Fishing with a lead jig head and soft plastic lure is one of the most popular methods of fishing on one of the Outer Banks piers, bridges and even the surf.
Jigging is the practice of casting out a lead jig head with a plastic body and retrieving it through the water at varying directions and speeds. And depending on the size and shape of the lure, the angler can cover vast amounts of water and all levels of the water column very quickly. If a target prey is in the area, this method attracts them quickly.
The jigging method is designed to mimic a bait fish that may be injured or struggling in the current. There are two popular methods of jigging. First is a cast out and a slow and steady retrieval speed with an occasional pause. The second is a cast with an erratic retrieve followed by a steady pull, pull, pause, and repeated. Either way, these methods can quickly initiate an aggressive strike. And it’s typically during the pause of either phase that most strikes and hookups occur.
The jigging method can increase the success rate when the angler focuses on three important phases of the process: the action, sound and vibrations, and smell and scent.
The action of the jig lead head and soft plastic is the most important. The speed or erratic behavior of jig head and soft plastic can quickly attract the attention of a target species. A hungry speckled trout or puppy drum can sense a struggling or wounded baitfish by its erratic movements. A slow moving bait can also be an easy prey for a waiting fish.
Sounds or noise from a lead head and specific type of plastic pushing through the water can cause a significant vibration. Sound and vibration can travel great distances underwater so any unusual sound can quickly get the attention of a searching species.
Soft plastic bodies are designed to make specific sounds by the each manufacturer. For example, swim baits create a drumming sound as the paddle tail swings in the current. Twister tail plastics cause a high pitch tin-like sound. And a finesse plastics will give off a swishing sound. Each soft plastic has their own specific sounds when dragged through the water. So the angler should select the specific soft plastic body for each targeted species.
Finally, selecting the proper scent or favor for the soft plastic body should correspond with the specific bait fish in the water. Fish have a tremendous ability to smell. And they can sense a fish scent hundreds of yards away. So when choosing a soft plastic, always select one with the scent that is embedded into the bait. Adding an after-market scent can also provide additional attractant although plastics designed with scent will retain that scent longer.
The key to successful jigging is to first, select the proper lead jig head action for the specific area and depth you are fishing.
Next, select the soft plastic that can give off the right sound and vibration.
And finally, it’s very important for the angler to vary their retrieval rate frequently. And finally, make sure your soft plastic bait has the same scent as the other bait fish in the water.
Remember – when handling scented soft plastic baits, make sure your hands are clean. Don’t allow any body oils and suntan lotion get on you soft plastics. Any foreign substance may compromise your ability to fool your target.
Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony