The art of jigging is an exciting and versatile method used for targeting predators such as Perch. Making soft plastic lures dance up and down on the loch bottom, trying to entice a take from a curious stripey. So what is involved in the art of jigging? and what components are required to fish the method properly? In this article, we will cover off all you need to know about the art of jigging.

Perch

RODS

When it comes to rods, a rod with a cast weight of 1 to 12 grams is an ideal all-rounder and will cover most light to medium work. Most jigging rods come with a medium fast action, which gives you plenty of backbone for playing fish while still providing sensitivity in the rod tip for detecting the subtlest of takes.

REELS

A reel between 1000-2500 size is recommended. This will balance the outfit perfectly. Providing a light set up that is comfortable to fish in hand all day. Ensure you purchase a reel with a smooth drag system, this will help when using lighter breaking strains of line.

LINES

Probably the most essential part of your jigging kit. We recommend using a braided line between 8 – 10lb breaking strain. Braid has no stretch and allows you to impart the action into a lure effortlessly and instantly, while still providing you with the sensitivity to feel bites and to feel what structure you’re fishing over.

Modern braids provide lower diameter and higher breaking strains in comparison to monofilament lines which will help aid casting distance. Thinner diameter lines also allow your lure to reach the bottom quicker when fishing with lighter lures and jig heads, as it allows the line to cut through the water easier than thicker diameter lines do.

LURES

Soft plastic lures ranging from 1-3″ are most commonly used for jigging. Lures of all different styles can be jigged, from shad style lures, grubs to creature baits which are insect imitations. We stock a full range of perch lures that will cover every scenario that you will come across.

fox rage slick shad

JIGHEADS

The one area that usually confuses people, is the matching of the right size jig hook to the lure that you are using. Here we will cover the basics, to get you started.

jighead

Jig hook weight

The general rule of thumb is 1 gram for every foot of water you are fishing over. For example a 5-gram jig head for fishing in 5 foot of water. There are a few factors to take into consideration though, undertow or windy conditions, in these scenarios, we would opt for a slightly heavier jig head to help aid casting accuracy as well as keeping contact with the bottom, so you can fish your lures more effectively.

Jig hook sizes

One of the most confusing aspects of jigging for newcomers is choosing the correct jig hook size in relation to the size of lure they’re using. There are two general rules that we follow:

1. You want the hook to be placed roughly just over a third of the way down the body of the lure and the hook should run down the centre of the lure. If the jig hook is mounted squint or at an angle, it will impede the lures action.

2. You want half of the bend of the jig hook exposed, this will help increase hookups.

The table below, is a rough average of the jig hook sizes required for lure sizes. These may vary slightly on the style of lure or the variants between manufacturer’s hook sizes.

Jig Hook Size Lure Size (inches)
Size 8 1 – 1.5
Size 6 1.5 – 2
Size 4 1.75 – 2
Size 2 2 – 2.5
Size 1 2.5 – 2.75
Size 1/0 2.75 – 3
Size 2/0 3 – 3.5
Size 3/0 4

TECHNIQUE

A lot of people who start out fishing soft plastic lures for perch, usually are too erratic in the way they retrieve the lure. We want to mimic prey fish, in doing so we need to understand how prey fish move through the water.

The cast and retrieve are crucial, we first need to find the areas where Perch will be present. Location is key! Look for features like weedbeds, overhanging trees, lilly pads, submerged trees etc, they all make for perfect ambush points for these stripey little predators. When casting to these features, you need to cast as tight as you can to them. Perch will hold up in these areas and wait for passing prey fish. Even casting a few yards out from the feature can be the difference to hooking into a fish and not at all. Cover water methodically, your time on the bank should be used efficiently to maximise your chances of catching, covering water in a fan shape will not only allow you to cover more water but it will also allow you to discover what other structure may be lying in front of you.

Jigging technique diagram

Once you’ve found where the fish are located, retrieving the lure must be done effectively. In most cases you want to jig the lure by using a snapping motion of the wrist, to allow the rod tip to move between 6 – 12 inches while keeping the rod at a 45-degree angle. Make sure your line is taut at all times by picking up the slack line with the reel when going through the jigging motion. This will ensure the lure hops along the bottom and allow it to move with a more natural movement.

Mix up the retrieve speed of the lure, to see what the Perch prefer on that specific day. Don’t forget to pause the lure and let it lay static on the bottom, it amazes us how many times a Perch will pick up a static lure off the bottom.

RIGGING A SOFT PLASTIC LURE ON A JIGHEAD

1. Place the jig hook down the side of the lure to see where the hook bend will appear out the top end of the lure. Once you have found this, use your forefinger and thumb as a marker. Then use the hook point to mark a hole on the back of the lure to mark where the hook point will be pushed out of the lure.

2. Take the jig hook and push the jig hook point through the centre of the nose of the lure.

rigging up3

3. Thread the lure down the length of the lure until you reach the marked area on the back of the lure.

rigging up 4

4. Push the hook point out the marked area on the back of the lure. Ensure the lure has been threaded on straight and runs down the centre of the lure. If it does not, re-do steps 2 and 3.

rigging up 5

5. Ensure the lure is lying straight on the jig hook and is sitting snug onto the jig head. Also, make sure that there is a decent amount of hook point exposed.

rigging up6

For any more information on jigging tactics, please feel free to contact the Angling Active team. We are more than happy to help.