Jig fishing is popular and challenging. Why? Because the person fishing is creating the action that attracts, or doesn’t attract, the particular type of fish he or she is trying to catch. Here’s how it works. Cast out and let your jig hook sink to the bottom. Then use your rod tip to raise the bait about a foot off the bottom. Then let it drop back to the bottom. You can jig up and down, side to side or up and down and sideways. Jig rigs come in all sizes, shapes and colors, and can be used with or without live bait.
Accept the fact that something fluttering up and down stimulates the “strike” option in a game fish’s brain more than something fluttering through the water parallel with the bottom. The fish thinks both types of erratic movement is that of wounded or crippled bait, but something fluttering up and down is more crippled and the easiest meal.
If you are in deep water jigging straight up and down, select a jig that is heavy enough to go straight down in the conditions. You will want to try various retrieves. Make the up and down movement as erratic as possible by using the lightest possible weight, if any, to keep the jig going up and down. Also try a smooth up and down motion just off of the bottom.
Select a jig in the fishing section of your favorite store. If you are fishing inshore, you won’t be able to jig straight up and down because the bays and surf are shallow. You want a jig that is weighted so that you can cast it a considerable distance. The jigging then becomes a series of “bounces” off the bottom or before the jig hits the bottom, or a steady retrieve with swim bait type jigs.
Color is more important on a jig than many other types of lures because when it hits bottom the “thud” often attracts a fish. The fish must be able to differentiate the momentarily still lure. Always try out a wide array of color combinations.