Choosing the Best Jigging Gear for your Needs

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March 19, 2024

You might hate cork handles and I may love them, and that's just fine. Still, keep these specifics in mind before you choose your next jigging rig.

When it comes to rod, reels, and line, we all have our own personal favorites. And there’s nothing wrong with you picking rod A and me picking rod B. In truth, tackle choice is a very personal decision with no right or wrong answers. That said, many anglers have a difficult time picking out a new rig for light tackle jigging, especially if they’re used to bait fishing, trolling, or some other tactic where different gear is usually favored. If you find yourself in this situation, spend some time at a local tackleshop trying different rods and reels while keeping these key factors in mind.

fishing rod, reel, and line

You might hate cork handles and I may love them, and that’s just fine. Still, keep these specifics in mind before you choose your next jigging rig.

Rods – Most anglers will prefer a fast-action rod for jigging, so you feel the slightest nip and can set the hook in a fraction of a second. Remember that higher modulus graphite rods tend to be more sensitive, but also more brittle and prone to breaking. Rod length is entirely up to you but if you fish a lot on boats with things like T-tops and outriggers, going on the shorter side will mean fewer casting disasters. Longer rods, however, will provide a bit more casting distance.

Reels –  For a saltwater angler, few aspects of a reel beat reliability and corrosion resistance. Get a reel that can’t handle the brine and you’ll be lucky if it functions properly for more than a season or two. Remember that spinning reels are easier to use, but baitcasters can provide better casting accuracy (with practice). A smooth drag is a must-have, and higher gear ratios mean you’ll bring in more line with every crank.

Line – Monofilament still rules the roost for some forms of fishing, but not jigging – in this case braid is a hands-down winner. The added sensitivity and lack of stretch are far better for detecting strikes and setting the hook. However, remember that braid has very poor abrasion-resistance, and especially when fishing in areas with rocks or oyster shell, having a few feet of fluorocarbon leader attached to the end of the line is critical to prevent line wear and break-offs.

The Bottom Line – Above all else a rig should feel natural in your hands, so head for that tackle shop and handle the rod with the reel you plan to match it with seated on the grip before making any purchases.

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