What is Jigging in Fishing? A Quick Guide!

What is Jigging in Fishing

There are many popular fishing techniques practiced by anglers, and jigging is one of the popular ones.

This versatile technique can be practiced in both saltwater and freshwater.

For all those who wonder - what is jigging in fishing?

Jigging is a fishing technique where anglers use jig baits and attract fish with mostly vertical, jerky, motion of the bait.

If you want to know more about jigging fishing, you will find details and answers to frequently asked questions in the following chapters:



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How does Jigging in Fishing Work?

For jigging, you will need a jig.

Jig is special lure that contains lead sinker inside, and around it a rubber cover is moulded. Hook is also a part of this lure. Different sizes and weights of jigs exist, and anglers choose them according to a fish size, location and year time.

Unlike swimbaits and similar lures that move horizontally, jigs are presented in a vertical motion, mostly to fish near the bottom.

To be able to practice this technique, you will need a suitable rod which is sensitive and the angler can feel the fish strike and the lure itself.

Jigs have head and the body ...

Head of a jig can vary in shape, size, colour and type. Hooks can also be different, depending on a targeted fish species. The head can be round, coned or basically any shape you can think of.

Body is usually made of rubber or silicone and shapes are various, often imitating real fish, frogs or similar creatures.

In some parts of the USA, anglers use buck-tail jigs, made from deer hair, and those are a bit heavier and produce less movement.

Similar to other fishing techniques, this one too requires a bit of practice and experience.

How do you do the Jigging Technique?

Now when you know what is jigging, it is time to know more about fishing jigging techniques.

First of all, there are a few different jigging techniques, but they are very similar.

Saltwater jigging is a term that describes jigging in saltwater and the basic jigging technique for larger waters. It can be practiced in freshwater too, don’t let the name confuse you.

This is practiced on large, open areas and it is basically casting and reeling the jigging lure together with up and down motion.

Shore jigging is a term that describes fishing from a shore, usually from a steep rock or a cliff, where you position the lure underneath your rod.

If you want to practice jigging, you need to find a suitable location. Try a pier, a cliff, or a dock. To be able to jig successfully, you will have to create an energetic jig action, that resembles an injured fish, in order to attract the fish you want to catch ...  

When you cast, wait for the lure to hit the bottom ... 

... and start working the lure in a way that you make small movement with the wrist of your hand. That movement will go across the rod and the line all the way to the lure.

Except for up and down movement, you can try side to side too. When the line becomes loose, reel a bit to keep it tight.

To work the jig, you can twitch it up and down slowly or very fast. You can combine twitching and reeling too. Any combination of movement may work, depending on a location and you will have to gain some personal experience.

Start by positioning the lure on the bottom, work it up about one third of a way up, and let it sink again. Because of the shape, jig will have a certain motion while sinking which could also attract fish.

Jigging will attract many of predatory species, like walleys, snappers and bluefish, and strikes are going to be powerful.

What are The Best Jigging Fishing Lures?

When choosing a lure, you must pair it with the rod and the line.

Jigging rods have jig weight ranges. Secondly, you have to think about the fish you are trying to catch and the water where you are fishing.

Bigger lures will attract bigger fish, and choose accordingly.

Bright colours are there to attract fish in murky waters. More natural and pale colours should be used in clear waters.

Jigging worms

These soft plastic jigging fishing lures are especially good for bass fishing. These are also known as shakey head worms or jig head worms.

Choose a soft plastic worm and attach it to a jig head. This bait will wiggle and wobble underneath the water and resemble a real worm.

When you let it sink, it will not make a lot of motion, so working it properly is a key to success. For a beginner, the best way is to reel is straight while doing erratic up and down motion in between reeling.

Jigging spoons

Jigging spoons are great for lake fishing and catching trout and similar species.

The best thing about spoons is that when you work them, and then let them sink, they will sink in a fluttering, back and forward, motion, that is great to attract fish.

Many anglers will say that switching from their usual lure choice to jigging spoons resulted in great fishing success because the fish were very interested in this erratic motion.

Spoons are also made of metal and while they flutter, they reflect light. This reflection can sometimes work better than using bright colours.

Rapala has a wide selection of jigging spoons, suitable for almost any jigging occasion.

Jigging spoons are also a great choice for ice fishing.

What is The Best Fishing Rod for Jigging?

Jigging rods are a bit different than other fishing rods, and it is hard to say which is the best fishing rod for jigging.

You will have to try them and find the one that suits you. Of course, it has to be suitable for a fish you are trying to catch, when it comes to size.

Jigging rods are shorter, have longer handles, and they are very flexible.

Quality made jigging rod will be very resistant and dependent because when a fish bites, the rod will have to withstand a lot of stress.

These rods will often come at a higher price, but keep in mind that you are buying a product specialized for a certain purpose.

Casting weight can be anything between 60 and 200 grams, which is enough to use lures for the majority of fish species.

Many manufacturers produce rods made for jigging, and manufacturers like Shimano and Daiwa have really good models.

Of course, the rod has to be paired with a suitable reel.

Drag should be extremely precise and able to withstand high maximum tension, around 20-44 lbs (10 – 20 kilograms). Narrow spool is more suitable and gear ratios of jigging reels usually have a gear ratio between 4.1:1 and 6.2:1. For a beginner, a medium gear ratio, around 5.0:1 is the best option.

The spool has to be narrow because it is made for braided line and narrow spool enables even line lay across the spool. Additionally, it lowers the sideway torque.

Some anglers like to use regular spinning reels for jigging and pair them with a spinning jigging rod. If you are a beginner, you could try it, because there is a chance you already have the suitable spinning reel at home.

As already mentioned, jigging rods are certified to withstand certain jig weights. That information is also related to maximum drag setting at a 45-degree angle.

When buying a jigging rod, check the tip.

If it is too stiff, it will be hard to work the lure properly and it will bounce more than jig. Jigging motion may seem erratic but it is actually fluid and controlled, if you are doing it right. Too soft rod tip is not good either, because it won’t be that responsive and wont recover on upward movement.

What is Jigging in Fishing? Rod and Reel!

What is The Best Fishing Line for Jigging?

The best fishing line for jigging has to satisfy certain conditions.

Anglers use braided lines for this purpose, and braids made for jigging have almost no stretch. Stiff lines enable you to control the jig better and set a hook when a fish bite.

Some like to use lines with depth colouring, to easily see the depth of the lure. This could come in handy for a beginner.

Line of your choice has to be compatible with the line weight class of the rod you are using. Lines should be between 20 and 60 lbs (9 -27 kilograms) of test power.

When it comes to labelling braided lines, the majority of them will have a PE marking with a number. Braided lines for jigging are usually marked as PE2 – PE5. That corresponds the test power we mentioned.

If you are not familiarized with these markings, let me explain.

PE is an abbreviation of Poly Ethylene and the number is there to mark the weight class. For example, PE 2 equals 20 lbs (9 kilograms). PE 5 equals 50 lbs.

Don’t forget about the leader line. Use fluorocarbon as it is resistant to abrasion and friction. It should be around 3 ft (1 meter) long and have a test strength of 40 lbs (18 kg) or more, depending on a targeted fish.

When it comes to manufacturers, some of the best fishing lines for jigging are produced by Japanese manufacturers, such as YGK.

How do you Jig in Ice Fishing?

Now when you know what is jigging and how it works, you should know that jigging is very common technique for ice fishing.

Jigging is so popular in ice fishing because there is no need to cast, you are fishing through a hole in the ice and shorter fishing rods are mandatory.

When you present your lure under ice, a lot of fish will be less active and working your jig attracts fish because of motion and flashing.

Jigging for walleye and jigging for perch while ice fishing is practiced among many anglers.

The technique is very similar to jigging in summer conditions. Set up your tackle and drop your bait to the bottom. Pull the bait a bit up and jig it by doing up and down motion with your hand. Under ice, you should do it a bit harder and erratic to attract the fish.

When the fish comes close, slow down your movement and stop completely. The jig won’t instantly stop, it will slow down in a natural way. Under ice, fish will rarely bite on a fast-moving lure and you have to know when to stop working it. You will notice that majority of strikes happen when you slow down.

When you practice ice fishing jigging, use lines that are certified for low temperatures and have good abrasion resistance because when the fish strikes, the line will be in contact with sharp edges of an ice fishing hole. And don't forget on other essentials.

Other Best Jigging Fishing Tips!

To be successful in jigging fishing, follow some of the following jigging fishing tips:

Avoid crosswind casting. Position yourself up or down the wind. Crosswind will affect the ability to feel your lure.

• Before you start jigging, position your lure on the bottom and bounce it around a bit to feel the bottom and the depth and to conclude where and how high to jig to attract the fish. Get to know the bottom first.

• When practicing vertical jigging from a boat, your rod tip should be directly above the lure. Be sure to control the boat because sideways movement will influence the jig and you will not be very successful.

Stay focused – jigging is a fishing technique that requires full time attention and relaxing on a shore and drinking coffee is not an option when jigging.

Replace your lures as soon as they get damaged. Damaged lures do not move in a way they are supposed to and the fish are going to be very suspicious.

Avoid having too much slack in the line because it will decrease your ability to control and work the lure.


Jigging is fun, exciting, and most importantly, successful fishing technique. Jigging can be done throughout the year, even in icy waters.

For a beginner, figuring out how to work the lure properly can be challenging, but don’t give up and keep practicing.

Invest in a decent equipment, follow the given advice and soon you will know a lot more about what is jigging and how to do it properly.

And one more tip, if you are fishing from a boat, position yourself in the opposite way of drifting, so that the lure does not end up under the boat. If the boat is drifting downwind, you should position yourself on a boat to face the wind.

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