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October (99) Article
"The lost art of vertical jigging: A must do technique! "
Weather, barometric pressure, water temp, levels, current etc... all influence them and no amount of the Prozac in the world will alter that set of facts. So stay tuned to those kinds of changes as well and bear them in mind. Then think like a fish again and repeat the same questions mentioned above.
The other important point I would make about baits is do not exclude flies (either fresh or salt) even if your not a fly angler. The Demon "Sling Shot Technique" using flies can also be applied well to v-jigging, casting or trolling, with great results so don't rule them out of the tackle box.
A previous Demon article on this simple and effective technique can be found at our site along with successful feedback from a range of non-fly anglers..... It's worth a close and careful read and gives you another great technique to use on any given day .. especially if your use Demon "Flash" heads in front as the knob weight.... More on those heads below.
As for rods and reels, my bias on either land or water is for an overhead with a well serviced drag and a rod no longer than 7 feet with a meduim tip taper. That way the v- jigging technique stays short and in your control. If you feel more comfortable with something else then by all means use it.
If you know your targetted species ( like the one on the right) act like "the frieght train from hell", and head for cover the moment their hooked, then also consider getting your drag" tricked".
HD teflon (or similar type) washers that will not buckle under the heat are sometimes necessary so that you can lock you drag up as tight as possible (without traumatising or blowing apart your gear) and not allow too much ground to be lost if having to do battle at close quarters around pylons, structures or reef rises.
Line wise, I think gelspun types have done a lot for vertical jigging while remaining fairly soft at the same time. There are other line types that will do pretty much the same job as well and at the end of the day it often comes down to a matter of personal choice. Either way, direct contact with your jig is important and even more so the deeper your go....
By way of example, we have charter and recreational client's in Alaska who have this combination down pat so that they can v-jig our 8-16oz Hell-Raiser's in 250 odd feet of water, and stiff currents, without being exhausted or needing a month's break at a health farm by the end of the day..
On serious days they use 24 to 48oz Submariner's to hit 500ft and get really really "jiggy with it" on Ling Cod, Halibut and other mysteries of the deep.
Other's in the Pacific Solomon Islands do the same (and yet with different jigs & techniques) for BIG Dog Tooth Tuna over certain parts of their deep shelf. In locations like this a nuclear proof 24oz "Baby Bonito" is right at home and also deep trolls like a dream as well.
In the tropics, tough, talented jigs from my own experience [that are purpose built] rule supreme as the ultimate tackle in water that can be as shallow as 2 -60 feet and yet consistantly produce an outstanding range of big fish species time and time again using jigs and/or v-jigging if the key points mentioned above are kept close at hand.
Therefore, head colours, weights, flashings, blades, blade types, hook sizes, hook types and moulding methods also become very important issues. That's why you will see so many different types of jigs, and finishes, on our website plus prices to match. Many are built with tough alloy heads and either specific species and/or techniques in mind based on clear and purposeful intent.
And why? Because at the end of the day, you just never know when that big "fish on steroids" is going to turn up and let you know in no uncertain terms that "your day has come". The last thing anybody wants, and hates (including me with a veagance), is for gear failure to take place and then having to spend the next two weeks in a deep depression, with a constant voice from the back of my mind yelling and cursing me, while I mope around wishing and cussing that I had used well made tackle in the beginning.
How many times has that happened to you? Several for me I can tell you..... Given those experiences I have a saying and it is "If you want cheap, then look for a chicken ... only one problem? Ever seen a chicken catch fish? .... Not by us!
So where are we up to? .... let's do a quick review of the critical issues so far:
Rod length, reel choice, drag set up, line type, targetted species, bait choices, water type and depth, tackle colours, known spots ideal for v-jigging, jig design, versatitly. and construction.
Having thought about all that, then it comes down to v-jigging technique. As a general rule I suggest dropping your jig down as far as it will go (without snagging) or to at least within two feet of the bottom. Then quickly pull up your rod tip no more than two feet and let the jig fall back down freely and of it's own accord. Repeat this several times and if no joy, wind in 2-3ft of line and repeat again and again. In deeper water -100-300ft) your rod jerk will need to be higher e.g. 3-6ft upwards.
Why am I doing this? To work up slowly through the different zones that fish hang at and gain maximum attention to your jig. If you have a sounder then start 5-8 feet below them and engage the same technique. If you come to the top without success then do not leave your spot until you have done this from start to finish for at least several complete cycles.... Also try changing bait types. If soft plastics are not working them go to a strip of flesh bait, or go to a high profile tailed jig (like our Hogey jigs), with lots of flashing, for example.
If by then you have had no success, then shift position (either self or boat where possible) and start again. Also bear in mind that you do not always have to move far either. On some occassions 10-15 ft can be enough.
This approach applies universally to either fresh or salt and is also a great way to break up your trolling time especially if nothing is happening.... Also don't be afraid to use it when you see a School of Tuna, or other surface feeders, busy at work either. If you can't get close enough, which is often the case, and they go to ground, "do not" wait for them to surface again otherwise you can end up chasing your tail (and them) all day long plus chew up gallons of fuel and patience..
They will out run you and win the chase 9 times out of ten I guarentee it and then more than likely appear half a mile away, with their finger rudely verical in the air, because all they are interested in is chasing their mext meal.
Get onto v-jigging straight away by casting out long and using something (on your right) like our heavy duty "1.5oz Pocket Rocket or Royal Red's", let you jig sink rapidly, and then use the same technique mentioned above, but instead of vertical rod lifts use what's called an "oblique rod lift".
That means sideways and slightly upwards at the same time. This will help keep your rod tip and line down when necessary and yet still allows you to work your jig properly.
If they have just disappeared and you know, or suspect, they are under the boat then don't think about moving off ... just drop straight down and get right into it! ... Believe me it works time and again and the more you do it the better the results.....
Also don't think that nothing will happen until you get down deeper or to the bottom. Often jigs will be hit just as much on the way down as they are on the way up ... so be ready.
Similarly, whatever you cast out has to be tough and ready for anything given that other big species often travel with, and/or underneath of, those same feeding schools as well. So be prepared for a few surprises like BIG spaniards, cobia, giant trevally (etc) and make sure your tackle is up to the job otherwise it's hasta la vista baby!. They same can also be said, to some extent, for the fresh as well.
So there are a few suggestions, tips and techniques that I am sure will make a difference and are a general guide only. Varations can exist for each one and I suggest experimenting to suit your local area or own personal style.
At the end of the day there is also one other "big" factor" to consider in the case for vertical jigging is that of "cost". Consider for a moment the cost of a well designed and purpose made jig, it's diversity, and the fact that a few (like our range) can also be cast and trolled as well, if chosen carefully. The benefits speak for themselves.
Similarly, many can be switched from fresh to salt, and visa versa, without hardly battering an eye lid. The other inescapable fact is that v-jigging can also also reduce a range of boating costs and yet make your hook up rate, and fun levels, go up once the technique has been perfected.
Am I biased? Too some extent you bet and I make no apology for that .... We simply let our tackle do the talking! ... On that note, I think I will rest my case! ... So the next time your out, give it a serious lash and put in plenty of practice because jigging is definately an ART!... I also have no doubt it will put you onto more great fish.
If you feel the need for more information, or want to know more about issues like the right jigs for the right day, then feel free to send off a private e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org ... Either way, their is no catch! ...
By the way, if you have a great day out v-jigging and want to tell us about it then we'd love to hear from you.... Just send me an e-mail (and a .jpg image of your catch if you have one) to the address above and, and with your consent, we'll put your comments and photo on a separate page because we know other anglers find that useful as well.
Lastly, don't forget to enter our tackle competition's. A new peice of unique and red hot Demon tackle is up for grabs every month...
Until next month ..... Burnin Thumbs!
Steve (The Master Jig Builder)
p.s. New 1.5oz "Flash Bulbs" are being released soon. If interested, stay tuned to the main page of our website.
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