Previously, Hayden Speed reviewed the gear needed to get started with mechanical jigging. This time, he looks at the technique, which is not as easy as it looks!
The technique of jigging is relatively straight forward; however, it may take some practice to perfect, especially around the timing of the lift and wind actions.
The technique consists of a lift of the rod for every full turn of the handle, and ideally you want this action to be smooth and consistent. But sometimes an uncoordinated technique will still be very effective; for example, Dad’s biggest ever kingfish was caught on his first time jigging while he was still learning.
To practice the technique, slow it right down to get used to lifting and winding in sync. Once you’ve got the hang of it, I like to mix up my retrievals. Changing up the speed of your lure will often entice the fish to bite – I like to jig very quickly before slowing it right down. You will often find that as the lure slows down or speeds up, you will get a strike. If you get a hit that doesn’t stick, keep jigging as it’s likely the fish will still be following and you may get another shot.
Tyler getting stuck into a solid White Island kingfish.
For mechanical jigging to be effective, your line needs to be reasonably vertical – it pays to have someone on the helm to keep your line angle manageable. This person on the helm can also be calling out the target depth range so that the anglers know which part of the water column they should put their effort into. It’s also a good idea to avoid hitting the bottom as you risk getting snagged. With the heavy gear being used, it can be very hard to either pull free or break your line. Kingfish will also often be holding in midwater, making it unnecessary to hit the bottom – and jigging the whole water column will tire you out much quicker.
Another important idea to consider is how tight the drag is set – strikes while jigging are often very sudden and unexpected. It’s important to have the drag set right for the angler, as I can imagine there would be nothing worse than losing your grip on the rod and seeing the whole lot disappear!
Unfortunately, once you’ve hooked a kingfish and are winding it in, there’s always a chance that a shark will see your fish as an easy snack. If a shark does turn up and take a fish, move on and find another spot. It’s also a good idea to limit your catch – there’s a heap of meat on a kingfish, making it unnecessary to take your limit.
Proof that jigging has no age restrictions!
So, get a basic jigging setup, grab some good quality gear and feel the power of one of the hardest fighting fish in the ocean!
February 2022 - Hayden Speed
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
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