Frequently Asked Questions
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What weight jig should I be using?
jig weight is related to depth of water, current and rod you are using.
A general rule-of-thumb is a 300g jig for 100m depth in good sea conditions. Make sure that your jig choice is within the safe operating limits of the rod.
I only have one rod, can I use it for all situations?
Mechanical Jigging is a quite technical genre. In order to develop the rhymic "jerk n crank" action, the rod must be able to load and unload from a combination of jig weight and water resistance. If the jig is too light, the rod will not load. If the jig is too heavy, you risk damaging the rod.
Choose the jig weight according to water depth then grab a rod that can safely handle that jig weight. Most rods have a wide operating jig range. Keep in mind the size and power of your target fish. Don't take a knife to a gunfight!
How do I choose the type of jig?
Much depends on water depth and target fish.
Centreweighted jigs have a lot of action and are slow to fall. They are prone to being carried away with current so they are more suited to shallow depths or where there is little current. These jigs are best worked at a moderate-slow pace to allow the jig to slide horizontally before the next rod lift. This hang-time, particularly in the strike zone; is particularly enticing. Slow moving bottom fish are obvious targets using the CW jig.
Tailweighted jigs tend to be streamlined, have less action and are quick to fall. They are less affected by current and are suited to targets in deep water. These jigs are best worked at a fast pace to get the action needed to entice a bite. Fast moving predators like Tuna, Yellowtail, AJ's & Samsonfish often prefer faster retrieve speeds.
What gear ratio should my reel have?
Most specialist jigging reels have gear ratios from 4:1 to 5:1. Much depends on its spool diameter as the desired line retrieval rate depends on both these. Some jiggers prefer up to 6.2:1 ratios. The faster speed can mean more hits but pay back comes when fighting and cranking the reel in this higher gear. It is much easier to fight and crank using lower gears so often the choice of ratios is a compromise. It is so much easier if your technique was fluent enough to MJ at high speed. If not, then consider the type of jig you are using. CW jigs don't need the high speed to work enticingly.
What colour jig should I choose?
You never really know what the colour of the day might be. I choose a jig colour that no one else is using and try to encourage others on the boat to do the same. It shouldn't take long to discover what that colour is then everyone can change over. Be aware that the magic colour might change during the day or from spot to spot.
Hint: match jig colour to the light of day e.g. dull day = darker colour, bright day = lighter colours
I've gone to a heavier jig but I still can't get down properly?
This is usually due to excessive boat drift caused by wind, current or both. The result will be that the jig and line have drifted away from you causing the line to become increasingly horizontal. MJ is easiest when the line is near vertical and best results normally come from this.
Tailweighted jigs tend to be streamlined, have less action and are quick to fall. They are less affected by current and are suited to deep water. But you risk damaging the rod if you choose a jig heavier than the rods' safe operating range so you need to consider other factors that cause the jig or line to become less vertical.
If you are using the heaviest streamlined jig for your rod and still have difficulties maintaining a vertical line for any time, then start trimming down on your gear -
shorter and lighter leaders.
keep the assist hook naked, i.e. no octopus skirt or dressing.
change to a lighter braid if the situation allows.
have the skipper adjust the boat position to minimise excessive boat drift.
if you are standing at the stern corner or bow, you can lob cast the jig up wind or up current. This will allow the jig to sink to the bottom before the boat has drifted past allowing you more time in the zone.
There will be some days when sea conditions are just too difficult to overcome. These are times when you have to reconsider the wisdom of fishing that day and head home early.
What reel should I use - Spin or Overhead?
This is usually a personal choice. Some anglers are much more adept with Spin reels so I would recommend they stuck with Spin. Jigging depends so much on a well coordinated motion to develop a good jigging rythmn. That comes easiest when using tackle that suits the angler and is also balanced.
NB that different rods are needed for Spin reels..
What size should the assist hook be and how long?
The Japanese believe that predatory fish attack their prey behind the gill area. Therefore the assist hook should hang in this area. I personally prefer short rather than long assist cords but If your jig is very long, you might experiment with slightly longer assist hook cord.
In the case of a wide centreweighted jig, select a hook that is wider than the jig and ensure it will not foul or jam. In my experience, I have never found a hook that was too big.
I often see jiggers with octopus skirts on the assist hook, why?
there is a belief among jiggers that the skirt attracts bites and not the jig. This may be correct but the skirt does introduce drag and effect the swimming action of your jig. Since we pay high prices for jigs with complex designs, I do not want to ruin its designed action. Therefore I don't normally use octopus skirts.
What leader material should I choose, Nylon or Flurocarbon?
It is easier to discuss the pro and cons for both materials before choosing -
PROS: Nylon is cheap and easy to handle. Flurocarbon is nearly "invisible" to fish.
CONS: Nylon has less abrasion resistance and easily busted. Fluorocarbon is expensive and is a hard material to handle.
We find that Fluorocabon ticks most boxes for us and this is what we mainly use. Care should be taken when knot tying at the assist hook end. The use of the Jig Star Double Ring & Grommet has resulted in much more reliable leader connections either crimped or knotted.
© 2013 by Stacey Wong