What is “Jigging” in Fishing?


When I recently went fishing, a friend told me about a technique called jigging. I had never heard of this so I decided to do some research.

So what is “jigging” in fishing? Jigging is a type of fishing that uses a specific kind of lure, which is called a jig. This lure is typically made of rubber, but they can also be embellished with other materials such as feathers.

Many new fishermen may want to know how jigs attract fish, the best situations to use them in, and how to make their own. Here’s what I found.

Types of Jigging

The most commonly known type of jigging is saltwater jigging. Though this implies that you would only use this kind in the saltwater, it is actually used in most places. This is the easy-going of just casting and reeling.

There is another type of jigging known as shore jigging. This actually doesn’t happen on a shore either. It is most commonly used on a rocky cliff with the water below.

There are also two different types of jigs used during the different types of jigging. These jigs consist of a buck-tail jig and a vertical jig.

The buck-tail is used for onshore jigging. It is a heavier jig with less movement. Buck-tail jigs got their name because they are made with hair from the tail of a deer. This is the type of jig that I’ll talk about how to make below.

Buck-tail jigs are made with more lead and have more of a hook. These jigs can be made by themselves and end with a rubber worm or other baits attached to it in order to draw attention from the fish.

A vertical jig is also known as a speed jig. The goal of a vertical jig is to mimic an injured baitfish. It is made with slender pieces of metal that easily glide through the water with ease.

Vertical jigs are so light that they can have one or more hooks attached to them allowing for fishermen to reel in more than one fish at a time.

The weight of a vertical jig can range anywhere from 1/8 of an oz all the way to 14 oz.

With each jig, it is important that when your pole is in the water you should point the tip towards the water and then constantly move the pole up and down. This will attract the fishes attention along with casting a reeling.

Jigging Technique

There are a lot of techniques that are involved with jigging. Everything from the type of rod you use to the type of hook used in the jig! A jigging rod is typically shorter, more flexible, resistant, and has a longer handle.

Jigging poles are oftentimes much more expensive than an ordinary fishing pole because they are so much stronger. However, if this is not just a spur of the moment purchase this could be a really great investment for a new hobby.

Nevertheless, if the price is an issue know that you can do the same thing with an ordinary pole as you can with a jigging pole it just won’t have all of the perks as the more expensive pole.

There are four basic principles to follow when jigging.

  1. Cast your jig and let it hit the bottom. This may take a few seconds and in fact, I would recommend counting to five in order to have adequate time.
  2. While the jig is in the water you will want to flip your wrist back and forth in a popping motion. This will make the jig go up and down on the floor causing it to catch the eyes of the surrounding fish.
  3. Don’t just stick with moving your wrist up and down. If you get bored you can move it side to side. Really you can do anything as long as it will get the jig to move.
  4. You can reel to keep the line on the pole tight. This will prevent you from losing your line when the fish bites the pole. When just keep repeating these steps until you’re done with your trip.

To understand how to fish with jigs, it is important that the angler constantly jig the lure up and down by continually lifting and lowering the rod tip. One good method when learning how to jig is to drop the jig all the way down to the bottom and with a very rapid retrieval, twitch the rod tip erratically until the jig comes to the surface and repeat.

The fish that these are made to attract do not like light so the brighter the jig the easier it is to attract the surrounding fish. In the bottom of the water, it is super dark so a bright fish that looks like an injured animal they could have for dinner is sure to grab their attention.

In the end, it comes down to does the weight of your jig match the weight of the hook. Without these two items lining up, you will not have a successful trip no matter how hard you try.

You also must plan accordingly in matching the weight of the jig to the depth of the water. If the water is extremely deep you need a heavier jig that can get down to the very bottom of the water floor.

Don’t count out how fast the current is moving in the water either. This will affect how the jig moves in the water and will put some lax in the line.

How to Make a Jig

To start with, when you make a jig you should gather all the necessary materials. The basics are lead, a melting pot, jig molds, jig hooks, powder paint, heat gun, and a long pair of pliers.

When making jigs, be sure that you are using a flat surface in a well-ventilated area, because part of the process involves melting the lead in the melting pot. Lead creates poisonous fumes that can affect not only you but those around you as well. Also, when you melt the lead it will create a poisonous layer on the top that will need to be skimmed off.

First, you need to plug in the melting pot and melt the lead. Once the lead is melting, place the hook into your jig mold. Next, you will put the mold underneath the melting pot and slowly dispense the lead into the mold. Be careful not to fill it all the way to the top. You’ll also want to move slowly and carefully to avoid burns.

Next, you will open the mold and remove the jig hook with pliers as the head of the jig will still be extremely hot. After you have removed it, set it aside to cool.

Once cooled, you can begin to make your jig look a little bit nicer. Take a pair of pliers and peel any excess lead off of the jig base. Once the jig is smooth, the next step is to get the heat gun out and reheat the lead. You do not want to melt the lead, you just want it hot enough to make the paint stay.

Once heated, dip the head of the jig into the powder paint. Be sure to shake off the excess paint before it drys. Powder paint typically drys extremely fast, so you won’t have to worry about making a mess.

Now it’s time to put the flashy materials on the jigs. We will start by putting on the weed guard and selecting the skirt that will best cover the hook. Lastly, put on the skirt. Once the skirt is on, feel free to start fishing.

Related Questions

What type of fish can I catch jigging? Jigging uses such a wide range of technique that it can really be used to catch anything you want. However, it is mainly used to target deep-swimming and bottom-dwelling fish. These fish tend to attack prey.

What kind of water is required to jig? Jigging can be done in any water. It can be used in saltwater, freshwater, and can even be used as a technique  in ice fishing.

Do longer fishing rods cast further? The benefit of having a long rod is that it will give you a longer cast. However, you can still have the same effect if you use more power and a shorter rod.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Stripped Bass.

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