Jigging gear - The small essentials
14 May 2015
Want to put together an A-grade set up? Check out the essentials, it might not cost as much as you'd previously thought. If your passion is chasing kingfish with dedicated gear, here are a few specialised accessories we love but which are often undervalued and overlooked.
Seriously, braid selection is one of the most vital elements of any proper jigging setup.
You should spend as much as you can afford - depending on size and brand of braid you could spend anywhere from $40 to $200 for a 300-metre spool.
If money is no object then I would suggest the Varivas Jigging Max braid as a top choice. If more constrained by budget then Daiwa Boat braid is pretty darn good.
One thing you will need is braid in coloured sections. Most manufacturers offer a coloured metering system of 10 x 10; or 10 colours in 10 metre sections. This is to help get that jig bang in the middle of the strike zone.
Good quality, purpose build gloves make a difference on longer, more testing days.
Quality leader material could be the difference between a fish taking you to reef with a sad end or surviving a brush with the hard stuff and catching the fish, also recovering that expensive jig.
There are two types of leader material: mono-filament and fluorocarbon.
Fluorocarbon has a much higher abrasion resistance than its more traditional counterpart. It is also denser, allowing it to sink faster than monofilament. However, mono is softer and consequently easier to tie knots with than fluorocarbon. It is also around one third of fluorocarbon’s price.
The join between the braid and the leader can be a tricky proposition.
A few knots work, the most popular of which is the PR Knot. It requires a tool called a PR Bobbin.
The PR knot is complex to learn but with a few attempts, can be mastered. Visit www.nzfishingworld.co.nz to see a great vid demonstration of the PR knot.
When it comes to bobbins there are two types: a simple version where you set the tension by wrapping the braid around the arm of bobbin, and second where you can set the tension in advance. The advanced version is more expensive at about $130, compared to $30 at entry level.
Hooks & terminal tackle
When it comes to hook size I tend to float around 11/0 to 13/0. Generally, on 200-gram gear and 50lb braid I’ll use 11/0 hooks. On heavier stuff I step up to 13/0.
The cost ranges from $12 for a packet of three 13/0s to $32 for a packet of three 13/0s. Personally I prefer titanium coated hooks, although it’s more about form than function for me on this one.
I’m a huge believer in re-rigging assist hooks on jigs. You will need top-notch Kevlar assist cord and a good solid ring to attach the leader too. For me, Jig Star rings and grommets are the best.
Competition has been good for the market with a large variety, styles and colours to choose from. It pays to have a wide selection, as kings can be picky some days.
The size of your setup will determine the weight of jig to buy. The general rule of thumb is to fish a 300-gram jig on a 300-gram rated rods. It is not a strict rule, rather a good guide. Other factors, like depth, currents and wind all play a part in that selection.
Jigs can range in price anywhere from $10 to $40. Generally, the more expensive jigs will last longer and hold the exterior painting better.
There are pros and cons to wearing gloves. The biggest advantage is the added grip on wet days. Also, long periods of sustained jigging can really take a toll on your hands.
The down side is that gloves need to be removed when tying knots or perform detail tasks. Once again it pays to shop around as gloves range in price from $30 to $130. My best tip would be to buy a pair of gloves specifically designed for jigging as you know they will stand up to the task.
There are numerous styles of gimble. Your rod butt configuration will be the determining factor but one of my favourites is the Jigging Master GT belt. It simply has a small inverted round dome. There are a few reasons we run this style:
- Pretty much all of our rods have a fixed rubber butt so no need for a pin.
- This gimble is very forgiving on paintwork inside the boat.
- This style of gimble can be worn backwards when not required; a simple spin of the belt and your ready to go.
Bang for buck, you can’t look past a Shimano belt. With a removable pin it can be altered to receive almost any type of rod butt.
Nets vs Gaff vs None
This is definitely an area of personal preference. As a huge fan of release fishing I prefer not to have a net or gaff on board. However, if you want to ensure that solid king comes home, a gaff is your best bet.
With stickbaiting, I highly recommend a lip gaff in order to keep clear of any dangerously swinging treble hooks.
Boating a fish without an aid can be done by simply sliding a hand down the leader (cautiously, especially if the king is still full of fight) and grabbing the jig. Now, this is where gloves come in handy – simply grab the fish in the corner of the mouth or under the jaw and lift it into the boat.
With all these new jigs purchased, you are going to need somewhere to put them. This is where are a solid, rigid jig bag comes in handy. Jig bags can start around the $40 mark and work up to around $120.
My advice is find something with Velcro flaps to stop jigs sliding out of the pockets and smacking a jandal clad foot. I can tell you it’s not the greatest feeling. We use a Zest jig bag. It has a super durable construction, Velcro flaps and is easy to store and carry.
There are always hidden costs getting set up that we sometimes overlook. I promise all these are important elements, which go hand-in-hand with mechanical jigging.
It pays to shop around and look at the different styles of gear and prices before diving deep into your pocket.
This is not to say you have to buy all of the above before you can start jigging. Buy one or two things at a time and build up your arsenal until you’re happy.