To Jig Or Not To Jig.  How To Catch Fish Without Really Trying!

I've been a bit "tardy" with respect to getting this written up but dang it, I'm out there catching fish, for a change!!  I've only gotten back into jigging the last couple of years, up until now its been a battle just to find fish on the troll let alone be stopping everywhere to look for them.  The nice part about jigging is this, it don't take a brain surgeon to do it so, for those of you that are to "pure" to put a line down and lift it up and down on occasion, better look away and not get infected by this article!

Jigging, or to jig, other than a dance, simply means to put something down to the bottom of whatever lake, or river, your fishing on, and then on occasion jerk or lift or pull or yank or whatever floats your boat, the hook you have attached to the end of said line.  If I'm going to fast for some here I apologize but this is as simple as it gets!  Oh, and this does include you "purest" fly fisher guys who toss a chironomid out with that "strike indicator", or as its other wise known as, a bobber!  Now, for larger fish, and I'm not talking 100 lbers or something that those "trophy fisherman" always target, I'm talking 5-6 lbs and up, my recommendation is that you go to a braided line and a wee bit stiffer rod than normal.  Braided line because there's no stretch and stiffer rod so it doesn't bend as much on the hook set, this combination gets that hook set done right off the bat and you don't have to worry about stretch in the line (from mono) or to bendy a rod.  While this may not be a concern to the ice fisherman that are only jigging in 10' of water, for us big lake guys (or ocean guys) it is a concern when we're jigging in 50+ feet of water, in my case its usually over 100' and ocean guys it could be 300'!  I did notice that when Dave and I did our West Coast trip this last June they were using 100lb test Tuf line, so while that is necessary out there, I really think its overkill for our lakes.  Your flavor of braided line is your choice, they all seem to be good, I have Spider Wire on mine, 50lb test on one rod that is strictly for jigging and 30 lb test on one of my trolling rods.

The rod itself, there's many brands but again for our lake stuff just a shorter, stiffer rod, mind outta the gutter, will do the trick.  I have an old Algonquin glass/cardboard/paper/stuff rod that was my first salmon rod over 30 years ago, pretty stiff thing even though it is 8' long.  I've tried different reels but I think the best for jigging is the level wind type rather than a knuckle duster or spin cast design.  I presently have a HUGE spin cast reel on that old rod, it came with it, and for now it works fine but I will be switching up to a level wind if the damned thing ever breaks!!  Thanks alot Daiwa!  What's the idea of building a reel that lasts so long!

Lures???  Your guess is as good as mine but what I found can make a difference rather than lures is, if your allowed, is bait.  I know for a fact that jigging for burbot on Okanagan Lake, the catch rate was 3 to 1 for bait to no bait.  On Shuswap you can't use bait sooooooooooo, that means a bit of experimenting with various lures to find out what they want but, the selection is actually pretty small!  Anything!  That's pretty easy, even for those that are brain surgeons.  I have found that ocean type jigs can be just as good as anything to use so, Buzz Bombs, Gibbs cod jigs, Sting Zeldas etc. etc., can all do the trick.  Now, we are talking the bigger fish here, but you fly fish guys can step in anytime and let us know how you caught that 12lb rainbow on a #22 chironomid that was suspended below your "strike indicator" and was "jigging" itself in the wind!  I don't have a problem with that, it works!  Which brings me to that method of jigging, bobber jigging.  One of Jim's fav techniques, which I'm sure he learned from me somewhere on the lake, is to use a slip bobber and to jig it from deep to shallow water.  The slip bobber allows you to set a predetermined depth at which you want your jig/worm to sit at, and when you reel in a bit of line it lifts that jig up and then it will go back down to that predetermined depth, which is set by using that bobber know that's explained in my Tips section.  River fisherman use "dink" floats when they're doing their thing, it floats along top while the roe or whatever they are using bobs along just off the bottom or may even be bouncing on the bottom, its all jigging and all effective.

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