Intoduction to Jigging – A Reference for Beginners

Written by Glen Kross

Originally Posted on www.360tuna.com

When I decided to start jigging years back I got my start from PM’ing many board members such as Kilsong, Randy & Sami at Anglers Pro Shop and Paul from JPR Rods as he built me my first jigging rod. The wealth of knowledge on the boards is amazing. I thought that I would try to give back to the board by posting this thread on my jigging techniques and gear in hopes that I may help someone who has just started.

About me … I started at a young age as a dedicated big game fisherman chasing larger tunas and sharks, summers were shark tournaments and days on the water with family. I have fished a lot of the world due to my business trips so I have seen many different techniques and learned from many people.


I try to spend as much time on the water as I can and I’ve had my share of heartbreaks but I’ve landed my fair share of huge fish as well. I am not a professional and I don’t claim to have all the answers but I do know that with the right guidance you can really shorten your learning curve in this exciting sport.I hope you all enjoy the thread and I hope maybe you can pick up one thing that will make your trips more successful one

The first item is decide your style. Do you jig yo-yo style or jerk crank style.

Gmans definition may not be right but they are mine LOL

Yo Yo – The technique used by most of the northeast fleet where you cast your jigs away from boat and leave them at the called out depth where fish are being marked. You raise your longer rod tip up and down in long strokes to entice a bite. Very effective and deadly.

Jerk Crank or commonly referred to speed jigging or vertical jigging. This is where you will drop your jig to bottom and rip your jig through the entire water column in a rhythmic, fast paced style. This is my style and what I will be discussing on this site. This style get more of a reactionary bite from the jig ripping through the water column

I will cover this style here today.

Reel Choices Spinning:

Probably the most asked question is about which reels to use. The general rule of thumb is you should use a lower gear for jigging and a higher gear for popping. The lower gear in the jerk crank style will allow you to really rip your jig up through the water column with force from the depths and also aid you in fighting your beast and will make life very easy on you. You can however jig with a higher gear reel but it is not recommended. They make lower geared reel specifically for jigging/power that why they call them PG models. The higher geared reels are made for popping and keeping a lure working the whole retrieve.

Basically you have two choices with reels spinning or conventional. Personally I am deadly with spinning gear and I am absolutely dorky with conventional reels. I cant get the motion down with conventional reels so I stick to spinning reels LOL. Both have pros and cons but ultimately in fishing is confidence wins whether it is about knots, really or jigs.

Spinning gear. Its pretty simple they are all one speed and you should try to find one that you can use in the 4.9:1-4.4:1 gear range.

*****I am listed items in Price order *******

TOP SHELF INVESTMENT Spinning Reels – My first choices from $600-$1,000

SHIMANO STELLA – JPD or Japanese Domestic Models
1. Stella 20000 at 4.4:1, 55 pounds of drag,
2. Stella 10000PG at 4.9:1 and 55 pounds of drag
3. Stella 8000 at 4.9:1 and 55 pounds of drag

1. Stella 20000 at 4.4-1 and 55 pounds of drag
2. 80000SW-PG which is 4.9:1 and 55 pounds of drag

I love my Stellas and personally feel they are the best however there are other manufactures that make great reels such as …

1. Accurate Twin Spin SR 30L at 4:1 and 40 pounds of drag
2. Accurate Twin Spin SR 20 at 5:1 and 30 pounds of drag
3. Diawa Saltiga Z -6000 at 4.3:1 and 33 pounds of drag


1. Shimano Saragosa 18000 at 4.9:1 and 40 pounds of drag
2. Quantum Cabo 80PT at 4.9:1 and 30 pounds of drag
3. Shimano Twinpower 10000

ENTRY LEVEL just something to get you in the game

1. Shimano Spheros 14000
2. Penn Sportfisher SS 950 at 4.2:1
3. Quantum Boca 80 at 4.9:1

Tip if you can afford to wait to save and get a top shelf reel I would highly suggested it as they are a long term investment that will pay dividends long term and besides you will burn through about 3 entry level reels which could pay for your top shelf reel and if you ever need to resell your reels they will sell close to retail







Reel Choices Conventional

I am not an overhand/conventional jigger although I do have experiences trying all of the reels mentioned below

There are many things you should consider when purchasing a conventional reel for jigging. The first would be 1 speed or two. Personally I always like a two speed reel in case I do hook up to that fish of a lifetime having the lower gear does make a difference. The other factor would be to get a narrow reel so it makes your outfit light and effective and doesn’t give you any wobble when jigging. Here are some reel I would suggest

TOP END INVESTMENT Conventional Reels – My first choices from $600-$1,000

1. Accurate Boss 665N 2 speed
2. Shimano Ocea Jigger 4000-5000
3. John Baker 6-12
4. Alutecnos Gorilla 12-20
5. Studio Mark Blue Heaven L50
6. New Jigging Master Reels

SECOND TIER OF REELS are all great reel just lower on price point

1.Saltiga 40-50 – Kilsongs has caught probably more fish than any other reel made
2.Pro Gear Oceanus
3.Avet HOO-X
4.Shimano Trinidad
5. Shimano Torium

Another benefit of using a conventional reel is the easy use of a wind on leader which will make your connections knotless.


Jigging Rod Selection

Like I said before I am discussing the Japanese Jerk/Crank style which is also referred to as vertical jigging, speed jigging and butterfly jigging. The rods used here are much different than the longer yo-yo style that is common across the Northeast

Generally because of the rhythm, action & technique involved in this technique you will need a rod that has the following attributes


Lightweight – weight is very important, you will need a light rod so you can jig all day without fatigue. Most major manufactures are now shedding weight wherever they can. Sometimes the most beautiful rods are the heaviest because of all the bling.

Balanced – Having a rod that is bottom heavy or top heavy is never fun to jig with therefore a balanced rod is ideal so u can properly work the jig and for comfort. Plus with a totally balanced rod you will have more control and leverage over your fish

Power – You want a rod that will have backbone but at the same time bend with the fish. Too much backbone and your back with kill you and the rod will be heavier, not enough and it will take hours to land your fish

Action – Parabolic versus standard. Parabolic rods are made to deflect stress off you and into the fish. These rods will bend almost back to the last guide/handle region but are absolute workhorses. Most of top rods are parabolic in nature such as Jigging Master, Hots and Smith. Standard rods general will bend back 1/3-1/2 the blank and will do just fine but the fight is much different

Sensitivity in Tip – The tip section of the rod must be flexible so you can work the jig, too stiff a tip and you wont impart proper action

Warranty - Make sure you understand the warranty on your rod, some Japanese companies do not offer the same warranty as the domestic rods. Shimano offers a break it and exchange it warranty on their Trevala series. However what good is a warranty if the rod keeps breaking. You need to be honest with yourself on your fishing style. I would rather have the best rod with a little warranty than a bad rod with a great warranty

To me the ideal length is 4’8 – 5’2. Personally I love a 5’2” rod I feel that if the rod has the proper tip you can really do some damage to the fish

DON’T BE FOOLED … by yourself

It is very hard buying a rod if you never bent it, we have a great community that has tried just about every rod. Lean on your peers for advice. DO NOT get caught up in dead lift tests. That test does nothing for you but give you an example of bend … and break your rods. If your going to do it raise the weights off the floor slowly so you don’t break your rod. I have received many PM’s about “what do I do now” because its normal to lift 40 pounds off the floor. So my point is Rods can break in un natural positions just be careful. Its not always about how much you can lift off the floor its about fighting a fish on a pitching boat and being comfortable and in control.







Understanding Jigging Rod Ratings

Most rods are rated in three ways by the GRAM (jig weight) and the PE Rating (line Rating) & Style.Gram rating:The gram rating on your rod is a max rating therefore a 400g rod is rated from roughly half that rating to the exact gram. So in essence if I use 250g-400g jigs would be ideal. I generally always buy 400g rods because I use anywhere from 200-400 jigs and the tips on my rods are always parabolic in nature therefore I am safe. The blanks are designed to work that jig within the gram range.
PE rating:There is a direct correlation from the jig size to the PE rating. Almost always a heavier gram rated rod will have a heavier PE line rating which translates into a higher drag capacity. You will be able to apply much more drag on a PE8 rod than a PE3 rod.Perosnally I will only use PE6-8 rods because I know my jig size is 200-400g and my drag will always be high because of the fish I pursue

Style: Some Japanese rod companies will dictate that a rod is for jerk/crank, long sweep and so on. This isn’t the norm but some manufactures do rate there rod by style. An example would also be a longer rod is made to jig out of the belt where a shorter rod is made to under the arm.

**********************I am Listing these by PRICE*****************

TOP SHELF JIGGING RODS in no specific order prices range from $400 and up

Hots Wei World 48XXH & 52XH
Ocean Revolution 10000 & 10000X
Smith AMJ Series, Nirai, KGS
Jigging Master 350-500 series
Fisherman & Riple Fisher
Shimano Blue Rose Series
Carpenter 56MH
Tuna Max Big Game & Parabolique

Second Tier – great rods up to $300

OTI 300, 400 & 600
Van Staal
Shimano Trevala F Series
Shimano Jigwrex

Ocean Revolution in Action

Hots Wei World in action

Smith AMJ in action

Shimano Blue Rose in action

OTI 600 in action







Braided Line

One of the areas that people normally get cheap is line which is unfortunate. You spend all this money on trips, rods, reels, lures and then you put low end line on. Doesn’t make sense. You can easily identify a better braid by its softness.

Braid is necessary to get you jig down quickly and for capacity purposes as most times you will be drifting over structure and will drop your jig to marked fish so you will need to get down ASAP. Another reason for using braid is for capacity, the jigging reels today are smaller, more compact and very narrow therefore line capacity is a problem, with braided line you can still pack on tons of line.

Basically in a nut shell you have two types of braids. Normal braids and colored braids.

REGULAR BRAID - I would strongly suggest the use of Braid, there are as you know many good choices, personally I have used and been happy with several non colored braids such as Suffix, Tufline XP and JB solid & Hollowcore. I am not a fan of using wind on leaders with Spinning reels but some swear by it. I have had issues with power pro so I have shied away from it, plus I do not like a coated braid. These braids are all cost effective and can used with confidence.


Tufline XP
JB Solid or Hollowcore

COLORED BRAID/PE LINES – The benefit of using colored braid is to easily identify the depth of your jig by a color. For instance, if you are marking fish at 100 feet you can drop 5 colors marked at 25 feet each color and jig back through the fish very easily. It is more expensive than normal braid and isn’t necessary other than it being a convenience. I have used OTI, YGK Ultra Jigman, Zenaq and Diawa Saltiga Boat Braid.

Of them all to be honest I really enjoy the Diawa Saltiga Boat Braid, its inexpensive, really thin, soft and strong. The markings are easily identifiable and it’s easy to tie knots with.


Understanding PE lines

They began with diameter, using a long-established numbering system that fits a small range of diameters into a number – for instance, a No. 4 Japanese line will be close to 0.35mm diameter, regardless of whether it’s braid, nylon, fluorocarbon or whatever. In gel-spun polyethylene braids, these Japanese numbers are commonly used from 0.6 (about 0.14mm) to 12 (about 0.7mm); and they’re usually prefixed with PE (for PolyEthylene), so now you’ll often see Japanese braids referred to as PE1, or PE4, or PE8 or whatever.

One of the most noticeable differences is the line is completely soft and limp and non coated therefore it is very easy to tie a knot into

PE RATINGS – EXAMPLE DIAWA BOAT BRAID the test listed is max breaking point

PE3- 40
PE5 – 70
PE6 – 80
PE8 – 100
PE10 – 120
PE12 – 150


Varivas Avani Jigging Line
YGK Ultra Jigman
OTI Depthfinder
Diawa Saltiga Boat Braid


Shock Leader:This normally leads to heated debates but I will start with regular shock leader which is a very soft subtle leader which has very elastic properties and is extremely easy to tie knots with up to 240 pound test.I will start with length, I normally put about 4-6 wraps around my spool and then out of my rod tip by 2’ so maybe 10-12’ of leader. Just enough that if I get bit off several times I still wont have to re tie.
Fluro Carbon Leaders: On occasion I will use fluro carbon but most times I do not. If they are line shy I will use fluro and If you are using Fluro Carbon I highly suggest Blackwater it is very soft and very easy to tie a knot in
Popular Shock Leaders

Varivas Shock Leader
Fisherman Stealth Leader

Popular Fluro Carbon


From main line braid to Leader

There is no perfect answer here but many choices as I tell everyone the best knot to tie is a knot you are comfortable tying. Period end of story. Some love the uni-uni, some love the Albright, some like the midknot, personally I use a Page Ranking knot because of it low profile and strength
YouTube – Page Ranking Knot Bobbin

But there are many knots that will work. Another connection would be wind on leader which is gaining in popularity. The link below is to Master Basil’s great web site which will go through the process. This loop to loop connection is very easy to make and has no knot at all

BHP Tackle – Wind-On Leaders – Topshots – Fluorocarbon Wind-On Leaders – Hollow Spectra

Connection from Leader to Jig

Any knot will work like a uni, trilene etc. You have two major ways of connecting your leader to your jigs after your knot. As you know it can become very time consuming to re tie while the bite is hot so most incorporate a very simple connection.

The benefit to these connections is you never need to re tie you just take the jig off the split ring to change out with the split ring pliers. Simple and easy and quick to do.

1. Solid ring to split ring to jig with assist hook on solid ring

2. Swivel to split ring to jig with assist hook on swivel

Personally this is the way I connect everything. As you are jigging your line as a tendency to twist because of the motion and as you know line twist can leader to damaged or weaken line so I always use a swivel. Its the safest way to prolong the life of your line and your jig.


Solid rings that are rounded on corners from 200# and up
Split Rings from 300# and up
Split Ring pliers


Making your own Assist Hooks

I strongly suggest using one large, wide gap hook instead of two unless you are using a jig that is more than 13” long, then and only then should you use a top and bottom hook.Two hooks does nothing but scar up your fish and cause injury to yourself and foul each other causing missed strikes. It is very easy to make your own assist hooks. As a rule of thumb I keep all my assist hooks 1/3rd way down from top of jig.There seems to be a lot of threads asking questions about Assist Hooks. If you want to buy some good pre-made ones the ones I have used and would suggest are Shout Power Assist 7/0 & Eastern Tackles Assist HooksIf not making your own assist hooks are extremely easy to do and fun. First you will need the following supplies1. Hooks -preferably wide gap short shank hooks
2. Kevlar Line – in 50 (500#) or 70 (700 #) size
3. Sharp Scissor
4. Super Glue
5. A jig for length ratioHere are some examples of hooks I use when making my ownMy favorite hooks the Kudakos but you will need 7/0’s
Kevlar in roll formRules I live by …

a. always make the length of a single assist hook 1/3 to 1/2 jig length
b. Always use 1 hook unless jig is greater than 13″ then I use a high and low set up
c. Always use a hook wider than the jig being used


NOTE: With Kevlar the simple overhand knot will NOT slip especially when glued with super glue. The Kevlar bites into itself to make a secure connection to hook



Gloves – Girly or not I wear gloves, with the constant motion of vertical jigging you can wear off the skin on your hands and that isn’t going to do you any good if you plan on jigging. There are many choices. Keep in mind when selecting a pair of gloves that you should get them tight fitting and find a pair that is light and has a protected finger. They come in every color. Hint of advice make sure you order a size larger if you are planning on buying a Overseas brand as they tend to run very small


Fisherman Brand
Jigging Master
Ocean Revolution (in development)


Aftco Bluewater Gloves

Belts – The jigging motion requires that you use a smaller belt for comfort reasons therefore you should try to get a small profile belt when jigging. Not unlike the gloves there are many choices. Most of the Japanese jigging belts ride higher in waist but you can lower them personally I use a lower belt for leverage


Seven Seas
Fisherman Brand _ I use the fisherman Flat Harness my favorite
Jigging Master
Ocean Revolution (in production)

Split ring Pliers

Split ring Pliers will make your life easy and will also be able to serve duel purposes as in cutting braid, leader and changing jigs. I would strongly suggest keeping your pliers in a sheath on your fishing belt connected with some type of teather so you don’t lose them over board


Ocean revolution (in production)

Technique & Style

There are two basic styles in jerk crank technique

Under Arm/shorter rod – This is what I use and basically after your jig has hit bottom you make a short jerk of the rod tip upwards and crank down, Cycle is one to one. One jerk and one crank down BUT it is in a rhythmic OR violent motion. Generally I will switch up the technique with a pause, or a change of speed from a medium speed to a faster speed to a long stroke

On this video you will see that I will change up the technique from really fast, to a pause to fast again to a pause to a long stroke under arm before I hook up The fish were biting with avery fast stroke that day

YouTube – 130 pound amberjack jigging

On this video I had a slower more rhythmic motion which produces on every drop. Its very important to change your style if the fish arent biting

YouTube – Amberjack Jigging Part 2

Belt/longer rod 6’ – You position the rod in gimble and pull up dramatically and reel down. This is a much more violent style and you really need a longer rod to achieve better results



I didn’t start jigging until 2 years ago when I became absolutely obsessed with it. Kilsong got me hooked and since then I have really been very lucky to fish with several distinguished fishermen and Sami & Randy from APS took me under their wings and helped me develop my skills by inviting me on several trips with some of the better jiggers.

I will tell you this vertical jigging is a very great way of targeting fish instead of waiting for them to come to you. This style will result in amazing hookups and all types of species. Personally I have jigged almost anything you could catch including all types of Tuna, Bottom dwellers such as Amberjack, Grouper, Snapper, Kingfish, Wahoo, Mako Sharks, and Striped Marlin

Hope this will help you get started all in one thread

Tight lines ………… G

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Posted in Jigging, Techniques
2 comments on “Intoduction to Jigging – A Reference for Beginners
  1. Burkey says:

    Great stuff! Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait for the season to start up here in MA!

  2. Saud says:

    Excellent article, as beginner myself I will surely try your tips.

    Does the weight and shape of lures dictates types of will hook, and what do you recommend?

    Thank you

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