Southern Micro Jigging
 

Southern Micro Jigging

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Southern Micro Jigging

BY SHANE MURTON

Downsizing your tackle and using a range of small jigs is a rapidly growing method on the southern reefs, not only to get wickedly bent-up on lighter than usual tackle, but it's actually an effective method to target a wide range of highly desirable species.

Smaller micro jigs, roughly in the 10-60 gram range, can account for some surprisingly big fish on the reefs, and provide plenty of easy entertainment on smaller species as well, basically right down to slimy mackerel if you wish! So how do you get into this caper, and what are some of the fish on the hit list if you're heading down south looking for a scrap on the reefs?

THE SPECIES

Micro jigs have untold potential on basically all reef dwelling fish down south it seems. Given reefs are such a competitive environment small jigs like these really shine, and on their day can dominate even over baits and other lure types.

 All the 'big names' on the reefs seem to love them, from snapper, Bight redfish, harlequin, blue morwong, thumper King George whiting, through to trevally, flathead, swallowtail and more. But these jigs also attract a lot of attention from many other species, from pike, blue devils and a swag of others which keeps you guessing with each hook-up, and pleasingly it means your rod is bent more often than not!

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WHY SO DEADLY?

Micro jigs represent an easily eaten meal and will bring out the aggressive side in many reef fish, even though not known to be overly pelagic with their feeding ways. It's the small and stealthy nature of these jigs that seems to get them eaten when larger presentations are being refused. Given you can work them slow or quickly crank them to the surface, it means you can target an array of species with them, and really spice them up with different retrieves if required to get them eaten.

JIG SELECTION

Micro jigs are loosely small jigs between say 60 to under 10 grams. Lures of this size were once only considered a metal slug you'd throw at small to medium sized salmon and even snook down south, not a legitimate lure for a 20lb snapper! With a rapidly growing list of designs and colours you now have a deadly little jig option that can be aimed at basically any slightly aggressive reef fish you care to mention down south.

Some jigs are purposely made with a wider profile for an exaggerated flutter on the drop like the Shimano ColtSniper for example. While others are more about getting you down super quick. This said, most micros are appealing on the free fall or when worked with smaller movements.

When selecting a micro jig for the reefs my preference is to use the lightest you can get away with in the conditions and water depth being fished. It’s important to always remember why you’re turning to these jigs in the first place, and that’s to use a small and highly deceptive presentation, and with this in mind start light and increase the weight/size only if required. I’ve had vastly improved fishing since making the effort to fish the smallest possible jigs I could, and while you need to be more patient getting them to the bottom, they do boosts the deception up that’s for sure. A good starting point in say 30-50m of water is a jig around 20-50g. A hot tip with colour is any jig with glowing parts to it can be a day saver when the going gets hard on the reefs!

TACKLE

Micro jigging gear is typified by lightweight yet super strong tackle systems. Rods are generally fairly slow tapered/parabolic which makes them visually impressive when they’re fully loaded up, but at the same time they’re highly effective shock absorbers. This is a huge benefit when you’re using small, reasonably light gauge hooks on these jigs, as it will limit hooks tearing free when a fish lunges, and also reduce them bending or even breaking under the strain.

One of my favourite micro jigging threadline rods at the moment is the Shimano Grappler S632, which I’ve paired with a 4000 Stradic FK sized filled with 15lb braid. I'll tie on a healthy length of fluorocarbon to the mainline, starting around the 20-25lb mark for deeper reef work. 

GET JIGGY!!

Micro jigging on the slightly deeper reefs tends to offer the greater species diversity, and the fish are generally tightly packed and highly competitive and ready to crunch your jig!

Always pay attention to your jig as it's lowered to the bottom, as many fish will nail you mid-water. I've caught plenty of snapper that have swum up and eaten micros well away from the sea floor, so study your line closely and strike if it suddenly stops coming off the reel!

You can impart some quite enticing jig movements with micros and there's no set rules here, just keep experimenting until you crack the bite code for the day. I like to start with a few small flicks of the jig, and throw in the odd fast rip to the surface to see if there's any kings or even big trevally lurking below that like a chase. Even a quite static retrieve can be great for slow movers like Bight redfish and harlequin.

All in all, using micro jigs on the southern reefs is a blast, and not only are the fish mentioned cool fun to catch on this sporty tackle, but the bonus is many are also super tucker on the plate as well. Win, win!

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