Jigging Fishing Techniques

Known mostly as a technique for fishing deep water off a Head Boat miles out in the ocean or a freshwater lake, pier position on top of the surface the technique of Jigging allows you to catch Big fish with less gear and when done right can bring big success offshore or even some pulling movements that can be used onshore for beach and surf fishing. What are some Jigging Fishing Techniques?

Jigging techniques use a variety of movements of Jigs which are lures weighted at the head, middle, or tail section, to hold depths & current in fresh & saltwater usually from a boat or pier.

Jigging Techniques Include:
Wrist Flip 
Dropped Action
Fast & Slow 
Long or Short Pull Jigging


The technique of Jigging for fish is used in many applications from ice-fishing in the winter on the Great Lakes to high-speed Jigging on the ocean for huge Tuna. Originated in Polynesia, it developed popularity in Asia, Europe, Oceania, the USA, and now in Canada. This technique enables an angler to catch big fish vertically without the necessity of huge amounts of gear.


Jigging Fishing Techniques


Jigging Fishing is one type of Motion fishing with a jig, a certain type of fishing lure. A jig consists of a lead sinker with a hook molded into it and is usually covered by a soft body to attract fish. Jigs are intended to create a jerky, vertical motion, unlike most spinnerbaits which tend to move through the water horizontally.

To be successful an angler is using the Jigging Technique because the art of Jigging is more the motion that gets the fish attracted to the lure or bait and elitists a bite.

For successful jigging, the angler needs to use a rod that is good for feeling a strike and needs to stay in contact with the lure and get it to where the fish are. A Jigging Rod is normally shorter and is built with a long handle and is 6 to 7 feet long.

Most fish caught by jigs are on or near the bottom of the ocean or freshwater floor. With a longer rod handle, it’s normally wedged under the angler’s arm rested on a fighting belt (harness), and the angler moves the rod up and down while retrieving the line.

The action generated by this movement ascends the jig by a jerk and twitch while giving an illusion of life. The retrieve speed can be fast, slow, or long stir. It requires physical exertion and requires adapted equipment.

The construction of the Jig is dependent on the body of water and fish you are fishing for but more importantly, it’s the motion of the technique that describes the process.


Saltwater Jig Fishing


Fast or Slow jigging are techniques where Basic jigging lets the lure (JIG) reach the bottom and back to the surface by varying the speed and motion, working the water column. The angler is on top of the fish that he/she is looking for.

Regular spinning rods and reels used for ocean jigging are not recommended but still can be used. Normal rods and reels aren’t made for this type of strength and pressure that’s needed. For Ocean Jigging, heavier lines and sanding belts, and gloves are recommended.

For Slow Jigs than lighter tackle is used your catching fish with the tackle and jigs being used is less strenuous on you. You will still be in most cases catching bottom fish but not always its that the case.

  • Drop the lure or Jig down to the bottom and pull it up
  • Let drop back down and pull up-this motion will attract the fish
  • Done from a slow drifting or anchored boat
  • Try to get a spot on board where you can cover the most water (the best position is the back of the boat off the drift side where you’ll cover a lot more open water)
  •  Keep the Jig in the positive movement where the angler jerks the jig forward and then stops where there is what’s called a dead motion.
  • Use short and longer positive pulling and dropping or falling movement 

Jigging Lures Saltwater


As many active fishermen tell you the best way to introduce yourself to the art of jigging is to fish off a boat. Where I’m from a Head Boat or Charter from the New York or Jersey coast is a great way to get the technique down.

Try Bluefish in Spring and Fall when they are moving up and down the coast North to South and back in the Fall and you’ll get the experience of a lifetime. These trips make memories that return to you forever. Bluefish Jigging from a boat is the technique used. it’s the easiest to learn and the most successful.

Your Jigging Lures are normally weighted head Diamond Jigs picked before you leave at the Tackle Shop and are based on weight and mostly color. The weight is based on the characteristics of the water basically how rough the water is. The Jig has to be able to make it to the bottom because the whole Jigging process is based on vertical movement from the bottom to the top and that depends on what people call “holding water”.

You’ll need a Jig to be able to hold water. The second is color what-color are the fish attracted to and that is based on a few things like water clarity and information by the success of fishermen earlier who were caught in this case Bluefish with Red or White soft bait attached to the Jig.

A person that is just learning the art of fishing will need to learn the terms of each type of artificial lure and how they apply to the type of fishing they are trying. Those technical terms are then given techniques on how the proper way to use them. It’s not rocket science although some so-called experts will tell it is. Knowledge comes from experience and the more experience you get the more success you will be awarded. It’s that easy, so learn the terms and techniques of fishing and you will be successful.

In the case of Blue Fish on a Charter or Head Boat, you will need a half-dozed Diamond Head Jigs at the weight that the Captain, mates, or Tackle Shop recommend before you head out on your 3/4 or full-day trip. Most boats even sell the correct Jig on board so all you’ll need is coffee and a sandwich before you leave.

The mates will gaff or net your Blue and filet it for a tip. All that’s left is to learn the process of Jigging so that you land these incredible creatures to bring home and eat. If you bleed them right and ice them they can be a fine dinner that night or freeze them for another night.

Other Jigs like the D-slide jig is a type of jig unlike the Diamond Jig has the weight centered in the middle of the body of the lure. This gives this type of Jig an advantage over the weight being centered in the at-type front of the head. During the falling of dead time or what’s also called the dropping time making this type of Jig user friendly and can be hit either way.

During this “dead time,” the D-Slide Jig will freeze for a second and perform a rolling action then change direction instead of the simple jerk and drop action of the Diamond where all the weight is centered in its head. This type of Slow Pitch Jig is used with the Slow Pitch Jigging Technique.

These types of Jigs have a specific weight and sometimes have a keel that helps them with their movement. Unlike a fast-type jig, more hits will take place on the jig falling down to the bottom instead of jerking the jig to the top water. Vertical Fishing is up and down but with a slow Jig, you can get sideways action to bring it back on an angle.

The fluttering movement makes the jig mimic like baitfish that is injured,  the contrast to a Speed Jig, like a Diamond Jig, is that when you’re cranking the Speed Jig it appears that the jig is running away from the predator fish.

Japanese companies are way ahead of American companies when it comes to Slow Pitch Jigs but the Americans are starting to catch up. International jig makers such as Daiwa, Blue, Seven Seas, Seafloor Control, Evergreen, and others offer abundant slow-pitch jigs.

A disadvantage of this type of Jig is that they tend to lose this slide and roll movement the deeper you work it. Jig with a centered balance is hard to cast this can be worse in windy weather where there is more loss of control. They won’t cast as precisely or drop as fast. They won’t hold a position in any stronger currents and work better in less deep waters.

Another type of Jig uses the weight in the tail section. These types of Jigs sink very fast and stay on the bottom for long periods of time. They are not very good at movement once they get to the bottom. Weighted Tail Jigs are harder on your equipment staying deep and hardly moving on the bottom, still for bottom predators they have some acceptance by some anglers.

Jig lures (or ‘jigs’) for fishing deep are made of solid steel and tend to be long and slender to aid their rapid descent to the depths. The picture up top is a good example of Diamond Jigs that are made to sink fast in deep ocean water and hold current in a hundred feet of water.



Bucktail Jig Heads


See the source image
Saltwater Jigging Spoon

Another is a lighter type that is called a Bucktail Lure which is made from the hair of a male Deer called a buck and is also used for bottom fishing in shallower water as in Bays.  The modern versions use synthetic fibers and often sport soft plastic ‘jelly worm’ tails.

They work well on species like Weakfish or Sea trout they are great for Flounder fishing and on good days  Blues will hit them all day long.  Tie your line to Bucktails directly for the best live-action.

There are numerous types of Jigs that will use a soft artificial bait along with a sinker that gets them deeper and can qualify them as Jigs using the same technique. Especially in the world of Freshwater Largemouth Bass where lures are king. So whether the fishing Jig is used in the Ocean or Lake the techniques are slightly different but used universally.

Jigging Spoons– These are heavy jigs shaped like spoons. They are bounced off the bottom and you normally are active “jigging,” which makes it look like a dying  Shad or other baitfish that are injured first attracting a predator fish and look like they are easy dinner. They are made for fresh and saltwater and can be colored to look like certain species of baitfish and heavy enough for holding the bottom and great for deep ocean use.


How to Fish a Jig From Shore


The best choice of jig in the surf is the jig that will give you the proper ability to cast over the breakers and hold current on any given day. Once you land your lure in the general location of the spot you’re aiming for such as the back of the breaker or hole that special fish is waiting in the hunt it should sink to the bottom and hold it until you move it.

Once the jig settles and you start your jigging or jerking action the head will move up and towards your rod moving sand and sediment from the ocean bottom creating some attraction with added color and shine moving through the channel where the predator is waiting for the next meal.

My favorite is the Diamond Jig with the construction that has the ability to move through the surf drop into holes and maneuver horizontally to the shore where the hidden channel is populated by baitfish.

Using the action of positive Jigging which is the motion between the jerking action and the dead time, where the heavy head of a jig moves up and down in a fast pinpoint maneuver that will cause a lot of attention and with the right color in the right location will deliver that fish you have been looking for.

Most fish are caught in the positive part of Jigging when the Jig is being jerked forward. Once the water currents are too rough or deep and the jig is too light the motions the Jig creates are useless and the lure needs to be changed to be able to hold water.

Get the motion of the Jig with the right weight and or color if recommended by Tackle Shop and with some luck, you’ll have one great day on the water.


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JimGalloway  Author/Editor





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