Back in 2008 I tried to entice forum members with jigging/popping, both popular techniques that orginated from Japan and that were and still are widely practised in the USA. It didn't seem to generate much interest but I remember speaking to Josef of Mister Fish and well it wasn't long before he geared himself up and filmed it! Lucky for him he caught a very nice fish whilst jigging and all of a sudden jigging has become the new local buzz-world!!
So, if you want to get into jigging what do you need to know and what equipment do you need to purchase.
Well no different to any other fishing style you need to match your budget to the type of fish and size you intend to target, because trust me guys you can spend a little or a small fortune on a good jigging set-up.
With the exception of reels which can be a little more versatile, the rod seems to be the most crucial component!Jig Weight Range
Start off by selecting a jig weight range, light jigs tend to be in the 50-100g range, medium jigs in the 125-200g range, medium heavy 200-350g and then the heavy jigs in the 350-500g mark. Apparently on a day where the currents aren't going ballistic, 100g = 100 foot of water. So inshore you're good up to 130g jigs, medium water 150-250g and then deeper water of where the current is strong like the west coast 250-400g
I am by no means any kind of jigging expert nor have I had time to read around the subject in great detail, but I know we have some jigging masters lurking around on the forum so maybe we can entice them to post a few pieces of advice and guidance.
I would be inclined to head for the medium or medium heavy range, depending of course what depth of water you intend to fish in based on where you think your target fish may be. The medium range is good to around 200ft it seems, after that you need heavier jigs to get your lures down and maintain their action. As you can imagine the heavy jigs are for deep jigging, or high currents on the west coast.Jigging Rods
So you've selected your jig weight range and now you need to find a rod designed for jigs in that range. The rod like most other rods will have a rating, but because jigging orginated from Japan where they use a different system for rating their rods, you might find the rod line weight rating referred to as PE3-5, or PE 4-8. Whilst not exact as a guide you can say that :
PE3- 40 lbs
PE5 - 70lbs
PE6 ? 80 lbs
PE8 ? 100 lbs
PE10 ? 120 lbs
PE12 - 150 lbs
Good jigging rods tend to be around 5.8 - 6 feet going up to around 6 feet 6 inches. Interesting the Shimano JigWrex B526 (overhead) which is a PE6 300g rod is apparently only 5 foot 2. Bigger than that and you're then looking at popping rods that are 7ft - 7.7ft or so.
You'll find some jigging rods in 2 pieces with the better more expensive ones being 1 piece......as jigging gets the angler very involved is quite a physical workout, the best rods are all carbon and very light, but also fragile. You tend to find a mix of carbon and glassfiber as a compromise.
Do your research on the net and be guided accordingly as no one can say for sure what will be best for you. Names to research, Shimano - JigWrex, Ocea Blue Rose, Speedmaster AX, Boatmaster AX, Trevala, Trevala F (some of these are US based or Japanese based models which you might not find in Europe. Okuma Cedros.
Specialist Japanese brands Zenaq, Xzoga, Maria, Jigging Master and the excellent and well priced Vfox rods.Jigging Reels
When it comes to reels, don't let anyone kid you.....spinning style or overhead conventional is a matter of preference. Due to the complexities involved with spinning reels and the 90 degree turns involved in the gears, you are likely to pay alot more for a very good spinning reel that can be used for jigging than you are for an overhead.
High end jigging spinning reels, Shimano Stella SW 10K-20K, mid to high Shimano Saragosa and Twinpower (look for the PG - power gears), and then your mid and mid-low being things like the Shimano Stradic, Penn 850ssm, Shimano Spheros FB, Okuma Cedros, and then the cheaper Shimano reels.
One of the best conventional overhead reels is the Japanese model Shimano Ocea Jigger 4000P a favourite amongst many hardcore jigging fans. It US cousin, very similar but not quite the same is the Shimano Trinidad TN-40N (N standing for narrow spool) which can be picked up for around ?250 versus the Jigger 4000P at around ?345.
Have a look at the Narrow spool trinidad range, you won't be disappointed. Daiwa also make some overhead jigging style reels like the Saltist and Saltiga but it seems from reports on the net that they don't exert that much drag pressure and you need to upgrade them a bit to perform, but they are certainly very well priced.
You don't have to buy a dedicated jigging reel, if you've already got one and want to save money, something like the lightweight Shimano TLD15-25 can be used for jigging even though most people potentially use them for trolling. The TLD-15 being the preferred model as the larger TLD's have a lower gear ratio.
You're looking for a reel in the 4.0 - 5.0 gear ratio, with 4.7-4.9 considered to be very popular and a best fit scenario. The key is having strong gears, a good ratio and a reel that is happy to be spooled up with braid/spectra (Daiwa Boat Braid Multi colour, Momoi, Suffix, Power Pro, Berkley Whiplash, Spiderwire Stealth etc)Jigging Line and Terminal Tackle
Spool the smaller reels with 40-50lbs spectra, and the larger ones with 50 or 80lbs respectively, bearing in mind that the PE ratings on jigging rods are specifically aimed for braided lines and not for mono. If you want to go a bit further get a multicolour braided line which changes colour every 10 meters, but be prepared to pay a premium over standard though it's very useful for knowing how far to drop your jig down.
How long your flurocarbon leader should be is again up to you....some people like a short 6 foot leader, other prefer 5-10 meters, but always match your leader to the fish you are targeting, and adjust if you're fishing where the bottom structure is likely to cause your jig to snag. Remember if anything you want your leader to break and not your expensive spectra mainline.
Rob in the forum I believe suggested a good swivel on the end of the leader, connected to a split ring and the lure and assist hook connected to the split ring, which seems to be a popular rigging method.
The actual jigs are up to you like another other lure, Shimano have a whole Butterfly jigging system for example.Buying
If you don't want to shop from the US sites or US based ebay stores, nor from the East, Malaysia, Taiwan etc, I came across this European site based in Spain that might be of help as they seem well equipped with quite a vast range for jigging: http://www.subprof.com/tienda/index.php?catID=4
And of course check out your local fishing tackle stores and see what they're offering.Good Luck!
Hope this helps, like I said this is certainly not a definitive guide, and I am by no means any kinda of Pro when it comes to jigging, but I will be giving it a good go this summer!!
Thanks to the guys who've given me advice along the way, one in particular who prefers to remain un-named it seems