Jigging has been one of my preferred fishing method around Malaysia when it comes to Salt water fishing. It has been plus 10 years now with jigging and still there is always new things, trick and technique to learn. My intention of this article is to touch a little bit about history of jigging and how far it has evolved over the past 3 decades. Correct me if I’m wrong. Just comment on this article.
As we know, fishing with rod and line has been with us since hundreds of years ago. It is an evolution on how Man catches fish for its ultimate survival. It sparks me to write about this when I saw Amirul Irfan posted Koreans traditional fishing method Gyeonji. One of the most unique fishing method I have ever seen. Other example would be Tenkara a traditional Japanese method to catch fishes in small stream like Trout, dated back 200 year ago. Flyfishing is another old and well-known method from England, one of their old manuscript The Treatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle dated back in 1496. There is historic trace of every single fishing method told earlier. The next question, What about the history of Jigging?
I’ve done a little bit of research recently about the history of jigging. So, from the past written text by various writers, all point out to one man. Mr. Yochi Mogi from Japan. He sorts of like officially reinvented jigging back in 1990’s and was responsible to be the catalyst of major improvement in terms of equipment and terminal tackle. Believe it or not, there are no robust equipment that available at that time in history. Out of all the short article, two word captures my attention. REINVENT JIGGING. In other words, jigging has already been around even before 90’s.
All the sudden it started to ring a bell in my head. Every single Saltwater fishing trip with Fishyology, jigging has always been in the main itinerary. Most of the people from Europe, North America would not know much about modern jigging. However, countries like Norway or Britain (in some part) has accustomed to jigging. Especially when it comes to fishing for Cod. Pirking is the name of their technique and they use metal jigs and it is dropped to the bottom of the sea. A simple up and down movement of the rod is required to trigger a fish strike. I think we can be sure that Jigging has been used in different part of the world, and finally we can all agree that the evolution of modern day jigging starts in Japan. An evolution that will revolutionized the fishing realm.
Going back to the November 1993. Mr. Yoichi Mogi tried for the first time super deep jigging in Amami’s water. I can imagine last time to fish on those depth requires big reels and heavy… heavy rods. We can relate this accurately as Japan is pretty much advance in electric reel. They always strive to simply things and in normal circumstances, fishing that depth back in the 90’s is a serious stuff. Using metal jigs, jigging was impossible because there is literally no fishing equipment that are up to the task. One thing that I can’t imagine is the usage of large reels to accommodate thick diameter mono line to do the job. Add in a heavy fiberglass rod or even carbon rods. It takes a lot of determination to make one jigging pitch.
Thanks to Mr Yoichi Mogi, fishing equipment manufacturer has seen this as an opportunity and from there, new generations of reels and rod are introduced to accommodate the new technique. As far as I can remember, my first jigging trip takes place on 2006, 10 years ago. Jigging arrived in South East Asia, Malaysia, especially dated back in the early 2000’s. I still remember my first set. It was a Daiwa Saltist size 20 and Daiwa Monster Mesh Rod PE3-6. Braided 50lb braided main line with 70lb Fluorocarbon shock leader. It was a heavy setup hahaha. Still laugh about it, even after 10 years. I’m laughing because nowadays, rarely anglers go beyond PE3 and beyond 50lb mainline. They will try their best to get the lowest setup possible. So much have changed…
Fast Jigging, The Beginning
Fundamentally, it all started with fast jigging. A fast stroke of the rod that will bring the metal jig to life. A short and fast upright darting movement to entice our target species to take it. Most jigs are long profile with various shapes and sizes. Some are design to sink fast with a slightly heavier side if the metal jig. Williamson Abyss jigs are design to sink fast and it is hydrodynamic. Hydrodynamic jigs are efficient underwater and reduces drag when we retrieve it. Meaning anglers can retrieve faster with less effort. I think Shimano were one of the first to produce slightly fresh design, it flutters when it drops and retrieved. Shimano butterfly jig. Talking about reel, most jigging reels are design with very high torque and moderate gear ratio. Most of the reels are metal body’s. Daiwa Saltiga or other midrange like Certate and Caldia or are made with metal. Other top range reels are Ryobi Safari 5000A, full metal body with very robust and strong drag.
Shimano on the other hand offer a different range with the introduction of Shimano Stella FA with magnesium body. A very different fundamental. Strong VS Lightweight. Saltiga and Stella both are exceptional reels with their own pro’s and con’s. Even for overhead reels like Saltiga Z series and Ocea Jigger are all heavy-duty reels and ample amount of line capacity. Even rod design has taken a huge step forward to accommodate the demanding jigging technique. Material like carbon and stainless-steel ring are introduced to produce a suitable and well-balanced rod.
High end jigging rod even equipped with titanium frame fishing guide to make the rod lighter. To achieve a good balance in jigging stroke and weight of the jig. Most rods are designed short 5’-6’, with a significant distance between seat and butt. This is to accommodate the fighting posture. Rod butt at the hip and reel seat at the hand when fighting fish. Best in the field, Evergreen Spin Jerker is a very strong and light weight rod. It is only 5’2 and the balance and rigidly-flexible rod has made it easy for anglers to deep sea jigging all day.
I think the rationale behind the design philosophy of modern jigging is that it all started with deep sea fishing in Japan. I’m assuming target species like GT, Tuna, Amberjack and Grouper. Equipment are built to withstand the power of the target species and the condition of where the fishing is being conducted. As a start, heavy reels and strong and short jigging rods. It takes a very determined and strong person to be jigging 300ft of water and maybe 300-400g jigs? I’ve seen video in America jigging at 300ft with large bulky rod and heavy overhead reel. It is demanding. Not all people are willing to embark on this path of fishing, even for those who tested the water. Some may have completely drop the technique and some continue jigging for glory throughout the world.
Jigging Revolution & Light Jigging
The beginning of the jigging era, it can be associated with heavy reels and rod. The overall package is heavy and demanding. Human always wanting to simplify things and make it better, and Japanese are well known with this trait. Mid-late 2000’s can be considered the peak of the fast jigging era. Manufacturer has increase their equipment range from entry to their flagship reel. Advancement of composite material to replace heavy metal bodies are introduced to make the overall package lighter. Jigging rods now are lighter and some range longer than the conventional 6’ jigging rod.
Light jigging has now taken center stage and has taken the lead in many part of the world. Especially South-East Asia as most of the jigging spot are less demanding in-terms of depth and current. It even goes further when micro jigging was introduced. Small reliable reel and super light super thin jigging rod that works 10-20g of metal jig. Performing well in shallow area or midwater species.
It has created a phenomenon when it reaches Malaysia. Species like the Spanish Mackerel, Queenfish, Diamond Trevally, Giant Trevally, Golden Trevally and a variety of Snapper and Grouper has fallen to this new deadly technique.
Rise of the Slow Jigging Era
Slow jigging emerges in Japan in the early 2010’s. A different fundamentals altogether as compared to the conventional fast jigging. If the origin of fast jigging is to target species that stays in deeper water section, and the metal jig mimic a bait fish darting away from becoming a pray. The fast movement entice species to strike. Thanks to maybe sight, luminous detail and underwater ripple or vibration. Slow jigging takes a different approach in presenting their jig. One man can be pointed out to be responsible in Slow Jigging creation, is Mr Norihiro Sato.
If you ever watch underwater documentary, we always see that weaker unit of the eco system is always to be picked first by stronger unit. In other words, easy prey is always better than normal one. They are easily become pray for predators. Slow jigging exploits this natural law to our advantage in triggering a strike from our target species. Slow jigging emphasis in the movement or presentation of the metal jig that are design to mimic squid or injured fish. It is designed to be flat and wider with a variety of shape and sizes. The design uses hydrodynamic philosophy to increase surface area and to promote suspension in the water as compared to fast jigging era, jigs are design to be long and slim profile to reach depth at a great speed or less time.
Fluttering motion with great suspension-ability underwater invite target species to bite it. Slow jigging is designed to work when the fish is feeding or even during inactive period. Logically it makes sense. Fish bite out of curiosity, trespassing their area or during on the hunt for pray. Slow Jigging is a game changer across the globe. Example in Malaysia, slow jigging is very effective when it comes to fishing for the Snapper and Grouper family. Species that are used to be caught with only bait or live-bait. One logical sense is those species feed on squid. The fluttering motion does mimic a squid playing around on the sea floor.
This flawless and slow motion is created with different range of fishing equipment. Rods are design to be slow taper as anglers are required to pitch the rod as part of the basic method of slow jigging. Slow and subtle jig presentation is being done via lifting the rod with a variety of ¼, ½, or full retrieve. With a slow taper rod, it provides a subtle lift to the metal jig and brings it to life. As the cycle continues, the metal jig will be lifted slow and flutters as it falls for another pitching cycle. There are some basic rules to comply to get the maximum workability of slow pitch jigging and hopefully it can be covered at a later article.
In-terms of reel, the first slow pitch rod is designed to work with overhead reels. Evergreen Poseidon Slow Pitch Jerker is the pioneer of Slow Pitch Jigging. Hardly any slow pitch jigging rods that are design to work with spinning reels. However, there is only one rod, Hot’s Slow Style jigging rod are design to work on a spinning reel. Thus, this new technique has spurred a new generation of overhead jigging reels. From Japanese to China made reels to meet an overwhelming demand of Slow Jigging. Since Slow Jigging rods are design with a slow taper, the burden of fighting a fish is put solely on the reel. The rod does not have any strong back bone as it is designed to present the jig but not fighting the fish. A lot of angler get this part wrong when they use slow jigging rods to help the reel fight the fish.
We have yet to seen the end of this Slow Pitch Jigging era. More product innovation is being carried over across the globe which has now become a global phenomenon. Visit Mr Totos slow jigging blog for more info http://www.anglers-secrets.com
Electric, the way of the Future?
Fast-Slow both technique is radical in the modern era of fishing. Who would have thought metal can actually catch fish? As era progresses, we can see another step forward to improve or simply the technique even further than before. Electric Reel Jigging.
What happen muscle pain and sweat when it comes to jigging? Do we want to set it aside and let a machine do all the dirty work? It seems to have taken a bit of the jigging spirit away when we use electric reel. The most exciting part in jigging is when a fish hammers our metal jig. The excitement is at another level. If we give a chance and examine closely, there is a rational reason as why manufacturer introduces electric reel jigging.
One thing that goes through my mind is, what happen if our fishing is at an extreme deep-water area. Beyond the 100m mark. Fast Jigging seems to be the best choice as jigs can be send to the abys at a fast pace. If you are jigging with 300-1000g jig, it isn’t pleasant and your fishing time will be limited and fatigue to our body will come to play. Even in shallow but fast flowing current at the strait between Madagascar and Africa. Fast jigging 80m at depth for amberjacks using 400g jig is crazy! Still people do it. Electric reel has come to open new possibility when jigging in extreme condition or depth.
To enhance or restore a bit of the flair in jigging, electric reels are now being produced at compact size. It comes in either 500 or 750 sizes with an option of small detachable battery, instead of the conventional large battery pack. It allows anglers to fish all day, increase efficiency and pushed the settings to the max to match fishing condition. It adds versatility in our fishing setup, something that it’s not achievable during the Fast-Slow era.
Jigging have always been one the most exciting fishing method that are widely known across the globe. A method created and perfected by the land of the rising sun. Has enlighten humanity fishing realm. What more revolutionary and new fishing method that will come? Only time will tell.