Jigging Basics

Vertical jigging is one of the most effective techniques used by anglers all over the world to catch a multitude of fish species from virtually any depth. The hit and sheer speed of the fish as it takes off with the addition of the physicality it requires makes this technique highly addictive.

Jigging is one of the primary techniques we use here in Vanuatu targeting the highly sought-after dogtooth tuna along with other hard-hitting reef species and is worth experiencing while you fish with us. To those keen to experience the rush firsthand, there are a few things worth noting before you lay down some cash.

Fishing tackle designed specifically for jigging are made to withstand hours of use and abuse so keep in mind that you “will” get what you pay for. Your basic Walmart combo won’t last but you won’t need to sell a kidney either if you look hard enough.

Getting Started

Rushing to your nearest tackle shop and buying all the stuff you’ve seen on YouTube isn’t the best way to start. Spending all you hard-earned cash on brand new gear then heading out to jig your local fishing hole might leave you quite disappointed. It is a very frustrating situation to be in, having all the gear but having no fish to show for it. It’s not the tackle or gear that’s the problem, but the whole approach to the game that needs some thought.

We highly suggest booking one of our blue water sport fishing adventures for the best overall experience possible. Highly experienced professional fishing guides will assist you throughout, from rigging, knots, picking the right jig and bringing you to the best spots. They can show you the best techniques for different conditions. You will be surprised how much more you can learn from first-hand experience with a professional operation and crew than on YouTube. Jigging techniques aside, you will also get to know what to look out for when looking at you sounder, how to drift over marked spots, boat maneuvering while fighting the fish, landing fish safely and dehooking and releasing them. It will be the single best investment you will ever make. We have high quality jigging equipment for hire so there is no need to rush out and buy anything yet. But feel free to bring your own tackle if you have already bought or are planning to buy them.

On these trips, you will more than likely meet other like-minded anglers who have already had massive experience with jigging and other forms of fishing. These guys will be keen to share tips and tricks and provide you with more information to help you make an informed decision on how you spend your money on the right gear.

Fishing tackle designed specifically for jigging are made to withstand hours of use and abuse so keep in mind that you will get what you pay for.

The Gear

As mentioned above, the Walmart combo simply won’t cut it. But you won’t need to break the bank either. Read on to learn more about what to look for when setting up your saltwater jigging outfit.

Choosing Jigging Reels

There are two main categories when choosing jigging reels. Spinning and overhead reels. Most will already be very familiar with the use of spinning tackle and a spinning setup will make more sense. They have the some of the most powerful drags on the market with some reaching up to 25kg of drag pressure. Reels like the Shimano Stella SW series and the Daiwa Saltiga Dogfights reign supreme and are the best of the best, but bad boys like the Shimano Saragossa, Penn Slammer and Daiwa BG are suitable alternatives. Downsides of spinning outfits are the weight as they are much heavier, ergonomics – reels tend to slam onto the boats’ gunnels, and their price.

The most popular option are overhead reels. They are lighter, easier on the wrists and most of the time cost less. Low retrieve ratios are key, we need torque, not speed when jigging. Look for narrow spools too.

Narrow spools are important as they allow you to focus more on jigging rather than laying the line evenly on the spool. A narrow spool also reduces any sideways torque or wobbling when you crank the reel. Reels like the Jigging Master PE4 or PE5, Shimano Ocea Jigger, Daiwa Saltiga, Accurate Boss, Avets come quickly to mind but other brands offer well made jigging reels as well.

You want to look for reels that have high drag ratings of between 10 – 20kg to stop hard fighting fish. Drags also need to be smooth from initial startup to the end game. There is no point in having a strong powerful drag if it is sticky, as it may cause line breakages or even rod breakages at worst.

Do not be tempted to buy the cheapest reels just to get the job done. Remember that jigging places stress, wear and tear on your reel like no other fishing technique.

Jigging Rods

Most conventional jigging rods are short and powerful not longer that 6 feet in length. Well known jigging rod manufacturers will label their rods with ratings that will allow the rod to perform at its best, providing us with accurate line ratings, jig weight limits, and drag allowance ratings. We highly suggest that you stick to the manufacturers ratings when setting up your jigging outfit.

When picking your jigging rod, it is important that you select a rod based on the jigging setup you plan to build. A PE6 outfit requires a PE6 rod, so on and so forth. A balanced outfit will always serve you the best, so Pick a PE5 rod if you plan to fish PE5, and a PE4 rod if you plan to fish PE4. The PE you choose will depend on the targeted species of the destination you plan to fish, so always ask your guide which setup is best for the job intended.

We won’t get into the different rod brands available as this can easily fill up a book in itself but getting started with the standard Shimano and Daiwa branded rods will be good. High end jigging rods cost a premium but will almost always perform best.

Selecting Your Line

Selecting your line is nearly the last step when building your jigging outfit. Buy the best jigging braid you can afford. There is no use trying to save a few pennies on the one thing that connects you to the fish.

Jigging braid will normally come metered in 10’s. Which means that the color changes every 10 meters so anglers can count how many meters before the jig hits the bottom. This also comes into play when you mark fish on your sounders at a certain depth as you will be able to specifically target these marked fish.

Selecting your Jigs

Finally, we come to selecting your jigs. We are firm believers that cost doesn’t affect the performance of a jig. If it gets down to your targeted depths, it will work. Jigs come in a million different shapes and are made using different materials such as lead, aluminum and now tungsten. Purchase a good mix of different weights that suit your outfit. Best selling colors are silver, pink, blue and lumo (luminous). Some jigs will come with hooks, but most will be sold without hooks, so you’ll have to learn how to make your own assist hooks.

So, there you have it. Your intro to jigging sorted. If you need further information about the gear needed for a trip with Ocean Blue Fishing Adventures, please do not hesitate to send us an email or give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to guide you every step of the way.

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Jigging Basics

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more

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