The guys that were first into it were reporting phenomenal catches of a wide range of fish.
But amongst non-jiggers, skepticism reigned supreme. How could a metal
imitation of a fish, bouncing up and down near the bottom, catch fish? Soon the evidence
became too clear to ignore, and the jigging market exploded.
Now, here I will make a guess that is not entirely without the evidence of long observation; 50% or more of the people who bought jigs tried them once or twice, and never used them again.
The reason for the high level of lapsed users is simple - they never caught any fish by jigging. When I have questioned these people, one thing has become very clear, they tended to be the same people who do not catch many fish in any case.
These people bought jigs and jigging rods in the hope that this new gear, this new technology would somehow catch them more, or some, fish. Faint hope!
I contend that where you fish is the most important factor in successfully catching fish.
If a fisherman cannot identify where fish are likely to be holding, it is most likely that this fisherman will catch no fish. This remains true no matter what type of fishing tackle, or bait, they use.
One thing about jig fishing that is certainly true; using jigs where fish are not is a complete waste of time.
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Jigging can be a very effective method of catching fish, but like all forms of fishing, using hit and miss methods will give you hit and miss results. In many ways successful jig fishing requires more work in identifying where fish are likely to be, than any other form of fishing. This is why many fishers are unsuccessful at catching fish using jigs.
Identifying likely fish-holding territory in the general area you have chosen to fish, is even more critical when jig fishing than in any other form of fishing. Doing the homework prior to fishing is even more essential.
Once you have identified fish holding territory or seen a school of fish on the sounder, motor up current, to drift back over the fish. Jigging very rarely works from an anchored Boat!
Drop your jig and allow to free-spool to the bottom. Then raise the rod tip to lift the jig about, and lower the rod-tip to allow the jig to free-fall back to the bottom. Be ready to react to a 'hit'. Fish will hit the jig on the drop or lift.
Once you have landed a fish, or drifted over and away from the fish. Motor back up current, and start gain. This basic technique works for most bottom to mid-water feeders
Kingfish require a different technique and speed is all. Drop the jig to the bottom, then wind it up pretty much as fast as you can.
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Jig size selection is aided by using a sounder. As a rough general guide select a lure using the following
formula. Take your breaking strain of the line you are using in kilos, add a
naught, and this is the
lure weight in grams.
For example, 10 kilo line plus a 0, equals a 100g jig. You can go up or down about 20% to take account of water depth and current.
For instance in 30 metres of water or less an 80g jig will often do when using 10 kilo line. In water over 30 metres you may have to go up to a 120g jig.
The most important factor in jig weight selection is to use the lightest jig possible to reach the
bottom with the line nearly vertical, while the jig retains a 'fluttering' motion as it sinks. The
whole idea of a jig is a lure that looks like a crippled or hurt bait fish.
In the chart below I have set out a chart for basic bottom bouncing for snapper and other inshore species. Different weights are used when high speed jigging for kingfish, or deep jigging for hapuku, these will be covered in the chapters devoted to fishing for these species.
|High Weight||Low Weight|
It should be noted that lure shape can make a difference. For instance
if you are in deep water or in a fast current, instead of tying on a heavier lure, try
using a narrower profile jig. These narrower jigs will sink faster, without adding bottom-plummeting
weight. In shallower water a wider profile lure, with a more pronounced flutter may do
Some jigs are made of softer metals that can be bent. Sometimes adding a small bend to the lure will produce just the right flutter to turn on the fish.
Just as you will change flesh bait to try and tempt fish, changing jig shape, jig weight, and the action you impart to the jig will sometimes make a difference.
One question that often pops up when jigging is discussed is whether to use treble or single hooks.
Here are some pros and cons.
Treble hooks do hook-up more often. They also hook-up on the bottom more too! (As if I cared when I owned the shop, it depended which side of the counter you were on). But many fish are lightly hooked on trebles, and the foul-hooked(when a fish is hooked anywhere on it's body, but outside the mouth), rate is higher.
It can be very difficult to
release undersized fish with a good chance of survival that are treble-hooked without terminally damaging
the fish. This to me is the biggest persuasion factor against trebles.
Single-hooked jigs tend to have a reduced hook-up rate, but hook set is often more secure. But the single biggest advantage of single hooks is they are much easier to remove when releasing fish.
The final added bonus of using single hooks is that it is much easier to add 'movement' and 'action' enhancers to the jig. Many jig fishers add coloured plastic tubing to the hook to add extra life to the jig. Adding soft plastic lures to a single hook really increases hook-ups, sometimes spectacularly.
(My feelings on multiple hooks, doubles and trebles, is that they should be banned - they are bad news for fish if you have to release them, and they foul-hook too many fish. They are dangerous to anglers too - the first time you get a couple of barbs from a treble hook buried in a part of your person, will convince you to use single hooks only.)
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When jigging first exploded onto the New Zealand fishing scene the hype and overblown promise far exceeded
the reality for most fishers. Jigging by its very nature is, to use a corporate buzz-word, pro-active
For the bean counters among you, the returns from jig fishing are directly proportional to the time and effort you put in.
It is a three part activity:
The 80:20 rule is more true in jigging than most other sections of the sport of fishing. It is no accident that the most successful jig fishermen I know were successful bait fishermen before taking up jigging.
Leave The Bait At Home
There is a sure-fire way to improve your jigging knowledge and technique, and that way is to leave your bait at home. Having no alternative is a great way to reduce the learning curve.
Article written by Tony Bishop
Bish & Fish Site Search
Better Bait Basics
Catch More Fish
How to get the best bait to catch more fish.
Fishing with bait is the most popular method of salt water fishing. But buying a block of frozen fish deemed not fit for human consumption to use to attract fish that should be, is not going to optimise your chances of success.
The days of whacking a hunk of any old bait on a hook and tossing it over the side and catching fish are long gone. Oh, sure you may luck out and park above a school of fish determined to take a trip to your fry pan - but not often.
Anchoring - when "close enough" isn't.
Most times I guard my spot 'Xs' with more diligence than most, but I am less concerned about revealing the location of some spots than some others. The reason is very simple, most fishermen will not spend the time and trouble anchoring in just the right spot.
Anchoring in this context is a two part activity. Anchoring the boat is the first and critical part, and "anchoring" the bait is the second, and just as critical part. But the second part is entirely dependent on the first.
Keeping Freshly Caught Fish, Fresh for The Table
Eating freshly caught fish is one of the joys of fishing. But too often by the time it gets home, the fish are anything but fresh.
It is no wonder so many people complain about the smell of fish preparation, when fish have not been kept properly. Badly kept fish, by the time it is being prepared, honks. As well it might, it is in advanced stages of decomposition. The difference in smell between fresh well kept fish, and badly kept fish is marked.
How do you keep fish fresh for the table?