One tactic that seems vastly underutilized for gamefish that hug bottom is speed jigging. Sure, folks use it for open-water species like jacks or mackerel, but the tactic is shockingly effective on fish like groupers and snappers, too. Of course, you do need to alter the presentation a bit – a jig zipping along 20 feet above bottom isn’t likely to get smacked by a fish that likes hunting around rocks and corals. Use these five tips, however, and you’ll find that speed jigging utterly kills.
- Obviously, you won’t want to keep the jig moving up through the water column once it’s about 10 feet off bottom. Instead, zip it up quickly as you normally would, but then open the reel back up and allow the jig to flutter down until it bumps bottom. The moment it does, throw the reel back into gear and get that jig dancing again. In order to do this effectively you will need to know exactly how many cranks on your reel it takes to bring in 10 feet. Measure out that much line, then pay close attention as you turn the reel. Do this several times, until you’re confident you will know just how long to crank, before you begin dropping the jig again.
- Make sure to use a jig with a hook rigged at the top, only. This is a matter of self-preservation. Bang bottom over and over with a jig that has a hook at the bottom in the sorts of areas where these fish hang out, and you’ll quickly get snagged and possibly lose the lure. With a top hook, only, however, snags will be far fewer and farther between.
- Never stop reeling after a hook-up, and as soon as you feel a take, raise your tip up while setting the hook. Again, this is a matter of self-preservation. Many fish, groupers in particular, will dart out, grab that jig, then shoot back to their cover. If you hesitate for a moment there’s a good chance the fish will wrap your line around something or abraid it against solid structure. Either way, the result is the same: a snapped line, and a lost fish.
- Use a relatively small jig compared to the fish’s size. With a speed jig you really want the fish to inhale it all the way into its mouth. If the fish only gets a piece of the jig it often won’t have the hook in its mouth and when you swing, it’ll be a miss.
- Use a stout rod, braid line, and a relatively short fluoro leader. The reasons are all listed out above – the need to pull fish out of the structure quickly, set the hook fast, and avoid snags.