Jig fishing has become one of the most productive methods used for catching steelhead. I’ve been using jigs for over 5 years now and year after year they account for more Steelhead I bring to the bank or boat than any other method. Fishing jigs is easy, but there are some things you can do to improve success.
First of all – only use QUALITY jigs! That’s where Anglers Advantage Tackle in my opinion has an edge on the market. Jody Allison, owner of Anglers Advantage states “I only use the finest materials including Owner hooks and the highest quality feathers and furs from Hareline Dubbin. Each jig is personally hand tied by myself, assuring you that the quality of my jigs are second to none.”
How many times have you heard someone hooking a fish with a jig only to have the hook bend out and the fish is gone. I’ve caught numerous fish on these jigs and have yet to have a hook bend on me. The difference is Owner hooks.
To catch more fish you’re going to have to make a “natural” presentation. This is accomplished by a properly weighted jig, matched with an inline weight and proper float. Anglers Advantage has made it simple for you: Jig Weight + Inline Weight = Float Size. For example: 1/8oz Jig + 1/4oz Inline weight = 3/8oz Float. When properly balanced your float should travel down stream perfectly vertical. Just follow the method above to acheive this.
For the most part you’ll want to find slower moving water than drift fishing, something thats like a slow walking speed is perfect. That doesn’t mean you can’t fish faster water with jigs, but like many, you’ll have a float setup and a drift setup with you when fishing. If you do come across some faster water and drift fishing is unsuccessful, throw your jig a few times, you might be surprised.
Once you find the “hole” or “drift” cast upriver beginning at the nearest point closest to you that you consider part of the “hole”. This may be only a few feet in front of you or it may be half way across the river. Drift as far downstream within reason. The jig is fishing the whole time. Work the drift, casting slightly further across the river each time until you’ve worked the entire stretch. Many times after you’ve let it float down a seam, reel in then let it float right back down instead of re-casting. You can cover more water this way and the longer your jigs in the water the more chance you have of hooking up.
Ideally you’ll want to be 1 to 2 feet off the bottom. If you cast out and hit bottom… reel in! You’re jigs doing no good draggin bottom. Adjust the float and re-cast. Also, when reeling in, reel it in fast and get it back out there. I’ve never heard of a steelhead hitting a jig while reeling in. Get it in fast and get it back out. Again, the longer the jigs in the water the better chance you have of hooking up.
With any type of steelhead fishing you want to fish structure. This is no different with jig fishing. Hit around logs, under tree, in front of and behind boulders. Oh, and don’t think you won’t loose jigs because you’re using a float. I’ve donated many a jig to the hidden structures below… that’s part of steelheading!
For fishing jigs I prefer a longer rod and spinning reel setup. For this review I used a G. Loomis 1262s 10′ 6″ rated 6 – 10lbs coupled with a Shimano Stradic 2500. I use 30lb Power Pro for the main line and 10lb Seaguar Flourocarbon leader.
NOTE: 30lb Power Pro is the same diameter as 8lb mono. I use 30lb Power Pro for several reasons. First, it floats so it’s easier to mend your line when float fishing. Second, when your hands are freezing the diameter of the 30lb is easier to use than that of the lesser ratings. Third, the diameter also helps when threading through the float. And most importantly, Power Pro has no stretch so even long distance hookups are instant (no need for Bass Style Hookups here). If fished properly if anything is going to break it’ll be your leader.
As with most Jig Manufacturer’s, Anglers Advantage offers many jigs choices. I’m partial to the Double Beaded Marabou Jig, but the NightMare is always a good choice especially in clear water. Pinks are always a safe choice. I also prefer 1/8oz jigs in the winter, and 1/8 or 1/16oz in the summer. 1/4 oz are also available but I’ve found overall 1/8oz produce most consistently.
We’ll, after fishing with Anglers Advantage Tackle Jigs I can honestly say “I’m Hooked”!