a maximum drag up to 30kg (66lbs!). Lighter is better for the simple fact that you simply cannot jig a reel like the Tiagra 30W for any extended period.

You can choose either conventional or spinning, which ever you prefer. The conventional reel has a slight advantage in the sense that you have better control of the jig when it is in a free fall mode (drop).

Reel ratios of 4.1-5.1 are preferable. Many experienced jiggers shy away from ultra-high retrieve ratio because it makes it more difficult to pry a bottom fish from a reef or from gaining line when a tuna is doing the “death spirals”. Having said that, I do like fast retrieve reels if I am targeting amberjacks. Many find two-speed reels advantageous but they are not an absolute necessity. Regardless of what you choose, you want a light reel with a smooth, reliable and strong drag with high braid capacity.

There are many fine jigging rods ranging from a $200 to $1500+. The higher price rods are simply thinner, lighter and stronger. Many jigging rods have a parabolic action which means the entire rod flexes and bends as oppose to just the tip or the first third of the rod.

The advantage of a parabolic rod is that the stress from a quick, strong jolt is spread throughout the rod, hence reducing the impact on your wrist and arms. A parabolic rod also protects the leader/main braid from this type of jolts.

Don’t over think it.

Fish are instinct driven creatures. While we give them attributes such as smart or cunning, the fact is that the fish’s entire existence is dominated by 3 simple instincts: 1) Can it eat me? 2) Can I mate with it? 3) Can I eat it?

You will never find a fish pondering the socio-economic impact of Facebook on the Inuit population. They are not smart; they just may seem “moody”.

At times, you will go out and catch one fish on every drop. Other times, it will be nothing more than a nice boat outing. That’s why they call it “fishing” and not “catching”.

More importantly, have fun and create memories. Practice catch and release whenever possible. If you must keep a fish, try to make it a smaller one so that that the brood stock is not jeopardized. And don’t forget to introduce some young ones to this great sport.

Tight lines.
The HeadQuarter for All Your Vertical Jigs Needs!