The exciting aspect of saltwater fishing over structure or visible bait schools is that you never know what you will hook/catch, from tiny bait fish 1/2 the size of your lure to monsters that break off and you never see. As we know there are many variables including moon phases, tidal shifts, current change, boat position/drift, and of course bait/ presentation.
The advantage to jigging is that you can cover the entire water column from top to bottom (obviously depending on water depth and line capacity), and you are actively working to fool the fish rather than just waiting for the bite. You can vary the jig shape, size, color, action/presentation, depth, and weight versus current, depending on the situation and target species.
While researching to write this section, despite 30 plus years of fishing, I have realized how little I knew before. I will continue to update that section as I find interesting articles and video links.
Depending on your pocketbook, you can easily spend $1500 on a dedicated jigging outfit. You will destroy your lighter reels with high speed technique and heavy jigs.
There are rods designed specifically for high speed, also for slow pitch jigging. I personally prefer a longer rod, usually 7ft, with a long fore grip to help fight larger fish.
This setup offers versatility for other applications including live bait and flat line. I have a Truth LG (now Sager) conventional reel on a Cal star 700M custom build, also an Accurate Boss 402 on a custom Batson Revelation jig rod; I built both with a long fore grip, my preference.
The longer rod helps when those big king mackerel continuously circle the boat. There are now a gazillion jigs available online and the in store options are gradually increasing.
Sea Floor Control is the only manufacturer that I have seen that attempts to give a diagrammatic fall pattern of their individual jig shapes. The concept is a wounded bait fish on the fall with variations in jig choice, depth and retrieve.
If next added an NLO 180g slow pitch rod just before hurricane Sally trashed us September 2020. Do your own research and ideally visit your local tackle shop to find a practical sturdy balanced outfit.
I still personally use double hooks only on top or bottom (not both) to avoid excess injury to a released fish. The swivel helps with line twist, especially with a foul hooked fish.
I may swap to 80lb leader if continuously pulled into the wreck and abrasion cutoff, and especially for amber jack. If the bite is dead after a couple of jig style/color changes, I may remove the barrel swivel and bead and try again.
With practice, you can quickly change jigs at the assist hook split ring. Texas Tackle makes the best split ring clear I have ever used, and I recommend size Large or XL.
(Put out a flat line also on the surface with cut or live bait) Wire Leader: I had one tuna trip where they wouldn’t bite a snap swivel attached to the jig eyelet while everyone else was catching.
I removed it with subsequent success, and I now always tie directly to the jig, or the solid ring of the assist hook. I use a wire leader, about 8 inches, only if necessary after repeated cutoffs and lost jigs at the attachment.
King mackerel, sharks, barracuda, Yahoo and all toothy critters will add to your expense. October 2019 update-I have given several jigs for trial to a charter first mate rigged with 60 lb nylon coated wire.
He has had great success and does not feel that wire has been a deterrent for most species including black fin tuna. I have had good success with AFW 60 lb black nylon coated wire and #4 crimp.
Leave about 1/2 inch tag, crimp it, then do 2-3 tight barrel wraps around the main wire. Larger red snapper, especially with chumming, are more commonly caught in the upper water column.
I keep one rigged on a spinning outfit and cast to anything that floats, weed lines, and surface bait schools. When fishing over structure/reefs I use the heavier jigs when necessary to initially reach the bottom, then various retrieve techniques working back up to the top.
(See my slow pitch comment above-another reason) I personally try not to touch or boat any fish that I am not going to keep unless there is barotrauma that requires venting, or to take photos. Bait fish obviously reflect light, they have varied coloration that changes, and some have UV (bio fluorescent) and glow in the dark (bioluminescent) properties.
If you view the chart and watch the video series below you see that only certain colors are still visible in deeper water; Visibility worsens with cloud cover, murky water and wave action. UV (fluorescent) properties/colors are said to be better in low light conditions (e.g. murky water, cloudy days) compared to brighter light; UV wave penetration is much deeper (see chart) so fluorescent colors can work at greater depth.
December 2019-I am a bit surprised at the frequent use of “Zebra Stripes” by many reputable manufacturers including the above from Died, It has become common especially in the slow pitch jigs. Choose a few colors, styles and features that you like, and vary the retrieve to make them work for you.
Measure the total length and largest diameter of your jigs, and choose the appropriate size. I use pipe cleaners or long twist ties to avoid burned fingers.
I also dip horizontally at an angle starting at one end, then submerge the remainder for about 5 seconds. Andrew Jones explains some of his theories on fishing techniques at the Peter Paula information evening held at the Broken Bay GFC.
These totally replace your old, round grates and the benefits of them go on and on, and they are fantastic for fish! Aviation grade aluminum means no rust and the design eliminates flare-ups as well as near-perfectly even heat distribution.
You animate the jig (a kind of leaded spoon), by booing it, in order to “delude” the fish, all the way from the bottom up to the surface. The famous Eastern Bank, Hawkins Bank and the plate around Rodrigues with his numerous spots (coral heads, bumps, reefs and rocks…) constitute many Hot Spots for XXL dog tooth tunas.
EASTERN BANK: A 104.5 kg dog tooth tuna is caught on jigging on 25 October 2007 by Christian Mercier (Reunion). HAWKINS BANK (Western): On 26 October 2012, still on jigging, a 100.240 kg dog tooth tuna is caught by Toni Costa (Switzerland)… for his very first exotic fishing trip.
ON THE CONTINENTAL PLATE AROUND RODRIGUES: On 23 October 2014, Charles Rubin (France) comes also for the first time here and catches a huge dog of 97 kg. The special shape of the jigs enables them to dart around underwater during the fall.
From slow to fast, from small “jerks” to long ones, intersected by breaks and spurts, in order to excite predators. You will be coached by the crew members of the boat, which have been practicing jigging for a few years now and will help you find your way.
Aboard the Black Marlin, you will benefit a high quality tackle, free of charge: • Pedro Custom rods, equipped with Shaman Stella 20000 reels, filled with 65 lbs and 80 lbs braid Power Pro, regularly replaced. You will only be charged lost or broken tackle, at its cost on French market, that is to say from €20 for a jig all equipped… to €1600 for a whole rod/reel set.
• Aboard Black Marlin, the ideal is a rod between 5.4 and 6 feet long with a tip action and a 80lbs power. If it is too short, you may be bothered in the end of the fight when fish is directly below the boat, by the line, which may touch the hull.
Keep in mind that big GT and doggies are well known to break poor quality rods! A spare spool already full of braided line may be of plus in case of breaking if fish is biting.
However, it may be interesting to have 65lbs tress if you have the opportunity to jig above 100 m depths, or during days of strong current. Sea Rock, Orion, Hooker 1, Flat Side by Shaman, Weepy by Hart…).
• It can also be interesting to put in one’s bag one or two 150 gr jigs in case there is no current (it happens). It is so easy to put it together and then be able to adjust them to the strength, length and hook sizes you need.
SMALL EQUIPMENT • Split rings such as VMC 3561SS in 46.5 and 57.5 kg or from 200 to 300lb by Owner, Decoy or Fisherman. However, the most common mistake that I can see is that on strike, the angler hooks up the fish one, two or three times then gets diverted when he tries to fix the gimbals of his rod in his belt.