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Old 03-18-2009, 06:41 AM   #1
NIB
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Fishing In Current With Jigs



Fishing In Current With Jigs

My goal in this piece is to explain some of the nuances of fishing the current from the shoreline with jigs. In order to give you the best bang for your buck. I will forgo the usual tackle recommendations, as not all currents are the same. Here in NJ I might find flows of 1-2 knots and some with 5 knots or better. While I primarily prefer tackle on the stout side for the moving water I may not necessarily use the same tackle for both applications. If I could make one recommendation. Striper's in the current will pull hard using the current to their advantage. You have to be able to stop them. Plain and simple. Just be sure your equipment is up to the task. In other words don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

With that said I will also forgo the particular lure aspect. When it comes to jigging there are so many variables to consider. .I have caught quality fish on jig heads that weigh anywhere from 3/8’s oz to 6 oz. From plain old smiling bills to 9” shad bodies. This is a nuts and bolts article. One that should give you enough insight to attack the current with confidence..

First it helps to understand the nature of the task at hand. The bottom of any out flow or riverbed is usually lined with undulations. From giant rocks the tide cannot move, to little depressions on the bottom that can change daily. They are like rest areas along the Bass highway. It is my opinion these locations will hold a fish for a few days in the current then they move on. Hopefully to be replaced by another. These undulations present a break in the moving water. In other words they ease the flow of the current. Giving the fish a chance to relax and let the food come to them. You may have heard the term ambush points in one aspect or another in fishing well this is one of them.

Ah, life is good. The beauty of fishing the current is it puts the fish where they are supposed to be. It does take a lot of the guess work out of the equation. Often times it does not take much in the way of structure to hold a fish. The slightest depression is all it takes for the fish to find respite from the tide. So don’t be afraid to try new places from time to time.

With this information in hand it is easy to see that the main objective is to fish the bottom. Or as close to the bottom as you can get. You want your offering to resemble injured or stunned bait. Kicked off the gentler moving water close to the bottom. Helpless in the flow of the tide it is an easy meal for Mr. Linesides. Here lies the tricky part. How do you get as close to the bottom as you can without getting hung up?

There are many ways to accomplish this. For starters you can simply go to the waters edge with an array of different weight jigs. You might have what you need. For a short time. The problem is the tide waits for no one and the different speeds of the tide will have you digging around for a different jig.

There’s a few ways to fine-tune your presentation the most simple solution is cast location. Find a target on the other side. This is important as in any experiment a consistent model is needed to get accurate results. Let’s say I am standing at the waters edge the current is flowing from left to right. My first cast is at a target straight ahead or 12 o'clock. It's sticking pretty good. Probably too good as I have to yank it off the bottom a few times to keep from snagging. I reel it in quick. It’s my favorite jig! Without changing the jig size I will make my next cast at 1 o‘clock. This should work fine. Like magic I have this perfect drift, just off the bottom tic. tic, tic.

Well it’s not magic really what is happening is the tension of the current on your fishing line has increased with the increased angle of your cast slightly down current. In the process your once too heavy offering is now working fine.

I am a count freak when I jig I also count the time it takes for the jig to hit the bottom from the time it breaks the surface. This will tell me if the tide is going faster or slower. A minor detail to some. The difference in getting your jig hung up or not to others. Ideally my jig will tic the bottom once per Mississippi You’ll find you might get 3 or so good tic’s of the bottom then maybe one more then nothing. The tension of the current on your line is lifting the jig off the bottom as it drifts away from you. You can get back to the bottom by simply letting out more line. I primarily use spinning gear for jigging so I take it off the roller. I will let line off for a three count. In other words three Mississippi.

Letting out more line will get you to the bottom but it also increases the tension some. More line = more tension. Your going to find now your contact time on the bottom will be diminished. You‘ll get maybe one or two tics till you have to let line out again as the jig ascends. The further down current the longer the count to get to the bottom. Basically I will continue this action through the swing as far as I can.
Usually till I run out of room or current. Then I reel up and start over again.

There are some other movements that are involved. I like to keep it simple. In my opinion there is no reason to impart any extra action to the jig. Your goal is to make it appear helpless in the strong current. A tasty morsel that has lost it's way. As the jig tics the bottom I will raise it or pop the rod slightly. I like to keep my offering near the bottom. My rod movements are more of a defensive movement. To be sure the jig is not sticking. In my travels I have noticed the guys in the Cape Cod Canal will give more emphasis to this movement. Almost yanking the rod back in a motion that resembles setting the hook. Both styles work well along with an action that is something in between these two movements. Do what comes natural for you.

I prefer to hold my rod at an angle, about ten o’clock. As the jig tics the bottom I will raise or pop the rod to 11-12 o’clock. Then I lower the rod slowly back down reaching and feeling for the tick of the bottom.. Be sure to hold on tight. Most times this is where the hits come, as the jig descends. There can be no mistaking the strike. They are fierce, they will double your rod down. In the moving water the fish has short time to take your offering. They come off the bottom fast and furious. When they are hungry they don’t mess around. With the tension of the current on the line they just about hook themselves. I prefer to be sure with a quick snap of the rod.

When it comes to fighting them I believe in NO Quarter, that is I do not let them run. I prefer to fish a moderate to loose drag. When I have to I will lightly cup the spool to stop them. This takes the steam out of the fish right away and usually it’s just a matter of winching them back within a few short moments. When the fish gets near you is where the loose drag comes to play. The fish will take what I like to call their last ditch effort to freedom. As the fish comes into the shallower water they will take note, Besides the hook in their lip they know something is up. They will thrash and pull with all they have left. You have to let them do their thing, you’re on short line. Line that has possibly been abused in the struggle. I would bet that high percentage of good fish lost happen at this time. Usually their runs are short lived and after one or two of these blast you can slide them to you.

When fishing in current it is important to make sure your leader will break prior to your main line. I have found that 30 lb fireline will break 40lb leader. You do not want the main line to break as it will leave a long section on the bottom making a bad snag to get hung on. Plus you’ll run the risk of loosing quite a bit of braid hence ending your session. Make sure your knots are good and you’ll be fine.

Just like any other type of fishing there are always variables. I have found some of my best fish after long nights of the usual thing then getting bored and trying something new or different. Some of my better fish have come from experimenting. Always pay attention to what the water tells you. Even in the dark, seams and rips can be noticed. It's up to you to figure out the right presentation. We'll cover that in the next article. Anyway, there’s plenty here for you to get out and hit the moving water with a bit of confidence. After all that’s what it’s all about fishing with confidence. Once you have that mastered you can really make it happen.

Good Luck
NIB..

I did something similar to this on my clubs website last fall..I tuned it up to put it into article form.
I decided It's better when it's for free...

Last edited by The Dad Fisherman; 03-19-2009 at 10:48 AM..

FORE!
It's usually darkest just before it turns Black..
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:59 AM   #2
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Great info. Now, that's no Buck-Tale.


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A wise old man once told me"It's better to wet your line than wet yourself"
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:07 AM   #3
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Very cool of you! Thanks!
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven View Post
this sentence to me seems to describe why JIGS are so effective

NIB said: In the moving water the fish has short time to take your offering.

but what i question is: the LIFELESS presentation.....?

so your saying that the bait is resembling a recently deceased fish
as apposed to something still alive.... so therefore is an easier meal?

I always considered my prsentation to be lifeless..
Perhaps Helpless is better suited for that sentence..
Maybe I should send my articles to you to proof read for me...

FORE!
It's usually darkest just before it turns Black..
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:24 AM   #5
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Thanks NIB

i re read your post and it answered my question...

lets go back to the strike ZONE....

because the fish are seeking that particular resting spot

is the strike zone... relatively small - say a 3x 3 foot square?
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:25 AM   #6
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Talking

NIB i am the BEST proof reader in the world - trust me on that

you left the S off the word blasts man - whats up with that? LOL
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven View Post
i re read your post and it answered my question...

lets go back to the strike ZONE....

because the fish are seeking that particular resting spot

is the strike zone... relatively small - say a 3x 3 foot square?
I would have to say yes.At least deffinetly in the faster stages of the tide.As it slows down they will move more.I might even fish higher up in the water collum when it slows down..I vary my casting distances also,starting out and working my way back to try to cover as much water as possible..Then I will alter my lure slightly to fish differnt water.Small things like larger pork or going to rubber trailers starting small and increasing them in size can make a big difference.This by several different reasons, like a slower sink rate will get me to the bottom in a different part of the drift..In turn it lets me fish different water.

FORE!
It's usually darkest just before it turns Black..
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:44 AM   #8
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you seem to be one of the few people that prefer a spinning reel
to a bait caster for jiggin jigs - just an observation

and by "no quarter" i take that to mean

your trying to get the fish out of the lower current or deeper water
up high in the water column fast so you can slide the fish closer to you....
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:13 AM   #9
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By NO Quarter I mean I do not let em run..I stop em in their tracks.They will pound a thrash for a short bit.I might give em tiny bits of line.by no means are they taking off on me. It takes the steam right out of them.Then you have to pump them back..
IMO the further the fish gets down current on you,the harder it will be to land..
For the most part a jig is one of the only lures you can get away doing this with.
That single hook lure is the best fish LANDING weapon there is..

FORE!
It's usually darkest just before it turns Black..
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:19 AM   #10
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Thumbs up ahhhh i see

the second reason

now i'll invest in some more sw jigs

and experiment with them more in freshwater too

since i have quite a few fresh water jigs but don't use them very much

usually i get out there and determine if its a
worm, crayfish, or minnow bite and then fish appropriately

thanks NIB - for the LESSON - i learned allot today
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:00 AM   #11
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NIB, Excellent!!!!!!It is tough to master but once you do it, you'll catch a lot of fish.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:25 AM   #12
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Nice to see jigs getting equal time - done right, it really is an art form -

I still pour, paint and tie up my own, for the last 10 years or so adding a little crystal flash along the sides...I'll be tossing 'em soon -

Anyway, real good post on jigs, T. - it was totally NIB-tastic -

"There is no royal road to this heavy surf-fishing. With all the appliances for comfort experience can suggest, there is a certain amount of hard work to be done and exposure to be bourne as a part of the price of success." From "Striped Bass," Scribner's Magazine, 1881.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:30 AM   #13
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BTW, anybody ever use - or make - those felt strip trailers that look like a rind and soak 'em with scent -

DZ does, I think - just found some in my tackle room I'd put in a safe place so I'd be sure I wouldn't forget 'em...

I think that was like 7 or 8 years ago...

"There is no royal road to this heavy surf-fishing. With all the appliances for comfort experience can suggest, there is a certain amount of hard work to be done and exposure to be bourne as a part of the price of success." From "Striped Bass," Scribner's Magazine, 1881.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven View Post
you seem to be one of the few people that prefer a spinning reel
to a bait caster for jiggin jigs .
the Canal jigging with spinning is the norm ..Pre braid it was conventional because you were casting heavy mono .. great read NIB ,, you should write an OTW article or Fisherman sometime .. I'd run out and buy it ..
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:47 AM   #15
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Question

[QUOTE=NIB;674616]
My first cast is at a target straight ahead or 12 o'clock. It's sticking pretty good. Probably too good as I have to yank it off the bottom a few times to keep from snagging. I reel it in quick. It’s my favorite jig! Without changing the jig size I will make my next cast at 1 o‘clock. QUOTE]

It's my favorite jig!
Don't quite understand what your favorite jig is.
Please elaborate.

Also, any difference in tying direct vs. using a snap?
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:58 AM   #16
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Great article NIB filled with good information! I started doing a little jigging late last season and am really looking forward to doing a lot more this year.
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:45 PM   #17
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I'm going to copy this thread to our "how-to" forum.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:03 PM   #18
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Great article! But have some questions.

When you say the jig "tics" the bottom, I'm guessing you mean hits the bottom. But how exactly are you able to tell it's doing this? Can you feel it stop or can you feel the jig when it hits? I have never been able to feel any indication of by bucktails or jigs (Pt. jude Nautilus, Hopkins etc) except when they dig into a sandbar. When they do this they seem to get stuck and when I finally break them free they will usually have a sandcrab stuck to the hook.

Second question;
I had thought that the jigs should be cast up stream and retrieved as it was being moved downcurrent until it got directly accross from the caster. I had also thought that if one lets the jig get way downcurrent and begins a retrieve that this wouldn't appear to be "unatural" because a wounded baitfish would swim against the current.

Confused. Hope someone chimes in. Thanks.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nu2this View Post
Great article! But have some questions.

When you say the jig "tics" the bottom, I'm guessing you mean hits the bottom. But how exactly are you able to tell it's doing this? Can you feel it stop or can you feel the jig when it hits? I have never been able to feel any indication of by bucktails or jigs (Pt. jude Nautilus, Hopkins etc) except when they dig into a sandbar. When they do this they seem to get stuck and when I finally break them free they will usually have a sandcrab stuck to the hook.

Second question;
I had thought that the jigs should be cast up stream and retrieved as it was being moved downcurrent until it got directly accross from the caster. I had also thought that if one lets the jig get way downcurrent and begins a retrieve that this wouldn't appear to be "unatural" because a wounded baitfish would swim against the current.

Confused. Hope someone chimes in. Thanks.

If you used braided line, you will feel the jig touch the bottom. The next task in the learning process is telling the difference between the jig ticking the bottom, and a fish hitting the jig That's a matter of practice and putting the time in. A hit feels a little more "alive" than the bottom--that's the best way I can describe it. It's a sharper tap, and you may even see the line jump a bit. The bottom usually has a duller feel to it--but, even after 40 years of jigging, a real hard object on the bottom, like a bare rock or a piece of scrap metal, can fool me.

Casting upcurrent is often necessary to allow the jig to get down the 30-50 feet to the Canal bottom. Many people "count down" after the jig hits the water--say, a 10-15 count. Then they close the bail, or flip the free spool lever, and take the slack out of the line. Often, you won't feel bottom until the jig is directly in front of you. This also is something you have to practice, because letting a jig just drift on a slack line can often result in a hang-up before you get all of the slack out of the line.

Jigs often lift off the bottom as they swing far enough down-current. This is what causes loss of bottom contact in most cases. It usually happens at about a 45 degree down-current angle. At this point, you can feed more line. Often the fish will still come up a foot or two off the bottom to hit a jig, though. If you lose bottom contact earlier in your drift, that usually means that your jig fell into a hole--this is usually a good thing

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:16 PM   #20
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NIB great write-up. I jig 95% of the time in the ditch. I think you captured the importance of keeping the jig down and in contact in the bottom. I prefer conventional gear for this task because it allows me to stay tight with my jig as I let out more line to find bottom again.
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:34 AM   #21
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Welcome to the site Ken1...

a fifty before I go!!!!!!
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:53 PM   #22
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thanks for the SW lesson, I love my jigs,fishin' them for years, tidal rivers such as the Hudson River, which has both saltwater and fresh is inclined to heavy variations of tidal activity all the way up to Albany,N.Y. Jig size during incoming , high and low tides vary constantly, and one must be aware of jig size due to this, your article was great! there is so much you can do with jigs.
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