Using small jigs under 100g has well and truly established itself as a gun method for fishing the reefs in this country, and is a real impact technique on some of our favourite fish like snapper for example. Much like soft plastics, small jigs are able to entice a reaction bite out of many aggressive minded species, and their petite size gives them a level of stealth that really adds to the overall deadly nature of this fishing.
Getting the most from micro jigging has a lot to do with having a solid foundation to work from and getting your gear and method ironed out and then backing it to get the job done. You can be tackling some rather large and angry fish on relatively light tackle and small jigs here, so you need the details well in order before jumping head first into a red-hot braid peeling session. So let's take a look at a few key factors that are pertinent to micro jigging success.
Using specialised micro jigging gear can really add to the fun of this fishing, but also increase results. While you can tie smaller jigs to say a standard soft plastic outfit and still get the desired result, and there's nothing wrong with that at all, there are additional benefits to be had putting together a specific outfit for the job.
Dedicated micro jigging gear is typified by lightweight yet super strong tackle. Rods are generally fairly slow tapered/parabolic which makes them 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 of battle.
Shimano have several ranges of light jigging rods in both spin and overhead to pick from, such as models from the Grappler or Game Type J series. In the reel department the Ocea Jigger series, or any number of spin options are available.
Like a lot of lure fishing situations, bring a spread of jig options with you covering different weights, colours and actions. There's a lot of variables that can necessitate a jig change, be it the current picks up and you need a heavier option or a more quick sink profile. Or alternatively you may fish a shallower location and want to back off the weight, or drop your jig size down if the fish are fussy. A good rule of thumb is to start with a jig large enough to comfortably reach the bottom and stay in touch with it and then adjust as required.
There's no point using small, sneaky jigs and then ruining the stealth factor with cumbersome rigging using large swivels, assist hooks that are too big and trace line that's overkill. Try to keep your presentation compact, well balanced and looking like the tasty meal it should be to any lurking predators.
Likewise with outfits, be practical by all means, but there's no need to bring fish up cross-eyed. In fact if you fish too heavy and bully fish you'll lose a lot due to assist hooks bending and simply tearing free. While micro jigging isn't quite bream fishing, still try and err on the side of sneaky lure delivery where you can, and during hard bites it'll really pay off.
Transforming your jig into a seafood feast is possible by adding a soft silicon squid skirt to the assist hook. It'll add another dimension to the jig, and enable the jig to be fished slower if need be and still be eaten by browsing type feeders like snapper, deepwater whiting and many other fish. On the slow days it could just be the difference.
Given you can be using relatively light mainline, leaders and at times fine gauge assist hooks, regular checking of all potential weak points of your micro jig tackle system should be done. Hook tips and assist cord can be damaged by fish, leaders can take wear on reef and fish mouths, and joining knots can weaken. Big fish and fairly light gear means you need all aspects performing faultlessly to come out on top!
You often hear it said in fishing, but 'no risk, no reward' applies well to using micro jigs also. If something isn't working then be prepared to change, which applies well to how you work your jig. Don't be afraid to freestyle it with this caper as there's no 'carved in stone' rules here. If slower retrieves aren't working then speed it up, throw in more aggressive rips of the jig, lengthen the pauses between rips etc. There's a lot of moves you can make, which extends to trying different jig sizes, styles and colours to get the hit. It could be a subtle change like swapping an Ocea Wonderfall for an Ocea Sardine Waver jig to get a different action through the water that makes all the difference when the fish are in lockdown mode.
Don't assume fish are hard against the bottom, but rather keep an eye on your electronics. Some species like snapper can actually feed up quite high in the water column when hounding bait, requiring you to fish your jig shallower.
Small jigs can be fished while anchored up and on the drift. If anchoring on a good sounding of fish isn't working try drifting the patch and jigging, as the extra movement may fire them up. Likewise some anglers will even start by drifting to see if the fish are switched onto jigs and are feeding before dropping the anchor in deeper water, which can save a lot of time and allows you to keep searching for actively feeding fish if need be.
Be proactive when using small jigs. Don't let the session drift on without results, always be thinking of what you can do to get your jig eaten. Maybe this is a change of jigging action or lure. Have pliers and extra jigs at the ready making it easy to swap them out also if need be. Being proactive can also mean picking up on any clues that may help, such as the food your target is eating, or any other subtle giveaways that may guide your jig selections.
Finally, and probably most vitally, sticking to your guns is the only way to go with micro jigs if you want results. If you want success with these cool lures, then back them to be eaten. Seriously micro jigs are that deadly if given half a chance we're sure you'll be hooked on their fish catching ability and enjoy each hook-up!