Sunday, 25 November 2018

Jig Fishing for Beginners

Winter is upon us, it’s that time of year when a lot of anglers hang up their rods and the banks get quieter. In recent years some anglers have turned to light lure fishing and jig fishing in particular. Jig fishing sessions can be kept short, there’s no night fishing and you can get sessions in when you feel like, you are kept active too so it’s a great way to get out over the winter and catch some fish. If you’ve thought about trying jig fishing then read on and have a watch of the video that is part of this jig fishing for beginners article.

Jig Fishing for Beginners, click below to watch the video

A Jig Head is basically a weighted hook, the shank of the hook is bent at 90 degrees and with your line attached the hookpoint is always facing upwards so you can literally drag the jig head and your lure across the bottom, it’s ideal for fishing deep down where you would expect to find the fish, especially in winter. Jig heads are measured in two ways, hook size and weight size, for light lure fishing with lures of 1” to 4” in size, you will be using hooks in sizes 1/0 (biggest) down to 8 (smallest), for most lures in the 1” to 3” range that I mainly use myself, sizes 2,4 and 6 are the most common.

A standard ball jig head, a great starting point for a jig fishing beginner

The other way to rate a Jig Head is by weight, jigs are measured in grams and for light lure fishing 1 gram to 5 grams are the popular sizes although I rarely use anything over 3 grams myself. I have a saying for my light lure fishing, ‘stay low to go slow’, keep the weight of the jig head down so you can slow your retrieve right down, a slow moving target is an easy target for a predatory fish like perch, zander or pike especially in winter, remember fish are cold blooded and their body temperature is only just above that of their surroundings so fish will be reluctant to chase when the water is cold, hence the lighter jig heads and slower retrieves.

A jig head is one half of your lure fishing setup the other half is the soft plastic lures that you mount on the jig head. There is a bewildering array of soft plastic lures out there, shads, tubes, creatures, worms, leeches, curly tail grubs, crayfish and many more, for the benefit of this article I’ll stick to naming 3 which have done really well for me although I'm relatively new to the crayfish myself, check these three out and make sure you add them to your own lure box.

A shad is basically an imitation fish, in sizes 1” to 3” they are great for catching predators, again there is a bewildering array of sizes and colours so I’ll just single out the Kopyto Shad, I’ve been using these for years and they are superb catchers, use a white or bright green one for coloured water and a more natural one if your water is clear. The kopyto shad has a paddle tail and it mimic’s an injured fish, like a slow moving target, an injured fish is an easy target for a predator. You can fish a shad with a straight retrieve or you can vary it, jig it up and down, lift the lure off the bottom and let it flutter down again to help the illusion that it’s an injured fish. Superb, no Lure Box should be without one.

Soft plastic shads, the Kopyto Shad is great for jig fishing

Curly Tailed Grubs
Curly Tail Grubs were the first light lure I ever bought, they are brilliant fish catchers, the body is that of a grub and there is a curly tail at the back, when retrieved straight and slow the tails waves enticingly creating the illusion that the grub is swimming, again you can jig it along the bottom, lift the rod to bring the curly tail up in the water then let it flutter down to the bottom again, these lures are great catchers and another one that every jig fishing beginner should have in their Lure Box.

Curly Tailed Grub, the 1st jig head lure I ever bought and still one of the best

The third and final lure you should have in your box is a crayfish type lure, in this video I’ve used the Crazy Fish Nimble but there are many others out there, they look bizarre but crayfish have a superb action as they flutter through the water and they are superb fish catchers, perch in particular go for them in a big way as you’ll see if you watch the video that comes with this article. Again crays can be retrieved straight so the claws wave about creating the illusion the lure is swimming or they can be twitched or jigged, lift the lure off the bottom then let it flutter down, the crayfish is another lure you should definitely have in your Lure Box.

Crazy Fish Nimble showing the quick change Fas-Snap connector as used in the video

A decent perch taken on the crazy fish nimble

When it comes to your lure fishing setup, rods are graded by casting weight so a 1 to 8 gram rod like the one I use is ideal, mine is a Sakura Neo Sportism and it’s prefect for the job. Reel wise a 1000 size reel will do and mine is a Daiwa Exceler, it’s a lovely reel and the clutch is superb. On my reel I have yellow Power Pro Braid in 10lb breaking strain and my leader that attaches to the braid via a shock leader knot is 10lb Drennan Supplex fluorocarbon. Once your leader is attached to your braid simply tie the fluorocarbon to your jig head or you can use a Fas-Snap which makes it easy to change jig heads during your session. You can see a video on how to tie the shock leader knot below.

Braid to Mono knot for attaching Fluoro to your braid, click below to watch

That’s about it for jig fishing for beginners, the method works well on lakes, rivers and canals and as always in fishing, watercraft is the key so check out all your usual features, weed, pads, snags, bridges, locks, turnaround points, back eddys, anywhere you think fish might be present because wherever you find fish a predator won’t be far away.

One of my YouTube Viewers Chris Davies with his first ever jig caught perch

Please subscribe to my youtube channel and my blog for future videos and articles and if you decide to give lure fishing a go this winter then good luck, I have a community tab on my youtube channel, please feel free to post a picture of your catches on there.

Tight Lines.



Peter said...

Very informative blog Mark. I must admit that I am guilty of packing my tackle away for the winter often as early as late September, I guess it's because I do pretty much all my lure fishing on canals and the two in my region, the Bridgewater and the Leeds/Liverpool can be really hard going to the point they become soul destroying as far as lure fishing goes during the winter months. Reading your blog however I'm thinking maybe I should give it more of a go this coming winter, even if I have to jig some live worms to find the fish. Come to think of it, you sound like you are just the other end of the M62 or A580 from me, and if you are catching fish in canals on lures during the winter, then in theory there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to. Tight lines! Peter.

Mark Carp said...

hi peter, apologies for the late reply, i'm Wirral based and my lure fishing is done on the Shropshire union around the chester area, soul destroying pretty much sums up winter lure fishing and I find it a struggle myself. the pockets of fish are still there but they can be very localised, when you find a spot you can usually get some consistent sport even when it's bitterly cold, just wrap up and keep the sessions short and intense, search for them and search some more and eventually you'll turn up a few fish, good luck mate

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